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Throwback Thursday

There’s a lot of aspects of social media that I like, one big one is the special occasions like Follow Friday (#FF on Twitter) and Throwback Thursday (#TBT on both Twitter and Instagram). Throwback Thursday is awesome because you see pictures of those you follow from years ago. I especially love seeing fashion bloggers from when they were children, and when they are wearing outfits that could easily be seen today on any city’s streets. I must say I crack up when I see people wearing acid wash, pleated jeans, neon crop tops, fishnet, and many other trends I rocked in the ‘80s.

The ‘80s were a fun time sartorially, especially since I spent them in elementary and middle school (and the beginning of high school), just beginning to see fun in fashion and having the ability to make sartorial decisions. While I doubt you’ll see me wear acid washed denim or fringed tee shirts advertising Ocean City any time soon, the decade still influences and inspires me on a regular basis.

I catch myself being drawn to distressed denim, strong shoulders, off the shoulder sweatshirts, peplums, and touches of neon. I have to admit, I still love the fashion in the the ZZ Top “Legs” video!

Are you also a fan of the ‘80s? Then set your DVRs for Sunday, April 14th at 8pm for the National Geographic Channel. They’re having a six part series titled, The ‘80s: The Decade That Made Us; Sunday evening will begin a three-part miniseries to kick off the whole series.  Narrated by Rob Lowe, the series will feature a variety of ‘80s celebrities and pundits discussing all sorts of things about the era, from politics and technological innovations, to hit movies and TV shows, fashion, and how it continues to shape the world we live in today. I know I’ll be watching, and will be sure to let you know what I thought about it!

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Throwback Thursday: Prom Edition

When I was a sophomore in high school, a senior asked me to go to Prom with him. I went to a relatively small high school for the area (fewer than 1,000 students) and there wasn’t a Junior Prom, so going to Prom as an underclassman was a pretty exciting thing. It was also exciting to go with this guy, I had been crushing on him all year long.

I went all the way to Potomac Mills to look for a prom dress, and found THE ONE at Nordstrom Rack. It was ruched white satin, off the shoulder, and I felt like Marilyn Monroe in it. Shoes were easy – I bought a pair of white satin dyeable pumps from Payless Shoe Source, high enough heel so I could comfortably dance with my tall date. At the time, my head was shaved from ears down and I was growing out a blue-black dye job, so I wore it wavy like a bob, using a rhinestone clip to hold back one side. I remember buying some really sparkly dangly rhinestone earrings and a rhinestone bracelet from Afterthoughts.

When my senior year came around, I felt a bit too cool for school, and for proms. Not only that, but I had some high school drama earlier in the year where I didn’t have that many girl friends left and had no desire to spend a lot of money for an evening with frenemies. My boyfriend also felt he was too cool for school; he went to a different high school and had already decided he would NOT go to his prom. However, I read far too many teen romances and heard too many adults tell me I would regret it if I didn’t go, so I asked my boyfriend if he would be willing. He was a great guy and agreed to it.

I bought my first prom dress at Merry Go Round in Laurel Mall. It was a black velvet column dress with a pearl beaded halter collar from Zum Zum. Tres chic, and I can recall it being $125 which was an insane price. I vaguely remember either putting it on layaway or having them hold it until I got my next paycheck from my job at the florist. Then a month later, my friend who worked at Merry Go Round told me that our classmate bought the SAME DRESS for prom. This classmate and I did not get along, so I of course could NOT wear the dress, and the dress was not returnable. I went to TJ Maxx and found a short black sheath with a lace overlay. High neck, but the armholes cut out in a cool modern way. I decided I would channel Audrey Hepburn, with a French twist, black stockings, black pumps, maybe even opera-length gloves and a tiara. The dress was on clearance, I think less than $20.

A week before prom, I chickened out on wearing the super short, super tight lace dress. I went into a total panic, and my mom the superhero MADE MY PROM DRESS. We picked a cornflower blue moiré and I was imagining Madonna in the Material Girl video (had yet to see Gentlemen Prefer Blondes). With very little time, there wasn’t some crazy bow off the back, no time to search for a giant sparkly necklace, and my mom’s white opera gloves did not fit over my arms (always had big arms), so we took the rhinestone detail off the dress I wore to Prom in sophomore year and put it on the front of this dress for some shine. I loved the shade, it was not a trendy color and I believed I’d be the only person at Prom in blue.  Luckily Payless could dye a pair of 4″ heels (very tall boyfriend) and clutch purse on short notice in the same cornflower shade.

I had an appointment to get my hair done, still wanted a French twist. Still had a lot of my head shaved (by this time the sides had grown out but the back was still shorn). The woman at the salon had no idea how to make my hair look like anything, so she put it in a ponytail on the top of my head and hard curled it and pinned the curls like some sort of updo. It was dreadful, and so sprayed and gelled I didn’t dare go home and change it. I tried very hard not to cry and mess up my face. My mom helped, trying to make it look a bit better.

Prom was as terrible as I thought it would be. While I did have a whole table of friends to hang out with, there were people there who didn’t like me. And there was one other girl in blue, and of course it was a girl who despised me, the one I got in all that drama with (funny enough, she is one of the few people from high school I am friends with today). I remember dancing with my boyfriend, looking up at the mirrored ceiling and seeing another girl mouth, “bitch” to me and give me the finger. We got our pictures taken, and when my friend said she was ready to go less than two hours after we arrived, we were thrilled.

We went back to my boyfriend’s house where he spent an hour taking bobby pins out of my hair. We watched Beavis and Butthead and made out all night. I got back the pro photos, and saw my hair had fallen and the slit of the dress got messed up and the dress folded inside itself making me look like even more of a hot mess. I never gave out any of the photos, though my parents had one of the 5x7s on top of the family piano.

It all worked out though… that boyfriend ended up being my husband 11 years later!

And those two unworn prom dresses? I ended up wearing both of them (the lace one more than once) to sorority and fraternity formals in college!

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Throwback Thursday: Wedding Edition

I can’t believe that in June, Karl and I will have been married nine years. Nine years! Where does the time go? I’ve been thinking about our wedding a lot since the cicadas are set to return this summer and they were here for our wedding. I decided to take a walk down wedding dress memory lane for today’s Throwback Thursday.

Though I South Beached most of my engagement, I was still a size 10/12, which makes dress shopping hard. Most boutiques only carry sample sizes, which are in the single digits; no matter how many binder clips they use to attach that dress to your bra, you can’t get a good feeling for how it will actually look when the dress is several sizes smaller than you need. So my first stop in dress shopping was David’s Bridal, where I knew they would have all the popular silhouettes and also have many dresses in my size. I went, and thought I found THE ONE on the first visit. Came back a second time, took pictures and realized that while the dress did flatter, it wasn’t quite right. However, that trip to David’s helped me narrow down silhouettes and know what styles flattered my figure and fit my sense of style.

I ended up with a very similar gown I remember it was called the “Temara.” I tried on at a boutique in Baltimore, but found it for almost half the price online (thank you Bridal Bargains!). It had the a-line skirt and wrapped waist I found flattering on me, but was ivory silk shantung (always been a sucker for shantung) and Swarovski crystals along the top. Lace-up back so alterations were minimal (which was a good thing because I somehow LOST weight on my Bachelorette weekend of debauchery in Dewey Beach). I had my seamstress make my veil, the week before the wedding I decided I HAD to have a tiara and ordered one online. It was small yet sparkly and I must admit I still pull it out from time to time to wear around the house. My shoes were hot pink and found for almost nothing at the now-defunct department store Hecht’s. I went to a Chanel counter to have my makeup done; the artist was going to do my makeup that day but cancelled short notice so I did it myself.

My favorite color was and still is orange. We had orange invitations, orange flowers for the ceremony and centerpieces, the boutiques were predominately orange (with Kermit green flowers to represent my dad Kermit). Tables were named after places we had traveled to as a couple, written on shades of orange and pink paper; that same paper was used for the programs and cardstock in the same shades was used for placecards. We even had an orange signature drink – the Orange Crush that I had enjoyed many times with my friends during our Dewey Beach adventures. I wanted my bridesmaids to wear orange tea-length dresses but they vetoed me and wore a much wearable shade of bronze.

Our wedding was at an historical mansion that was just a few miles from where the two of us grew up. The plan was to have the ceremony outside on the terrace. The cicadas were in full force and we were considering all sorts of ways to deal with them (have catering sweep up the carcasses 10 minutes before people were to arrive, have the minister ask the audience to do a round of applause before we walked out to shush them long enough for the ceremony). Even though the farmer’s almanac said it would be fair weather, it rained all day and evening so the whole event was inside and cicada-free.

Looking back, I think the most dated parts of my look were the cosmetic ones – the shimmery silver shadow, the deep maroon lips, the very slicked-back updo. The dress still holds its own; in fact I went to the David’s Bridal site to look at their current dresses and found almost the same dress that I almost got (though the one I tried had a solid skirt and was a dark ivory/candlelight color). Like wrap dresses, pointed-toe pumps and dark straight jeans – some trends just don’t disappear because they are so figure flattering. I think my wedding dress could be rocked now, though I would likely replace the lace-up back with buttons, wear my hair down and cut down my makeup by a million. And the shoes? Oh I would still totally rock those shoes!

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Throwback Thursday: Junkyard Band

I was born in DC.  When I was a toddler my parents moved to Prince George’s County, right outside the city. I grew up in PG County, went to college in PG County (go Terps!), moved away for a bit after school but came back about a decade ago and have chosen to raise my child here. PG County often gets a bad rap, and while sometimes it’s warranted, you can’t judge the whole area by a few bad apples. The best part about living in PG County is the diversity. I lived near and went to school with people of all races, religions, cultures, backgrounds, and economic levels and am happy to have my daughter experience the same.

The second best thing about growing up in PG County? Being exposed to Go-Go! Since we’re right on the DC border we experienced all the DC-specific culture and absorbed it like a sponge. I can remember going to one of my first boy-girl parties in middle school and we played “Sardines” by Junkyard Band on repeat at least a dozen times, all dancing and singing along. Every time I hear this song I am transported back to being a tween.

Those not from the DC area may recognize the song from being in the movie Tougher Than Leather.

I recently read an article about DC not having its own culture, that with so many transplants thanks to the government, military, and colleges we’re more of a melting pot but I disagree.  If you get to know DC past K Street you’ll realize the city has a very clear, defined, and unique culture.  DC has a different fashion sense, innovative music, art, and food.  While I no longer live in the city limits, I still adore DC and am glad I work here so I can come visit every day.

And now I’m craving a half smoke

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Throwback Thursday: Midnight Showing

Oh the hair!

Oh the hair products!

Oh the Revlon Toast of New York lipstick!

Oh the Swatch watches!

My friend sent this to me and I just HAD to share!  It was the summer of 1990 and for a teenager the coolest places to be were the pool and the movies. The movie Dick Tracy was coming out and we decided to go to the midnight showing on opening night. I mean, hello Madonna and Warren Beatty! Our ticket was the tee shirt we were wearing; I can recall other midnight showings that were big to-dos with tee shirts and fancy details. I did some Googling to see if I could find more info on the shirts and found one for sale on Etsy.

I remember this picture being taken in the upstairs hallway of our house. That’s me in the middle, it’s hard to tell with the hair surrounding me, but I was growing out a short black Roxette-inspired ‘do. That’s my sister on the left and my friend Kim on the right. I believe Debbie and I were trying to do cool/sexy faces.  Happy to say we’re all still friends to this day, and we have MUCH better hair!

Random aside: I don’t remember much about the movie… knowing me I probably fell asleep 30 minutes into it.  For those who don’t know me IRL, I can sleep anywhere.  The louder and the more ridiculous, the more likely I will pass out.  I have slept through concerts, movies, fireworks displays, fraternity formals.  I remember doing a psych experiment in college to get extra credit for class.  They had me lie on a table with a blanket over me, turned off the lights and left the room saying they would be right back.  The experiment was to see how long it took for students to fall asleep; it took me less than a minute.  My husband always jokes about how we saw Jimmy’s Chicken Shack at some little hole in the wall in Ocean City.  The stage was about the size of a dining table with a bar along one side with stools, so close that the bassist’s elbow brushed against it.  I sat at that bar, and after one song I fell asleep.  I guess one of the band members’ mom was sitting next to me and she was NOT impressed by my amazing sleeping talent… 

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What I Wore: True Representation

alison gary of wardrobe oxygen personal style over 40 rebecca minkoff mini mac leopard calfhair via wardrobe oxygen Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen 40 year old working mom fashion blog alison gary of Wardrobe Oxygen over 40 fashion advice Jacket: Vince Camuto (similar, similar) | Tee: Etsy | Jeans: Gap | Shoes: Nine West ‘Flax’ | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff (similar, similar) | Earrings: Etsy | Watch: c/o Larsson & Jennings | Bracelets: c/o Pura Vida Bracelets (right now get 20% Off With Code JULY20), c/o Lifetherapy (though July get 40% off your entire order with code FF40) | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Hey do you recognize me? I wore this Thursday night at the BlogHer conference. The hotel room had an awkward full-length mirror inside the closet, but it seemed okay at 3:30 when I put it on; by 10pm after three glasses of wine I took a selfie in the hallway mirror while waiting for the hotel I felt it was a good representation of me. Last week, Alexandria Stylebook featured me in a post about trends we have felt good in since our school days. For me it’s band tee shirts, but in the past decade it also includes also blazers, either dark rinse or distressed straight leg jeans, pointed toe pumps, silver accessories, and a touch of leopard or cheetah print. I wore this the first night of BlogHer because I felt it was a good representation of not just my style but my self. I know others don’t always remember outfits the way I do but if they do I want it to be a clear representation of Alison.

The older I get the fewer clothes I want. Don’t get me wrong, I could do some damage if I had the funds, but there would be fewer silhouettes in the closet, fewer personalities. I wrote this piece a few years ago and while those women still reside in my wardrobe, the lines separating them are fading and I want to send a clearer message with my clothing choices. And this feels pretty me.

Shop the Look:


This weekend was pretty busy – Sunday I hosted a bridal shower for my best friend. I hope to have pictures from that event a little later in the week. I wore the same dress that I wore on Thursday, same shoes too. :)

Anyway, on to today…
my wardrobe todayAttire:
Old Navy – Two white ribbed tanks layered for opacity, black ponte trousers
Halogen – Teal knit jacket
Ralph Lauren – Silver necklace
Sofft – Black patent T-strap sandals
Silver hoops, cuff and chain with wedding band

Next day, brushed out

Estée Lauder – Double-Wear Light Foundation in Intensity 2.0
Nars – Blush in Orgasm
Pop Beauty – Shadow palette for Brown Eyes – the taupe and celadon blended
Cover Girl – LashBlast mascara in Rich Black
Maybelline – UltraLiner in Black
L’Oreal – Color Juice Stick in Berry Spritzer

It is tres hot and humid in the DC area, but my office is very chilly. Only way i can get away with layers like this! :)

How to Get a Sunkissed Glow without Sun Damage

We’re grown-ass women who know better than to slather on baby oil, cover a record album with tin foil and bake in the sunshine for a deep dark tan. Hopefully we all know that though a sunkissed face looks pretty now, it will just add wrinkles and pigmentation and possibly cancer in the future. Celebrities like Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, and Nicole Kidman prove that pale, sun-protected skin can be beautiful and fashionable but for those of us who still crave a bit of color in the summer there’s brilliant ways to achieve it without the sun’s rays.

sunless tanner review fair skin

While I was a tanaholic in the past (seriously, check out this Throwback Thursday pic I shared on Instagram, yep that’s me in the green!), I’ve learned that tanning is incredibly dangerous and damaging. Now I like to have a subtle glow, just enough to hide veins and get away with a bit less makeup. Here’s the products I use to get an artificial glow that looks natural:

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Glow Pads

I love me some; cash back from Ebates and cash back on future purchases on their site (and they’re the same site as so I can get a box delivered to my door with Greenies for Cindy, laundry detergent, Claritin, a lipstick from Revlon and one from NARS!). All that and free samples with purchases. Well one free sample I received was one of these wipes from Dr. Dennis Gross. I took it on vacation (the best time to play with beauty samples) thinking it was just an Alpha Beta peel. Wiped it on my face and neck before bedtime and woke up tan!

But not a weird orange tan, or a dark tan that didn’t match the rest of my body. Just that glow I used to get back when I wouldn’t wear sunscreen on my face and spend a spring day at the park. Afraid it was actual sun or that next time I’d end up with a streaky orange face, I ordered another sample with my next order. Tried again at home… again a subtle natural looking tan that faded nicely into my pale body. So I bought a box of these pads and use one a week on the weekend so I don’t show up to the office Tuesday pale and Wednesday sunkissed. I also have found it best to put on while wearing a dark bra or tank so when you wipe onto your décolleté you have an ending point and don’t end up with streaks near an armpit or one shoulder tan and the other pale. The product can work anywhere; there’s always leftover product so if you’re skilled you can use it elsewhere on your body.

Jergens Natural Glow 3 Days to Glow Moisturizer

This stuff is so good, I can do it with just my left hand. Since I’m dealing with just my left hand and a cast, I stick to putting it on just my legs, but it gives a very natural and gradual glow, doesn’t smell horrible, and doesn’t streak. I apply a dime-size amount to my lower leg and begin wiping it up and down my leg and rubbing like crazy. I do most of my wiping up over my knee to my thighs, very little on my feet, and keep wiping up and in until it’s completely dry. Leave any places lotiony and they will end up darker; try to tan your feet and they will end up darker. My goal (and the final result) is a slightly tan leg from above the knee to below the ankle and a subtle fade to natural pale above and below that point. It doesn’t look false, even with a bathing suit or low-vamp shoes.

I find Jergens Natural Glow works far better on dry skin than damp, and also works best with a regular exfoliation routine in place (for me it’s dry brushing). I use the Light to Medium, apply every other day and it gives enough color to feel confident in dresses and shorts in broad daylight.

Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Leg Makeup

I reviewed the spray before, didn’t like it no matter what tips and tricks I learned from you folks or on the web. It was messy, streaky, dark, and just too complicated. Ain’t nobody got time for that! So when I saw the liquid version I decided to try it. And I love it.

Just like the Jergens lotion, I rub rub rub like a fiend with a wide palm until it’s fully absorbed, starting at the front of my leg below my knee and then wiping up and back and around to cover all places. The color shows immediately, and it’s very natural. You can also build up for a darker color. I chose the Leg Makeup in Fair, and the color is equal to regular application of the Jergens lotion but airbrushed. The same effect as sheer hose but without the layer and weird webbed toes.  The more layers you apply, the more airbrushing/coverage you get. It stays on really well; go ahead and sweat, take a dip in the pool, go to the beach. Some will fade but not in a weird splotchy way. I only apply it for special occasions and only lightly, and I can’t feel it on the skin. Get a dark washcloth to scrub it off, though I’ll be honest I usually let it stay on, wash normally and let it fade with time. Again, haven’t tried it anywhere but my legs so no advice on using it elsewhere.

Do you sunless tan?  What are your favorite products for achieving a natural glow without the sun?

Contest: Tolani Scarf from

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, 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 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 Sorry international readers, but the contest is only open to those in the United States.

Get to know
Facebook (friend “shop chickdowntown” and/or become a fan of the chickdowntown page)
Twitter (
YouTube ( or

Good luck!

Shop My Closet – On Poshmark!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday and Friday

Ann Taylor – White Jeans, Gold hoops
Gap – Turquoise 3/4 sleeve tee
Tolani – Blue Zig Zag scarf
Lands End – Gold Sandals
Ralph Lauren – Gold bangles

What I hate people doing – leaving the house with wet hair. But this week has been INSANE and I was running late and had to get to work tres early. It was pretty much dry by time I got to the Metro and I had ringlets by time I was at work. Wash, condition and Frederic Fekkai Luscious Curls Cream.

Estee Lauder – Nutritious Vita-Mineral Makeup in Intensity 2.0
Cargo – Matte BeachBlush in Tenerife
Stila – Lip Glaze in Fruit Cake
Pop Beauty – Shadow palette for Brown Eyes: The beige and celadon blended together
Maybelline – UltraLiner in Black
Cover Girl – LashBlast mascara in Rich Black

Left very early in the morning and drove myself to the Metro, so no full-length shot.

Old Navy – Printed v-neck tee
Gap – Essential Jeans
Born – Orange leather thongs
Olive crocheted cotton scarf
Various silver necklaces and hoops
Ray Bans – Aviator sunglasses

Next day, straightened while dry with round brush and dryer

L’Oreal – True Match foundation in C3 where needed
Nars – Blush in Orgasm
Stila – Lip Glaze in Fruit Cake
Cover Girl – LashBlast mascara in Rich Black
Revlon – ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis

This is a Casual Friday if I have ever done it – a silkscreened tee? But I have already put in seven extra hours this week and haven’t had time for laundry let alone hang out with Little Miss E. I am REALLY looking forward to this weekend, even though we have a sad affair tomorrow (burying my husband’s father’s ashes). It will be nice to spend time with family and loved ones and not be behind two computers with a headset on all day long! 😛

What I Wore: Samey Samey

Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a Vince Camuto Blazer, Jag Paley Bootcut Jeans and a Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC Wardrobe Oxygen wearing JAG Jeans Paley Bootcut with a Vince Camuto blazer and Nine West pumps Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a black boyfriend blazer, gray v-neck tee, and white jeans with a leopard bag Jacket: Vince Camuto (plus version) | Tee: Old Navy | Jeans: Paley Bootcut c/o JAG Jeans (plus version) | Shoes: Nine West | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff (similar, similar) | Bracelets: Had forever (similar), c/o Lifetherapy | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

My high school geometry teacher used to use the phrase, “Samey Samey” quite often and to this day I often use it for things that are similar. Thursday morning I pulled this look together, the stars (or should I say schedules) were aligned and we were able to hop outside for a couple quick photographs before I had to leave for the office. I liked this look, I felt it was very me. Well yeah it IS me because I wore the same darn thing on the blog in May! Not only that…

Wardrobe Oxygen UniformOutfit 1Outfit 2 | Outfit 3 | Outfit 4

Two of the outfits above are from 2013.  Two years ago I was sporting the same bag, the same silver pumps, the same sunglasses, the same bracelet and necklace, even the same Old Navy Vintage V-neck tee shirt!  Not only that, the Gap Sexy Boyfriend jeans in those two 2013 pictures were still in my wardrobe until a month ago when the crotch blew out and I just got in the mail a replacement pair.  To say I have a certain look would be an understatement; this is a uniform and honestly, that’s not a bad thing.

Life is short, it’s a waste of time to constantly reinvent the wheel or reinvent your style if you know what works.  The black blazer in this outfit post I just bought this summer; I own this blazer in ivory crepe and pale pink (and used to have in neon yellow and regret selling it).  I was looking in my closet and realized while I have black blazers, none of them are classic cuts.  The pink jacket has done me well, it survived NYC, buttons comfortably, is a fabric that works with office trousers or a pair of jeans… why waste time trying to find something different?  I care about style, I love fashion, and I think how you look is important, but being – existing – living – enjoying life trumps it all.  Get out of your closet and get out into the world!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Artist’s Way: Week 2 Recap/Starting Week 3

I started this week not too well. No internet at home, fighting a cold, crazy work week. Morning Pages (even when I tried them at night) seemed a burden. Then on Wednesday morning I got up, did some yoga, started my Morning Pages with gripe gripe vent vent boring boring then… BANG. I started writing furiously and couldn’t stop. All these ideas, thoughts, and coming out to clearly and beautifully and in such a positive manner. I needed Week 2, it came at a time where I was feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. Yeah, the end of the week was hard, but I think it may have been so hard on me because I was finally feeling unstuck. The whole week was very educational and I think a good experience for my creative growth.

It was good how we were tasks to dip back into Week 1 because Week 1 was really a wash for me. It made me feel that Week 1 must be a wash for many (and I know it was for so many of you) so it’s already in there to revisit it. The tasks this week were fun and helped me remember what I enjoy, care about, and what inspires me. Sewing, stained glass, hiking through the woods. Back when I did The Artist’s Way the first time I remembered the joy of coloring with crayons and bought a box of 64 colors and did it again with joy; now having Emerson in my life I find myself coloring almost weekly even if she tires of it. When I felt frustrated at work this week, I drew a design in black pen in my notebook and took my stash of highlighters and colored it in and it calmed me. I also liked the Life Pie task, because it really wasn’t as unbalanced as I expected it to be, and it reminded me how wonderful my current life is. Also the Ten Tiny Changes was great, what I wrote surprised me and it made me see how very doable some of them are and how easy it was to scratch one off the list.

Week 3: Recovering a Sense of Power
I wrote a pretty personal post Thursday, and the response was overwhelming. One commenter asked if I wrote it just to get the positive comments, and I told her the truth, it wasn’t. It wasn’t even a factor. I kept thinking about that, blogging is about comments and we want positive reinforcement but it’s easy to ignore the positive and focus only on the negative. In the margin of Week 3 below the quote from Thoreau, in 2006 I wrote, “Is it serious if it’s all praise? Too much encouragement is worse than none at all for it loses its meaning.” And seeing my handwriting after what transpired Thursday on the blog was a big honking slap in the face. As Cameron states in this chapter, disinterest is a routine coping device employed to deny pain and ward off vulnerability.

In school, I would get poor grades not because I was a bad student, but because I wouldn’t complete assignments. I’d rather get a 0 than have my work criticized. So many times great opportunities have presented themselves and I haven’t jumped on them because I decide not participating is better than trying and failing. And that’s really why I am doing this again, to find the courage to be vulnerable. Cameron regularly writes about situations presenting themselves when we need them, and those negative comments may have been the world giving me a lesson on dealing with criticism.

The Detective Work exercise in this chapter was pretty interesting because I had written my answers in the book back in 2006, and rereading them makes me realize I am still the same person. Out of the 20 statements, I think I’d only change two or three in 2014. It’s a perfect way to go into this week’s tasks, which focus on ourselves as children, and positive people in our lives.

I’m sorry I wasn’t part of the conversation last week on the blog, with no home internet most of the week and a long week at the office there wasn’t much time to reply, and such heartfelt messages deserve more than henpecking typos on the iPhone. I will be more interactive this week and can not WAIT to hear how you are all doing!

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Trying Le Tote: My Experience with the Clothing and Accessory Rental Company

You all know my love for Gwynnie Bee, but many of you have asked if there is a similar program for those who are smaller than a size 10. Le Tote is also a clothing rental company, but with a different concept.

A review of Le Tote by Wardrobe Oxygen. Opinion as a size 14 and discussion on whether the clothing is a good fit for women over 35.Le Tote helps you curate a box of not just clothing but accessories. For a $49 monthly fee, you receive a box with three garments and two accessories. You can keep items as long as you wish, and anything you love you can keep forever and Le Tote will charge your card. Send items back, and get news ones – you have unlimited Totes for your subscription fee. If you love and choose to keep everything in your shipment you get a free month of Le Tote. Le Tote wants you to love what you receive; you fill out a style profile upon joining, you can customized your delivery and know exactly what you will receive, and Le Tote has stylists on staff to help choose the perfect items for you and your personal style.  Not only that, when you go to the page for a certain item, you can see photos from other Le Tote members wearing the piece, helping you decide if it’s a good choice for your figure.

I received the opportunity to try out Le Tote free for one month. When you join, you will fill out a survey about your size and style and from that certain items will be suggested. However, you can look at all items available and add anything you desire to your virtual closet. Unlike Gwynnie Bee, you can choose exactly what items will arrive in your next shipment – this is great if you’re planning around an event or travel. Like Gwynnie Bee, shipping is free and return packaging and shipping label is included. While it’s called Le Tote, my items arrived in a sturdy Le Tote branded box, wrapped in tissue. Le Tote is big on communication – you’ll receive emails and texts when your next tote is ready to customize, when it ships, and more. You have the ability to control what kind of communication you receive.

le tote review

A few of the Fall 2015 New Arrivals at Le Tote

Le Tote features popular department store brands like Vince Camuto, Max Studio, French Connection, and BCBGeneration and some lesser-known brands that I have seen at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. While Le Tote offers clothing up to an XL or 16, pickings get slim when you go larger than an L or 10. While the majority of the vibe of Le Tote is relaxed simple fashion, they do offer a few cute dresses or jumpsuits for a night out, and lots of separates that would be office appropriate.

I tried out LeTote at the end of August and had a very hard time finding anything I wanted in my first collection. The accessories weren’t my style – very delicate, simple, a bit too trendy, and as a 40 year old professional, a bit too young and cheap looking for my taste. The clothing felt very… basic. One thing I love about Gwynnie Bee is that it often forces me out of my comfort zone and introduces me to new brands, silhouettes, and prints. Le Tote is simple clothing, which could be amazing for one who doesn’t like or have the time for shopping or really isn’t into fashion but felt too simplistic for me. I ended up going with a black and white striped knit tee shirt inspired dress, a spaghetti-strap midi dress, a blazer, a delicate necklace with a pave circle, and a pair of ear jackets.

Everything fit like Juniors. The black and white dress was a nice heavy weight and well constructed, but so short it hardly covered my bum. The midi dress was a gorgeous teal color and one of those convertible pieces that has a smocked bodice that can be worn with the adjustable straps, styled strapless, or slid down and turned into a maxi skirt. It was fine, but it really felt like something I’d see on the rack at TJ Maxx for $19.99 in 50 different colors. The jacket was very tight in the arms and shoulder, unlined, and just looked and felt cheap. The same with the accessories; the necklace was pretty but looked like it was from Claire’s Boutique and the earrings were a weird overly yellow shiny gold that just looked too cheap for me. The only piece I wore was the teal midi dress, and it was because I was going to be outside volunteering at a fair and knew it would be hot out. It was perfect for such a situation, but not awesome enough to keep or even wear a second time.

I hate to dismiss Le Tote because it truly could be a great option for some. If you are a size 10 or smaller, if you’re not terribly tall or petite, if you’re under 35 and you’re looking for a reasonably priced way to add a bit of variety to your wardrobe without looking too trendy or outlandish, Le Tote could be a great option. The price is also pretty great – it’s easy to spend this much on a sweater or casual dress that only gets worn a handful of times; with Le Tote you get three garments for the price of less than one plus two accessories to complete the look.  And like Netflix, send back and get another one right away.  Le Tote could prove to be a great way to shop and build a wardrobe as the company will adjust recommendations based upon your reviews and what you choose to keep. Just don’t expect to find any garments that will stop people in their tracks, transform your personal style, or find a ton appropriate for weddings and more formal social occasions. Their fall collection looks more promising and stylish than their summer selections, if you did want to try such a service this looks to be a good season to do so.

If you’re interested in trying out Le Tote, use code LTWO20 and receive 20% off your first month’s subscription.  Code expires October 31, 2015.

Have you used Le Tote? What are your thoughts on the clothing and accessories rental service?  Do you think it’s worth it for me to try it again?

Plus Sized Work Attire Options

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Out and About: Robyn & Röyksopp at Wolf Trap


Robyn and Röyksopp

Living in the DC area, we’re lucky to have several awesome music venues, and come summer there’s a type of venue for any type of music fan. One of my favorite places in the summer is Wolf Trap; it’s not close by, but they have a shuttle from the Vienna Metro station and it’s worth the trip. The acoustics are fabulous and they let you bring in picnic baskets and coolers of your own food and alcohol (no bottles, but these days you can find fab beer in cans and wine in boxes). We usually try to grab a weekend day festival there each summer, and it’s a great place to see classic artists, plays, and orchestras. However when I heard Robyn with Röyksopp were coming I HAD to go!

I’ve liked Robyn since the late ‘90s (yep, same gal), but after seeing her at Bonnaroo in 2012, Karl and have become mega Robyn fans. Our friend Nicole is a fellow Robyn lover, so the three of us decided to go. Nicole suggested we get pavilion seats and we decided to splurge. Gosh am I glad she suggested that!

Thursday, August 21 was the Robyn/Röyksopp show and if you’re from this area, you know it wasn’t the best weather. It rained in the morning, cleared up some, but the rain returned by rush hour. By time I arrived at Wolf Trap it was rainy, humid, steamy, and disgusting. We hid under a tree to enjoy a drink and then quickly retreated to our pavilion seats to stay dry.

The opening artist was ZHALA and well, I felt bad for the gal.  While she likely would be awesome in a smaller, intimate venue like the 9:30 club, performing on the big stage of Wolf Trap before sundown was a bit depressing and felt as though we were spying on someone dancing in her bedroom in front of her mirror.  She manned her own smoke machine and got down while the crowd was busy texting their friends, finding their seats, and chatting with one another.  We decided to take the time for a restroom break (the perk of a Robyn show is the crowd is primarily male so no line for the facilities) and get a drink (can’t bring anything but water into the pavilion so I ended up splurging on a $9.50 cup of Pinot Grigio).

When Röyksopp started we went back to our seats.  It was dark and they started strong.  While most of their songs are instrumental, they kept the crows riveted with a light show that rivaled Pink Floyd.  They got the crowd in the right frame of mind for the headliner, and when Robyn came on the stage the crowd erupted with cheers.

robyn royksopp wolftrap

Images via Robyn’s Facebook page

Robyn is just as animated and awesome in person as she is in her videos and TV appearances.  Her energy level is astounding, she dances all night long while maintaining a strong singing voice, which is even more impressive when you realize she’s 35, not in her early ’20s like most pop stars.  I love how she doesn’t give a fug and dresses how she wants and dances how she wants without trying to look sexy or cool and totally gets into the moment.  Robyn kept the crowd going all night and it was fun to see folks from all walks of life dancing with her, the energy was so positive and friendly.  I didn’t get any good photos because it was dark, and because I was too busy dancing!  We decided to leave just before the end so we could get out of the parking lot at a decent hour since the next day was work for all of us!

For more photos from the show, check out this post from my friends at This is Our Jam!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday’s Tip – Making the Clearance Rack Your Friend

When I go into a store, the first place I look is the clearance or sale rack. I don’t want to be tempted by full priced items when a good equivalent is available at half the price in the back of the store. Even when planning my wedding I first scored sample sales and discount bridal shops before even looking at a single full-priced gown. It is better to buy quality instead of quantity, but just because it’s on a sale rack does not mean it’s poor quality or lacking style or fashion.

Take Your Time
Clearance racks are a mess. Why waste good salespeople hours in cleaning up the back of the store when the real money making is in the front displays of new product? Because of this, do not limit your search to the section designated with your size. Take the time to flip through all the racks. You may find a size 10 amongst the size 2s or a great size Small blouse hidden amongst size 14 blazers. Grab everything that even remotely appeals to you, and a few things you would not usually consider. The best way to spend money on trendy pieces and unusual finds is to pay for them at a discount – less buyer’s remorse.

Sizes Can Be Deceiving
Sometimes items are on sale racks because they are missized. I have tried on size 6 jackets that are too big for me and size 14s that are skin tight. Don’t just look at the label – pull the item from the rack and see if it may possibly fit. Often the missized items are at a super reduced price because they are being looked over.

Consider a Tailor
I decided to write this post because of my clearance rack prize of yesterday. Sueded cotton trench, hip cut, gorgeous color, originally $179 on sale for $29.99. No obvious flaws but the coat was too large for me – I am petite and it is not. It is an XL and a generous cut, I am not. I bought the awesome bargain after trying it on and seeing that the shoulders were fitting decently, though the sleeves were past my fingers, the waist was too big and the length too long. I took it to my local dry cleaner and for $35 she is shortening the arms and hem and nipping in the waist. So for $65 I got a $179 jacket that is perfect for the upcoming fall.

Sleeves that are too long, hems dragging on the ground, gaping waists and baggy jackets can all be easily fixed by a neighborhood tailor or dry cleaner. They can also replace missing buttons, broken zippers and some torn seams. If the price is right, often the tailoring still keeps the garment at a discounted price. I have bought suiting pants 75% off just because the zipper is broken, a suede blazer at 80% off because the lining had pulled away from the jacket body.

Do not invest in garments that are stained (salespeople usually try to remove the stains with a cleaning fluid, if it’s still stained it probably won’t come out in the wash or at the cleaners), torn (resewing a seam may make the item fit differently), irregular (remember quality is key – no one should be wearing a sweater with two different sleeve lengths) overly large (tailor costs will be insane and the true look of the garment will be lost) or too small (don’t buy for the body you hope to have, buy for the current you. Also tailors can’t make things larger – there’s usually not enough fabric at the seams and if they attempt the fit of the garment will be compromised).

If You Don’t Love It…
Don’t buy it. Would you buy it if it were full price? If the answer is a quick “no” leave the item in the fitting room. Just because an item is cheap does not mean you can scrimp on cut, style or fit. A 50% markdown does not justify a gaping armhole, an unflattering color or even a staple that you really have enough of already. The world sees you and your outfit, not the reduced price. They don’t know if what you bought cost $200 or $20, they just know it doesn’t look good, doesn’t flatter your body or your personality. Every dollar in your wallet is precious, don’t waste it on crap. If you can’t imagine the item with at least two other things in your closet, it’s not worth your time or money.

Weight Watchers Update

It is getting progressively harder to find time for Thursday night Weight Watchers meetings. Work has really ramped up; I already have to leave by 5:15 on Mondays and Tuesdays to be on Emerson Detail since my husband teaches those evenings. I end up staying late on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and many Fridays to catch up. Also it seems every blogger event and concert I want to attend is on a Thursday night.

I want to look for a meeting at a different time… but I don’t know of any time that would be better. Life is just so darn crazy right now. I am typing this at 8:30am while Emerson eats oatmeal and watches a movie; I have the dishwasher, dryer, and washing machine going, have already cleaned a bathroom and the kitchen. We’re leaving in three hours for a cousin’s son’s 6th birthday in Towson. As soon as we get home, my husband is heading to a concert. Tomorrow I am hosting a CAbi party and between the end of this birthday party and 2pm tomorrow I need to clean my house, go to the grocery store, figure out food for the party and write an article. This is my life in a nutshell, and I am not sure there is any time better than Thursday nights for Weight Watchers.

I rant and I whine, and then this was the quote posted at this week’s meeting:

You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make time.
-Charles Bruxton

Work won’t always be this hectic, I just need to plug through. And I need to make time for Weight Watchers, and my health.

In this week’s meeting we were to write down our typical day. What time we get up, go to work, eat lunch, etc.

  • 5:30 – Hit snooze a couple times, put in contacts, floss, brush, take shower
  • 6:00 – Go downstairs, let out dogs, eat oatmeal and a piece of fruit, drink 22oz. water while checking email and possibly watching something on the DVR. Sometimes I get inspired and do an exercise video, crunches, or sun salutations. More often than not I don’t.
  • 7:00 – Head back upstairs – do hair and makeup
  • 7:30 – Get Emerson dressed if my husband hasn’t already
  • 7:45 – Get Emerson in the car, take outfit photos
  • 8:00 – Get to Metro, use commute to read The Express or a book
  • 8:45 – Arrive at office. Fill water bottle, get cup of coffee, begin checking email
  • 9:00 – 5:15 – The day varies. Sometimes I get a lunch, more often than not I eat at my desk during a conference call or webinar (or while updating my blog).
  • 5:20 – Get to the Metro to head home. Use commute to read
  • 6:00 – Husband picks me up from the Metro
  • 6:10 – Husband goes and takes a shower, I get Emerson’s dinner ready and feed her dinner while checking the mail, doing laundry, washing dishes or some other task
  • 6:45 – Hang out with Emerson. If it’s nice out, we go outside to play, if not we’ll hang out in the living room. Sometimes I have so much to do, it ends up being Emerson plays alone while I get chores done.
  • 7:45 – Bath and bedtime for Emerson
  • 8:15 – Begin making dinner
  • 9:00 – Eat dinner with husband, more often than not at the coffee table while watching TV
  • 10:00 – Go upstairs to get ready for bed
  • 11:00 – Lights out

We’re supposed to look at our schedule and see times where we can exercise or be more healthy. I can see right away that I can use my hour in the morning to actually exercise rather than watch TV (I can also stop hitting snooze and have more time). Many in the meeting said they use their lunch hour to walk, but I really don’t get lunch hours but just a couple times a month (and then I have to use it for errands). I have gotten better and bought a bunch of frozen meals and stocked the work freezer so I don’t grab a cup-a-noodles or Au Bon Pain when rushed for time. I also have healthy snacks in my desk for that same purpose.

As Emerson gets older, and as this new work project settles in, I will have more space in my schedule, more opportunities to make time. But for now, I am trying to do my best with what I have.

And this week I removed 1.2 pounds. So since my last Weight Watchers update, I can now fit my wedding band, wore a pair of size 10 jeans, and now officially weigh less than I did before I got pregnant!

It’s funny, before I got pregnant I was doing yoga twice a week, kigong twice a week, and hitting the gym from time to time. I was in far better shape, but wore the same size and was the same weight. I just think, if I MAKE the time for more exercise… imagine how much slimmer I would look and how much better clothes would fit me!

So the goal is to figure out how to make more time for me, my health, and my future. I feel I have the food under control (not really tracking on a daily basis, but creating systems so that I have easy access to WW-friendly meals and snacks), now it’s time for the exercise.

And for those who don’t attend Weight Watchers meetings, there was a fabulous recipe in this week’s Weekly I wanted to share. We’re totally making it this week!

Coconut Curry Shrimp
8 PointsPlus per serving
Prep – 10 minutes, cook – 8 minutes
Serves 4

2 sprays cooking spray
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp mild (or hot) curry powder, to taste
½ tsp table salt
3 medium scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts separated
½ cup light coconut milk
1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 cups cooked brown rice

Coat a medium to large skillet with cooking spray; add oil and set over medium heat.  When heated, add curry powder and salt; cook, stirring constantly, until curry is fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add white parts of scallions; cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes more. Add coconut milk, stir to blend. Add shrimp; cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp turn pink, about 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green parts of scallions; serve. Yields about about 5 to 6 shrimp, ¾ cup rice, and 1 to 2 tablespoons sauce per serving.

Notes: Add cilantro, hot peppers, or tomatoes for a completely different twist. Service this recipe with fresh pineapple, mango or papaya to cut the spice (will affect PointsPlus value).

Interesting fact: ½ cup of light coconut milk is 2 PointsPlus, while ½ cup of regular coconut milk is 7 PointsPlus.

How have you all been doing? What have been your setbacks, and what are your recent accomplishments?

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