Wednesday, September 8, 2010

i'm looking a little gray...

I went shopping. And bought things only for myself. No kid stuff, no husband stuff, no groceries, nothing for my house. Which right now is a very rare occurance. My pocketbook hasn't allowed me this opportunity in quite sometime. But, as it's near my birthday, I recieved some monetary gifts that I could use for this very purpose.

I was on limited funds, so I went to Ross, the only place I could think of (in my small town) where I could find several items within my budget.

So here's what I got. But when I got home, I noticed something....

(Agenda - striped short sleeve cardigan $9.99, Italca - striped scarf $6.99, Anne Klein - textured black tights {2 pair} $5.99, Ralph Lauren - brown textured tights $7.99, Jac & Annie purse, $14.99)

Yep, everything is gray. I guess it's gonna be a gray autumn.

When I don't have a lot of cash to spend, I tend to buy things that are basics, or neutrals. I want them to be able to go with a lot of items already in my wardrobe. An these things happen to be all accessories. The idea being that with a few items I can update the clothes I already have. This is likely the only purse I will purchase this season, so it has to go with everything.

Don't worry, I won't be completely gray. I'm sure I can find a few things in my closet to brighten up my Fall.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

modesty at the emmys

Hollywood kinda has an aversion to modesty. So I am always on the lookout for modesty on the red carpet. The Emmys were Sunday night and to my surprise there were a couple of dresses that showed less skin than the norm.

Tina Fey - in Oscar de la Renta

Anna Paquin - in Alexander McQueen

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Challenge Report 2: Sears

The second report of "The Challenge" of finding fashionable, affordable, modest clothing at small town stores. This week's mission: Sears

Yes, I do realize I am behind on my previously set schedule. I have been enjoying having my children home and out of school for the summer. Houseboats, camping, bike rides, play dates, swimming and all the must dos of summer are filling up my calendar. And thus far making it one of my favorite June's ever. Please be patient with me.

So Sears....Piece of Cake. Right? I suppose it all depends on your personal style. Certainly my style will differ from yours, or maybe it won't. I find it interesting as I am doing these challenges that I notice how my choices of clothing selections vary slightly depending on which friend has kindly agreed to come with me. As they should, each of my dear friends have their own sense of personal style. I always say that my friends are much more fashionable than me, I am just the one loud enough, or perhaps more accurately, obnoxious enough, to post on the Internet for all the world to critique. Of course each store has a huge part to play. Every store has it's own "personal style". Sears has a style, perhaps "everyday comfort" would be somewhat accurate.

Kelly and I arrived at Sears at 7:45pm and we were done when they closed at 9pm. So not too bad. I do have a couple regrets. Due to time, I didn't delve into the accessory department as well as I would have liked. And it completely escaped my mind to scour the hand bag section. And no outfit is complete without one. My apologies.

So let's just get to it. Here are the outfits we found. Dressing room lighting is horrid, so the photos leave a lot to be desired. Use your imagination is telling me I am 5'8", my gorgeous, thick, straight hair (just like a certain sister-in-law of mine) is blowing in the wind while I frolic through fields of yellow wheat grass under the canopy of hundred year old oak trees...snap...perfect photos, every time.

Casual Outfit #1: I absolutely love these long walking-ish / burmuda-ish shorts. They were very comfortable and what you can't see in the picture is the subtle, neutral plaid that makes these great for dressing up or down.

(Apostrophe "April Mom's Day" Cardigan $14.99, Apostrophe "Naomi" shorts $14.98, Apostrophe "pink petal" cami $9.98, Multiples necklace $8.98, Jelly Pop "topper" sandals 19.99 TOTAL: $68.92)

Dressier Outfit: Ok, so this isn't dressy in the sense that you would wear it out on the town, more like to the office or church. Very conservative. The photo makes it appear to be made of twede but it is actually more of a heather grey print, and made of a lighter cotton blend fabric. Once again, the shoe selection was very limited. Not quite as scarce as Walmart, but these wide strap pumps were the best of the choices. The whole thing is kinda school-marmish but in a cute kind of way.

Byer California "Byline" Jacket with belt $29.99, Byer California "Byline" skirt $21.99, Apostrophe "electric prune" cami $9.98, New York SM "Betsey" shoes $19.99 TOTAL: $81.95)

Casual Outfit #2: Yes a second one. I really liked this military jacket and felt that paired with jeans it was a different kind of casual from the first set. The tank under the jacket has metalic embelishments that don't show up well on the picture. Next time I will try and take some close-ups as well so you can see the fabrics better.

(Levi's 524 Bootcut jeans $29.99, Energy Tank $9.99, Lipstick Military Jacket $18, Trend Report "Kristy" wedges, $14.99 TOTAL: $72.97)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Challenge Report 1: Walmart

The find fashionable, modest, affordable outfits at small town stores. This week's mission: Walmart.

To be honest, I didn't think this week was going to
be very hard. I was being VERY optimistic. But as soon as I got there, a good dose of reality hit me square in the face....This was, after all, WALMART.

My good friend Jeanne, came with me to help wit
h the search plus, I needed a photographer. After walking through the workout clothes, the bathing suits and then the shapeless matron section, all the hope started to drain out of me. As we diligently searched we started to find a few items that might work and a few things that we actually LIKED. Keep in mind, the merchandise in the Walmart in my town may differ from that in yours.

Outfit #1: Dressier - This was difficult. Really difficult. And I almost gave up when I got to the shoe department.

(Miley Max grey denim shirt $7, Miley Max black cami $6, George London Fit black trouser $16, Necklace $7, Clear Bracelet $3, George black pump $12 -- TOTAL Cost: $51)

Outfit #2: Casual - This was the easier of the two. Walmart is definitely on the "casual" side of the shopping spectrum.

(Miley Max grey jacket $5, L.e.i. multi color cami $5, L.e.i. skinny jean $18, No Boundaries faux snake ballet flat $7, necklace $6 -- TOTAL Cost $41)

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Challenge

By now you probably know that I live in a small city in Northern California. We love living here. My husband has a commute time of 7 minutes to work each day. We are surrounded by beautiful mountains, lakes, rivers and so much more. We live near 3 sets of my children's grandparents and 3 great-grandparents. But the down side is that the shopping is limited. It's better now than when I was a kid, because now we have a Macy's, Old Navy, TJ Maxx and a few others.

It got me thinking about what people do who live in other small cities and even smaller towns. Thank goodness for the internet. My sister in law who lives in a VERY tiny town, does much of her shopping online. But sometimes nothing satisfies the shopping desire like going to a bricks and mortar store having your senses edified. Feeling the textures of fabrics. Being visually stimulated by rows of clothing racks. The sound of the hangers sliding across the metal racks while sifting through layers of colors and textures. Spotting a garment from across the room, rushing over to see if it's available in the right size. Not to mention the value of being able to try something on before you purchase it. Oh....there's nothing quite like the physical act of shopping.

So here's the challenge: To find fashionable, affordable, modest clothing at stores that even small towns might have. Not just one or two pieces, but an entire outfit. Let's make that two outfits at each location; one casual and one dressier. Budget: $150 per outfit; head to toe, including accessories and shoes. So...which stores shall I choose?? about.... 1.
Walmart 2. Thrift/Consignment Store 3. Sears 4. Local Boutique.

I'll report back, once a week for the next 4 weeks. Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The dreaded swim suit

I love summer. The lake, pool, ocean, beach, waterskiing.....ahhhh I can't wait. But there is one thing I hate about summer....buying a bathing suit. YUCK. Swim suits, jeans and bras are my three least favorite things to shop for. Why can't swim suits be like shoes. I love shoe shopping. Shoes always look good, they don't make you stress over the size of your thighs or the fact that I no longer pass the Pencil Test.

So the other night when my husband kicked me out of the house, insisting that I needed some time away from my children (apparently I had run out of patience after listening to a whining 4 year old all day. But that's another story for another time). Anyway, I happily accepted his offer to send me off shopping, kid free. So after picking up my dear friend Kelly, we headed out to shop for the dreaded swim suit. Just the idea of having to do this venture alone, was more than I could handle. Plus I needed an honest opinion of what looked good, and what did not.

Wandering the swimsuit section of the department store is more complicated than one might think. Once there, it's a tricky matter trying to decide on what is age appropriate without feeling frumpy. I want to be young, but don't want to end up at the lake in the same suit as my friend's 16 year old daughter. I am not in a frame of mind (or body) to be wearing anything to revealing. I don't do bikinis. And I hate one pieces does one use the restroom without sitting in the bathroom stall stark naked, just so you can pee? So.....that doesn't leave much to choose from.

But, I did finally purchase one. I am not in LOVE with it, but I think it will do the job.

KOHLS $34 (original price)
Croft & Barrow® Fit for You Paisley Swim Separates

I bought this Croft & Barrow paisley top, but I am didn't care for the swim skirt, so I opted for these Candies bottoms. And of course I almost never pay full price for anything so, they were 50% off the original price.

Candie's® Plaid Swim Separates

Good luck with your bathing suit shopping adventures. If I can find something in my small town, there is hope for you too! And if you are like Kelly, and prefer to buy online so you can try it on in the privacy of your own home, here are a few sites to try: Shade, Newport News, LimeRicki, Hapari, DivineModestTee, Lands End

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

you call that art?

I was on the back patio one day working on some "art" for our dining room wall. My 6 year old son asked what I was doing. "I'm painting," I said. "Oh, Are you an Artist?" He asked. I had to stop and think....Am I an artist? Well, not in any formal sense, and not because I have been trained or educated in art, but here I sit in front of a "canvas", with a paint brush in hand, so I replied, "Why, Yes I am." He thought that was pretty cool, his mom is an ARTIST! Suddenly I had a job, a place in society. Not just his mom, I was something more.

But I am a fraud. I am no artist. I paint blocks of color on plywood I found in the garage, with left over house paint from our many home improvement projects over the years, because I am too cheap to buy real art. But there they hang proudly on the dining room wall for all to see. I forget they are even there till someone comes to the house for the first time and notices them. Well, how could you not...they are quite large.

(My dining room masterpieces. Please excuse the chandelier with the burned out light bulbs!)

We have a goal to have only art in our house that is done by people that we love. That they have some significance to us. I have tried my h
and at art a few other times over the years. A couple of attempts hang on the wall, these are painted on actual canvases. But my attempts pale in comparison to the other art in our house, done by the real artists of the family. But such is my life; Jack of a few trades, Master of none. I'm sure I'll give this artist gig another try sometime soon...

Here is some of the art in our home.

(Our favorite piece from Grandma Mary. It hangs over our master bed.)

(Superman painted by Quinn's sister. It hangs in my son's room.)

(Quinn's water colors.)

(I painted this one for Quinn's birthday. It hangs in our kitchen.)

(My other attempt. It hangs in the hall.)