Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pantone Spring Color Challenge: Violet Wrap

Today's color is African Violet, which I had a really hard time finding in my closet.  It wasn't until I was ready to give up that I realized I had this wrap from a cruise years ago in the back of one of my drawers.  I took the cheating even further and wore it with an old swimsuit cover up. That's right, this isn't actually a maxi dress, but a long swimsuit cover up which is why you can vaguely see my bra in a couple of these photos. I know I am going to wear this again on our next cruise this year because I've worn it before to comply with the no swimwear at dinner rule in some restaurants.
Dress: J.Valdi Swim Cover-Up (old); Wrap: Bijoux Terner on cruise ship
Necklace: Michael Kors via eBay; Earrings: c/o Lavishy at LuckyFABB
Clutch: Magid; Wrap Bracelet: c/o ShopJami at LuckyFABB
Gold Bracelet: Lauren Ralph Lauren via eBay
Slides: Lauren Ralph Lauren (old)
To show off how you are wearing African Violet or to see how the other bloggers have styled their violet items, please visit Marissa at The Modern Austen and Heidi at Literate & Stylish.  Today's link-up is here.

literate & stylish

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pantone Spring Color Challenge: Emerald Isle

This week I will be linking up with Heidi of Literate & Stylish and Marissa of The Modern Austen for their Pantone-Inspired Spring Color Challenge.  First up is Emerald and I am fortunate that St. Patrick's Day is my favorite holiday because I have tons of green tops so I just picked one when I found these giraffe printed shorts at Marshall's.  Compared to all the other green in my St. Patty's Day bin, I thought this was the closest to emerald instead of kelly green, but I shouldn't have stood in front of all the green in my yard because I think my skin looks green in some of these photos and my color correcting skills are dismal at best.
Top & Shorts: MICHAEL Michael Kors
Necklace: Fossil (via eBay)
Bracelet: Fossil (via eBay); Clutch: Vintage
Shoes: MIA
I also have to say that I have a very hard time wearing any type of high heel with shorts because my father in law and I always make fun of women who think they look casual in their tiny shorts while teetering on heels.  I hope he would make an exception because these are wedges instead of full heels, but he'd probably just give me the ol' eyeroll.
literate & stylish
To see how everyone else is wearing the Pantone color of the year or to show off how you are wearing Emerald, link up with Heidi & Marissa here!  And check back tomorrow to see if I was able to come up with anything African Violet colored. :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

April Spending Recap

April spending was out of control and I have to admit that there were multiple regrets this month.  The biggest two involved shoes.  The first was the Lucky Brand flats pictured above (#5) not because of the price, but simply because I bought them in a rush to replace my old Dolce Vita flats (seen here) that I finally chucked.  I couldn't find plain black flats and I wanted a simple pair before going on my trip to LA.  When I found these at Marshall's two days before I left for $19.99, I didn't really think about the purchase and they turned out to be uncomfortable and sweaty. I meant to wear them most of the day Tuesday and I ended up switching INTO heels in the morning and staying in them most of the day.  The second involved a pair of c/o shoes that I will tell you about next week because it's complicated.

Before and during the trip to LA, I purchased:

1. Gap Chambray: $49.99 -35% Coupon = $32
2. JCrew Tiki Shorts: Final Sale = $22
3. Rebecca Minkoff Crossbody Rocker: Nordstrom Rack = $70-GC= $18
4. Grey for Saks 5th Avenue Scarf: $20 - 30%Promo = $14
5. LuckyBrand Emmie Flats: Marshall's Clearance = $21

Not Pictured:
6. Laundry by Design Dress: Marshall's Clearance = $30 (Item #1 on my Targeted Purchase List)
7. Michael Stars Pink Cowl Neck Tank: Nordstrom Rack = $15 - GC = $0
8. Fossil/LRL/Michael Kors bracelets and Necklaces: eBay Jewelry Lot = $37
After my trip to LA, I bought the items pictured above:

1. DKNY Oil Painting Jeggings: Clearance = $57
2. LA Made Dress/2Tops: (97+23) - 15% Coupon + Free Shipping = $102
3. MICHAEL Michael Kors Giraffe Print Shorts: Marshall's = $30

Not Pictured:
4. BCBGeneration Wedges: Marshall's = $40+ tax - GC = $18

Total = $381

I spent the remainder of my Nordstrom gift card this month ($73) on a Michael Stars top and to partially pay for the Rebecca Minkoff crossbody at the Nordstrom Rack in Beverly Hills.  I bought a JCrew clutch for my sister-in-law at Buffalo Exchange and used my $22 credit for it.  I am also a member of the TJX Rewards Access program and get invited to events at my local TJMaxx and Marshall's stores. Anyone can become a member and you get perks based on your purchases. This month I was invited to an early Saturday event and I won a $25 giftcard to the store while I was there. I used it to buy the BCBGeneration Wedges that I wasn't able to picture here but will wear soon.

The other problem I had was with an eBay seller last month that didn't resolve until the first of April.  I often look for jewelry or vintage pieces on eBay and last month, I saw a listing for a jewelry lot of Fossil/Lauren Ralph Lauren/Michael Kors/Kate Spade bracelets, necklaces, and rings. The bidding was fairly low (under $25) and there didn't seem to be a reserve.  I used a snipe bid to bid up to $40 because the items all looked fairly current. I ended up winning with a $37 bid, but was immediately contacted by the seller that they meant to place a reserve of $50 and did I still want the jewelry for $50. I replied that no, I wanted the jewelry for my winning bid of $37. They refused to send me the jewelry and I waited 10 days before I reported to eBay that I had not received my item. It wasn't until eBay got involved that they sent me the package minus a couple of rings and a necklace that had originally been pictured. They have since deleted the auction and didn't leave me feedback, but it was very disappointing to have to deal with that.

So...yea... my budget blew up this month...I feel pretty confident going into May, but my sister is visiting me at the end of next week and we have a formal charity function next week as well. Hopefully I can contain myself for both me and my husband's sanity.

How did you do in April? Link up with Fran and the Budgeting Bloggers!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Conversations With Mr. Fantastic: Dr.'s Orders

This conversation took place about 5 years ago when Mr. Fantastic and I had been dating for about a year and I had just moved into his house with him and the kids.

I'd been having all kinds of foot problems which drove me to a podiatrist. He diagnosed me with all kinds of afflictions ranging from painful bunions to calluses and even hammertoe -gasp! I really can't believe I just admitted that publicly! I tearfully tried to explain that my feet are actually very pretty and they don't look anything like the google images I've found for people with these conditions.  He took one look at my Gucci pumps (these ones) and asked me if I normally wore those shoes. I said not those specific shoes everyday, but he asked if I normally wore high end shoes made of leather. When I said yes, he explained that was the reason I have "pretty feet." Real leather "gives" and adapts to your feet while man made shoes typically don't have any "give" and make your feet adapt to the shoe as well as trap sweat. When you have these foot problems they manifest as actual pain and not physical deformities.

I was delighted to come home and share the news with my then Fantastic Boyfriend!

Me: My doctor said I need more expensive shoes!
Bewildered, Mr. Fantastic asked: Do you need MORE expensive shoes? Or just shoes that are more EXPENSIVE?
Me: What's the difference? (Giddy at the prospect of shoe shopping!)
Mr. Fantastic: Is that really what he said?
Me: Yes! Here are the notes, the bill AND the prescription for nice shoes! (I had told the doctor my boyfriend wouldn't believe me, so he gave me a prescription for high-end shoes.)
Needless to say, my then modest collection of designer footwear has grown into quite a robust collection that I am proud to say mostly fits into the walk-in closet I share with Mr. Fantastic. I was thrilled when he bought me the pink Manolo Blahnik shoes above as an engagement gift and even more so when he texted me the below photo (which contained my wedding shoes!) from his trip to Manhattan before our wedding. That is him in the background of my header image. He took me to the Manolo Blahnik store in Las Vegas when we were looking for my wedding shoes so I could try them on before he bought them. They didn't have them in the blue I wanted, but I tried on the black ones and he took notes of what size I needed.  In that photo he is looking to see if he can find ANY pair of shoes under $500 at the store.  There was one pair of flats that was $495 and had been reduced to $345.
I am sharing this embarrassing story with you because recently I was reminded again of the painful cost of cheap shoes and I wanted to set the stage for the upcoming story.  Stay tuned! It's coming next week!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wearable Art: DKNY's Oil Painting Jeggings

I really wanted to try printed pants.  Everyone is doing it and as always, my goal is to fit in with the cool kids.  But how? I CANNOT find a pair of polka-dot pants that look good me, and florals work for Fran, but somehow I can't go there.  A couple of weeks ago, I was stalking THIS dress that my husband will NOT buy me as a late Easter gift, when I saw this pair of pants in the sale section for $57.  They only had one pair left and it was a size 10, which is one size smaller than what I normally wear,  and I figured that would motivate me to pilates on a more frequent basis so I ordered them.  Please try to imagine the look of defeat on my face when I saw these exact jeans on HauteLook for $34 just two days later AND in my size 12! I even have a $25 credit from LuckyFABB at HauteLook. They were supposed to be delivered early last week, but were slightly delayed and with everything that was happening in Boston and West, Texas, I didn't even really care.
Top: Nine West (really old); Oil Painting Jeans: DKNY (buy)
Earrings: c/o Lavishy at LuckyFABB; Necklace: BaubleBar
Cuff: So Good Jewelry (2012)
Purse: Balenciaga First (ca. 2006)
Shoes: L.A.M.B. Darek (2011)
When I finally tried them on this weekend, I fully expected them to not fit, so I was thrilled when they not only zipped up, but my husband said they were loose! I was irrationally elated that I didn't buy the bigger jeans from HauteLook. But the next question was, what to pair with these?  One of the kids said, "What are you wearing? It looks like art that you made into pants." Which is EXACTLY the look I was going for with a pair of pants titled Oil Painting Jeggings! So I kept the rest of my outfit as understated as possible with black and pink. At least my husband wasn't too embarrassed to be seen with me in public and took me to lunch.  Needless to say, I LOVE them and I need to buy ALL the printed pants!

What else should I pair with these pants? What other prints should I check out?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Night Out With Mr. Player

Last weekend, we had a family birthday and we visited a new (for us) place to grab a burger in Dallas.  The place is called GoodFriend Beer Garden and Burger House and Mr. Fantastic and I both ended up in tears as we tried to brave our way through their Pepper Bomb Burger.  It was the only option that was spicy and we like spicy but this was ridiculous. At one point, I wiped a tear from the outer corner of my eye and didn't realize I had pepper juice? on my finger which got in my eye and BURNED!!!!! Fortunately, I had taken my outfit photos before we left and you don't have to see my tear-stained face now. You're welcome.
Dress: Old Navy (last seen here); Earrings: Blue Nile (these)
Hummingbird Necklace: c/o Dogeared Jewelry at LuckyFABB
Bracelet: Lauren Ralph Lauren
Mr. Player Clutch: c/o D'Andrea Handbags at LuckyFABB
Wedges: BCBGeneration (last seen here)
I am absolutely in love with this wallet/clutch by d'Andrea Handbags.  I received it a couple of weeks ago at LuckyFABB in Los Angeles and I chose this Mr. Player wallet in tan because I have a black wallet as well as multiple clutches and small bags, but none in this smooth tan color.  I love how sleek it looks with the supple leather, goldtone hardware and understated branding.  My favorite thing about it is that while I can use it everyday as a wallet, I can also wear it alone as I did last week because it fits my ID and credit cards in the six built-in slots AND my lipgloss, mirror, cell phone and car keys all fit comfortably in the pocket.  I could've put my cash in the zippered pocket in the back, but instead put my cash in the flap pocket on the inside of the wallet.  I was immediately asked by my sister-in-law where I got it when we arrived at the restaurant and I received multiple compliments on it. D'Andrea has just made the Mister Collection handbags available for purchase and you can find other color options as well as other styles at dandreahandbags.com. I have my eye on Mr. Emotionally Unavailable, but he will remain financially unavailable until this summer when I hope to convince Mr. Fantastic to buy me another handbag for our anniversary.  Although, if they launch that one or Mr. Arrogant in Navy all bets are off and my budgeting bloggers will just have to forgive me!
Mirror: Marc by Marc Jacobs (very old)
Lipgloss: Buxom in Sugar; iPhone: Apple
Please note that I was gifted this wallet for at LuckyFABB West earlier this month, however, I was not paid or asked to write a review and all opinions are my own.

How fun is it that all bags are named after her ex-boyfriends?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Current Events

I had an outfit post for today, but the events that are unfolding in Boston and Watertown, MA and West, TX make anything I could possibly post seem vapid and unimportant.

Please pray for the victims of the cowardly terrorist acts in Boston earlier this week and the residents of Watertown who've had to endure the only entire city lockdown that I can recall.
Pray for the people affected by the tragic explosion of the fertilizer plant in West, Texas. May the town know that we are hoping for a speedy recovery for the injured and comfort for those who lost their homes and/or loved ones.

I will get back to fun outfits soon enough.  Today is not the time or place for that.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

IOU: Red Maxi Dress for Summer

Before LuckyFABB, I participated in Fran and Whitney's 5Days, 5Ways Link-Up with my favorite red maxi dress and I promised that the 5th and final look would be on the blog during my trip.  Then I flaked out and didn't post while I was in California.  So here it is.  I wore this to dinner with the kids and my in-laws before my trip.
Dress: Max Studio; Earrings: Blue Nile
Necklaces: Etsy & Sassy Lemonade Etsy
Bracelets: Fossil, Cache & Kenneth Cole New York
Clutch: Trina Turk x Banana Republic (last year)
Wedges: L.K. Bennett Maddox
This is definitely one of my favorite combinations because I love the bright turquoise pop against the bold red dress. The necklace was a gift from Shannon at Sassy Lemonade during last summer's secret blogger swap and I love it.  In other news, I finally took this dress to the tailor to get the hem taken up, so you can expect to see it in heavy rotation this summer now that I don't have to wear heels with it!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Chambray & Leggings for Breakfast & Plane Ride

Our last morning in Los Angeles we went to breakfast with one of my husband's cousins at Blue Daisy in Santa Monica. We hadn't seen him in a while and we were thrilled that he was free for brunch. I knew our schedule would be tight between breakfast and our flight home, so I opted to wear my leggings and my chambray shirt from the get go so I wouldn't worry about changing before our flight. Fortunately, we had a few extra minutes and we ended up going for a quick walk at the Santa Monica Pier before heading to LAX for our flight home.
Chambray Top: Gap; Cami: Yummie Tummie
Leggings: c/o Paige Premium Denim; Sneakers: Converse
AG + Liberty Art Fabrics Scarf: c/o Adriano Goldschmied at LuckyFABB
Tote: Calvin Klein (old)
Had I known we were going to Santa Monica, I probably would have tried to wear a dress or my beloved shorts, but I wanted to be comfortable on the plane. I wore my sneakers because I really CANNOT stand to see people walk through the TSA checkpoints barefoot.  I won't do it.  No matter what, I will never walk through an airport barefoot.  I would absolutely rather miss my flight and go back home to put on a pair of socks.  I don't believe I am the only one, either.
View of the Santa Monica Pier
One of many twisted roots I found.
That is the end of my LA recaps! Yay! I know you have been waiting with bated breath, but it's over now. Back to regular programming this week. :)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Getty: Beautiful Art and Amazing Views

After our boat ride, we went back to the hotel to take a nap and get ready for dinner.  Before we went to dinner, we headed to the Paul J. Getty Museum in Los Angeles.  I have to admit that I was dead set on visiting the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, but my husband wouldn't accept it.  He wanted to show me the Getty and it's Rembrandts, so I acquiesced because the trip so far had been nothing short of amazing and I didn't want to fight.  Once we arrived and took the tram to the top, I was glad I did.  The view of LA was spectacular and the architecture of the center is flawless.  On top of all that, they have art!  We got there right before sunset and I didn't want to leave even when my stomach was growling because I was hungry.
Dress: Helmut Lang (old) I love the off the shoulder twist
Earrings: Banana Republic (old)
Necklace: Kendra Scott (from Gilt Warehouse Sale last month)
Bangles: Kendra Scott (old); Clutch: Prabal Gurung x Target
Shoes: Jimmy Choo Freya (old)
I know that I look very dressed up, but it's the same cotton dress that I wore to LuckyFABB last year (seen here) and I love it because your accessories really dress it up or down.  This was the amazing view as the sun was setting over LA.
View of Los Angeles from South Wing of the Getty
Madonna and Child with Two Hermit Saints by Bernardino Fungai (ca. 1840)
What we really took away from the Eucharistic art at the museum was that Jesus is always depicted as being a very "cool" baby.  My husband sneaked this photo because honestly, look at the expression on his face. We imagined Jesus was saying: "Hi five, Mom!"  and Mary responds: "Ok, Jesus, but then you have to preach to these people, ok?" I know, we're terrible.

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! Mr. Fantastic and I are going on a wine-tasting trail, so I will keep you posted!