Thursday, October 31, 2013

one a weekender

Everlane Reverse-Denim Weekender
the weekender I wish I had
I do this all the time. I wait til the very last minute to pack for a trip, overpack, and end up not wearing half the stuff I packed. This time, instead of rifling through my suitcase, I'll build some outfit ideas ahead of time with just a few basic items that can mix and match. The combinations are endless! Here's some options for a casual thanksgiving week with family, including 2 church options and ideas for date night, shopping and hanging out. Yep, date night--because we loove free babysitting.

one a weekener

Here's how I'm hoping to style the dress:

For church: over a plaid shirt (sleeves rolled up) with booties and black tights, .
For thanksgiving day/dinner with family: knee-high socks, riding boots, plaid scarf
For weekend shopping and hanging out: wear plaid shirt as a jacket over the dress, tights, riding boots, leather jacket (if needed)

Here's how I would style the knit pencil skirt:

For church: with the gray tee, plaid scarf, black booties and tights.
For date night: black sequin tee, plaid scarf, black booties and tights.
For shopping/hanging out: white tee with plaid shirt tied around the waist, riding boots and knee-high socks.
For the 12-hour drive: gray tee with plaid shirt as a jacket, riding boots and black tights for the cozy factor. I love wearing comfortable skirts for long drives--wedgies are no fun.

Here's some ideas for the black knit pants and skinny jeans:

For dinner out: with black sequin tee over the plaid shirt, booties
For hanging out...option 1:  plaid shirt and booties. Option 2: white tee with plaid scarf and leather jacket and riding boots or booties. Option 3: gray tee with plaid shirt tied around waist or as jacket with black booties. Option 4: Green tee with plaid scarf and leather jacket.

These ideas are for a warmer-ish climate because we're going to my inlaw's in Alabama. If I was going to a colder climate, I would add a gray slouchy V-neck sweater or sweatshirt...and maybe swap out one tee for a black and white stripe long-sleeved version (or a striped turtleneck).

Note: I don't own the booties...yet. One more week til another budget cycle!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

shoe lust: black booties!

I really, really want a pair of black booties. And is too much to ask for functionality and style all in one? I mean, I'm not really a rocker chick or a cowboy-girl, and I am a mom, so sexy might be fun for a night out, (let's be honest--how often does that even happen?) but they'd probably end up sitting in the closet more often than I'd like. The suede options--not sure about that. I'm (kind of) afraid of spit-up and wintry slush. I do like the fact that suede can be either casual or dressy. The low-heeled buckle version would probably be the most versatile, but it borders on a little too casual. I'm looking for something I can wear for date night, church, playdates, errand running, and thanksgiving dinner with family. I envision wearing a pair of cool black booties with just about everything...dresses, skirts, jeans, leggings with an oversized plaid name it.

shoe lust: black booties!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Today's Outfit

Here I am wearing my new favorite army jacket and hub's tee shirt. Baby and I are running to the grocery store and I snapped this picture just before he grabbed my necklace. So much for that.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

shopping on a tight budget: thrifting!

Budgeting. It's hard reality, people. Hard.

I have a budget of $170 for each month to spend on clothes for myself, the hubs, and Baby. And hubby needs another suit and pair of dress shoes. And I haven't bought a pair of socks since 2009. We're also trying to save some money for Christmas traveling and gifts for family. Soo...that means I'm on a shopping hiatus until Christmas. I think I might have $20.  After that, the amount goes back up to $170, pending a disaster of some sort. It doesn't seem like much, but it's something. In fact, I am slightly ashamed of complaining, since so many people in this world don't even have clothes.

So I thrift. When the urge to go shopping hits, and I'm close to out of money for the month, I hit my favorite local thrift stores. There's something about the thrill of the hunt. Plus I love bragging to my honey about what I found for so cheap!

Here's what I do:

-I feed myself and baby before we go. Who wants to go shopping with a grouch?
-I try to wear layers so I can try on stuff if there's no fitting room. (Like a tank, leggings and a long sweater)
-Don't forget to browse in the men's and boy's sections. You never know what you might find! I've found oversize sweaters and shirts, and taken a scissors to a pair of men's jeans to make a pair of shorts.
-Some thrift stores have discount days, so be sure to call and ask before you go!
-I'm picky. I usually don't bring something home unless I have a use for it.

Here's what I look for-

-Something that will fill a hole in my closet. For example, with all the cozy plaids I've seen everywhere this season, I'd really like a oversize, cozy flannel. I'll probably end up buying one, but in the meantime I'm keeping my eyeballs peeled for the perfect shirt.

-Nice materials. Like cashmere or 100% wool sweaters, silk tops, or leather belts.

-A standout pattern in a skirt or dress. One of my favorite tricks is to chop off a skirt hem. I've also made a dress into a's not too hard...believe me! Or, if you don't have the time, a tailor could do the job for about $5.

-Books. Yes, I'm kind of nerdy. But I've found really nice hardcover classics, books on early childhood development and recipe books. Even baby board books!

Sometimes all those racks full of someone else's junk can be intimidating, but finding that hidden gem is so rewarding!

Weekly Style Crush: Grace Kelly

I don't think words do this justice. Grace Kelly was the most beautiful woman of her time. Maybe all time. So I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Style Crush: Grace Kelly

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Sweatshirt Dress: playground edition

The Sweatshirt Dress: playground edition

Today's outfit: sweatshirt dress

I wore this yummy, comfy dress to meet hubby for lunch. Baby and I walked to his office and then we had lunch at a park on the waterfront. It was cold (55 degrees), so I wore fleece lined leggings and boots with my dress. And yes, I wore a sweatshirt and leather jacket because I'm a wimp. 

(Expect to see this dress a lot more in future posts!)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

what's in my (mommy) closet: Part 1--what's underneath it all

 I'm not a huge fan of 'must have' lists you find all over the internet and in fashion magazines, because not everyone is a fashion editor or celebrity with huge amounts of money to spend on clothes. And everyone is different, with different needs, budgets, tastes, and lifestyles. Recently I found an article in InStyle magazine telling me a leather tank is a closet staple. Um, please. The only purpose a leather tank might serve in my house is as a chew toy. A very expensive one.

If you're a new or soon-to-be mommy and you plan on breastfeeding, here are a few very important staples in my own wardrobe I found essential:

1. A pretty nursing bra. Or two. Or three.

nursing brasFor me, a pretty, supportive and well-fitting bra is essential. While I was pregnant and shopping for nursing bras, I found the selection in most stores absolutely depressing. I tried many maternity and department stores and never found anything but boring and ugly. UGLY. Oh, and where was I going to find a 32DD? So I turned to the internet and found really pretty bras at Hotmilk Lingerie. In my size! So I bought 2, and have washed and worn and washed and worn them. So far, they are holding up well to lots of abuse. I also love the looks of Cake Lingerie's bras. This website has a ton of styles from different manufacturers.

2. Tanks for nursing/camoflage.

Not necessarily nursing tanks. I'm not a huge fan of nursing tanks because they're not fitted, so they're not smooth under shirts. But that's just me. Pull shirt up, tank down, and nurse discreetly in public without having to worry about Baby batting the cover off/down. I like a longer, stretchy version that I can pull down over my bra to nurse baby in. A few years ago, I bought a white and gray tank from Victoria's Secret's Pink line, and they are great. After a billion wearings, the gray is starting to pill a little, so eventually I'll have to invest in a replacement.

3. Sexy Underwear

 No more 5-pack Hanes from Walmart. You're a sexy mama. You deserve it, and your guy will appreciate it. Go to Victoria's Secret and grab a stash of  5/$26 cotton panties. They have all kinds of cute, comfortable styles...

4. Pretty lingerie.
Yes, I know...who has time for that? The hubs bought me a pretty pink babydoll for postpartum wear, and it was nice to actually feel pretty and wear lace again. I know, there was some extra pudge, but who cares about tummy pooch when you have a porn-queen rack? 

Before we start: purging...

There's just something about a clean and organized closet that makes me feel so. much. better. Moving an average of once a year and living in a 789 square foot apartment doesn't leave much room for stuff (or sanity!). I'm not organized by nature, truly, but I've learned a few tricks along the way.

Take an afternoon when the kiddos/baby/dogs/cats are napping, and grab a box for donations. Put on some lipstick, fix your hair. Try everything on. I even take selfies to help me remember what I have, and if what I have on is wearable with other things. If it fits funny and can't be altered, toss it. If it can't be worn with more than 1 item, consider selling or sticking it in the donation box. If you haven't worn it it a year or more, toss or donate it. If it is faded or bedraggled, toss it and find a replacement. In short, treat your closet like your favorite store. If you're not in love with everything in your closet, get rid of it and make room for something you LOVE. Make everything you wear often easily accessible by having a clean, hardworking, edited-down-to-basics closet. 
Here's some ideas:
-organize by type rather than color--so all dresses together, all skirts together, ect. 
-Matching hangers is a nice touch and makes everything look so tidy. 
-Stick old magazines in tall boots to keep them from getting floppy and looking nice on your shelf.
-Have a first in, first out rule. So when something new comes home, something goes in the donation box.
-Hang everything in the closet you can, that way you can see everything at once, and stuff dosen't get lost in dresser drawers. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

my (mommy) closet: a series

women's clothing

I'm not a huge fan of 'must have' lists you find all over the internet and in fashion magazines, because not everyone is a fashion editor or celebrity with huge amounts of money to spend on clothes. Budgets are for real! And everyone is different, with different needs, budgets, tastes, and lifestyles. I come from the perspective of a stay-at-home mom, where I mostly need comfortable, casual clothes to kick around the house and run errands in that still looks cute and put together. But that's just me. Some moms need work- appropriate and mommy-appropriate clothes.

(Sometimes I miss working. Not gonna lie. I miss wearing heels and lipstick and actually getting a break.)

Anyway. Starting from the beginning. I'm a (relatively) new mommy, and my closet is a work-in-progress. I don't have the money to go out and buy an entire new wardrobe, so I'm stuck working with what I have and adding a few carefully chosen pieces as we go along.  It's no use mourning what was--I'm learning to move forward and adapt to new circumstances, embrace change and go with the choices I made. I knew things would be different. But knowing is way different than knowing, if you know what I mean. Like not knowing I wouldn't have more than 3 hours of sleep at a time for a full 6, maybe 8 weeks, having drastic body-image issues to deal with, postpartum hair loss, and all that fun stuff that you never think about.

I'm working on a series to hash out what I really need and what I don't. Because who has space, time or money to worry about a roomful of clothes that don't fit? Here's what's to come:

Mommy closet basics: Part 1--what's underneath
Mommy closet basics: Part 2--the basic basics
Mommy closet basics: Part 3--toppers
Mommy closet basics: Part 4--accessories

Now, please excuse my while I go clean out my closet.

today's outfit: black and denim

It's getting to be fall. Finally! Today Baby wanted to be in the picture, AKA wanting to eat my necklace. Which is why I almost never wear them.

I think I'll put on some makeup before I take another picture of myself. gah.

Yep, this is my just-showered,  flat hair, makeup-free look. Notsogreat.
On another note, I love these knit jeggings from American Eagle. They are sooo comfortable, they fit great without sagging, and I don't feel like I'm sausage in a casing. They also have a little more weight than regular if I accidentally flash some bum when bending over, at least it looks like I'm wearing pants. I'm not a huge fan of the leggings-as-pants look. Not classy.

Do I always look this stupid when I laugh at Baby?
Baby snuggles are the best!
 What I'm wearing: Old H&M shirt, old VS Pink tank, AE knit jeggings, Aerosoles Betunia flat in leopard

Thursday, October 17, 2013

today's outfit

please excuse the toys all over the floor.
I was inspired to try the sweatshirt-over skirt trend I've seen here and on this mama who nails it. I don't have a sweater dress, but I'm going to keep my eyes peeled next time I go thrifting. I saw one yesterday at the Twig thrift shop but I didn't grab it...bummer.  But its too hot to wear a sweatshirt today anyway. So I tried a longer vest-over-skirt-with-belt thing. I don't have a proper belt, so I borrowed hubs' brown belt and twisted it up in a knot. Not sure if I should wear this while toting Baby around since the poky part of the belt closure-thing (whatever it's called) sticks straight up.

Weekly Style Crush: Olivia Palermo

I honestly don't follow the current celebrity gossip. I don't have time, and frankly I just. don't. care. But lately I've been creeping different celebrities' street style. This week I'm loving Olivia Palermo's take on the 90's grunge trend with a twist: sleek, minimalist perfection in tailored pants, great accessories and outerwear.

Style Crush: Olivia Palermo
This is how I'm going to incorporate her ideas into my mommy closet:
-belt a jacket
-wear my coat like a cape.
-wear a vest or cardigain under a jacket
-wear simple black pumps with black skinnies for date night

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Thrifty Wednesday

So I may have accidentally gone thrifting with a friend this morning during my morning walk with Baby. I found a really ugly long black skirt for $3.50...fits really well in the waist and flows nicely. So I hacked it off much shorter and hemmed it.
 I've been on the hunt for the perfect skater skirt, but most were either too short and teenagery or too expensive. I think this works, and I love the price.
I also may have found a really cool Ann Taylor sequined tee that I envision wearing for date nights and dressier occasions. It was $6. I'm planning on wearing it over a denim shirt with my new skater skirt, alone with boyfriend jeans and heels, and maybe over a white summery dress.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Weekend style

Where I grew up in Central Wisconsin, orange was for hunters during deer season. So I've never really ever worn orange in trying to distance myself as much as possible from those gun-toting crazies who fall out of deer stands after drinking too much or fall asleep in a tree because they got up too early to catch that 'turdy point buck'. But now since I'm all grown up and live in a city, I think I can permit myself a spot of sunshiny brightness. I found the most beautiful, soft, drapey tee at GAP during their amazing Columbus Day sale in a few colors. I am getting tired of only wearing military green and gray...and this fun color caught my eye.  Here are hubby, baby and I at the Capitol this past Saturday, seeing the sights of the 'shutdown'. *coughcoughimeanslimdown 
The Lincoln memorial was especially entertaining (I say this with a spot of sarcasm). It was one of the few sites actually shut down...with about 20 armed guards standing there to make sure no American got to see Honest Abe. It would have been a really sad sight except for the presence of a few hotheaded young dudes who tried to jump over the barrier and got themselves (I think) arrested for their pains.
I wore my new orange tee with my trust leopard scarf, my ancient Banana Republic trench, American Eagle jeggings and my new tall Timberland boots (a birthday present from my mom. Aren't they pretty? I'd been lusting after a pair of Fryes, but I just can't go there yet.)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

shorts and tights

I tried something I've never done before...wearing shorts with tights. It seemed...almost too bad-girl bold and unusual and scary for my conservative, good-girl Midwestern sensibilities. But..I'm trying to find fresh ways to style things I already have, and I'm kind of bored with my usual boots-tucked-into-jeans fall and winter uniform. After a  bunch of  obsessive searching on Pinterest for ideas, I think I came up with the basic elements needed to nail this look: 

1.) bottoms of similar shade; like navy with gray or black with gray, or denim with gray...ect. I think the idea behind this is to not chop off your legs. 
2). simple accessories: so the outfit dosen't look too 'fashiony' and over-the-top, (a pendant necklace would work equally well and 
3.) a tucked-in, neutral top. 

I wore this to a play date and found this outfit extremely comfortable and mom-friendly... no worries about exposing yourself while sitting cross-legged on the floor with toddlers and babies crawling all over you!

 What I'm wearing: ancient navy twill shorts with ancient gray ribbed tights, very old navy striped sweater...and I later swapped the ancient flats with ancient black suede and leather boots, all circa 2009. Everything I'm wearing (except the scarf and tee) is at least 4 years old. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

American Eagle Jeggings: jeans for moms?

 So. These are mom jeans. Except they are not the horrible awful kind of mom jeans. These are sexy mom jeans. Stretchy, with a higher rise--oh my goodness. And the price. they were $30. Where have you been all my (postpartum) life? Recently my 18-year old sister reacquainted me with American Eagle after about a 10-year break.  And I was actually impressed. They have really cute, decently priced basics with a twist, like this adorable polka dot sweater or this cool moto jacket. I think I'm going to buy these really comfy-looking pants next week.
these jeans stay up. yesfinally
aiming for a sexy librarian look. failed.
The men's shirt I'm wearing is thrifted from Goodwill in Minneapolis while visiting family. I wore this ad nauseum during the last two weeks of my pregnancy when NOTHING FIT. With horrible, bright pink yoga pants.Yikes. Yiikes.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday fun...

crazytown pic. yesiknow. i'm still learning.

I cut off my head. oops.

I'm trying to make an effort to dress up a little. After a pity-party last night, ending with me sobbing "I'm so lonely and isolated and bored...I want to go back to work!!" and my poor husband trying to keep me from jumping off the deck (figuratively), I've decided to be proactive today and beat loneliness away with a stick.

For me, that includes wearing some makeup, a skirt and heels. Yes, I'm home with baby today. No, it's not practical. But I DON'T CARE!! My little apartment is becoming a prison...I almost literally haven't left the house for two weeks due to shots, then a lovely round of colds for all of us.

What I'm wearing: a thrifted corduroy skirt (I hacked the hem), thifted brown heels, and my white t-neck Everlane tee.

I'm learning how to take selfies with my little dinky point-and-shoot canon camera sitting on an end table, hence the crazy picss--first cutting me off at the ankle, then cutting off my head. Fun times. Maybe someday I'll get a nice camera and figure out how to use Photoshop. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Makeover...with a scarf

Up with the baby all night? Spit up all over your shirt? You are out shopping and forgot a nursing cover? No problem! A scarf is the best mommy accessory EVER. The babe can claw on it, stuff it in his mouth, drool all over it and you don't  have to worry about an earlobe getting ripped out or a favorite necklace ruined.

Plus it adds so much style to an outfit.
Me, sans scarf with some sleep-deprivation induced acne. At least I took 5 seconds to twist my hair up today. And I brushed my teeth this morning. Sorry. TMI.
Me, with scarf and sleep-deprivation induced acne. 

Doesn't it just make everything look better and put together? I'm loving this plaid infinity scarf paired with everything right now. Here's a similar one...and here's a brown leopard print option. These days, I make all my scarves into infinity scarves by tying the ends together and leaving a charming little knot to the side.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I found it!!

Marrakech Cambria Anorak

I found it!! Little man and I went window shopping in Old Town last week.

There's an Anthropologie. sigh. I went in. I'm drooling as much as my teething baby.

Lo and behold, while 'window shopping', I found it. The perfect utility jacket. Enough feminine detailing, but not overly sweet...slightly distressed...cinched waist...heavier weight. Only drawback is it's pretty pricey (bye bye birthday cash) but I'm in loooove...quality is better than quantity...right? right?

I can't wait for it to get a little cooler so I can style this baby! Yes, I live in Virginia where it's 85 degress in I miss Midwest winter? Not a bit.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Leopard and gray to play!

I ordered a Ryan tee from Everlane last week. Here it is in gray--in all its drapey, large chest-hiding, pooch forgiving fabulousness! Baby and I are heading out to Monday story time at the library...

Stripes and story time!

Baby and I are heading to the Alexandria Duncan branch library for story time! I'm wearing my Loft boyfriend jeans and a cropped top layered over a cami. The wreckage of my once-toned tummy needs to stay covered. Plus it's 73 degrees and raining today...