Monday, November 30, 2009

Red Shift

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I sure did!

Since the weather's been a bit cooler, I've had a strong urge to remix this old, red shift dress (also seen here). I pictured it over a black oxford, collar tied with a bow, with black tights and black & white wingtip booties. Tried it all on...no good. It turned out really costumey - like I was trying to imitate a bad stewardess uniform from the 60's.

Just when I thought I had finally come up with a decent look, my sweet husband looked at me and said something like, "wow" or "interesting". I took that as "not in a good way". I don't always take his opinion of my outfit choices into consideration, but with all the trouble I'd had that morning, I thought it likely that my judgement had been compromised.

At the last nano-second, I threw on this houndstooth scarf and switched to my cute, button shoes. Yet another decent attempt...mediocre result. I hate it when the fabulous outfit constructed in my head turns out to be a hot mess when I actually try it on. It's so disappointing.


Matters were slightly worsened when my tights looked navy against my black shoes. But I swear the tights are black!

In the end, the shoes and the scarf really did save the day. (Whew).

Shirt: Target
Dress: Target
Scarf: Swapped/borrowed from Je' Suis
Tights: Old Navy(?)
Shoes: Seychelles via Amazon




Thursday, November 26, 2009

I Am Thankful...(top 25)

for an all-loving God

for purpose

for marriage

for family

for friendship

for health and safety

for laughter

for good conversation

for freedom

for sunshine

for my church and it's leadership

for a home

for hot, running water

for soap

for Steve's job

for my job

for Yul (our car)

for vacation

for music

for color

for sunflowers

for pillows

for white chocolate mint mochas

for Coca-Cola

for Target

for TiVo

Oops...that's 26. Shoot, I just want to keep going...

for lemon tea

for Jack's frozen pizza

Alright, I'm done now.


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!






Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Sunday

I'm a few days behind on outfit posts. Whoops.


My morning outfitting hasn't been all that successful lately. It has been taking me way too long to get fully dressed. I wore these tights and shoes with a bra around the house Sunday morning until it was nearly time to walk out the door. The necklace and hat were a last-ditch effort to look somewhat pulled-together. Other than a wrinkled skirt, I think it was a decent attempt.

I reconstructed this $2 necklace from Walmart. I really just liked the beads when I purchased it, even though the necklace was a dumb design. I never wore it. Then one day I just got fed up and crafty and decided to make it better. It's far from perfect, but again...decent attempt.


My new, flat t-straps passed the test. Initially, there was some rubbing, but I'm happy to report that after only a day of breaking-in, they are definitely keepers.

Overall, this was a good outfit for Thanksgiving Sunday. It's the one Sunday a year that regular seating is removed from our church sanctuary, replaced with dining tables, and everyone is invited to partake in a huge, Thanksgiving feast as one big family. This year was a great success! There was food a-plenty! Choir members were responsible for making sure the buffet tables were supplied at all times. Good thing I wasn't doing all that running around in heels!


After my Sunday afternoon nap during the football game, Steve and I went to The Library studio in Minneapolis to assist in the tracking process of the choir's Christmas album. Well, Steve went to help, I went to listen and chill. Check out Girly Muse for more info. and pictures!


I've had the privilege of observing the making of a few great albums including that of Sara Groves and Jason Gray...two of my very favorite artists. But it's even more special when it's my people. I just love that very soon, our fans will be able to take our Christmas music home with them, play it in their cars, share it with their friends. It's our portable ministry. I know I'm bias, but even 8 years after our last recording Washed, I still hear it and think, Dang. This is good music.

Brag much? You bet.


Hat: ???
Sweater: Target brand, thrifted
Necklace: Walmart, remade
Skirt: Old Navy
Tights: probably Target
Shoes: Rampage via Endless.com


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

To Dress a Youth Choir

It's Tuesday. And Tuesday means choir practice. And choir practice is most necessary for a gospel choir in pre-holiday season. We have our typical, Christmas gigs coming up. We'll be performing at the Mall of America on December 18th and at our church on the 20th. Sometime before then, we're going to try to make a Christmas album. Not exactly sure how we'll pull that off, but I'm feelin' optimistic.


Since my musical capabilities are quite few, I like to think I can contribute in other ways. For example, there is the topic of costuming. We don't do choir robes. That is unless we're in the Holidazzle Parade when robes are provided for us, but that's a different thing altogether. Instead, we try to look uniform. We "match" if you will... Here are a few combinations we've tried in the past:


All black

Black & Metallic (Gold and/or Silver)

Black & Red

Black & Teal

Black & Green

Black & Jewel Tone

Black & White

Black & Camouflage

Black & Khaki

White & Khaki

All White

Urban

Denim & Jewel Tone

Denim & Red

Denim & White


Denim & Black


You get the idea. This year, Steve, Elaina and I have been brainstorming different options. For the casual mall concert I wanted to do denim and plaid. I do believe I've been out-voted on that one. Also in the consideration pile is denim and black or white with bright hat and/or scarf. For our formal concert at church we've thought about mixing black with ivory, royal blue, silver, gold or varying jewel tones. And on the subject of album pictures...I'm just not sure.


Any ideas from my fashionable followers? Let's hear 'em!




Monday, November 23, 2009

State of Hockey

I'm not sure that it's possible to live in Minnesota and not care - just a little - about Hockey. Even if you don't follow the players or stats or watch it on TV, if the opportunity arises to attend a game, you go.

Steve and I received free tickets from work for Friday night's game. It usually happens about once per season. Our team is the Minnesota Wild. They haven't had the best of seasons, but even so, the Xcel Energy Center was packed with fans.




Speaking of fans, I don't know what this guy was up to, but he wasn't dressed in Wild colors.




I am the least violent person you will ever meet. Truly. I typically find fighting barbaric and repulsive. BUT there is just something about Hockey fights that I can hardly get enough of. Isn't that strange? I find it so entertaining. There were a few really great fights Friday night. The first of which took place within minutes of the start of the game. Two players from opposing teams took their gloves off and actually put their bare fists in the air. They circled around each other a few times before one of them threw the first punch. The referee's let them duke it out for several seconds before they broke it up. No one was hurt.



This is our goalie. He has some mad puck-stopping skills. I was really impressed.


Bein' silly.



Happy fans. The Wild won!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Arrival

Admittedly, I have a lot of shoes. I like shoes. A lot. But I don't have many cute, comfortable, versatile flats. I've been eyeing these darling t-straps at endless.com for quite some time. They were 50% off, received good reviews, and with such a fabulous return policy I figured I didn't have anything to lose.



I hope to outfit them tomorrow for a good trial-wear. I hope they don't give me platypus feet.

Candyland

It was another gorgeous, November day on Tuesday which called for a special trip to Candyland, our old-fashioned, St. Paul candy store. Lucy greeted us outside with a giant caramel apple.

I intentionally mis-matched my plaid dress and plaid coat. There is just a little bit of red in the coat that isn't seen in the picture. It was just enough to make me say 'yes!' to wearing both prints at the same time. I thought the styles went great together...sort of an old-fashiony vibe.

It was hard to choose, but finally settled on giant, chocolate covered pretzels in 4 different flavors: toffee, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate. I devoured the toffee so fast it didn't even get in a picture.

And the white chocolate went shortly thereafter. This one was definitely my fave.

Coat: gift from husband via Forever 21
Turtleneck: H&M
Dress: Tulle via awesome store in Duluth, MN
Tights: Target
Boots: Steve Madden via DSW

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Competition

I have some spectacular news to share with St. Paul thrifters: pricey Valu Thrift in Sun Ray may no longer be your best east side thrift option. Value Village opened their doors a couple of weeks ago! It's the largest in the Twin Cities! The retail chain previously found only in the Minneapolis area has extended it's reach to St. Paul, now located on White Bear Avenue near the Larpenteur Avenue intersection. Sure, sure...we have a Savers (same company) only a few miles north, but Value Village is different and closer to me.


Value Village's regular prices are comparable to that of Valu Thrift, however their daily specials make for much better bargains. On Sunday, all purple tag merchandise was 50% off and all yellow tag items were $0.99! Here are the deals through November:
November 15-21: Purple tags 50% off
November 22: Purple tagged clothing $0.99
November 22-28: Pink tags 50% off
November 29: Pink tagged clothing $0.99

Unlike Valu Thrift, Value Village is non-profit. They partner with several local charities and provide a great way for shoppers to give back to their community.

This isn't about bashing Valu Thrift whatsoever. I've been a huge fan since their arrival to the east side and will continue to shop there for the great selection and convenience. But I feel that in recent months, prices have gotten way too steep and it has taken the bargain out of thrift shopping at their store. I look forward to seeing if/how they respond to the arrival of Value Village on the price tag. Bring on some healthy competition!


If anyone is interested in joining me for Value Village's grand opening this Saturday, November 21 drop me a line! We can peruse the racks of bargains together!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Product Review: Bras!

Remember the whining and complaining I did waaaay back here about bras and my inability to find just one that makes me happy? Then remember when I bought 3 new bras with the promise that I would provide a proper review on this blog of mine. Remember?

The time has come, friends.

I feel that I've worn each bra enough that I can now give a adequate review of each one. Do keep in mind that a bra that doesn't work for me might be just fine for you. Here's my deal: I'm 5'4" and petite of frame. Short torso. Narrow shoulders. Fitted bra size: 32DD. Loather of back-fat.
_______________________________________________________

Bra #1: Lilyette Minimizer

Claims:
*designed to reduce bust up to a full size for a smooth look under clothes
*sew-free double knit wing smoothes back for a flawless look under clothes
*two-ply stretch simplex and Tactel microfiber cups provide uplift, shaping and opacity
*floating wire offers a clean contemporary silhouette

photo credit here


Although my actual band size is 32, I opted for a 34 in this bra because it was my only option in this brand and I felt that it was snug enough.

The fit in this bra was only mediocre. The upper portion of the cups gape a little bit making it seem as though the bra might be too big. However, if I were to go down a cup size, there would surely be spillage in other areas.

With a minimizer bra, side-shaping is possibly the most important element. I don't feel that this bra delivers in this area. In addition, there is no coverage for 'cold' days - if ya know what I mean. So I use Wacoal No Peek cups for maximum modesty. Photo credit here.

And my final gripe: the straps are too darn long. I have them adjusted past the tightest setting. The little adjuster thingy is overlapping the lacy part of the strap. Boo.

To give the poor bra a little credit, it is comfortable and of good quality. It does minimize back-fat, and the design features are somewhat attractive.

_________________________________________________



Bra #2: Bali Minimizer with Comfort Back

Claims:
*comfort back creates a smooth look under clothes and helps straps stay put
*Silky Smooth Lining adds and ultra-thin layer of modesty
*encased underwires deliver ultimate comfort

photo credit here

Of the bras that I purchased, this is the one I like best and wear most. I settled for a 34DD in this one as well.

I like the way it shapes, contours and minimizes! The straps - though also too long - are comfortable and don't slip off my shoulders. It provides just enough lift and is good for all day support.

The cups are thin and additional measures are taken to avoid the 'cold', but overall, I really like this bra.
________________________________________________________
Maidenform Total Solution - the instant bust makeover

Claims:
*Smartzone Cup Technology
*full coverage
*lifts
*rejuvenates shape
*contours

photo credit here

This is one heavy-duty bra, y'all. And it makes some beautiful cleavage. Just too bad it is not the best for all day wear. I would certainly not consider this a "full coverage" bra as it claims to be, but it sure does "lift".

The straps - once again - are too long. Unfortunately, they adjust down to the band so there is no room for cheating as I do with straps on other bras. They are also quite silky and slide off my shoulders easily.

The cups are thick and sturdy, but add too much bulk and weight in front. The band reduces back-fat - yeh!

This is a short-term bra for cleavage-appropriate times.
_________________________________________________________

Did I miss any pertinent information?

If you own one of these bras, let's hear your opinion as well!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Plaidness

Plaid. Is. Everywhere. Just like ruffles are everywhere. Heck, you don't even have to look far to find a marriage of plaid and ruffles on the same item. Aw...isn't that cute? Yes, when it's done well.

Although the plaid trend has gone a little bit overboard, and I have yet to desire plaid leggings, plaid earrings, or a plaid tube top (ew), I do indeed, like plaid.

Like this flannel plaid dress I picked up at Ross in Atlanta. It was marked down to $5. I wasn't sure about the fit, but couldn't pass it up. It's a good thing I didn't, because I love it now. I'm guessing it was missing a belt, since it came with large belt loops. Removed the evidence and no one will ever know the difference - except you. I wore this with the same yellow coat and red, plaid bag as seen here.


Necklaces: ?
Shirt: Target
Dress: Ross, $5
Leggings: Forever 21
Boots: Madden Girl via DSW.com


Bonus picture: It's not super often that the four of us are together at the same time. Less often that we all look this good at the same time. And even less often that we're all together at church. I love my girls.


Left to right: Elaina, Keely, Katie, and moi.



And yes...in case you haven't noticed, I am quite obsessed with the cross-process and rounded edges features in picnik.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Under Construction

I feel that Spoils of Wear could use a makeover. That, and I have very little going on at the moment. So please excuse me while I make a few changes. It could take days, but hopefully only a few minutes.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Friends and Books

Je' Suis and I officially agreed that we feel much less silly taking outfit pictures of each other rather than ourselves. They turn out so much better, take much less time, AND when we're out n' about, some nice gentleman is likely to come by ask if we'd like him to take a picture of us together. "Why, yes. That would be so nice, thank you."

Elaina hadn't been to the James J. Hill Library in downtown St. Paul since she was 14, so we made plans to check it out. It's such a gorgeous place...(sigh)...I love the city.


I'm not always happy with my outfits, but I was this day. I couldn't wait to wear my lacy 'grandma' sweater from Ross. And it was my first time wearing this ivory, corduroy skirt I picked up a G2. And also my first time wearing these shiny reds. They're sooo cute, and comfy too! Had I found a yellow brick road, I may have been inclined to follow it.



Sweater: Ross, $10
Skirt: J. Crew via Goodwill Outlet, pennies
Tights: maybe Target?
Shoes: Connie via Famous Footwear
Coat: Target brand, free from clothes-swap
Purse: Indeed, thrifted




Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Purple Person

It would seem that Minnesota got it's November weather in October and September weather in November. It's been beautiful outside! I was concerned that these tights would have to wait until springtime to make their debut, but here they are!

I'm not super crazy about purple. I don't feel like it's a good color on me. Although for some strange reason I seem to have incorporated a lot of it into my wardrobe over the last couple of years. The dress alone was just too purple for me and somewhat unstructured for a day at work without heels. I thought the vest pulled it together, toned down the purple, and made it a bit more professional.


Obviously, this outfit is all about the tights. Even though I sit behind a desk all day, I still managed to get a few questionable looks and comments about them.


Vest: Vintage, thrifted
Dress: TJ Maxx (?)
Tights: TJ Maxx, $6
Boots: DSW

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Head to Toe

Sometimes in life, there are purchases you really don't need, yet absolutely must have. And sometimes it isn't worth fighting. Sometimes, just roll with it. These red shoes I showed you yesterday...SO did not need them. I even have a new shiny pair of red pumps I haven't even worn yet. Didn't matter. I justified this purchase by telling myself they are very different from my other red heels. They are open-toed and have a bow. The red patent is a shade brighter. The heel is a teensy bit higher. See? Maybe I did need them.



I knew I wanted to wear them with this black, ruffled skirt and lace tights for some major girliness. I didn't consider that the skirt would be an ironing nightmare and the tights had a hole in them. Stitched up the hole (while wearing the tights) and did what I could with the skirt.



As soon as I arrived home on Saturday, I booked it over to the Oakwood Bazaar for the last hour of selling. This lovely clip called my name. It said, "Jill, wear me tomorrow with your ruffle skirt and lace tights and red shoes." Yep. I owe Je' Suis $4.



It was also challenging to find a top that would look decent with this skirt. With such volume on my lower half, I struggled to find something fitted and warm that would go with my color scheme. Settled for this gray cardi, dolled up a bit with pearls. Next time, I might try belting the cardigan for a better silhouette.


Cardigan: Target brand, thrifted
Pearls: thrifted
Skirt: Target
Tights: eh...probably Target
Shoes: Anne Klein via Ross, $20
Barrette: Handmade by Je' Suis


P.S. My hair has been out of control lately. It's giving me a serious rockstar complex.




Monday, November 9, 2009

Georgia Visit

I had every intention of finding time to post while in Atlanta, but I just couldn't make it happen. Wednesday, we arrived several hours before we could check in to our hotel, so I went to work with the fellas (my husband & dad-in-law) and did my best to stay out of the way as they replaced A/V equipment in the new office.

View from the office.


Around 5pm Steve brought me to the hotel. I'd never stayed at an actual Hilton before (only Hilton Garden) and I liked it a whole lot. Steve and I joke about our hotel rooms being bigger than our condo. But we're not really joking. When I discovered the large whirlpool tub, baby, I was in heaven. Living in Minnesota, I don't realize how cold I really am...chilled to the bone. When I was finally done in the tub, I was so warm and jello-like, I couldn't remember the last time I'd been warmed to my core. It felt soooo good.


Thursday I knew I'd be on my own with the guys working all day. After we had an early breakfast together, they were kind enough to walk to the office so I could take the rental car. Spoiled, I am. I'd heard about this store called Ross and that great deals could be found there. Knowing it was a southern/east-coast store, I popped the name into the handy GPS and viola! there was one less than a mile down the road. I was there as soon as it opened. Had lunch with fellow administrative assistant Charlie - who I now officially adore. She told me about another Ross close by. I went there after lunch. I fully intend to wear my purchases this week. Beware: there may be pictures.


Favorite purchase: These shoes! Ross, $20!


Steve and Bob finished their job in record time and after a brief office visit Friday morning, we were able to see the sites. First, we went to the aquarium. And what an aquarium it was! The largest in the world, is what I was told!

Beautiful, spooky Jellies.


Harassing the Piranhas.



Aquarium: 60 feet wide, glass 2.5 feet thick.



Next, we skipped across the yard to the Coca Cola Museum. We learned a whole lot about the origin of Coca Cola and their genius marketing campaigns. We were also able to taste different Coke products from around the world, but in the end...Classic Coke is the best.



I made friends with the polar bear. Isn't he the cutest?


The trip was short, but full of fun for me! I love Atlanta! In fact, I wouldn't mind living there if ever the opportunity arose. Which it won't.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Je' Suis

My very best friend Elaina (who I speak of constantly on this blog) has started her very own blog Je' Suis - Yippee!

She has great style and a unique perspective on life. I think a blog is the ideal way for her to share that with the world (though she received no pressure from me whatsoever). I'm very excited to see what crazy goodness she'll conjure up with this new endeavour of hers!




Swing by her site, introduce yourself, and give her some new-blogger love and encouragement.

Thanks readers! You are the very best of peoples! :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Life in Dots

Sometimes I get so curious about things. Like wearing my favorite polka dot dress today I wonder, where did polka dots come from? Who came up with this brilliant pattern? Polka dots give me warm fuzzies, ya know.


I search online but cannot find answers that will suffice. Seems like they started showing up in Europe around the time Polka music became the craze - late 1800's-ish. This may be how they got their name, but I simply cannot believe that the chicken dance birthed the polka dot. It's just not possible.

Since we don't know the exact origin of polka dots, let's focus on a few key moments in history when they were most prevalent...

Minnie Mouse. Oh, you already know how I feel about her. I don't believe her effect on humanity would have been nearly as great had Walt Disney made her dress any other print. Stripes, checks, paisley, or houndstooth would not have given off that sweet, innocent, friendly, chic vibe the way her polka dots do.

Or how 'bout that Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini? Would that song have been such a hit had it been an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Bikini? I think not.

Lucille Ball wore polka dot dresses that perfectly portrayed her silly, light-hearted, quirky personality. Is it even possible for a polka dot to be serious? Doubt it.


Polka dots even impacted Julia Robert's character, Vivian, in Pretty Woman. You just know as soon as she put that dress on, she felt like a real, classy laaaaddy. At least until that horrible Philip guy came along and ruined her day. And it's hard to ruin a day in polka dots, let me tell ya. The jerk.

I looooove polka dots. This was not the first, and it will not be the last post I dedicate to them. Fair warning.


Photos here & here.