Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Twirl Grey



When I spotted this skirt at ARC's Value Village, I knew it would be mine regardless of fit or flatter.  Buy it I did, and with a little snip-snip at the waistband and a not-as-little tug-tug on the elastic I was able to adjust it to my size.  Isn't elastic great?  I think so.

So I wore this on a very windy day and barely escaped a few potentially embarrassing Marilyn Monroe moments right outside my workplace.  It was fun and all...having all this fabric blowing and twirling around my body, but it just wasn't safe.  You get my drift.

I get really cold in my office so I incorporate layers into my summer outfits whenever possible.  The pink cardigan matched the floral print in my headband, which isn't really seen in the photo due to the glare.  I recently went a little headband crazy at Two Young Hearts Etsy shop.  Though I'm not a frequent headband wearer, I can't seem to pass up a great print from Two Young Hearts.  Why?  Because they're only $3/ea., free shipping, and this kind actually stays put on my head.  That's why.  And no, I don't need to justify my binge headband buying to anyone...psh.

Headband:  Etsy shop Two Young Hearts
Tee:  Wal-Mart?
Skirt:  Thrifted via ARC's Value Village
Shoes:  Reaction by Kenneth Cole
Cardigan:  JCPenny

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

All Ablazer

Don't you love it when thrift stores don't have any knowledge of clothing value?  Well, sometimes it works in a shopper's favor, sometimes not.  Like when my local thrift prices Target items higher than Urban Outfitters, it can be cause for either great celebration or frustration depending on which item I want to buy.  Like this blazer.  Pretty sure it's from UO.  It was under $6.  And it doesn't hurt me (blazers stress me out sometimes).


This picture was taken in the morning so my feet look ok here, but I tell ya what...by the time I got home at 10pm that evening, my tootsies had swollen causing the shoe straps to dig deep, painful creases into my skin.  I'm learning to buy summer shoes in a 1/2 size up to avoid this little problem.  But what do I do about year-round shoes?  The opposite occurs in winter.  Ideally, I would wear a size 7 in winter, 8 in summer, and 7 1/2 in spring and fall.  Does anyone else have this problem?  It's a bummer.

Necklace:  Pearls from China via Dad-in-Law
Blazer:  Thrifted via Valu Thrift
Tanks:  Target & KMart
Skirt:  Thrifted
Shoes:  Anne Klein via Herbergers
Purse:  Thrifted via ARC's Value Village

Monday, June 28, 2010

Standards

Whoa.  It's Monday.

Hey...it looks like I'm missing an arm in this picture.  Don't worry, it's only hiding under this fun, slouchy sweater.  It would be difficult to blog with only one hand, but rest assured that I would persevere, just for all you amazing readers out there.  But let's hope that I remain fully limbed.


This is what I wore a few Sundays ago.  Sometimes I just don't feel like getting dressed up.  It used to be a big deal to get all gussied up for church.  I'm really glad that is no longer the case and people can just be comfortable if they so desire. 

I remember being new to the congregation, around age 11, and going to Sunday night service in my favorite acid-washed jeans, styled in perfect, early 90's fashion with big holes in the knees and black lace patches underneath.  Golly, those were so awesome.  Admittedly, they weren't exactly appropriate for the time and place.  I wonder how my new pal Emily had felt about having to tote around the little heathen (me). 

A few years later the "dress code" got a little more lenient, but I still wanted to display my rebellious ways, so instead of wearing a pretty dress on Easter Sunday, I wore jeans decorated with pastel sequins down the front...to be "formal", of course.  Those were pretty awesome too.

Now, it doesn't matter.  I could show up in a bath robe and no one would care.  Not that I encourage standards quite that low...wouldn't want church to get weird or anything.

Necklace:  so very old
Sweater:  Kensie via Macy's
Tee:  Miley Cyrus via Walmart
Jeans:  Lux, thrifted via Valu Thrift
Shoes:  Target

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Arrivals!

Of the hiking shoes I was considering in this post, I ended up choosing the Oboz Women's Teton Suede Mountain Sport Shoe.  After looking at the selection at a few local sporting goods stores (Dick's, Sports Authority, Fleet Farm), I decided to take a chance online.  I was considering these at $50, but by the time I got around to making the purchase, they had dropped another $10....a seriously good deal.


I was first attracted to these for their unique look - I'm diggin' the crooked laces and the color.  I hadn't found any reviews on the women's shoes, but the men's style came recommended so I figured it was worth a shot.  Of course I haven't worn them yet, but they seem great - sturdy, quality leather and rubber material, yet very light weight.

Can't wait to test these babies out in Colorado and Utah.  Only 8 days until Steve and I hit the road!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Congratulations...

Juanita, you're the winner of the Feed My Starving Children tote bag and earrings!
Expect an email from me shortly!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Underneath

I have a little secret.  Sometimes, I wear shaper-shorts (that's what I call them) under my skirts/dresses.  It started a few years ago when I put on a few extra pounds and my thighs met each other for the first time in several years...maybe ever.  I hated the feeling of my legs rubbing together as I walked.  Hated it.  So off to the Leggs, Hanes, Bali Outlet I went.

Now I proudly own 3 pairs of these brilliant shapers in nude, white and black.  I'm back to a comfortable size and my legs no longer touch (to the point of discomfort), but I still wear the shaper-shorts fairly frequently.  It's nice having the extra coverage - knowing that if the wind blows, or if I have to get in/out of a large vehicle, or I'm walking up stairs, no one will see anything that shouldn't be seen.


Prepare for the appearance of little shorts like these in an H&M and/or American Apparel near you.  They're not so much shapers as they are reminiscent of biker shorts...only prettier.  I've already spotted them with lace trim...adorable. A definite nod to the 80's.  Unlike most styles of that decade, I think I won't mind this trend coming 'round again.  It's just so comfortable and practical.

Find shapers in all different colors from Spanx...but be prepared to spend a pretty penny on them.  $42 - yikes!

They come in a variety of styles and prices at Target.  These, for example.

Or if you're really not into spending extra bucks on undergarments (like me), just cut off a pair of tights or leggings.  

And who says they have to remain under your clothes?  These daring ladies are rockin' the look (on Lookbook).  Oh, the possibilities.

Necklaces:  Walmart (???)
Tank:  Target
Dress:  XOXO via Macy's
Shoes:  Kohl's
Underneath:  my white shaper-shorts from Leggs, Hanes, Bali

Don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Barrettes and Bullies

First thing I do when I wake up is clip my unruly "bangs" back with a little barrette that says 'Jill' on it.  It's the only one I have that doesn't create an instant kink in my hair.  The night before this outfit picture was taken, I had put said barrette in my hair (my hair was wet at the time).  Not thinking, I slept with it that way.  I woke up in the morning to dry hair and kinky bangs.  Having no time or patience to fuss with it on this lovely Sunday morn, I attempted to style my ever-growing "bangs" by pinning them back with a more attractive, less child-like barrette.  This is the result.  Maybe it looked better in person.

Honestly, I don't really care.  I never said I was any good with hair.  (That rhymed). 

In fact, I believe I've claimed just the opposite. 


Little story about these shoes.  They were on clearance at DSW.  The only ones I saw, in my size.  They seemed a bit out of place and marked down really low.  Maybe they were a return or something, I don't know. 

I took them to the cashier.  She looked at them admiringly, said she had never seen them before and asked me if they were really on clearance.  I said yes.  Weird that she even asked because they were clearly marked.  She didn't believe me.  She called an associate over and asked her if the shoes were really on clearance.  The obviously more experienced DSW employee looked at her funny and stated, "Well, they're marked clearance.  That's the price she gets them for." 

Duh, shoe bully.  Duh.  Don't mess with me.  Or the price of my silver t-strap heels.

Cashier was awkward for the rest of the transaction.  I think she wanted my shoes and was going to try to say they weren't really on clearance so I wouldn't buy them.  Can you imagine working at DSW?  I bet shoe lust and envy runs rampant.  Poor tortured soul.

Dress:  Marshall's
Shoes:  DSW

Don't forget about the GIVEAWAY!  Ends Wednesday, June 23.

Friday, June 18, 2010

FMSC Event and GIVEAWAY

Wednesday night finally came...and then it went...way too fast.  I organized a group from my church to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children.  I was completely taken with this organization when I volunteered with a group of bloggers back in January.  I wrote about it here.

The second experience did not disappoint.  We had a great time packaging the food that would add up to 57 boxes, 12,312 meals, which will feed 34 Haitian children 1 life saving meal per day for an entire year.  If that doesn't give you warm fuzzies, nothing will.

Our time at FMSC began with stories of children whose lives were saved because of this food.  Moses was just born when his mother threw him into a well to die, knowing that she could not provide for him.  A gentleman from the village heard Moses crying, rescued the skeletal infant, and started him on the food source provided by FMSC.  Within just 1 month, he was an average, healthy baby boy.  And that's just one example.  Feed My Starving Children supplies millions of meals to nearly 70 countries every year.

One meal costs $0.19 and 94% of that goes directly toward the food program.  That's outstanding.

Happy Hairnetting
left to right:  Me, Emily, Keely & Elaina


Chicken!  Veggies!  Soy!  Rice!
Samantha & Tifini


Sweeping Sisters
Casey & Celsy


Our group
Jeff, Kim, Tifini, Celsy, Tara, Samantha, Casey, Teresa, Marissa, Stuart, Elaina, Keely, Emily,
Maureen, Faithanne, Steve, Maxwell, Matt, and me.  MIA: Becky & Danelle.

(Thank you all for coming, most of you for the first time!  I was so impressed by the hard work and great attitudes in our group.  I received extremely positive feedback about the event and have already inquired about another date (January 2011)!  Thank you for giving your time and energy to this event - YOU made a difference!)

Now for the giveaway!  I purchased this fab tote and earrings from the FMSC Marketplace.  Pretty, handcrafted items from villages around the world that receive FMSC food.  These 2 items represent over 70 meals, a $40 value.  Simply leave a comment and your e-mail address for a chance to win!  Winner will be announced Wednesday, June 23.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Perfect Sailor Dress

If you know me at all, you probably know that my husband and I really like cruises. Particularly Disney Cruises, but a few months ago we tried Royal Caribbean Cruise Line for the first time...also a very good experience.  Being that this is my vacation of choice, there is a particular dress that I have searched for high and low:  a Sailor dress. I have had little success in finding one that is not either too costumey or too pricey.


But Ahoy! Could this be the most adorably fabulous sailor dress my eyes have ever beheld? I think so! Might it actually be within my price range? Indeed! It’s everything I ever wanted in a sailor dress. The collar is perfectly proportioned, not overdone like some vintage sailor dresses I’ve seen. It appears long enough to be worn as a dress, but if not, it would be just as cute with leggings! And that sweet bow! Golly, I’m in love...can you tell?

I've been eyeing this dress for months...well before I set sail on Royal Caribbean.  Apparently it's in high demand, because it has been out of stock in my size for months.  It's back.  And I'm thrilled.

I can just picture playing shuffleboard in this dress, paired with little red or yellow flats. I’ll switch it up with a darling pair of heels and viola!, I’m appropriately dressed for the dining hall.

It comes in white too!

See more of this dress here at http://www.chicstar.com/!  Look for ways to participate to win product, store credit, or cash!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oompa Loompa

That's right.  I'm friends with Willy Wonka. 


Two young friends of mine - Maxwell (age 15) and his kid sis Marissa (age 13) were selected for roles in their school musical Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Maxwell was cast in the LEAD role of Willy Wonka.  He had a ton of lines and had to sing about half of them.  Which he did extremely well, I might add. 

Marissa was part of the ensemble - playing kid and Oompa Loompa.  She was one of the few (maybe the only one?) that had a solo.  She sings soprano with me in our church choir.  I'm pretty sure she's actually an alto...but I refuse to give her up to the dark lower side anytime soon.  And how incredibly adorable does she look with green hair?  Seriously, I think she really pulls it off.  :) 

Left to Right:  Katie, Me, Oompa Loompa aka Marissa, Elaina
I went 2 weekends ago with Steve, Elaina and my 9 year old niece Kara.  We were so impressed.  It was hard to believe we were watching a Jr. High/High School performance, it was so well executed.  Elaina and I enjoyed it so much that we attended for the second time on Saturday with another group of friends.  And that performance was even better than the first.

When did kids get so bold and talented?  I was an awkward, shy, wimpy thing at that age.  Not these kids.  These kids make it cool to be an Oompa Loompa.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Secret Weapon

There are a few items in my wardrobe that contain special powers:  1.  Pencil Skirts, 2. Basic Pumps.  Paired together, they're my secret weapon.  

Let's start with the pencil skirt.

It has to fit really well.  I often size down and wear this skirt style a bit higher than normal...on my natural waist.  The fit is so crucial.  Too tight and it looks trashy (unless you're Eva Mendez).  Too loose and it looks frumpy.  The point is to look tailored (without actually tailoring).  Some women blessed with naturally long legs can pull off a hemline slightly below the knee.  But on a petite-average frame like mine, the length has to fall just above or at the knee.  This means I'm shopping in Petites or Juniors if I don't want the hassle of hemming it myself (via mom).  A pencil skirt is usually associated with business-wear, but really, it's a blank canvas for almost any style...all it takes is the confidence to work it.


Now, about those pumps. 

I don't really care about the heel part.  I go with whatever is available...chunky, wedge, stiletto, some may be preferred over others, but they all have their place.  It's the leg line that matters.  I've been buying more strappy styles lately, simply for variety, but ultimately the plain & simple get worn most.  I'm especially keen (did I really just write the word keen?) on almond toed shoes.  It's like a sleek, sexy pointed-toe shoe and a sweet, modest rounded-toe shoe hooked up and had a baby shoe.  And it grew up to be the most universally flattering style of all (in my opinion).

Aw...shoes having babies.  Now wouldn't that be cute.

Blouse:  Kmart brand, thrifted
Skirt:  JC Penny
Shoes:  Target
Purse:  Nine West via TJ Maxx

Friday, June 11, 2010

Women in Pants

It wasn't all that long ago that women wearing pants in the workplace was considered taboo.  Corporate fashion began taking wider strides in the 60's...literally.  I guess that's what happens when career-minded women ban together to fight for equal opportunity.  It's hard to imagine a time when the only respectable work options for women were Teacher, Nurse, Secretary...with a few other service-related occupations thrown in.  Now, the opportunities are limitless.  It's incredibly encouraging to note all of the women in leadership roles.  The ones who didn't just get there because they're women, but because they're qualified.
 

I love lighter neutrals in warmer months.  I don't wear a lot of black as it is (compared to many), but I especially try to avoid heavy, black garments in the spring and summer.  Gray looks particularly good paired with pretty pastels.  And I'm a little crazy about the large, houndstooth print on this cardigan...yum.

Bow Blouse:  Old Navy (Outlet?)
Cardigan:  Liz Claiborne via Marshall's
Trousers:  Gap
Purse:  Free gift with purchase at DSW

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Blogs & Buttonholes

Keepin' it simple today.  I considered not posting this outfit at all.  It was so brilliant in my head...the light blue, striped oxford paired with bright primary colors for Gap-like preppiness.  But I was rather disappointed that I didn't feel as 'brilliant' when I put it all on.  Giving it a second look, a scarf might have been a good accessory choice.  It seems to be missing something above the waist. 

A better fitting oxford would've helped too.  Tricky things, those oxfords.  They're always on the "10 Wardrobe Must-Haves" lists, but in reality, they're difficult to procure in flattering form for many body types.  Honestly, I'm just happy when the buttons don't struggle to meet the buttonholes.


I've been resisting the urge to apologize for my brief absences from blogworld.  But then I think it so unnecessary when other bloggers do that.  Of course I miss my favorite reads when they're not posting, but I totally understand and certainly don't need an apology.  Blogs are a weird medium, aren't they?  Little ongoing glimpses into the lives (and styles) of other people, yet through them we feel so connected and personal.  It's hard to be away without feeling a little incomplete...or worse, guilty.

But in reality, a blog is not usually top priority for the blogger.  That is unless blogging is their job, which is a whole other ballgame.  For me, life looks something like this:  Marriage, Family, Friends, Work, Choir, Youth Ministry....Spoils of Wear fits in somewhere down the line, but if even one of the other priorities require extra attention for a time, the blog will surely suffer.  

This always seems to happen when I'm really motivated.  I have a lot of great post ideas but just can't find the time to make them happen.  Then when I have all sorts of free blogging time, my creativity wanes.  Why is that?

Thank you, wonderful readers, for stickin' with me even when I'm not posting every day M-F, and for your patience in my delayed responses to your sweet comments.  I appreciate you more than you could know.

Oxford:  Forever 21, San Antonio
Belt:  ???
Skirt:  J. Crew
Shoes:  Target

Monday, June 7, 2010

Store Criteria


Did anyone else get in on the insane clearance sale Old Navy had a few weeks back?  It was Mother's Day Weekend, I recall.  Additional 50% off clearance...can't beat it.  Old Navy is really hit-or-miss with me.  Sometimes I find great stuff at great prices.  Other times I find mediocre stuff at mediocre prices.  But I always give ON a chance, especially at their Mall of America flagship store.  This time, I hit the jackpot.  Two of my purchases debuted in the easy-breezy ensemble shown above.

Ahhh...clearance.  It's the backbone of my shopping "career".  I'm pretty established in my store choices.  My regular shops typically meet 2 criteria:

1.  Clearance.  If a store isn't willing to mark down their off-season items at least 50%, you probably won't find me there. 
2.  Atmosphere.  If a store is so dark I can't see the merchandise, if the staff is unfriendly, if the music is too loud, if the whole store smells like a "baby prostitute" (thank you, Lindsay Lohan), you won't find me there. 

Based on this, you may assume that there are a few chain stores I do not frequent.  Hollister and Abercrombie come to mind first, but there are others as well.  Not sure what triggered the change of mind, but sometime mid-high school I suddenly didn't care about brands or what everyone else was wearing.  I not only wanted my clothes to be fun, but wanted the experience of buying them to be enjoyable too.   

Thus my store criteria was born.

How 'bout you?  Are there stores you avoid for very specific reasons?   Are there store you never pass up?  What's your criteria?

Cardigan:  Old Navy
Blouse:  DEB, many moons ago
Pants:  Old Navy
Shoes:  Impo via DSW
Purse:  Ecko Red via TJMaxx

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hike Chic

I am putting a hold on the search for perfect yellow pumps (again).  Well, maybe not a hold exactly.  I'm still stalking my favorite shoe websites just in case they come out with new, summer styles in yellow.  And I'm constantly eyeing women's feet just in case some lucky woman is wearing my perfect shoes and I can tackle her to the ground, demand she give them to me kindly ask her where she got them.  But I'm not pursuing them like I was a few weeks ago.  I haven't been back to e-bay since those almost perfect vintage yellow heels slipped through my virtual fingers (sigh).

For now, I've moved on.  With a mountain road trip in the near future, I think my shopping efforts are better spent in search of far less glamorous footwear:  hiking shoes.  But actually, I found a few styles that aren't all that bad.  Not that appearance matters as much as comfort and function.  But if all qualities - style, comfort, function - can be found in one shoe, how much more worthwhile is that, right? 

I keep visualizing myself climbing Pike's Peak or navigating class 5 white water rapids in patent leather, yellow heels.  It just wouldn't be practical.  And I'd look ridiculous.


















 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Hello friends!  How was your Memorial Day weekend?  I had all sorts of fun.  Steve and I tried to go to a Twins baseball game Friday night on a whim.  We have a gorgeous, new stadium, ya know.  We paid $15 to park only to realize the game was entirely sold out.  So we wandered around downtown Minneapolis, had some authentic German grub for dinner, and went home without so much as a souvenir. At least we got to see the stadium up close and in-person.  It's the most gorgeous sporting venue I've ever seen.  We can't wait to go back...with tickets.

Saturday was spent boating on the St. Croix river with the fam.  I love the fam.  They're good, fun people.  We clap for each other over everything...that's our new thing.  Everybody gets a round of applause for doing anything...or nothing in my case.  It's great.  Guess you had to be there.  Anyway...

Sunday was laaaazzzy.  Church, a little shopping and a late night visit with some friends.  Shopping included Twins paraphernalia from Wal-Mart - a shirt for Steve, a hat for me (because I'm too cheap to buy it at the stadium) for when we finally get tickets.

We slept in Monday morning.  Really late.  Like close to 11am.  I think that's a record for us.  It was grand.  Then we had lunch with family, played Volleyball with friends, then later I went to Girly Muse's house for the first screening of Wildflower, an indie-mockumentary she produced with friend and musical artist Jonathan Thulin.  Check it out.

This outfit?  Golly, it's been so long since I wore it I have very little to say.  Other than I felt pretty in it...pretty awesome, that is.  Pink and yellow are such happy colors, wearing them together is almost more than I can handle.  Happy happiness.

Dress:  Lily via Nordstrom Rack
Necklace:  Express
Purse:  Ecko Red via TJMaxx
Shoes:  Charles David via 6pm.com