Thursday, December 29, 2011

White-Girl Tragedy

JeansHudson Baby Boot Jeans, Blouse: J.Crew, Cardigan: June (if you live in Minneapolis, you have to check this place out!)
 As a general rule, I have a hard time tucking in my shirts, much to my mother's chagrin. I'm just not a huge fan of emphasizing my midsection, which usually looks like it's carrying around a food baby on the best of days. So you can imagine how loathe I was to tuck in my shirt this morning considering I've basically been subsisting on a steady diet of cookies and cheesecake for the past week. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of doing a practice tuck to see what it would look like if I actually had abs of steel. In the five seconds it took me to realize it was a terrible idea, the bottom of my shirt became irreparably wrinkled. So now I'm left with no choice but to wear it tucked in and suffer all day. White girl tragedy, I know.

Getting dressed was enough of a challenge this morning that there's no way I can even contemplate changing into an unwrinkled shirt. You'd think spending the morning going through old clothes and reviewing years worth of horrifying fashion mistakes would make it easy to get dressed. LITERALLY anything I brought home with me looks amazing in comparison. Not really that impressive considering the bar is set pretty dang low with old Abercrombie t-shirts and Charlotte Russe ponchos. (I wish I was kidding.) But all the weeding-out process did was make me nostalgic for high school when it was okay to wear hooded sweatshirts every single day of my life and not be embarrassed. If you look at it like that, my wrinkled shirt is actually a step up.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Faux Fancy

Sweater: Ann Taylor, Booties: Steve Madden Luxe, Bracelet: Ann Taylor, Watch: Michael Kors,
Belt: from Elizabeth and James sweater, Necklace: Elizabeth Ngo (vintage button jewelry), Ring: vintage

Being home makes me feel like a total lady of leisure. Everything I do seems fancy. I get to sleep in, go out to eat all the time, drive my mom's big, fancy car, and spend the majority of each day shopping. (Did I mention I'm also totally broke when I leave home?) I like to think of it as training for my future career as a trophy wife, which, by the way, I'm going to be SUPER prepared for by the time I land a sugar daddy. So it only makes sense that I'd be lounging around in my fur, right? After all, nothing screams fancy like fur. Or in my case, faux fur. To be totally honest, faux fur that I found on major clearance on Black Friday. Turns out this faux fur sweater is more appropriate than I realized since it turns out I'm pretty faux fancy. And after re-reading all this, I guess I'm less fancy and more of a freeloader. Oh, well. To be honest, I'm totally fine with either. Freeloading might even be preferrable. Less work that way.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Presents

Sweater: Elizabeth and James, Turtleneck: J.Crew, Boots: Frye

Since I didn't wear any of my Christmas presents yesterday, I thought I should make up for it by wearing all of them at once today. Makes sense, right? Go big or go home, that's what I always say. Technically this Elizabeth and James sweater was a Christmas present to myself on Black Friday, but hey, a present is a present, no matter who's paying. I probably paid more for it than I should have, but (and I'm sure this will come as a surprise to exactly no one who knows me) I'm a total sucker for anything involving the Olsen twins. Plus, I'm going to a college bowl game later, and while I'm not really into football, I am into food and booze. These Frye boots are going to make it super easy to smuggle in my other favorite Christmas present: disposable flasks. I'm like one wrong step away from being that hobo who carries booze around in a Ziploc bag.

I got to hang out and go shopping with my back-home bestie this morning, who coincidentally, just started her own hilariously witty blog. You should check it out here. Word to the wise: I did a lot of awkward laughing out loud when I read it, so you might want to make sure you're someplace where that's acceptable before you dive in. Shopping with her was a major success. Many H&M purchases were made, but more importantly, we discovered a new store that sells only gummy bears. It was like my dream come true. We spent about 30 minutes taste testing every flavor they had before walking out with a pound of gummy bears. It might have been my favorite purchase we made.

Monday, December 26, 2011

After-Christmas Madness

Cardigan: Winter Kate, Tank top: Nordstrom, Jeggings: Democracy, Belt: Nordstrom,
Booties: Steve Madden Luxe, Bracelets: Ann Taylor and assorted, Ring: Ann Taylor, Earrings: Target

Waking up this morning to a million after-Christmas sale emails was almost as good as Christmas morning for me. Especially considering I was just a teensy bit hungover after too much Christmas wine drinking with the cousins. But you better believe all those emails perked me right up. They were like a fabulous, belated gift from the retail industry. (Thanks, retail. You always know what to get me.)

Braving what's sure to be total chaos at the mall isn't even a deterrent for me. It's like my own personal challenge. Some people do Iron Man competitions (or whatever it is that physically fit people participate in...clearly I don't know). I shop after-holiday sales. We'll see who has more to show for their efforts when all those other people are mall walking in their old age, and I'm a horribly out-of-shape, but well-dressed senior citizen. I can move easily in this outfit, which is basically my only requirement for this kind of shopping. It'd be hard to box people out and snatch things from other shoppers' hands if I had limited mobility. I'd never make that mistake. This isn't my first time at the rodeo.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

Skirt: Zara, Tutleneck; Norstrom, Booties: Steve Madden Luxe, Purse: Marc by Marc Jacobs,
Necklace and Bracelets: Ann Taylor

This outfit was supposed to be a two-for-one deal: Christmas Eve mass and dinner. But we made the rookie mistake of putting my teenage brother in charge of figuring out what time church was, and so obviously we missed it. I rushed to put this outfit on, and now I have no choice but to continue wearing it until dinner. Luckily I love this skirt so much, or Christmas Eve would be going downhill quickly. I suppose I could change back into what I was wearing before this, but considering that was my pajamas, it's probably best if I don't. It was a major accomplishment to get out of them, and once they go back on, I'm not leaving the house. It's totally fine, though. Lounging around in sequined miniskirts is pretty much a normal occurrence in my life.

We have Christmas Eve dinner at a family friend's house every year, and as part of the tradition the whole group reads The Polar Express. The night invariably ends with us divided into two groups: the group trying to do a serious, emotional reading of The Polar Express, and the group insisting on performing train sound effects until everyone acknowledges how good they are at pretending to be trains. I hope your Christmas Eve is as entertaining as mine and that your Christmas morning is filled with opening presents in your pajamas (hopefully with good hair, because there will be pictures), just like mine will be. Happy holidays!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Black and Tan and Red All Over


Dress: Francesca's, Sweater: Ann Taylor, Boots: Nine West, Purse: Marc by Marc Jacobs,
Necklace: Ann Taylor, Bracelets: Ann Taylor and assorted others
I know Thanksgiving is the time you're supposed to list all the things you're grateful for, but there's still plenty to be thankful for at Christmas, right? Today I'm grateful for lunches with friends that force me to actually get dressed and leave the house. Otherwise I can say with 100% certainty that I would have spent all day today elbow-deep in cookie dough while wearing my pajamas. (Elbow-deep as in baking, not because I was stuffing my face. Although, neither one would be bad way to spend a day if you ask me.) I'm also grateful for weather warm enough that I didn't catch hypothermia while trying to take these photos outside. Today also gave me a chance to wear this dress, which I've been dying to pair with tights and boots ever since summer ended. I actually put it on to wear to work a few weeks ago before realizing that showing that much upper thigh in the office was probably taking "dress for your day" a little far and likely to get me a one-way ticket to the HR office. 

Somehow everyone at our lunch today showed up in almost exactly the same color palette: black and tan plus red and/or green. We were the most unintentionally coordinated group of ladies who lunch I've ever seen. I'm sure we were all inspired by Oscar, my friend's dog, who, by the way, is so cool he even has his own Facebook page. My friend jokes that they only bought him because he matches her mother's wardrobe so well. Looks like he's starting a trend.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Airport Attire

Jeans: Joe's Jeans (similar here), Sweater: Banana Republic (previously seen here), Knit top: Ann Taylor, Boots: Via Spiga (previously seen here), Sunglasses: Armani Exchange (similar pair here)
I'm currently counting down the minutes till I get to take off for the airport and head home for the holidays. I can't wait for relaxing family time, laying around in my pajamas, and a lot of baking. And by a lot, I mean a lot. Last time I baked, I ended up with eight pounds of cookie dough. (Not even an exaggeration. I weighed it.)

One of the hardest parts about traveling (aside from packing, aka my worst nightmare) is figuring out what to wear to the airport. I'm always torn. I don't want to be such a bum that people see me and start wondering when they let hobos roam the airport. But I also don't want to be that girl looking like a fool as she stomps around the terminal in heels, trying not to fall. Plus, my body temperature when traveling tends to alternate between violent chills and menopause-style hot flashes. By the time I get to my gate, I usually look like I've just tried to run a triathlon. Trust me, I know walking to your gate shouldn't count as aerobic exercise. But when you're lugging ten days worth of clothes in a carry-on bag because you refuse to pay checked-baggage fees, plus a "personal item" roughly the size of a small child, you're bound to end up a sweaty mess. 

This is all leading to a point, I promise. And the point is . . . layers are key. If I wasn't dressed in easily-removable layers, chances are good I'd die of heatstroke. That makes this my perfect travel outfit. Comfy, stretchy jeans, boots I can slip on and off (and that are too bulky to pack), and an open cardigan I can whip off at a moment's notice. Rest assured, I only take off a few layers. It's not like some sort of weird airport striptease. I'd like to make my flight, thank you very much. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Packing Like A Pro

I hate packing. And when I say hate, I mean hate. There's literally not one thing I enjoy about it. Packing and I are mortal enemies. I firmly believe it exists only to make my life harder. And as much as I would love to pretend I just get it over with ahead of time, when it comes to doing stuff I hate, I'm a chronic procrastinator. I'm famous for getting my suitcase out well in advance and doing nothing with it. Usually I just leave it sitting on the floor in my bedroom in the hopes that it will somehow fill itself while I'm at work, like so. That hasn't worked out for me yet. 

With that said, I pride myself on how much I can cram into a single carry-on suitcase. When I opened my suitcase on a recent girls' trip to Nashville, one of my friends said something along the lines of, "Holy crap, you're like Mary Poppins . . . if she was a clothes-hoarder, I mean." I take that as a compliment. I'm all about avoiding checked-baggage fees, so carry-on is pretty much my only option. That or attempting to wear all of the clothes I need to bring with me. Here's how I make it work:

  • Make a list and check it twice. I have to have a list. Otherwise I'm prone to doing things like packing 800 tops and forgetting the necessities . . . like my contacts. (Trust me when I say it's hard to be stylish when you can't even see.) Make a list of the essentials you need to bring, as well as specific items of clothing. Then lay it all out. This always comes in handy when I inevitably forget what I've packed on the bottom layer of my suitcase and am tempted to throw an 5-10 extra shirts on top, just in case.
  • Outfit plan ahead of time. This is one of my least favorite things about packing. I hate having to decide what I'll wear ahead of time. I don't want to be limited - I love all my clothes equally! But outfit planning (and keeping track of it) is another must. Find some key pieces you can easily remix to create multiple outfits and figure out which shoes will work with which outfits. 

  • Get rolling. The secret is rolling. I ROLL EVERYTHING. You'd be amazed at how much space you'll save. Rolled clothes, tights, and socks can get tucked into your shoes to save even more space. Plus, rolling your clothes helps keeps them from turning into a hot wrinkled mess. Try layering silkier tops and thicker knits and rolling them together to keep silky shirts unwrinkled.
3 dresses, 2 pairs of pants, 9 tops

Tada! Ready for the rundown? That's 4 pairs of pants, 4 dresses, 1 skirt, 5 sweaters, 9 tops, and 3 pairs of shoes (plus belts, tights, etc.). I'm sure I'm probably overpacked (as I usually am), but it's all in there now, so there's no going back. Christmas here I come! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sparkly Neutrals

Sweater: Ann Taylor, Jeans: Paige Denim (I can't rave about these enough!), Booties: KORS Michael Kors, Feather earrings: Francesca's, Bangles: Ann Taylor, assorted others; Infinity scarf: Nordstrom (similar here)

You guys, I'm like a magpie. I can't help it. Get me within a hundred feet of something sparkly and shiny, and that's where my attention immediately goes. I get so easily distracted that it's pretty much a miracle I don't run into more stuff on a daily basis. My addiction to all things sparkly has turned into a predictable pattern when I go shopping lately. It goes something like this: 

Me: (Enters store, immediately zeroes in on neutral, sparkly sweater) Omg I love this! 
Roommate: Of course you do. You realize you have about ten sweaters just like it, right?
Me: Oh . . . (looks dejected, buys sweater anyway)

Moral of the story, you show me a neutral, sparkly sweater, and I'll show you my credit card. (Doesn't make for a lot of variety in my wardrobe, but it does make me seem extra festive for the holidays.) This sweater was a Black Friday purchase that hasn't gotten much action yet, largely because, despite my love for neutral sweaters, I'm accident-prone while wearing them. Case in point, immediately after buying this sweater, I wore it out to dinner and dumped half a chocolate martini down the front — not surprising. What is surprising is that no one seemed to notice (or at least they were polite enough to pretend not to) and that the sweater survived. It was like an initiation. You passed the test, neutral sweater. Welcome to the fold.