Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What's Up Boyfriend?

Androgyny is sexy.  We all know it, so we may as well just embrace it.

Model Agyness Deyn
David Bowie
Grace Jones
See?  Hot.

Boyfriend style is officially a thing.  I first heard about it with boyfriend jeans a few years ago.  But I'm really really not a fan.

But there are a ton of ways to get this look without looking like you forgot to wash your clothes or got dressed in the dark.

First, let's talk watches.  If you google boyfriend style watch, you'll get a ton of hits, but I love ASOS's tortoiseshell take for 30 GBP (which is what, $50?  I should know this).  But for my money the best way to get the boyfriend look is with a men's watch.  I wear the Timex for J. Crew Vintage Field Army Watch, seen below and in tons of my OOTD posts.

Timex for J. Crew Vintage Field Army Watch $150
The only issue is the band length.  The original army green band is fine if I wear it a little loose, which to me is essential for this "boyfriend" look.  The extra bands are a little longer, on the verge of being too long, so they probably wouldn't work for someone with really small wrists.  But if you went with a metal banded watch, you could always have links removed.

While we're at J. Crew, let's talk about clothing.  This is one of my favorite source's for men's clothing, both for my husband and for me.  In fact, they used to have a size converter on their size chart for women's to men's sizing, but I don't see it now.  But I'm a L or XL in women's depending on fit at J. Crew, and I'm ususally safe with a M in men's.

Take this shirt, one of the washed favorite shirts.  This large scale gingham in a classic navy would be perfect for layering under a bright sweater or topping off a skirt.  Compare the women's perfect shirt in gingham and you'll find a price difference of almost $10.

J. Crew Secret Wash Shirt $64.50
And since my major obsession with J. Crew is the knits, of course I have to mention the tees.  I find the long sleeved men's tees to be great for layering.  They tend to be a little thicker and come in a more muted palette.  I have some great henley's from the men's section, and I'm always venturing back there for socks and accessories.

Another company that's great with boyfriend style is J. Crew's little sister company, Madewell.  I love their ex-boyfriend sweater along with all of the looser fit tees and shirts.  I picked up with purple version on Cyber Monday (I know, I know, I said no shopping).

Madewell Ex-Boyfriend Sweater on sale for $49.50
They have a kickass chambray shirt that's an almost tunic length for $68.  And even some of their more feminine pieces, like this silk shirt, have a masculine vibe.

Madewell silk cargo shirt on sale for $59.99
For accessories, all of a sudden I'm really into masculine bags.  This brief bag from Jack Spade, on sale for $145, is really gorgeous.  I could definitely see it serving as a work bag for me.  (Side note:  Jack Spade is a great place to shop for gifts if your guy is a bit of a clothes horse.  They have some awesome stuff, and I would totally wear those air quote mittens).
Jack Spade Waxwear Pocket Brief $145
But it doesn't need to stop at what you wear, right?  Of course, you can get the androgynous look and have long, flowing locks.  Bowie did it.  But having super short hair is a great place to start.  I can also tell you it's insanely easy too.  I got my hair cut yesterday, which is always a fun time.  I love my stylist (Jill at Paris Parker on Jefferson if anyone in Baton rouge stumbles onto this.  She's amazing and worth every penny), and she has such a great eye.  Literally, I've shown her a picture of my new glasses before and she made an awesome hairstyle around them.

But the first time she cut my hair really short, I didn't show her a picture of Mia Farrow or Carey Mulligan.  I showed her this little boy, from the Crewcuts section of the J. Crew catalog.

This kid has great hair
She changed it up a bit for me, especially since my hair is super straight and she knows I'm not willing to do any styling (I am LAZY).  But the idea is there.

I'm excellent at taking blurry photos!
I love my hair.  I'm aware of how I sound right now but I don't care.  My hair is THE BEST!

Dude, it was COLD yesterday!  But I needed a spa appropriate outfit so I was not dressed for it and my legs were freezing.  All my cold weather clothes are packed and here we are with a three day freeze happening!  Anyone else having trouble dressing for the weather?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! OOTD

I had a great looooong weekend with my family, stuffing my face.  And now I'm back home with my husband, stuffing my face.  This week will be a whirlwind of cleaning and trying to eat everything in our refrigerator while we get ready for our trip.  We're leaving FRIDAY and I am so freaking excited.

So here's my OOTD for Thursday.  This was a day of cooking, eating, board games, taking a walk, and hanging out with people I don't get to see nearly enough.

Taken in my 13 year old cousin's very pink room
Tunic - Levi's, Tights - Missoni for Target, Boots - Frye, watch, shell pink bangle - J. Crew, thin gold bangle - failjewelry, necklace - freshy fig, ring - Stone & Honey, beaded bracelet - The Venerable Bead

I love the way this tunic is cut on the side, and it's super comfortable.  Plus, something with a forgiving waistband is a must on Thanksgiving.

I'm really happy about the way my Fryes are breaking in.  They were almost impossible to get on and off at first, even after I had them stretched.  But they get more comfortable each time I wear them, and getting them on and off isn't so much of a chore.

Of course, we all know there's one more holiday that was celebrated last week - Black Friday.  My sister in law asked me if shopping was a hobby or something because I seemed to do it so much.  Oops.

Anyway, I really wasn't into a lot of the deals I saw being advertised.  There's not too much in the town I spend Thanksgiving in, so I have to decide whether the sales are worth driving a little over an hour for.  And since I just don't need anything right now and I'm saving up Christmas shopping for our trip, I decided not to go.

But I did shop online in the afternoon, from the comfort of my grandmother's desk.  I didn't get a ton (again, the deals didn't seem that great.  Lego was BOGO 50% off at TRU - that deal comes along about once every couple of months so it's not worth going in the middle of the night!), but I did pick up a few things.

Fab.com is having a long weekend event, starting on Black Friday and continuing through Cyber Monday.  Just logging in gets you a $10 credit, and then you get an additional $10 for every $100 you spend.  I logged in to get my $10, and I really loved the Creative Growth art, but the stuff I was interested in was already sold out.  I also loved seeing Cats in Clothes by Heather Mattoon, because Brett and I had just been looking at those a couple of days earlier.

In the end, I bought a small print and some fancy chocolate from fab.com.

Black flowers print from Brainstorm
Also, Wuslu is celebrating their second anniversary by offering mystery boxes for $19.50.  I got two, and I'm hoping for something more like distressed wire baskets and less like an Always Kiss Me Goodnight pillow.  I can always regift if I hate it!

And lastly, I got sucked in by Anthro's additional 25% off sale.  I was happy to see a couple of things that I almost bought last week just went on sale, and I got them for a big discount.

I bought this pajama set, which I saw in store and is super soft and comfy.  The original price for the set would have been $116, and I paid less than $60.

Chaparral Pajamas
I also got this shirt in gray for about a third of the original price.

Paddington Pullover
And I got this sweater for my mom for just $45, down from $100.  It's not really my style, but it's totally her.  It will look great and be really comfy.

Chain Channel Stitch Pullover
I also got a white blouse and some socks for myself.  The blouse is backordered but I really hope they can fulfill it!

I hope everyone had a great holiday and found some awesome deals on Friday!  I'm trying to do zero shopping tomorrow for cyber Monday.  Any other holdouts?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Resource: The Venerable Bead

I'm at my aunt's house in Mississippi for Thanksgiving, surrounded by food and family. I hope everyone is having a great holiday (especially my husband who's stuck at home working)! But I wanted to take a minute to show off a new piece of jewelry.

My mom got me this beautiful bracelet, which, full disclosure, was handmade by my cousin. But I have a huge family so blood alone isn't enough for my endorsement! ;)

This bracelet is gorgeous. The variation of color in the beads is amazing, and I can see it fitting in with so many of my outfits (it's shown here with another gold bracelet).

You can choose the color of leather cord, plus the beads that you want. I chose Tiger Eye and gold on a medium brown leather. Now, I admittedly chose mine based on looks, but it came with a card to explain the benefits of each stone. Apparently Tiger Eye converts anxiety and fear into practical logic, so I chose correctly!

The prices are really reasonable too. $25 for a single wrap, $40 for a double, and $80 for a triple. And you give your wrist measurements so it's pretty much a perfect fit. I usually have an issue with bracelets being too big so I really appreciate that. These would also would be a perfect Christmas gift for the ladies in your life.

You can e-mail her at jrichardson13@mac.com to get your own.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quality over quantity

Some of my family may have noticed that I have bedding on my Christmas list.  I know that it would have been really hard to refrain from some major eye rolling when they got to that entry.  See, I buy bedding kind of a lot.  I just love it.

And maybe the title of this post isn't quite right, because I'm not buying a quilt a month from Target or anything.  The stuff I have now for example (Organic Ikat Stripe Sheets, white flame stitch blanket - no longer available, Stripe Duvet Cover and Shams, and Organic Chevron Shams - all from West Elm) is good quality, especially the sheets.  And they weren't exactly cheap.

But recently, and not just in the bedding department, I've had the urge to get rid of some of the more random things I have, and focus on permanence.  Things that I want to keep forever and ever.  I'm about to finish up The Perfectly Imperfect Home, and this really jumped out at me.

The stern Sister Parish used to engage in a practice her employees termed "traying" in which she went around a new client's house with a tray scooping up all the tchotchkes, figurines, bibelots, and knickknacks she deemed superfluous.  Tough, but necessary.  If it's not beautiful, useful, or meaningful, you might as well lose it.

Our house could definitely benefit from a good traying.  But there's a problem that comes in when the people doing the sorting are the ones who live in the house and collect those superfluous items.  My husband and I don't always (or often?) agree on what beautiful, useful, and meaningful means.

Take for example, the Ikea cabinet argument of 2010.  I freaking love that cabinet, wanted it so bad, was so excited when I got it as a gift.  He HATES it.  I think if he could get rid of one item in our house, that would be it, no matter how useful the storage is.

Let's not even discuss the combination table, lamp, magazine rack that resides in his office.  I told my dad that if it fell of the truck when we moved I wouldn't be upset.  But he wisely realized he shouldn't be the one to make that decision.

But there are some things I think we can agree on.  The glass jar filled with decorative balls - really not our style, and we don't need to keep it just because we need something on top of a shelf.  The framed imprint of our cat's paw, who we lost last year?  Meaningful, and yes, beautiful.

Now, the bedding on my Christmas list has been on my dream list since the moment I saw it.  But there are a couple of problems.  First, Brett has never seen it, and considering it's covered in peacocks I think that could be an issue.  Second, he's not the world's biggest fan of the duvet cover concept.  I think this could be solved in part if we got a better quality (read - fluffier, bigger) comforter.  But the fact remains that it's going to move around in there and piss him off.

DwellStudio Peacock Citrine Duvet Cover $320 for King
Ignore the lamp please.  This also comes in a dove gray and white colorway, but I love this yellow, and think it would be amazing with a foundation of white bedding (sheets, blanket, shams with different textures).

I think this is absolutely gorgeous.  But after the way Brett reacted to my idea of an Otomi covered headboard, I think this ought to be run by him.

Otomi headboard - almost positive this is Grace Bonney's home
Another option I love, if we're eliminating duvets, is the idea of a vintage Suzani coverlet in super bright colors.  This one is bold and gorgeous at $429.  I absolutely love the red.

BO Suzani Coverlet from Table Tonic $429
Again, with a white foundation, maybe some lightly patterned sheets like the ones we have now, this would be absolutely gorgeous.  Is that a lot of money for a bedspread?  Yes, but for a vintage Suzani that will last a lifetime, I think it's worth it.

My dream bedroom (meaning, the bedroom in our next house because I think our current bedroom is really sellable) will have white walls, a mix of vintage furniture, either an upholstered headboard or none at all, and obnoxiously in your face bedding.  I think these options fit in pretty well with that, don't you?

I need to do this with more than bedding, obviously.  We have plenty of knickknacks that can go out the door and probably never be missed.  And this is definitely a lesson learned about furniture.  We're both much more confident in our style, and making those decisions will come to us easier now.  But it will be a slow process, one that involves a big investment.  And I've got to keep my patience that we'll get there.

Friday, November 18, 2011

OOTD: Junebug Junebug

I took most of the day off today because I had appointments throughout the day.  I thought I might have time to do a little shopping in between appointments, but I was really looking for fancy underpants and pajamas, so I didn't really feel the need to dress for trying stuff on.  Of course, I ended up trying on a few things anyway!  For some reason I felt like wearing a lot of color today.  Maybe I was just in a good mood since I knew I got to go to therapy?  But I wanted to dress for the cool weather and still look cheery.

Breaking out the fancy tights
The side view picture turned out a lot clearer than the front view.  Dress from Anthropologie.  Jacket from Gap (it's army green denim, LOVE it).  Tights are I think from Urban Outfitters, I love how matte they are, and their tights are a good price as well.  Boot by Naturalizer.

The dress is silk and kind of summery, but with our climate I think it works.  It was about 55 when I left but in the low 70s mid afternoon, a gorgeous day.

Watch is Timex for J. Crew, bracelet by J. Crew (that yellow is so great, this was a great purchase.  I think it was like $7 after the sale?).  Locket is vintage, and was a gift from my parents.  I need to get a new chain for it.

I also wore a new ring on the other hand that I forgot to take a picture of.  I've had the triangle stacking rings from Stone and Honey on my wishlist for a while, so when they popped up on fab.com I had to pick one up.  I think I paid $13 for it through fab?  It's a great website and I really recommend signing up for the waiting list.  I've gotten this ring, huge discounts on glasses and sunglasses for us, a salt sampler for my brother's birthday, and a Sharon Montrose print, all at great discounts.

Anyway, I took these pictures the other day when I got it in the mail as a part of Project 365 (taking a pic every day for a year).  It's gorgeous, but I wish I'd remembered to take a pic of it on my hand to show how teeny it is.

I felt really fantastic in this outfit today, and it was perfect for the weather.  Like I said, I did end up trying on some clothes but my tights didn't distract too badly, so it was still okay.

I went to Anthropologie for the second time in three days.  Oops!  I was looking for lingerie and pajamas but wanted something different, and they had some great things.  Our local store had a TON of stuff on the sale rack.  I don't know if they're prepping for Black Friday or what, but there were some great deals to be had.

I've had my eye on this dress since it first came out, but at $198 I was really hesitant.  It's silk, a great print, and super flattering with a drapey top and more fitted skirt, but that's just a lot of money for one piece.  I noticed it on the sale rack today and it was marked down to $49.  Sold!  It's sold out in every size but M online, but they had both M and L in my store (I bought a L and found it to run true to size, blousy on top).

The Addison Story Collecting Dots Dress $49
This skirt also caught my eye in the sale room, but in a rose color instead of the black.  It's poly, but I honestly wouldn't have known - it feels like silk.  It's super comfortable with an elastic waist and the pleating is gorgeous.  I fell in love with the movement of it.  I was unsure about the length of a midi skirt on me, but I actually really loved it.  I think with a simple top and ballet flats, it will be really great.  I paid $39, and with a regular price of $159 I think it was quite a steal!  I'll wear it pretty high on the waist, and that seemed to be the most flattering, but with the elastic waist there's freedom to switch it up as well.  They currently have S, M, and L in the black online.  I think some of the detail could be lost in the black version, but it looks very cute as well.  I thought this one ran TTS.

Hunter Davis Million Pleats Midi Skirt $39
I'm so happy with both of these purchases.  I can see myself wearing each of them a ton!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Thanksgiving is just a week away, I've ordered a fried turkey to take on the trek to my grandma's, and I'm sitting here full of delicious treats from my office work potluck.  Sure, it means it's time to gather with my family and spend time cooking, laughing, eating, playing games, taking walks in the woods and riding wagons down hills.  But it also means that in one week and one day, it's officially Christmas season!

Now, normally we put up our tree and decorations as soon as we get home from Thanksgiving, on that Sunday.  so we have almost a month to enjoy it all (they have to come down before the New Year OR ELSE).  But this year, I'm coming home on a Sunday and leaving again on Friday for over a week.  I seriously doubt I'll have time to put any decorations up in that short time - other than the jingle bell wreath on my office door.

So we'll play it by ear.  Depending on how tired I am, we'll either put them up right when we get home or sometime that week.  And it may be a condensed version this year, partly because of timing and partly because we're not hosting.  But I definitely want to have something.

So, our standard decorations are a tall, skinny tree with white lights and a silver star on top.  We have balls in shades of red and brass tones, that match the red and brass accents in our living room.  But other than that, our tree doesn't have a theme.  I'll probably use an Ikea sheepskin as a skirt, or a plain red felt one I made a couple of years ago.  We just buy ornaments that we love, a few each year.  A lot of them are animals, just because we love animals so much, but that's not as much a tree theme as an entire house theme.

So far this year, I've picked up this little guy, a fair trade llama.

I bought him at Whole Foods.  He's not a food.
And then yesterday I stopped by Anthropologie since I was in the area and found these guys.

It's a narwhal!  I love his waterspout the most, it's glittery
A raccoon made of newspaper by Haitian artisans.  He's pretty adorable
Some of my other favorites are my paper mache dinosaurs, a bottle brush owl, and some felted wool creatures.  I love getting them out each year.

I'd also really love some garland on the tree.  I love the red felt ball garland at West Elm for $14 a string.  I just wish I knew how long it was because the dimensions on the site (8.5" long) can't possibly be right.  Maybe they mean 85"?  I could also make a felt or tissue paper garland myself, but I feel like I should plan to NOT do any DIY projects for the holidays with my schedule.

As for other decor, we've got glitter trees, dotted felt stockings I made a few years ago (I'll have to turn the one with a W into an M this year which will be rough on us I'm sure, but we're happy to celebrate Moe's first Christmas.  Yes, my cats have stockings.  Yes, I fill them.), glitter candlesticks to replace the gray ones we have out.  Just simple things.

I do want to go all out on our Christmas table though.  Now, I know I said we weren't hosting this year, and we're not.  My brother and sister in law are hosting and I can't wait to go up and visit them.  But Brett and I always spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day alone together, at home, anyway.  We celebrate with our families on another weekend and make those days about us.  It helps that Brett usually has to work up until that last minute and then sometimes the next day (and sometimes ON Christmas).  But it's a favorite tradition of ours anyway.

When we get up we'll open gifts, then go to the Waffle House for breakfast, another tradition.  We'll be too full and happy for lunch, but we'll cook a nice dinner together and I want the table to look festive.  Last year, I went fun and fancy with our china, vintage brass, and black, white, and red linens.

This year, with just the two of us, I think I might stick with Fiestaware in red, shamrock, and lemongrass.  Add in white linens, brass candlesticks, and green and white hydrangea and tulips in our vintage glassware, and I think it will look lovely.  The best part is that all I have to buy is the flowers.  And the food of course.  Everything else, I have!

This quick mood board kind of illustrates what I'm going for.  I love the colors, and I think I'll want to use a lot of white.  And those giraffes are just too cute to leave on the mantel all the time.

Anybody have big plans for their Christmas tables (or Thanksgiving!  Or Hannukah?)?  I love these kinds of things, but maybe it's just me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

OOTD: Wet Hot American Fall

It was rainy and muggy today.  It's supposed to cool down again tomorrow, but for today, bare legs were definitely in the picture.  I'm obsessed with this cardigan I got a few weeks ago from J. Crew.  And I need a sweater in my office even when it's well over 100 degrees outside.  Plus, I loved these colors together for fall, even if it is hot out.

Aww, fall colors (this is a joke for my bro-today is his 29th birthday-love you Beau!)
I love, love, love this dress.  I got it from the clearance rack at our J. Crew store, so I'm not sure of the style name.  But it's so flattering on.  The waist tie makes it a little drapey in the chest in a good way.

Dress, cardigan, watch, bracelet - J. Crew.  Shoes - Gap.  Necklace - ??.  Ring - Urban Outfitters.  Kitten belly - Sadie

These are leaves.  I always think they're feathers until I look at them closely.

I thought for a long time about where I got this necklace, and I can't for the life of me remember.  I think it's either Target or Forever 21.  But it's a few years old, so that's not going to help anyone.

Actually on time this morning!
I'm obsessed with my watch.  It was a birthday gift from my parents, and they did a fabulous job.  It's a great boyfriend style.  My husband actually asked for the cheaper version (Timex Weekender) for Christmas, since I wear mine too much for him to borrow it.

I got this bangle on sale at J. Crew a while ago, they were running a promotion to buy three and get all of them for 50% off or something similar.  I chose this shell pink because I thought it was a little unexpected with the other colors.

Fox or weasel?  You decide
Here's a terrible picture of my ring from UO.  It's a fox, I know.  But my husband swears it's a weasel.  I think we're both projecting what we perceive to be aspects of our personalities onto the rings.  You know, because I'm foxy.

I'm loving wearing summer clothes while I can.  And I actually already packed my clothes for our upcoming trip, so my options are a bit more limited at this point.  But it's making me reach for pieces I might not have otherwise, like these leopard shoes.  And mixing it up is always a good thing.

Sale Alert: New West Elm Markdowns

If I had to pick one store to shop from for the rest of my life, and if I didn't have to be practical about it (what, I don't need to eat and I can make my clothes out of throw pillows and curtain panels), it would be West Elm.  I have to restrain myself from a house that's 100% identifiably from their catalog, but they make amazing basics (their gallery frames, get some) at great prices, and every season brings some unique pieces that are just to die for.  This summer's Kantha throws, and especially the overdyed Kantha chair, were so gorgeous.  I'm so glad I was able to pick up one of the throws in store so I could pick the colors and pattern.

Anyway, they added a ton of markdowns to their site this morning.  No code necessary, just go to this link and browse.  It looks like it may not all be closeout merchandise, since there are some basics on there, and some of their tried and true items.  It may be just a sale for Christmas, especially since it seems like retailers are trying to get a jump on Black Friday this year.

So let's jump in.  West Elm sheets are excellent, definitely my favorite.  If you're not into sateen these are the way to go.  They have a few sets on sale for $70/set for king size, but this one is my favorite.

West Elm Dot Print Sheet Set
There are plenty of rug options as well.  I LOVE this one, the Tribal Jute Rug.  Many of the sizes are sold out so it looks like a closeout.  But at just under 4xt6 and $99, I think the largest size would be great for a larger bathroom.  At $40, the 2x3 size would be great for a doormat or kitchen rug.  (Note to family - I would love this for Christmas.  Love love love).

West Elm Tribal Jute Rug
Their hugely popular zigzag rug is being discontinued in the yellow color.  I think this is a great color (and I have a yellow and white living room rug, so I'm biased) and it's a great opportunity to save some money.  The 9x12 is marked down to $549 from the original price of $699.

If you're looking for a small bathroom console, you can save big on the 2x2 console right now.  It's $279 without the faucet (down from $499), and $349 included a great looking chrome faucet (original price $749).  Those are huge savings, but I'm disappointed that this piece is being discontinued.  It was one of my favorites in the 2x2 line.  I think it probable suffered from the fact that it wasn't well advertised in the catalog, and mostly the fact that it was too high priced for the 2x2 line.  But with solid oak shelving and a powder coated metal frame, the current price is a GREAT deal.

West Elm 2x2 Bath Console
They're also discontinuing the yellow pendant cord set, marked down to $19.99, along with the yellow industrial pendant conversion kit, down to 9.99.  The yellow industrial pendants themselves are still full price, so it looks like those will be around for a while, you'll just have to deal with a different colored cord and plate.

There's also a lot that could work as gifts this Christmas.  All throws and tabletop is 20% off, and there is some really cute stuff on final sale as well (final sale items will end in .99, regular sale ends in .00).  I think lots of people would love to receive these teacup measuring cups, cute dessert plates, or some kitchen storage jars.

No matter who you're shopping for, this sale is definitely worth a browse.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blast from the past

It's no secret I'm a huge fan of J. Crew.  My bridesmaids got their dresses there, I love their tee shirts so much I will pet them, and in my opinion the mixed tape cardigan is THE most versatile piece in my wardrobe.  And let's not get started on the shoes.

I got married at a zoo (awkward segue alert).  Three and a half years ago, I bought a long gold necklace with a giraffe charm from our local J. Crew store to wear to our rehearsal dinner.  It was so lovely, and cost me about $60.  Well worth it in my opinion.  But after wearing it a few times, I broke the chain while I was out one night and didn't notice until it was too late.  My giraffe was gone (side note:  if anyone found a small gold giraffe at the Fox and the Hound in late 2008 in Southaven, it's MINE).

So fast forward to this morning.  I'm about to check out at J. Crew with some shirts my husband picked out, since his keep developing tiny holes in the cuffs and elbows.  If anyone knows how we can avoid this PLEASE tell me.  I'm so tired of replacing his shirts every three months.  Something told me to check the factory jewelry section.  I mean, probably my addiction to jewelry but whatever, it's cool.

Imagine my excitement when I saw the elephant necklace that was part of the same series as the giraffe in 2008! 

J. Crew Enamel Critter Charm Necklace
 And when I clicked on it, I saw that they have the giraffe as well!

J. Crew Critter Charm Necklace
Along with a yellow hippo that I'm not quite as fond of, they're on sale right now for $19.99.  If you use the code MUSTHAVE you'll get an extra 30% off sale items, which brings them down to about $13.50.  I'm not ashamed to say I got them both.  At the quality I remember, that is an amazing deal.

For myself, I also got a long sleeve scoop neck tissue tee in poppy red for $13.50, a cinnamon colored linen blend cardigan for under $30 (photo of a different color below, I love the length and sheerness), a pair of gray cable knit tights for $10 , and a strap for my watch in a blush color for $10.

Linen Island cardigan, regular $80, I got it for under $30

I bought one shirt for my husband at full price, which I didn't notice until now (eep!), but it's beautiful - poppy red gingham in a medium scale.  It will look really good on him.  The others were from $20-40 and different types of plaid.  I also got him a henley style hoodie in distressed black for layering.  I picked that out without consulting him so I hope he likes it, but I think it will come in handy for our trip.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

LadyMags: The Snob Diet?

I'm not the world's biggest fan of ladymags.  I think I would read Boating or something before I picked up a Cosmo in a doctor's waiting room.  But I've had a subscription to Glamour for years, and I'm generally a fan of Lucky and InStyle.

Glamour, though, while I used to love it, I've found myself reading the dos and don'ts and ignoring the rest of it.  But on this month's cover, there was a teaser that caught my eye:  The "Snob Diet."  WTF?

Jan 2012 Glamour Cover (aka BOOBS)
So after reading the dos and don'ts of lace, I flipped back to read about exactly what the snob diet is.  Now, I'm skeptical of any diet with a title:  Low Card diet, Cabbage diet, MasterCleanse.  So I was already reading this article with a healthy dose of side eye.  This fancy lady really didn't help.

Food snobs wear lavender fur jackets
The maribou heels are also a nice touch.  You know who I bet is a food snob?  Barbie.

Reading the introduction, I was pleasantly surprised.  The basic concept is a pretty solid one that most people will be familiar with, especially if you've read any Michael Pollan.  Eat real food, eat smaller portions, indulge your cravings.  But it did go way over the top with a Gwyneth Paltrow quote: "I'd rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a can."  Really Gwyneth?  I wonder if she's ever had EZ Cheeze.  It has it's place!

This is basically the plan I've been following for the past year plus, and I've lost about 40 lbs.  By eating what I want, I find that I eat a lot less.  I generally avoid low calorie alternatives, and especially low fat - like sour cream, cream cheese, etc.  Seriously, what is the point in low fat ice cream?

There were some really good points in the article along with the basics.  It mentioned savoring your food rather than eating quickly, which can lead to eating far less calories.  It specifically talks about eating in front of the tv, which is HUGE for me.  They also point out that indulging cravings can lead to eating less in total.  I've definitely found that to be true, and have learned to just eat what I want in the first place.

This snob is all like "I can eat chocolates and still look fantastic in my underpants."

One of the points that they highlight as a positive, though, can be a huge negative for a lot of people.  They point out that "Snobs consider what to eat and when," because high quality foods aren't available everywhere.  For people who are working, running around, chasing after kids, or traveling a lot, that's not a positive point.  That makes this REALLY difficult.  Not impossible, but a lot harder than just grabbing a yogurt and running out the door.  I think this difficulty is really evident in the "test diet" that they did for a day.

Why can't a snob eat chips and salsa, dude?
The timing on snacks is really a wash.  On the snob day, the tester didn't even want a snack in the morning, but the typical day's walnuts and Diet Coke didn't take any prep time.  The snob's afternoon snack of berries and yogurt wouldn't take any more prep than chips and salsa.

The real issue is meal prep.  On the typical day, the tester grabbed a bagel (and home fries) from a deli, but on the snob day they found time for to make a tomato and cheese omelet.  For lunch, a typical day was a stop at a smoothie shop, but the snob day required a lunch brought from home  - a salad of turkey, goat cheese, beets, asparagus, and vinaigrette, and a homemade brownie.  That's something that could be difficult to find if you were traveling for work (especially for me, since I tend to go to more rural areas where a salad is iceberg lettuce, fried chicken, and ranch dressing.

Dinner was the huge difference in time.  On the typical day the tester had a chicken parmesan sandwich with fries.  But on the snob day, the had a homemade pot roast with vegetables and herbs.  Very few people have time to make a pot roast on a work night.  Although, that is something that could be made on the weekend and eaten throughout the week.  We do that with soup a lot.

Since the results aren't visible above, the typical day was 2500 calories while the snob day was 2100.  That's about a pound a week, but I honestly doubt that this was a typical day for the tester, especially being topped off with a fried sandwich on garlic bread AND fries.

Another thing they don't mention in the article, that could be a big barrier for some people, would be the cost.  Obviously for the tester, who ate out for three meals on the typical day, the cost is probably not much more, possibly much less for the snob diet.  But for someone going from processed food to the snob foods, it's likely to get a lot more expensive really quickly.

I think it's important to put a premium on the food we eat, and spend as much on the best quality groceries as we can.  That's something that Brett and I are trying to remember.  But ignoring what can be real issues for tons of women isn't helpful for anyone.

The most insightful thing in the article came at the very end, and just for that, I'm glad I read it.  Dietician Ashley Koff is quoted as saying "No one's investing million into making women want cave-aged cheeses and shiitake mushrooms.  Instead 10,000 new diet products are marketed heavily each year."

That's something that we can all remember when we're deciding what to have for dinner.  And we don't have to be snobs to do it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Resource: Schoolhouse Electric

Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. has long been a great resource for period appropriate lighting, as well as classic pieces with modern updates.  Since I first saw their site, I told myself that when (not if, I'm pretty confident about this!) I get my dream Craftsman, they'll be my go to source for lighting.  Their prices are really reasonable too, starting around $70 for a pendant.  Seriously a great resource.

So I was super excited when I heard that they were expanding their product line.  They're branching out, and while they'll still offer their classic lighting fixtures, lamps, and hardware, they're now offering furniture, bedding, and housewares as well.  And they've stayed with their updated classic aesthetic that's so fantastic.  I can see these pieces fitting into so many homes.

This sofa, the Beckman, is a true classic.  It comes in tons of upholstery options - I love the graphite velvet and the lemongrass twill.  At $2665 it's definitely a splurge, but it's handcrafted in the USA (although I'm a little confused on the price.  Under the photo at the site it says "shown in Jade Cotton Twill - $1475.  But if you click on the Jade Cotton Twill as an option, the price at the top shows $2665.  You'd have to call to confirm).

Beckman Sofa, Schoolhouse Electric
If you want to mix it up, you can purchase one of these expertly tailored slipcovers for $1275.  Expensive for a slipcover, of course.  But one person who's seen them in person said they couldn't even tell it was a slipcover.

Beckman Slipcover, Schoolhouse Electric
I'm in love with this slipcovered Stephenson Chair.  The chair is $1480 and the slipcover is $550.  I absolutely love the off-centered stripe and the colors.  It would be a fantastic accent chair.

Stephenson Chair, Schoolhouse Electric
There's some other great furniture as well.  I love the desk with the open area for stashing stuff, the wood dining table with beautiful jointed legs, and the classic metal beds.  There are even shameless knock-offs of Eames shell chairs.

I'm also kind of obsessed with their new bedding.  This duvet cover is so simple, but the yellow color is wonderful.  And the simple pattern would be perfect on a layered bed.  It starts at $115.

Egg Press Dot Duvet Cover, Schoolhouse Electric
They're also offering bath linens, kitchen accessories, bags, rugs, clocks, and accessories.  I love these stoneware pitchers for $58.

Stoneware Pitcher, Schoolhouse Electric
Check out their new website and see what you can find.  Everything is so versatile and simple, you'll find something you love!