Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Gala Story

[This post may be kind of long, because it's kind of two stores in one post.]

This past weekend I had a big school party to go to - our annual "Gala".  I had seen a picture of the Waterfloral Pastiche cardigan that was coming out, and loved it, so I asked my personal shopper if there were any other clothes coming out in that pattern, and she told me about the Taryn dress, so I decided I would get that dress for the Gala, as this was my first time going.  I ordered it the day it came out, and had them overnight it to me, but in the end, it didn't fit!

It was too small in the bust area, and I was bulging out of the top of the dress all over - not pretty AT ALL!  BF tried to tell me that it looked okay, especially because I would probably be wearing a wrap or sweater, but I just couldn't wear it, knowing how it looked.  I will admit, I cried for longer than I should have.  I was really crushed - the dress is gorgeous, and it made me really upset that I couldn't wear it to the Gala.  I even tried calling around to some of the bigger, higher-end local J.Crews to see if by any chance anyone had returned a size bigger, but no luck.

(And for those of you in the area: I got a nice girl from Copley, a very rude girl from Atrium (SHOCKER), and a very, very nice guy named Ed from Natick.  I actually saw Ed last night when I was returning the dress, and made a point to tell him how nice he was, and how much I appreciated his help.)

So once I figured out that the J.Crew dress was a no-go, I had to find another one.  I might have a small dress problem, in that I am prone to buy whatever pretty dress comes along, even if I don't have a real need for it.  The good news was that this meant I had plenty of back-up dresses to pick from, and in the end, I went with a dress I picked up a couple years ago (but had never worn) from The Limited.  It even matched my shoes that I had picked out specifically to go with the Taryn dress.  BF actually said that he preferred the dress I ended up wearing over the Taryn dress.

On to the outfit!  First, here is the coat I wore.  It was actually chilly out the night of the Gala, so I dug this coat out of the closet, where it was languishing for a couple of years now, ready to be worn for the first time.  (See, I told you I have a problem with wearing new things!)  I love this coat - it's such a fun color, and I love the cut and design of it.  It even matched my shoes!

Here is the dress I ended up wearing.  As I said, it's from The Limited, and it's a couple years old, at least.  I think I would have liked it if it were a tad bit shorter, and I felt really exposed (I don't usually wear things so low cut), but I really liked it.  I love pastels, and it is a gorgeous shade of pale pink-purple, and the floaty chiffon is really lovely.  It totally reminds me of ballerinas for some reason!

Here is the back of the dress.  It crosses in the back, and is supposed to then tie in the back, but I wasn't able to tie it without it scrunching up the back, so I just wrapped the ties back around the front and tucked them down the front of the dress.  I think it looks much cleaner this way.  (Also, that is my loooong hair that appears to be sprouting from my armpit.)

Here's how I had my hair styled.  I don't know if you can see it well, but I was trying to channel Emily Blunt's hair from these pictures.  I rolled pieces of the hair back to create a sort of rolled "frame" on each side, and then I just pinned all my hair up in the back.  It fell out later, and this picture is from the end of the night, otherwise I'd show you the back as well.  (If you're friends with me on Facebook, you can see it from the front on there!)  This picture also shows the earrings I wore.

This picture is hard to see, but here is my purse.  I went with basic black clutch with some really pretty allover scalloped petals/ruffles.  This clutch is cute, but it is very tiny.  I brought my ID, debit card, camera, and my BlackBerry.  My camera and BlackBerry are not that big, but I could only fit one in the bag at a time, so it's definitely more form over function!

Lastly, here are the shoes.  I ordered these shoes on sale from Nordstrom, planning to wear them with the Taryn dress.  I thought the bright pink would match well with the pink in the dress.  I think they went well with the dress I wore, but I also think they were a bit too clunky for the dress.  I think a daintier shoe might have worked better.  Plus the shoes came with a big black stain on the them.

The Gala itself was a lot of fun!  It was the first one I've been to, and I had a lot of fun hanging out with my friends from school.

Here's the deets on the outfit!
Dress: The Limited
Coat: Express
Shoes: Nordstrom (forget the brand)
Earrings: Express
Clutch: Lela Rose for Payless
Ring: Tiffany
Nail Polish: Maybelline on fingers and OPI on toes

Weekend outfits

You know you're getting old when you have a hard time remembering what you did over the weekend, especially when it was a fairly eventful one!

Usually I do a long run on Sunday mornings, but we had plans on Sunday, so I moved my long run to Saturday (9 miles, oof), and then in the afternoon, I ran a few errands at the mall.  I had a party ("Gala") to attend on Saturday night, and I had ordered a J.Crew dress for it, but it didn't fit (more about that in another post), so I had to find another dress.  Luckily I have boxes and boxes of dresses to pick from, so that part was pretty easy, but I had to make a trip to Victoria's Secret for some more appropriate, er, underclothes.  While I was there, I picked up a gift for my brother's birthday, and also picked up some Keurig K-Cups for the BF.

I threw on this outfit pretty much just for going to the mall, so I just grabbed whatever was handy and looked presentable!

Jeans: Express
Shirt: Gap
Sweatshirt: Target
Shoes: Old Navy

Sunday morning we attended a meet-up with one of our Meetup groups.  The meet-up was a rock climbing trip, and was a ton of fun.  BF and I had been rock climbing a couple of years ago on a cruise, but have never been besides that.  There were about 20 of us, split into 2 different groups.  We met and got a brief intro to tying knots and how to belay, and then just got to climb as long as we wanted.  It's a great workout - I was definitely feeling it on Monday, and I'm looking forward to going back!

People wore all kinds of things rock climbing - jeans, shorts, workout and yoga pants, etc.  I went with something looser, but I'll probably wear some yoga pants next time.

Pants: J.Crew
Tee: Old Navy
Sweatshirt: Brand unknown (Patriots logo)
Shoes: Old Navy

This is a picture of the shoes I wore both days - basic pair of black flip-flops from Old Navy.  You really can't beat their flip-flop deals!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Please hold!

Sorry for no OOTD for today. I'm working from home, and my outfits so far have been: jammies, haphazardly thrown on sweats to take the dog to daycare, running clothes, and bathrobe. Nothing really exciting, and definitely not blog-worthy. I'm going out later tonight to a charity bowling tournament, so I'll post my outfit from that!

In the meantime, a short review of yesterday's outfit.

Definitely consider sizing down in the sweater from the Gap, if only because it has a good amount of stretch in it. I pushed the sleeves up about halfway, and when I pulled them down at the end of the night, they were horribly stretched out and all flopping around. Not pretty!

Second, this skirt is not made for sitting down. Yesterday I was sitting all day at my desk, sitting during a meeting, and then sitting in class. This is what my skirt looked like at the end of the day when I got home - yikes! I'd say wear this skirt if you're going to something where you'll be standing up most of the time (An art gallery opening? A trip to the museum? A trip to the zoo, even?), but if you're going to be sitting most of the day, this may not be the best choice.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Red Coast shoes make their debut!

It's chilly and windy here today, but it's not raining, so I busted out my outfit that I was planning on wearing yesterday! (Well, kind of - the sweater arrived yesterday, so I would have worn a different sweater.)

I based this outfit around mah shoes. (Yes, that's how I say it in real life, too. I'm a geek, now you know!) So I'm switching it up today and showing you the shoes first today! They are from Payless, from the Christian Siriano-designed line. He was not my favorite contestant on Project Runway by a long shot, but I can't deny that he designs some really beautiful things. I have purchased a number of his shoe designs from Payless.

I snagged these shoes in the red/orange print as well as the gorgeous green/blue print during a BOGO promotion. (Little tip: If you don't need your shoes right away, have them shipped to your local store for free!) I love the print, and they are a pretty comfortable height. They have a small platform, and a cute, rounded toe. They are a little on the shinier side, too.

After I got the shoes, I figured I would wear them with some neutral color, maybe a grey or a white (and I probably still will), but then someone was selling this gorgeous J.Crew skirt on the weekly exchange, so I snapped it up. Normally I stay away from orange - it's not that I don't like it, but I think it can be hard to wear, and more importantly, I think it's kind of limiting in the colors you can pair it with, especially if you're a more conservative dresser like I am. However, I knew this skirt would go great with my shoes!

I paired it with a simple navy cardigan (the Ultimate cardigan that I ordered during the Gap Give & Get promotion). I played with some other shades of blue, but this one definitely worked the best, in my opinion. Quick review of the sweater: consider sizing down (reviews on their website will tell you that too), but the fabric is lovely. It's a medium weight, but very soft. If you are looking for a nice, basic cardigan, I would highly recommend this one.

Skirt: J.Crew
Cardigan: Gap
Cami: New York & Company (under sweater)
Shoes: Christian Siriano for Payless
Watch: Fossil

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Black and blue on a rainy day

I had planned a cute orange-themed outfit for today (orange the color, not the fruit), but it's raining pretty heavily, so I had to forgo that for a different outfit. When it's raining out, I tend to gravitate more towards flats, mostly because I own very few heels of a sensible height, aka, less than 3 or 3.5 inches. (Hey, when you are only 5 feet tall, you will take all the height you can get!)

So in the end, I opted for this blue and black patterned skirt, and paired it with some black tights. I had initially but on a deep blue button-down (short sleeve) with a black shell over it, but I wasn't really feeling it, so I went with this black sweater instead. I have had this sweater for years, but rarely wear it, so I'm glad it's getting some use!

I tend to gravitate towards black, especially when I'm in a hurry, and I don't think you can really have too many black tops (especially cardigans) or black shoes. They are so easy to pair with whatever you're wearing (except maybe orange), so I think they are great classic, go-to pieces.

Skirt: The Limited
Sweater: Unknown
Tights: The Limited
Shoes: Gap Outlet
Watch: Fossil

I really like these flats. I stumbled across them by chance once at my local Gap Outlet. I'd had a pair of basic black flats from Old Navy for years, and I loved them...until I was wearing them when I stepped in chicken poo in Poland! When I tried to clean them, the material tightened up a little, and now they are a little too tight for me. I like these flats better though, because they are very basic (the ON ones had little ties on them), and I can throw them on with anything - dresses, skirts, pants, jeans!

The first time I wore them, they cut up my feet really badly though - blisters everywhere. After a couple more wearings though, they've stretched out a bit, and are super comfy!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Honeycomb for spring

We had gorgeous weather around here this weekend, but I heard the beginning of this week is going to be kind of crummy. That's not going to stop me from wearing skirts though - in my mind, spring is officially here!

I've been meaning to wear this green skirt for a while now. It's been hanging on my clothes rack for at least a month now! Today I'm pairing it with this silk honeycomb-patterned top I picked up from Banana Republic back in January. They were running a promotion where you got 40% off any regular-priced item every Wednesday in January, so I used it to score some cute silk tops for work.

Skirt: Banana Republic Outlet
Top: Banana Republic
Sweater: J.Crew Outlet
Shoes: J.Crew

Here's a picture of the outfit without the sweater on. I'll probably leave the sweater on for most of the day, but this is a better picture of the top. It's a pretty loose fitting top, and has a ruched neckline with flutter sleeves. The silk is a really nice, light weight, and it's a great spring top.

I paired this outfit with my patent Cate slingbacks in light brown from J.Crew. These are a half size up from my normal size, and I think the color works well with the light brown in the pattern of my top.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pink Stripes, Pink Shorts, and Pink Sandals!

It was a pink sort of weekend, and I didn't even plan it that way! On Friday night, BF and I went on a double date with my friend and her boyfriend. We had a lot of fun - especially a certain incident where BF bet me I couldn't get our cute waiter's phone number! (And technically I didn't get it myself - my friend's boyfriend bluntly told him I wanted it.) I forgot to take a picture of my outfit on Friday night, but it was schlumpy, so you're better off not seeing it, and it is pretty similar to Saturday's outfit anyway!

On Saturday, I had to go into Boston for a meeting in the afternoon. It was a pretty laid-back meeting, so I wore jeans, a striped tee, and a cardigan. Hoodies are my go-to top layer pieces, but I have decided to try to get out of my hoodie rut...plus I just noticed my favorite hoodie has a small hole in it. So sad. :(

Jeans: Express
Tee: Express
Cardigan: Gap Outlet
Belt: Express
Shoes: Reebok EasyTone
Nails: Mink Muffs by Essie

I decided to wear my EasyTones into Boston, because I had a bit of walking to do. I haven't decided yet if these shoes work or not, but they are very comfortable, and not totally awful looking, so I wear them whenever I can, as long as it's appropriate. I like this pair of EasyTones because they look like fairly normal sneakers. Some of the EasyTones are kind of ugly!

This morning was a long run day, and just last night BF treated me to some new running clothes! He knows I have been training faithfully, so bought me some new pants, shorts, and a tee as a gift, and the weather was perfect to wear the shorts and tee today! I'm holding my fuel belt in the picture below - if you're a runner, I highly recommend these. Just make sure you get the right size - I have one in every size because I initially bought a size too small, then overcompensated by buying a size too big, and BF ended up buying me the right size. (And the saga of my fuel belt always reminds me of Goldilocks and the Three Bears!)

Tee: Under Armour (Loose fit)
Shorts: Under Armour
Socks: Under Armour liners (with arch support!)
Shoes: NIKE Structure 13 Triax

These are my other pair of NIKE running shoes. After I had been training consistently for awhile, I decided it was time to get fitted for some proper shoes, and I ended up with this pair (and another pair from a different brand, but I'm breaking in the NIKEs first). I love these shoes!

Lastly, here's my outfit from the rest of today. BF and I went to a friend's house for an Easter/spring party. Because I had just come from running (and had even gotten a slight tan from running), I way overestimated how warm it was outside, and went hunting for my shorts. Okay, well, I actually went hunting for my capri pants, but couldn't find them, so settled for these shorts...and paid the price for the rest of the day by being cold. Oh well! The party was a lot of fun, so I didn't really mind.

Shorts: Old Navy
Tee: Gap Outlet
Shoes: Birkenstock Papillio
Nails: Mink Muffs by Essie (say good-bye to this color for now!!)

I've had these shoes since college, and I absolutely love them. My mother got them for me during our trip to Colonial Williamsburg - I had only brought along those cheap Old Navy flip-flops (because I was obviously way too cool to wear SNEAKERS in the warm weather ;)), and my feet get really dry, so they were cracking and bleeding and I was in a lot of pain. The only store around sold Birkenstocks, so I picked out this pair. They are great because they really mold to the shape of your foot and how you walk, and are incredibly comfortable. Plus I love the cute pattern on them! (I know they visually cut off my legs and make me look shorter, but they are so comfortable in the warm weather.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gap Give & Get, and Can we have some consistency, please?

First up, my Gap Give & Get picks. I didn't want to go nuts during the promotion just because it's 30% off. The couple things from Gap brands that I had been wanting were some new short sleeve work shirts and another cardigan.

These are the Cap-Sleeve Shirts from Old Navy. They're available in a number of colors, and I actually own some of the other colors, but in a larger size, so I figured this was a good time to get some basic colors in a size that actually fits. I went with black, dark gray, and dark pink. I have the blue and green colors in a different size, and they're very nice, too. These are some of my favorite work shirts for warmer weather!

As for styling, I'm already pairing (in my head) the grey and pink shirts with my J.Crew gladiola print skirt from last spring/summer! I may pair any of these with my J.Crew Turkish jacquard skirt, and I think the dark pink would look nice with my J.Crew Waterfloral Pastiche pencil skirt. (Do you notice a theme here? I love J.Crew pencil skirts!)

I also picked up this Ultimate Cardigan in navy from the Gap. I don't typically gravitate towards navy, but I love the stripes, and I can pair this with a number of cute patterned skirts I own. I remember a few years ago when THE big color combinations were a mix of bright yellow, navy, and white. I'm not sure if that's still in style, but I love those colors together!

All in all, I only paid $8 for everything I purchased ($19.50 for each shirt plus $29.99 for the cardigan), as I combined the Gap Give & Get promotion with a Gap Rewards Card for $10, and a $50 gift card that BF had given me about a year and a half ago!

Now on to the second thing (and this could get long): this is a somewhat minor gripe, but I wish retailers would be consistent (within their own stores, not amongst the entire industry) about using promotions. I'm not really talking about J.Crew and their student discount, because I feel like that policy is outlined pretty well (the discount is only available on full-priced items, and cannot be combined with order-wide discounts, but it can be combined with item-specific promotions). Sometimes you get lucky and you're allowed to use it on sale items, but I'm talking about another kind of inconsistency.

I was at Express last night, looking to use up my rewards cards (two $15 cards) as they were expiring soon. I also had a $20 off jeans coupon, and a $30 off $75 purchase/$15 off $30 purchase. The jeans were buy 1 get 1 half off as well, so I was excited to score a really good deal!

My jeans were $59.50 each, so $119 in total, then half off the lowest price one brought it down to $89.25. I wasn't able to use the $20 off jeans coupon because the fine print listed about 20 different style numbers, and my pairs of jeans weren't on it. Now in my experience, next you would use the $30 off $75, which would have brought my total down to $59.25, and then applied my two rewards cards, bringing the final total down to $29.25.

However, the cashier went on to tell me that she has to apply the rewards cards first, and then IF my total is still about $75, she can use the $30 off promotion. Has anyone heard of this before? I have been shopping at Express for years, and I have NEVER had my rewards cards applied BEFORE a coupon. She went on to give me a hard time, saying she's not even supposed to be letting me combine the $30 off coupon with the rewards cards, because they're both coupons.

Since when is a rewards card a coupon? Apparently it says on the back of rewards cards that "Coupon must be surrendered at time of purchase" or something like that, but I have never ever EVER had an issue using a rewards card with a coupon, and I definitely have never had them apply my rewards cards before applying any other coupons.

Has this happened to anyone else? Of all the retailers I've shopped at, I would say Express and The Limited are probably the worst for this kind of thing. It's not uncommon for me to get pushback at The Limited if I want to use a coupon with a rewards card. Victoria's Secret, on the other hand, let me use 3 different coupons PLUS my rewards card without blinking an eye!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Check Yourself!

We headed up to the North Shore last night to play some bar trivia with our friends. I love doing bar trivia, but it's hard with school, so I pretty much always go when I am on spring break. We typically play in the Boston area, but one of our friends lives up in New Hampshire, so we tried to meet in the middle. (Although in the end, it didn't really end up being any closer for him than Boston.)

In my opinion, coming up with a team name is the hardest part of playing trivia. We seriously spend 15 to 20 minutes every time we play trying to think of a good name! Our name last night was Sloths' First Win, and we were hoping it would bring us some winning luck (it didn't :)). One of the other teams playing called themselves Oh My Effing Cod, which I found really funny for some reason (especially because we were in Gloucester).

So here's what I wore. I got this scarf recently, and I love the pattern, but it's a little rougher fabric than I would normally like around my neck, as I have really sensitive skin. I actually ended up taking the scarf off about halfway through dinner.

Shirt: Gap Outlet
Jeans: Express (Sarula, from 2003/2004)
Scarf: J.Crew
Socks: Gap Outlet
Shoes: Etienne Aigner (from TJMaxx)
Nails: Mink Muffs by Essie

A couple months ago, I updated my casual sock wardrobe as I became more serious about running. I hit up the local outlets to pick up some cute, casual patterned socks. I went to J.Crew Outlet first, knowing that I'd had luck with socks there previously, but I thought the prices were just a bit much - almost $10 for a single pair of socks! By contrast, I was able to get a two-pack with complementary designs from Gap Outlet for about $7, so I stocked up there instead.

These are my socks and shoes from last night. I love these shoes - they are my go-to shoes when I need to be a bit more dressed up, but don't need to wear heels and shouldn't wear sneakers.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Quick Morning Run Outfit

Today is a work from home day, so this means lazy, loungy clothes all day long! Well, at least for most of the day, as we are going out tonight to play trivia with our friends. I'm currently training for a half marathon, so my daily routine typically includes some type of run, so here's what I wore to run this morning. The nice thing about today is that it was nice and warm outside, so I was able to switch from the cold-weather tights to some lighter capris.

Running Capris: Under Armour
Shirt: Under Armour (you can't see it in this picture, but it's pink!)
Jacket: LL Bean
Socks: Old Navy
Shoes: NIKE+ Air Pegasus

And here is the promised picture of today's shoes. I love these running sneakers! They are my very first pair of "real" running shoes. I picked them up at the sports store (because to be honest, they were one of the cheaper, non-ugly pairs they had that were NIKE+), and we have been together for over 300 miles now. On average, you're supposed to run about 500 miles in a given pair of shoes, so I'll be retiring these soon!

I'll post my going-out outfit tomorrow morning! Hope you all have a great rest of the day!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pink Liberty

On Sunday, BF and I went out to do some errands (including lunch at IKEA!!!!!), and on the way home, we stopped at Target. BF needed a new windshield wiper. Not wipers, but a single wiper. (He is obsessed with having a clean, streak-free windshield, and is constantly cleaning the inside and the outside windshield.)

I needed something from Target, too, but of course as soon as we got there, I completely forgot what I was looking for. I did, however, bump into the Liberty of London section, so I browsed around a bit. I love florals and prints, so I really wanted to like everything there, but I really only liked this dress. (I was almost tempted by the peacock halter top as well, especially because I just scored a fab pair of J.Crew Juliet heels in peacock!)

This morning when I woke up, there was frost all over the cars and the lawn, but by the time I finished my morning run and packed lunches for the day, it was nice and mild out, so I went with the dress. I added the blazer because I like to have something to cover up my arms. I don't love it with the blazer, but I sit at my desk all day, so no biggie.

The one thing I don't like about the blazer is it attracts...things...to it like no other. I have to do some major lint rolling ALL over it every time I wear it. And there's a LOT of lint on it. Every time!

Here's the dress without the blazer.

Dress: Liberty of London for Target
Blazer: Old Navy
Shoes: Auburn by Dexter from Payless
Watch: Fossil
Nail Polish: Mink Muffs by Essie

Aaaand, a close-up of the shoes. I'm way into my {slightly-out-of-control} shoe collection right now, so for the time being, I'm going to show you a close-up of my shoes every day!

Don't Step on My Blue (Patent) Shoes!

And off we go!

This is my outfit from yesterday. Pretty simple and basic - I had to go to the office and then I had a couple meetings at school in the evening. A normal Tuesday, except that this week is spring break, and the last place I really felt like being during spring break is school!

This outfit is notable only for the fact that this is the first time I've worn the shirt and sweater...and they haven't been sitting in my closet for a year! (Does anyone else do this? Please, tell me someone else does this.)

Shirt: New York & Company
Sweater: New York & Company
Pants: Express
Shoes: Moda Spana
Nail Polish: Mink Muffs by Essie

A close-up of the shoes. They are your standard, midheel, pointy-toe patent shoes in this pretty cobalt blue. I got them quite a while ago, and I can't remember where, either. I do remember that I picked them up with a pair of red patent heels that have also seen very little of the world outside their box. Poor red shoes. :(

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I didn't forget (I promise).

So, hmmmm. Tomorrow was what, 5 days ago? Looks I missed that boat!

(I had a busy weekend. Normally I'd say "sorry" - as in, sorry for leaving you in the lurch, but it was a fun weekend, too. I'm not going to apologize for having non-blog fun!)

I was all set to post today. Woke up BF to take my OOTD picture. Even took a picture of mah shoes. Too bad I got to work and realized I didn't have my card reader, rendering my pictures for-the-moment-obsolete.

Oh, well. Tomorrow. Real tomorrow this time, not fake, 5-days-later tomorrow.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

...aaaaand I'm back!

Well, not today.