Saturday, March 30, 2013

Accessories Anonymous: New Oversize Watch

While shopping earlier this week, I decided it was finally time for a new watch. I'd purchased one on my shopping trip a couple of weeks ago- it was an amazing deal at only $4.77! But, after wearing it for a few days, I just stopped liking it. And then I started hating it. And while I plan to hold onto it because I may start liking it again at some point, I knew it was time to try something new.

For years, I've always looked at my watch choice as being one that I want to be innocuous, to blend in with the type of wrist jewelry that I wear every day, namely my Tiffany's bracelet. But while strolling through the mall, I saw a truly over-sized watch and I decided to give it a try. Minutes later, I was handing over my credit card. I just fell in love with the look!

I joked with Juhree that it looks like I've got poor vision, but there's something about it that I love. Later on that day, I snapped a photo in a fitting room so that I could see the proportion on me. It's definitely a bold accessory, but it works.

Sorry for the terrible lighting. I just love that goofy watch! It's hard to see the detail of it, so here's the manufacturer's photo:

The band is white leather, and I love how the winding mechanism is offset instead of being centered on the side. It's a lot more comfortable, actually. Something I never thought about until I tried on a watch like this. Smart design is so refreshing. 

If you're in the market for a fun, oversized watch, here are a few similar to mine: 

Nemesis Women's Oversized Watch,, $43.99

Mostly I'm excited about this watch because now when people ask me what time it is, I won't have to fumble in my purse for my cell phone. I'll be able to promptly reply, "Time to get a watch!" 

Have a great day! Thanks for stopping by! 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Did Some Damage...

A few weeks ago, I went shopping with Beth and came home with hardly anything. Well, yesterday, I made a second attempt and I did some serious damage. It was just one of those magical shopping days when everything seems to just work. I went out with very little in mind. I was hoping to find a nice pair of black skinnies, and I failed at that. However, I did succeed at finding everything else that I wasn't looking for, but that seemed to belong in my closet.

I maintained my "elevate" theme throughout this shopping excursion and I'm happy to report that I found some seriously awesome pieces at decent prices. Keep in mind, "elevating" doesn't have to mean paying full price, or paying a lot of money. I did splurge on a couple of items, but nothing too extravagant.

First, I needed a cross-body bag that's pretty small, but can still carry my wallet, keys, a lipgloss or two, a pair of sunnies and my cell phone. Cue DSW and the many colorful options:

After narrowing down the bag style, I was still faced with several awesome color choices! In the end, I chose: 

... the fucshia! I thought it was $49.95, but at the register, the price ended up being only $39.95.  It's the "Steven" by Steve Madden line, his plastic diffusion line. I can at least appreciate the utilitarian nature of an all PVC bag. I can hose it down when it gets dirty, at least. The same can't be said for my leather handbags, I suppose. I'm flying down to North Carolina next week to see the Professor and I wanted to have a bag like this for that trip. I think it's going to be perfect and will handle the wear and tear that traveling tends to impart on luggage and bags. 

I also snagged a bargain pair of Converse Chuck Taylors in the super trendy mint color that is literally EVERYWHERE right now: 

How stinkin' cute are those? 

I did leave lots of adorable shoes behind, though. After all, this was our first stop at the North Shore Mall and I didn't want to spend all my beans in one store! These shoes were hard to leave behind, but it was the right thing to do: 

You know I love a good oxford, especially one that's tied with a grosgrain ribbon! 

These wedges are so awesome- I think it would be hard to decide which color to get. I love both! Well, I'll leave that decision for another day... 

Check back soon to see what other deals and awesome pieces I scored on this completely fabulous shopping excursion! Thank you for reading! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Colored Jeans Thing...

I am in love with all the brightly colored jeans that can be found in just about every store out there right now. Target, Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Ann Taylor, to name just a few. I've got a few pair of my own- a fabulous bright kelly green from the Gap and a purple-ish pink that I got at TJ Maxx. They are literally everywhere you look- I've even seen them at work, on customers AND on employees. That's where my issue starts.

The thing is... they're still jeans. They're still casual. In my opinion, they're not always appropriate for a professional setting. But, to be fair, it is an extremely fine line. If you work in an industry that encourages fashionable as well as professional dress, it can blur the line even further. So, to help all of you out there who want to sport a pair of bright, colorful jeans while still maintaining the correct office dress code, here's how you wear them:

First, what NOT to do:

- Do NOT wear jeans with rips, tears, stains or distressing of any kind.
- Do NOT wear similarly casual pieces such as sneakers, vans, sandals and jersey tops (t-shirt material)

Pretty simple so far, right? Next, what you SHOULD do:

- Choose dressy pieces to elevate the look and keep it from becoming too casual.
- Choose conservative tops that are clearly work appropriate.
- Accessorize for a dressier look.

Here are some polyvore sets demonstrating the right way to wear colored jeans for a professional setting:

Colored Jeans Part 1

As you can see above, all three looks utilize a dressy, work-appropriate top and some kind of conservative heel. Any of these looks could also be elevated with some jewelry- a long necklace or a great pair of earrings, maybe even a cuff bracelet.

And some more options:

Colored Jeans Part 2

If all you have is a simple shell to go with your jeans and you don't feel quite dressy enough, add a blazer! It's a sure-fire way to make those colored jeans more "business casual" and less "hanging out with friends casual."

How do you feel about this colored jeans trend? Are you loving it? Hating it? Wishing you could wear it to work? Leave a comment and tell me your thoughts. And as always, thank you for reading!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Shoesday Tuesday: Mint Oxfords

I have a new pair of shoes that are making me ache for spring to arrive:

Isn't the color just the most fabulous shade of creamy, delicious mint? And check out the super cool cut-outs on the sides:

I am absolutely DYING to wear these precious brogues, but it's still just a little too cold. Maybe soon, though...

Happy Shoesday Tuesday, everyone!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

I'm sill alive...

It's been a while since I wrote a post, but you should know that I've been very busy doing lots of fun things and that's why I haven't been blogging all that much. When I decided to get back into blogging, I also decided that I wouldn't put the same pressure on myself to post as frequently as I used to. If the inspiration and time are both there, then there will be lots of posts. If not, no sweat. But feel free to leave a comment telling me you miss me if and when you do.

Anyway, since my last post, I haven't had very many great outfits to photograph. It's not that I haven't looked good, it's that I was wearing a lot of old favorites, pieces you've seen before, without any major twists to them. I've done a bit of shopping recently and found that I'm a little bit between sizes right now. I don't want to err on the larger size because I hope to keep shedding inches and it will just mean alterations in the very near future on brand new clothes. Not the worst thing in the world, but still a hassle. And as for the smaller sizes, they're zipping up, but not exactly comfortably. I know myself and if something makes me feel like a sausage, I won't wear it. So, when it comes to shopping, I've been sticking to accessories. More on that soon.

As for the other things keeping me busy, I've been doing quite a bit of sewing. My boyfriend's daughter has a birthday coming up and I thought it would be fun to make her a bunch of cute, girlie outfits. Turns out, sewing kids clothes is a heck of a lot easier (and FASTER!) than sewing for adults. I got all of this done in one afternoon:

Yup. Two dresses, two skirts, two tops (one is reversible!) and two pairs of capri pants- all in one day! I  also managed to buy a few accessories and basic pieces to finish off the outfits. White leggings and simple t-shirts to go with the skirts were easy enough to find at a couple of kids clothing stores. I also snagged a few headbands and I plan to get a couple of pairs of cute summer shoes to finish out the new wardrobe. I spent about $60 at the fabric store, so I think I got quite the bang for my buck. (Especially since I have enough fabric to make a few more pieces!) Having seen the clothes in stores like The Children's Place and Carter's while picking out the leggings, I saw that these kind of outfits would retail for easily about $125 (for all of them). My favorite is the striped dress- you can't see them that easily, but the pink spots are little boats and the stripes are actually waves. So cute!

In addition to sewing lots of cute clothes, I've also spent time with friends over the last few weeks. I visited a good friend up in northern New Hampshire where we visited the world's longest candy counter:

Don't believe me that it's the world's longest? It's documented:

I also had some silly times with friends out to lots of fun dinners. The most notable is perhaps this recent trip to Margaritas where the waiter gave us fake mustaches to play with: 

We are so hot. 

I also made my very first attempt at baking the tricky French Macaron cookie. They were chocolate flavored with a salted caramel buttercream filling. They may not have looked perfect, but they tasted oh-so-delicious! 

My advice to anyone considering trying to bake these cookies is this: GO FOR IT! If they don't come out perfect, they'll probably still be delicious. A macaron with a cracked shell versus a macaron with a perfect smooth shell tastes exactly the same! Bottom line: don't be intimidated- just try them! You can't tell from this next photo whether it was perfect or not, but you can probably tell that it was delicious! 

I know that by now you're thinking, "I'm happy for you that you've been so busy eating sweets, having dinner with friends and galavanting around New England, but could you please get to the fashion?" Okay, okay, I'm getting there. The most recent outfit photo that I took wasn't of that great an outfit. It was me in my red pants and my glitter heel boots and it was not a dynamite outfit. I loved it from the knees down, so that's what you get to see: 

Finally, the last excuse I have for not blogging more regularly is this: (Enjoy!)

So that's what I've been up to. What about you? 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rate My Look: Cucumber Salads are Working Out

In October, I went with my boss to the Chicago Bridal Market. We ate a LOT of really great food while we were there, but when I got home I felt pretty gross. I immediately made the decision to eat healthier foods in general, and just like that I had made a new lifestyle choice.  I don't want to call it a "diet," because that word has such negative connotations. Also, anytime someone goes on a diet, there's the implicit idea that at some point they will no longer be dieting. Whether the diet gets the better of them, or they just lose enough weight that they feel they no longer need the diet, there is something about that word that says, "I'm temporary."

Anyway, I knew I wanted to just make healthier choices in general, and in the past I'd had a great deal of success with eating clean and low-carb choices like the South Beach Diet. I basically took all my favorite things about both ideas and incorporated them into my own eating lifestyle and it's been pretty great. I "cheat" every now and then, but for the most part, I've tried to cut out processed foods as well as carbs in general and high-fat proteins and dairy.

Breakfast usually consists of an omelet and coffee, or a breakfast sandwich made with Ezekiel bread. Lunch is most often a salad of some kind. Dinner is some type of protein with some type of veggie. Without turning this into a food blog, I'll let you know some of my favorite foods lately:

Broiled broccoli with garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese is an ideal "filler." I eat it as a side dish or in place of something like pasta. Sometimes I use cauliflower instead. Sometimes I use brussels sprouts. I've poured homemade meatballs and red sauce on top of it and never even missed the pasta.

My favorite breakfast sandwich uses two slices of Ezekiel bread (regular or sesame) grilled with a fried egg or egg white and a slice of American cheese. I've never tried it with bacon, but I'll bet that's delicious, too.

For lunch, almost every day I've been eating what I call my "Weird Cucumber Salad." It's basically a cucumber, chopped into bite-size pieces (skin on) with a scoop of non-fat cottage cheese and a few sliced Greek olives. It sounds really weird, but for some reason it works. The cottage cheese is so creamy, and the olives make it so savory and rich. The cucumber is really a vehicle for the brine-y cottage cheese/olive combo. Plus, I've been told that since cucumbers are so full of water, they're perfect for trying to lose a little weight. My mom makes a version of the salad with tomatoes in addition to the cucumber. She also adds some more spices like black pepper and Spike.

Apparently my weird cucumber salads have finally paid off because the skirt I wore to work yesterday was way too big in the waist. After complaining all day about how unflattering it looked, I had one of the talented seamstresses in the store zip it through the sewing machine and in no time at all, she'd shaved three inches off of it! I was pretty psyched over the difference in how it fit me. It's amazing how clothing that's actually fitted to you is so much more flattering than pieces that don't fit quite right.

Anyway, enough exposition, here's the photo of my outfit:

I apologize for the grainy photo. I snapped it at the end of the day at home where the lighting is just not that great. I'd just finished eating an amazing grilled sandwich for dinner, actually. It's a combination I created with McKenzie one day and it's really delicious. Her version involves sourdough or some type of panini bread. Mine uses Ezekiel bread. They're both equally delicious:

I'd eaten half of it before I thought to snap a photo! Anyway, this grilled cheese sandwich consists of two slices of Ezekiel bread, a slice of cheddar cheese, a slice of pepper jack cheese, 7-8 slices of jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced fresh tomato and half an avocado. It was beyond amazing. I think I'll skip the weird cucumber salad tomorrow and have this sandwich for lunch instead.

But what should I wear?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Beauty Product Review: Urban Decay Glide-On Lip Pencil

I've been wanting to find a really great red lipstick for quite a while, now, but I've struggled with finding one that meets all of my requirements. I wanted something that was a deep, true red, not a berry or pink or purple- only true red would do. I also wanted full-color, with some major saturation. Finally, it needed to feel right. I love wearing lip plumpers- I love how the menthol or whatever it is tingles on my lips.

Anyway, it was basically impossible to find something that fulfilled all of my requirements. Then, one day, I was chatting with one of the gals at work and she mentioned the idea of finding a great lip pencil for the color and then just layering a clear or neutral plumper on top. Brilliant, right?

It wasn't immediately that I found the perfect color, but after much searching, I came across Urban Decay's Glide-On Lip Pencil in "Gash," a deep rich, brick red. With that as my base, I was finally happy with the color. After carefully applying it, I layered my favorite plumper by Buxom right on top. It's kind of a nude color, but for all intents and purposes, it may as well be clear. It added the shine I like, plus it gave me that tingle-y feeling that I love so much!

When I had my make-up lesson with Joanne from Joya Beauty, she taught me to put on my lipstick FIRST if I'm ever making a bold lip choice. She said that it helps to keep everything else reined in and to make sure that you aren't over-doing it with the eyes or cheeks or anything. It definitely helped me with this look. I decided to forego the eye liner and false lashes that I normally wear to allow the lips to be the focal point. I think it worked really well:

I ate breakfast and drank a coffee in the car on the way to work and then worked the entire day with only one small touch-up. The color fron the lip pencil had some serious staying-power. It goes on smooth and creamy and it wasn't hard at all to get a nice clean line with it. I highly recommend this product, but don't worry- there are far subtler colors available, too. 

You like? You hate? Leave a comment either way! And as always, thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Rate My Look: Sunday Best

In the first part of the year, Madeleine's Daughter is open an extra day of the week- Sunday. It's a short day, and even though I'm on my feet for all of it, I can sometimes manage to wear a pair of heels for at least most of the day. Today was one such day and I pulled out a really fun pair to spice things up:

I was going for a little bit of a twist on Joan Holloway, and I think it worked. By the end of the day, however, my feet had pretty much had it in those heels. They spent the car ride home chillin' out on the passenger seat: 

I really love the color combination of the deep, dark turquoise suede of my shoes and the rich, coral leather of my bag. I would love a dress or a skirt or something in a print that combines these two colors. That would be SO fabulous and perfect for this time of year. It's not quite spring, but we need those bright colors to boost our spirits, along with the extra sunshine thanks to Daylight Savings.

Check back tomorrow for a little more about my make-up today. I tried something new and I liked it!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Rate My Look: I Did It!

I got the chambray shirt! I even wore it out tonight after work!

I'm not gonna lie, I think I look pretty good in this outfit. These are my new skinnies, too- they are SO comfortable. As good as the chambray shirt looks with my new jeans, I'm even more excited to wear it with a pair of white jeans or even one of my pair of bright color jeans. I think it's the casual nature of this fabric that made me doubt whether it could work with my wardrobe, but it's just so flattering and cute, I know I can make it work. 

I love that my biggest problems in life involve trying to incorporate a new fabric into my wardrobe. I don't know how I do it. Honestly, I think only the Kardashians have lives this stressful. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Accessories Anonymous: New Glasses!

This is the time of year when I take a look at my Flexible Spending Account and realize I never went to the doctor this year. Suddenly I find myself with a deadline to spend all the money left in it. This year's deadline is March 15th. The easiest way for me to get rid of it all is to just buy a new pair of glasses. It makes a lot more sense than stocking up on tons of NyQuil. It's also a lot more stylish.

I am a huge fan of funky glasses, and this new pair is no exception. They're a fabulous line by Dilem Eyewear that allows you to first choose your frames and then to customize them with different sets of temples. Each pair of glasses comes with 2 sets of temples, so right off the bat you've got a little variety. You can of course order more sets of temples, if your little heart desires. Mine desired the standard 2 sets.

I've always wanted a pair of true red glasses. I've also always wanted to wear true red lipstick. For some reason my skin tone just doesn't want to cooperate. Instead of true red, the most flattering lipstick colors tend to be more berry colored. And I discovered while shopping for glasses that true red frames didn't really work on me either. I looked a lot better in deep purples and dark browns. But then the optician showed me these bad boys and I fell in love:

The color is like a deep, burnt orange, and it is fabulous on my skin. The temples I chose in this photo have a light orange and grey polka-dot pattern. The other set I had to order, but it's a super cool bird feather print called "Fenix." The design on these glasses is brilliant. The temples just snap on and off which makes it super easy to switch the look to complement what you're wearing. 

Here are a few other sets that were contenders: 

Cute, but not as fabulous as the orange ones, right? 

These were the true red ones I tried on- see how the color just isn't quite right? Also, the frames aren't as flattering on my face. Not sure why I made this funny face, either. 

These were my 2nd choice- the purple color is so rich and the design of the temples is so unique! 

I think we can all agree I made the best choice. The frames I picked are also available in a deep, chocolate brown color, but I love the idea of the orange- they're so much more special. I can't wait to show you the alternate feather-print temples, too! On the Dilem website, you can browse through all the options and use their glasses simulator to see which frames work best with which temples. Take a minute to click through some of the options and you'll realize just how brilliant this concept is! 

At work I see lots of really fabulous glasses on customers- I've seen Coach, Fendi, Calvin Klein, Gucci- you name it, I've seen glasses of all labels. I kind of love that these glasses are by a different designer, something that isn't yet a household name. Everyone loves to think they've discovered something new, and I'm no exception, I suppose. 

I'll be sure to post a photo once they come in! Have a great day, everyone and as always, thanks for reading! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

More Chambray: Music City Style

I don't watch a lot of TV in real time. With Netflix, Hulu and all the streaming video websites, I can't remember the last time I actually watched a TV show on an actual TV. The great thing about most of those websites is that you can catch up on an entire season in a matter of weeks (or days, if you're home with the flu or just plain lazy).

One of my guilty pleasures last year was the show "Smash" about the mounting of an original Broadway musical. The acting was terrible, the writing was worse, but the production numbers were spectacular. One of my coworkers and I used to secretly re-hash each episode, because we didn't want anyone to know that we were obsessed with such a terrible show. I guess the cat's out of the bag for me, now that I'm posting it here on my blog, but I'll keep her identity a secret. This season, the show is even worse- the new characters are just irritating and the plot lines couldn't interest me less. And those plot lines that I hate so much? Well, they've pretty much put a stop to all those glorious production numbers that are basically the sole reason I watch the show.

I complained about that to my coworker and she recommended I check out another show- "Nashville." She was right that I would love it. It's right up my alley- the songs aren't production numbers, but there is a lot of singing, a lot of musical performances. I love country music, too, so that's a bonus. And even though I'm born & bred Yankee girl, there is something so alluring about western wear. I love cowboy boots. I love denim and chambray. I love that casual, country vibe that comes from western wear. I even like the cheesy "fancy" western wear- the embroidered shirts and jackets and the "dressy"cowboy hats.

I was intrigued by the idea of a chambray shirt in my wardrobe before I started watching this show, but now that I keep seeing all these gorgeous TV stars in perfect little country-western outfits, I think I'll be dreaming about chambray until it's officially a part of my wardrobe.

There was the one from yesterday that looked pretty great, but I walked away from it. Now, I'm really starting to think that might have been a mistake. If I go back to get it and it's no longer there, I'll need a back-up plan. I think one of these may make due:

Western Shirt, Levi's $68

1969 Western Shirt, Gap, $49.95

None of these are as appealing as the shirt from yesterday AND that one is the least expensive! The more I shop around, the more I think I may have made a big mistake! Aaaahhh!!! Well, if it doesn't work out that I find the perfect chambray shirt, I guess I could find something else to obsess over.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Trip to Le Marshalls Boutique

Today is my day off and I had a few errands to run, but once I was done, I stopped in to one of my favorite bargain stores- Marshalls. I thought it might be fun to show you what I tried on because there were a lot of really awesome pieces.

I've been obsessed with chambray lately. I can't explain why. I know that it's all wrong for my wardrobe, but I'm so drawn to it lately. I find it irresistible. Maybe I've been watching a little too much "Nashville" on Hulu. Anyway, when I saw this chambray top with the super cute little white polka-dots, the mother-of-pearl-esque snap closures, the little hook that holds the rolled sleeve up and the flattering seams that nip it in so well, I could hardly resist. But resist I did. It was $30 and I just didn't see spending that much on something I'm not sure I'll even wear. Looking at that photo, now, though... I'm wondering if I made a mistake leaving it behind... 

I know it was NOT a mistake leaving this particular chambray shirt behind, though. It's not nearly as cute and feminine as the first one. Also, it's a little too long and a little too big all around. But I love the faded denim look. 

I thought this top would be great for work. I could tuck it into a high-waisted pencil skirt or even layer it under a cute blazer. I had a whole outfit in my head- my blue J. Crew pencil skirt, with this top and a mint cropped blazer that I was about to try on. Cue the blazer... 

Ummm... that is bad. Nothing about that works. With my hopes for a fabulous outfit dashed, I tossed both pieces to the "reject" pile and moved on to some dresses. 

This adorable party dress just brings a huge smile to my face. It's so whimsical and fun! The full skirt, the tailored bodice, the little black belt that comes with it- it's all adorable! It even has covered buttons up the back instead of a zipper! Unfortunately, I don't have any parties coming up anytime soon, so this was yet another item that I sent packing. 

I always love the girls who can pull off a blouse-y dress like this. I am just not one of them. (P.S. What happened to my waist? This dress stole it! Reject!)

This dress was a bargain at $24.99, and admittedly, it looks pretty fabulous. It has that magical slimming effect. But for some reason, I just wasn't feeling it today. This one landed in the reject pile, too. 

Finally, I decided to try on a few pair of jeans. You know how that goes, right? When giving women advice about shopping for jeans, I always tell them to plan on trying on what feels like a million different pair before you find a single pair you like. That's what I was prepared for today, but then something magical happened! The first pair I put on fit perfectly, looked amazing, were completely comfortable and were on sale for $17! 

 Just look at those fabulous skinnies! I love everything about them! I probably should have thrown my boots back on to snap the photo, but oh, well. You can still appreciate a good pair of jeans, even without the proper footwear. I can picture these bad boys with some tall wedges and a flowy top come springtime. 

So there you have it- an afternoon shopping excursion with me. I'm sure you agree with most of my purchasing decisions- if you don't love it or need it, or you don't think you'll wear it, then reject it. The only rejection I'm questioning is the first chambray shirt. Leave a comment and tell me if you think I messed up on that one. Maybe on my next day off I can swing back down there and snatch it up if it's still there. Or not. You be the judge! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Shoesday Tuesday: Simple Beauty

I am a huge fan of over-the-top, stand-out things. Clothes, accessories, shoes- you name it. If it's bold a a little out-there, then I love it. But despite my love for all things borderline garish, it all stems from an initial love of simple beauty. Clean lines in neutral colors can stand out for their simple beauty even more than a busy pattern or bold color. And the proof is in the pudding:

There are so many simple. but beautiful shoes out there, but I think I'm going to spend the day drooling over these. I hope they make you drool as much as I do. Have a great day, everyone! Thanks for reading! 

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