Friday, January 30, 2009

Make your own brooch challenge

Kasmira from the super wonderful blog, What I Wore Today is issuing a recession inspired challenge each month. This January it was to make your own brooch. I often wear pins (as I grew up calling them) so I decided to take up the challenge. It's the end of the month, so I'm getting this in just under the wire, lol!

I actually came up with a few different brooches. Every single one is uber easy & cheap, totally in keeping with the ideal behind the challenge. The first type is totally homemade -- I call it the "button brooch".

The basic materials for creating a simple button brooch are:

buttons, 4 or 5 sew-threw and 1 shaft type
a thin, flat wooden disc (available at craft stores)
a pin back (also available from craft stores)

also needed but not shown:

paint or permanent marker to color the disc background
regular glue to fasten the buttons to the disc

optional stuff: rhinestones, beads or other baubles

Once you see the finished product it becomes pretty obvious how simply this was created. I think the fun in this is how imaginative you could get for relatively little money -- there are soooo many really cool buttons & beads out there that the possibilities are endless.

So, here is a picture of all the button brooches I made, each one is very different (you can tell the one on the left is made of the materials shown)

I also had a single button that was interesting looking...I turned it into a small pin that will be perfect for closing open front cardigans so that they look like they actually have a button.

The next brooch I created by taking a piece of broken jewelry and simply gluing a pin back to it. Some of my readers may remember my Etsy destash loot -- well, I used a piece of a broken bracelet to create this next brooch in less time then it takes to pin it to a sweater, lol:

Here's the broken bracelet piece:

The pin back glued on...

...and the final brooch!

Finally I have 2 pins I made from pendants. This was just as simple as could be -- glue a pin back onto a pendant and you have the option of wearing it as a necklace or a brooch.

Of course there are endless ideas one could come up with ranging from delicate artistry to basic arts & crafts 101 and everywhere in between. The ones I've made here certainly fall in the latter category, lol, but that's what I like about them -- they were quick, easy & inexpensive yet creative and fun, too. Plus I really do like how they look!

Thanks for the VERY inspiring challenge Kasmira!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Meltdown & family history

The nice thing about sleeting ice storms is that if the weather warms up just a tad then it turns to rain & the slushy mush melts away....meaning no snow on my deck! Thus the shoes :) In fact, this was taken earlier and now the sun is shining and there's barely even a trace of snow left.

These are all pieces I've worn before and some of my faves. I love the argyle sweater vest and the green pin tuck blouse together, both of which are from NY&Co. The camisole is from a discount store -- I think?

The denim pencil skirt is Old navy and the tights are Target. The plum Maryjane's are secondhand. The pendant is a trinket from my late paternal grandmother. I put it on the chain it hangs from now, tho. (sorry, no close-up, the pic didn't take, darn it!)

This grandmother, called "Me-Me" by us, was an antiques, vintage & collectibles dealer. Throughout her career she did flea markets, auctions & antique shows, as well as appointments...and also had a permanent booth in one of those antique malls in South Jersey. Mind you, all of this took place after my grandfather died -- she began this venture in her 60's and worked well into her 80's, nearly right up until her death. Talk about reinventing yourself!

She dealt mostly, but not exclusively, with furniture, china & glass, lugging it around in a giant van packed full to the roof, going off every weekend hither and yon to the various shows. People marveled at her fortitude, to say the least, lol. This was no delicate "little old lady" -- she could be tough and often lacked tact, usually saying whatever was on her mind. Me-Me was shrewd and no nonsense, always looking for a bargain. But she had a good heart and people respected her.

I'd like to think she'd enjoy this blog and seeing some of her jewelry every now & then. No doubt she'd have plenty to say about my outfits, lol, and not all of it flattering. But I think over all she'd be totally tickled with the idea of me reinventing & rediscovering myself. Yup, Me-Me would approve :)

Have a great day -- see ya tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A casual, comfy, cold confession

Ok, really it's not so much a confession as an explanation, but the word 'explanation' didn't fit my alliteration (tho that did just sort of rhyme!)

Anyway.....I didn't wear the outfit in yesterday's photo. It was mostly an experiment. And I admit that I wasn't 100% confident in the ensemble, tho I do think it has major potential. Plus it didn't meet the needs of my day.

This outfit is what I actually wore. I needed tried & true, comfy & casual plus warm. This fit the bill and was colorful to boot :) Underneath it all? Yup, my warm Cuddl Duds are keeping me toasty per usual!

The sweater is Chaps from Kohls and yes, I have it in another color (more confessions, lol). The jeans are Ralph Lauren, the brown short boots are my practical & sure-footed Aerosoles , which I've blogged about before.

The scarf came from one of those "girl" stores in the mall -- you know the ones, all pink & sparkly with Hannah Montana plastered all over everything. My 7yo DD isn't into any of that, but she does deeply love pink. So when I spotted a pair of fuschia snow boots in the window I ventured inside to look around. She got the boots and I picked up this scarf for myself.

We're having a snowy & sleety mess of a day so I'm staying in -- see ya tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Changing a leopard's spots

Yesterday I revisited a blue dress and made what I think was a better outfit by pairing it with a cardi in a contrasting but neutral color not actually occuring in the print of the dress.

That got me to thinking about a leopard patterned blouse I bought last year. I loved the animal print combined with the prim ruffled detail. However, all the outfits I've tried to create with it just didn't look right to my eye; I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was that was hitting the wrong note. It was the color, surely...but why?

Once, when I went to buy a carmel colored coat from an upscale consignment boutique, the owner told me it was a mistake because it matched my hair too much. I happen to love that color and often gravitated towards it. But as soon as she said that about my hair it became crystal clear she was right -- completely engulfed in carmel, topped further with my own amber locks, would be totally overwhelming.

It dawned on me the same holds true for most leopard prints -- all those colors echo the golds & browns in my hair along with my pale beige skin tones. So I tried pairing the blouse with first a chocolate brown and then a black cardi...but it was still too much in the same color family and didn't do the trick.

Perhaps there needed to be a stronger contrast in order for the colors to work?

And that brought to mind the ever fashionable Karen from the blog Of A Certain Age. During the popular Wardrobe Capsule Challenge put forth by the lovely Jane of WorkThatWardrobe back in December, Karen mixed patterns & color in a way I never would have thought of by combining a leopard cardigan with a printed blouse & fairly bright blue skirt -- here, see for yourself. Well, I wondered if a similarly colored blue cardi I have would make a leopard print more suitable for my complexion.

This photo is the result -- what do you think? I like it! Tho I might try a different necklace next time...something a little more bold, simple & singular.

Many thanks, Karen, I never would have thought to try this if not for your lovely & creative ensemble. I love this blogging community...inspiration abounds :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Blue printed dress - revisited

I've worn this dress from Chadwick's twice -- and not been all that happy about how the outfit turned out each time. See for yourself: here & here.

Sometimes we need expand our view and step back from our style choices to get a different perspective of a particular garment. This was one of those times for me. I saw the blues in this dress and originally just thought blue cardi or jacket to go with it. Although I did use brown for the accessories, for whatever reason I felt compelled to repeat or pick up the blues in the other layers I chose.

But since the brown boots worked so well, and since I really hated both sweaters with it the other times I wore it, I decided to go for my tried & true brown cardigan and see what happened. It worked MUCH better and this is the best incarnation of the outfit yet, IMO -- don't you think so?

The beaded necklaces & bracelets are from a dollar store, the brown boots are Target. The cardigan is Paul Richards from Macy's and the belt was thrifted. The ring was actually a quarter at a local garage sale.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tag, I'm it!

I've been tagged -- and I'm a tag virgin, so it's my first time :) The gorgeous Kristen of Shallow Coffee is the culprit, and now here's what I had to do:

Show the 4th picture from the 4th folder in your pictures. Then tag 4 more!

The Rules:
1. Go to the 4th folder in your computer where you store your pictures.
2. Pick the 4th picture in that folder.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 people to do the same!

The required picture actually turned out to be one of my faves, so I'm very happy to post it. This was taken about 2yrs ago when my kids were about 5 yrs old & 5 mos old, respectively. DD was (and still is!) thrilled to be a big sis & dotes on DS to no end, which I think you can see by her happy little face in the photo. Yup, I'm a proud mom :)

Just for the heck of it I also went into my outfit photo folder and pulled the 4th picture from there. It was a reject, never used. If you look closely, you can see the reflection of my DH in the window. You can also see that my poses have improved somewhat, lol!

Ok, here are my four tagged blogs:


Can't wait to see what you all post :)

Thanks Kristen -- this was fun :D

Have a great day & a great weekend everyone!!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Layered chocolate

Gee, the post title makes me sound like a cake :)

I'm actually referring to the fact that I am wearing multiple layers of chocolaty colors -- even right down to the unseen long johns, my now trademark Cuddl Duds.

The short-sleeved, chocolate brown sweater is Simply Vera, Vera Wang for Kohls. I adore the color and the faux layered look but the cut is a little boxy -- I probably wouldn't purchase it if buying now. I've learned so much while doing this blog about what shapes are most flattering to my body that I'm a bit more picky about that. However, under a nicely cut cardigan it looks totally fine so it will still get some use.

Speaking of the cardi, I also wore it on Friday. I really do consider this one of my favorite go-to pieces, especially when I don't even have time to think (like today!) Incidentally, it's from JC Penny and on sale now for $14.99 if anyone is interested. It comes in 3 other colors, too, just FYI.

The jeans are my VERY oft worn Ralph Lauren. The brown short boots are What's What by Aerosoles Embrace. They have a chunky heel so are great on potential slippery days when you want safety without sacrificing at least a little height. Perhaps not the most fashion forward footwear, but they are uber comfy and being nondesript aren't a major outfit detraction, either.

The wooden beaded necklaces are interesting -- both sets are African, the larger one was purchased in a museum shop, the smaller set was actually found years later by my DH in an abandoned office. I know their origin because both had detailed tags which I did save, but cannot seem to find for this writing.

Good gosh, for a woman w/no time I sure went into alot of detail about my simple little ensemble today, lol! Oh well...have a wonderful day everybody!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fresh snow

Had a little more snow last night and while it's gotten colder I hear tell of some 40+ degree weather headed my way by Friday -- gee, that sounds like a veritable heatwave!

The brown striped shirt under my cardigan is a staple in my wardrobe. I've worn it here, plus countless other times pre-blog. It's got a bit of a satiny quality to it so that rather than being stiff, it drapes instead -- key for a button down shirt, especially when worn as a layering piece.

Both the shirt & the gray cardigan are from Kohls. I kept looking & looking for a gray cardi because I felt it too would become a wardrobe staple & go nicely with alot of my shirts. Happily I finally this found one. I particularly like the peplum detail because it helps to create an hourglass shape by adding definition to my waist -- one of my preferences when it comes to cardigans. This way it gives nearly the same effect a structured jacket would, but yet a cardi is way more comfy for a mom on the go :)

The necklace is from Target, as well as the black short boots. The jeans are my ubiquitous Ralph Lauren :)

Stay warm everyone and have a great day!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Glued to the tube!

Happy Inauguration Day!!!!

What a day! What a speech! What a country!

Very emotional time --filled with immense happiness, deep pride, and lots & lots of hope. It seemed that this is the photo that really belongs here today.

Blessings to all my fellow Americans, to all my friends from other nations around the world, and most of all to our new president and his wonderful family. He has quite a few monumental tasks ahead, but I've little doubt in my heart he's completely up for the job.

My, what a day indeed :D

Monday, January 19, 2009

Busy, busy, busy!

Last week was a very full one, and it seems this one is starting off at the same crazy pace -- no time to take a photo today.

But not to fear! This was taken yesterday. DH & I went to the mall and out for a casual lunch sans children (thanks mom!) It was nice to have a little grown-up time :)

The plum, long-sleeved tissue tee, printed blouse, plum tights & brown boots are all from Target. The necklace is from a dollar store and the denim pencil skirt is Old Navy.

Hope everyone had a great weekend...have a lovely Monday!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cold? Ha, I laugh at the cold!

Well, maybe laugh is a bit strong...I chuckle -- yes, I chuckle at the cold. No? Ok then...perhaps smile slightly would be more apt because my lips are darn near frozen stiff -- yup, it is pretty cold out there, I must admit.

But I'm warmer than I might look thanks to what you don't see of my outfit -- the camisole and long johns underneath. They are Cuddl Duds and I can't say enough good things about them...they are warm but feel light and fit really well -- no bunching, no bulk. I don't know how I made it thru winter before without them. (thanx to DH, they were a warm-hearted gift, pun intended)

The black ones even make a really great replacement for tights if you're wearing boots, as I wore them here & here.

But as to the outfit -- the cardigan is from JC Penny and I love, love, love it for it's shape -- it does the work of a structured jacket but is way more comfy, IMO. The shirt is also JC Penny. The tie is supposed to be around the neck but that seemed too prim so it became an improvised belt instead.

The pants are my INC black velvets -- yes those magical skinny jeans that somehow just work for me. I've got them tucked into my brown slouchy boots from Target...a new favorite look. In fact, I wore the lower half of this outfit just two weeks ago.

The brooch on the sweater is from Target. The necklace is vintage, belonging to my mom...though I put it on the black chord. And look, another jewelry close-up!

Stay warm everyone and have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's time to quit..., at least for a while.

And I need your advice & ideas.

I've spent alot of money on clothes this last year. ALOT. Like almost 10% of our income, as it turns out. To be fair, I needed an entire wardrobe, right down to my very shoes. Literally everything I put on my back is new (at least to me).


Well, the short version of an answer is that in the last 7 years I've lost 130 lbs, the bulk of which was shed in 2001-2002 after DD was born. Yet in all that time I really hadn’t done much to create a new wardrobe for myself until relatively recently. I certainly bought a few new clothes along the way, but I had no goal, no vision for how I wanted to dress.

When I finally lost the pregnancy weight in 2006/07 after DS was born, I started really thinking about what I wanted from my to best dress my particular shape at this stage in my life. I watched TV shows, looked at magazines & read internet articles related to style. I also discovered alot of your wonderful blogs!!!!! Thanks to all that I developed a general strategy & criteria ---and started shopping.

It's been a fun & interesting process. During this last year I've created a pretty good wardrobe base to suit my lifestyle as well as my "new" body. I'm looking forward to getting the most out of what I've acquired and coming up with different outfits by exploring the contents of my now fuller closet.

But it's time to start figuring out a reasonable ongoing clothing budget of some sort so I can simply add to my base as needed. So, how much is enough?

Do you have a yearly clothing budget? What percentage of your income would you estimate is spent on clothes? Or do you even handle it that way...perhaps you go by some other method of planning, or maybe you don't plan at all? I know there are alot of shopping bans and various methods of restraint & self-regulation going on out there in the blogosphere -- if you're one of those people employing such a thing how and why did you come to choose that approach? Is it working?

I'd also like to take into account the reality that clothes shopping and adding to my wardrobe is just plain fun -- if it were purely about necessity I would have a MUCH smaller closet :)

Tell me your thoughts on this -- inquiring minds want to know!

PS: no outfit pic today, but will be back tomorrow despite a frigid blast heading our way....tune in to see if I brave the cold for natural light or give up and take an indoor shot ;)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A case of the blues

I just felt like wearing this particular shade of royal blue, much like the color of the sweater I wore yesterday. I did try another outfit on, but changed my mind-- this is what called to me so here I am in blue again.

The blouse is NY&Co -- I've worn it recently and I have it in green, too. The brown cardigan, Mossimo for Target, is a tried & true piece, also worn before.

What's new is the skirt. It's from NY&Co and was only $3.99! I didn't even try it on, just grabbed it on my way to the register. Even the woman checking me out was asking me where I found it, lol.

The belt is from Kohls (I think)...brown boots are from Target as well as the necklace. The bracelet is vintage...and look, I even have a close-up for a change:

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Black & blue

The irony of this post title is that not only am I wearing those colors, but I am also black & blue from taking a little tumble -- no, not on the ice as in Friday's photo antics. Nope, it was safely indoors in my own kitchen by simply walking across the floor, lol. Talk about klutzy (bet that even beats my friend Trace!)

The royal blue sweater is Chaps from Kohls . I have a thing for cable knit or patterned sweaters. As long as they fit and the pattern doesn't go all wonky, the texture adds interest to an otherwise plain solid color, not to mention they are an enduring classic that has been worked into nearly any style preference from preppy to punk, IMO.

The black, open-front cardigan is NY&Co and tho not really visible has sparkly flecks. I also have the striped one that's available still.

The heart shaped pin is from Sears and was $1.99! The necklace was a recent holiday gift from my mother. (I apologise for the lack of close-ups -- I'll have to add them another time; promise.)

The jeans are my good old boot-cut Ralph Laurens in the Nolita wash. The black boots are Merona Kenna from Target.

Hope everyone has a great, skid-free day :D

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Snow White

The ice melted, but it's actually snowed since the photo was taken yesterday evening. Still, it was nice while it lasted :)

Typically, I don't wear white. While the color is off a bit in the photo, and the snow in the background doesn't help, white is not really flattering for my complexion. But truthfully I didn't care, I just felt like donning this crisp button down shirt and a menswear inspired vest for the evening yesterday. Besides, I think one can get away with less than their perfect shades if it's going to be worn in darker places like restaurants, bars, parties, or even just night time in general.

And regardless, I do think this outfit is a keeper, tho I would change out the shirt for another with a better color...or add a scarf, maybe a large necklace...something.

The shirt is from Macy's, the vest from Kohls, the skirt is Old Navy and the boots are secondhand Franco Sarto. The pin is from Target, as well as the bracelet -- oh, and the tights, too :)

No pic Monday (thus the posting tonight) -- but see ya Tuesday like always...hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Slip sliding away

We got hit by a storm and my deck is practically a skating rink. But for you, my dear readers, I braved the ice :)

The peplum sweater from NY&Co is a triplet -- I've worn the blue one before and the purple one just recently. It's very comfy -- a real "pull it on and go" type piece, yet just by virtue of it's shape the garment creates an interesting look, IMO.

The jeans & boots are Target, the scarf is from the Avenue. The bracelet is NY&Co -- a recent purchase for only $3.99!

I also thought I'd provide the second picture to show you just how truly brave (or crazy) I was to slide out there for my photo today. I just managed to steady myself after doing a little impromtu figure skating.

Judges score?

Have a great (and safe) weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


No outfit pic today -- staying in due to icky weather. Instead I thought I'd show you some of my goodies ;)

I've been thinking I really should take more close-ups of my accessories; Sheila at Ephemera comes immediately to mind -- she always does such a great job of showing all the beautiful details of her outfits & accessories. So with that as my inspiration, here's a few pix of some jewelry I recently acquired.

The lovely butterfly brooch was from my children for Winter Solstice (particularly my 7yo daughter because she & I share a special affinity for butterflies)...and it came from Target.

The beautiful locket is from my DH for our 15th wedding anniversary :) It came from the Etsy shop TimelessTrinkets and is a vintage locket with a Czech art glass button depicting 3 butterflies (I like to think of them as my DH, DD, & DS) I was very touched that he bought it, since we said no gifts (sneaky guy!)

The faux pearl brooch also came from Target and isn't exactly new. But several commentors have wished they could see it closer up, so I am FINALLY obliging. I wear this pin alot, it just seems to go with everything and makes a great cardigan clip of sorts -- like I very recently wore it here.

And the last photo below is my recent haul from Etsy. It was a destash sale from the shop WILDTHYMEBOUTIQUE. Some of the pieces just need a little TLC, like a new pin back or jump ring. Other pieces I can use to create new items out of -- like perhaps for Kasmira's "Make Your Own Brooch" Challenge over at What I Wore Today.

Hope everyone has a great day today, see ya w/an outfit pic tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Why NOT to annoy the photographer....

Because you'll end up having him wickedly snap a photo of you with, shall we say, a less then flattering expression on your face :D

Yes, I'm married to a funny, funny man.

To be fair, he did also take these 2 pix:

He dared me to post the goofy one, thus the humiliation -- never let it be said that I ever turned down a dare for vanity (Ok, I have, but just never let it be said!)

Yup, funny, funny man, that one.

If you can stop laughing long enough to read this, the pencil skirt is from NY&Co, the blouse & cardigan from Macy's. The chain is one of the same vintage ones as Monday. I'm wearing long johns instead of tights again, and the boots are from Target (gee, guess I had to wear something from Target, didn't I?)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bellying up to the bar

It may look like a simple printed poplin skirt to you, but this is monumental, colossal, and maybe even a little silly all at the same time.

You see, for the first time in 20 years I tucked a shirt in.

Since doing this blog and taking outfit photos I've been inspired to step out of my comfort zone style-wise and experiment. I mean, that's kinda the point. And normally I'd have walked right by a full, flouncy skirt like this because of my midsection. Listen, you don't gain & lose major pounds, have two babies via C-sec, hit your forties and get away scot-free, lol. Nope, I have quite a tummy, tho I've learned to camiflouge it extremely well. I'm not disparaging my body, just dealing with reality. And the reality is a skirt like this is NOT belly-friendly.

But something attracted me to the skirt and for a lark I tried it on in the store. True, it fit, but it also looked ridiculous with the length shirt I had on. And ALL my shirts are pretty much that same length; just long enough to cover my protruding tummy area yet not come down over my crotch -- (covering the crotch is usually an unflattering length except for some tunics, fyi)

So when I got home w/the skirt (yes, I bought it despite myself) I started trying to find SOME shirt that hit the right spot with the fullness of no avail. Then I tried belting some of my blouses. That worked better, but still not quite right. Eventually I just had to try, had to see what it would look like.

I felt like there should have been a drum roll. Maybe a heralding trumpet. Heck, toss in a choir of angels, lol.

And as you can see -- it's not all that bad. Ok, no, I didn't take a profile shot, lol...I'm brave but still have some modicum of vanity :) And I can't say I felt completely confident in this, which is key in my book. But it's a start...or a return -- both -- yes, that's it. This is the start of a return to normalcy. To an even deeper level of body acceptance than I've already achieved.

Gee, bet you had no idea all that could come from a poufy little skirt and a tucked in blouse :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Gray pleated sweater skirt

I just got this new sweater skirt from -- ok, where else -- Target!

Normally I stay away from sweater skirts or dresses...not enough structure for my figure. And I certainly don't usually choose garments with pleats -- they aren't typically flattering on me. This skirt encompasses both, and yet I love it so :)

For one thing, this gray is the perfect shade to be a super neutral in my wardrobe. For another, the vertical lines of the slight pleating actually seem to add length to my silohuette. And best of all -- it's ultra comfy! Seriously, this may now be the most comfortable skirt I own. Oh, and it's kinda warm, too, a definite winter plus.

I actually found the predecessor to this skirt on the clearance rack -- in a size too big. But I came home and ordered this one online.

The argyle vest & peplum cable knit sweater are both from NY&Co. The brown boots are from Target as well as the deep purple clutch.

The now vintage chains belonged to my mom in the '60's, the charm bracelet was from a discount store.

Hope everyone had a great first weekend of 2009!!!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Accolades: twice as nice & then some!

My little blog's gotten another award -- twice!

The lovely & gracious Hillary from Happiness, Health, and Looking Fab! as well as the adorable and enchanting Lady D from Africana 's Wardrobe Diary have each generously given me this sweet award within days of each other. I am truly delighted and feel doubly blessed by your kindness -- thank you both so much! Each of you is someone I have a high regard for so I am especially flattered.

They both received the award from the ultra stylish blog, Fashion Therapist. It reads as follows:

"Blogs who receive this award are "exceedingly charming," says it's authors. This award is a fine one because it focuses not on the glory and fanfare of blogging, but in the PROXIMITY to one another through this online-world. "This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY--nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into into the body of their award."

My chosen 8 blogs to pass this award on to are:

notSupermum -- wit, wonder & wisdom from the most fit mom I know
workthatwardrobe -- imaginative, creative and utterly inspirational
Shallow Coffee -- clever & sassy with a touch of introspection for good measure
School Gate Chic -- a stunning SAHM who can kick fashionable ass ;)
Of A Certain Age -- chock full of gorgeous style for all ages
Fickle Brown Sparrow -- lovely little touches & grace beyond her years
Already Pretty -- true beauty comes from within & this blog positively glows
Le Belette Rouge -- totally amazing writing, from poignant to humorous & everywhere in between

I find your blogs inspirational, funny, well-written & altogether lovable -- thank you for contributing so much of yourselves to the blogosphere, we are richer for your presence.

And now, for the "and then some" part of this post:

Another one of my very favorite blogs is Ephemera, and the wonderfully talented Sheila is someone I admire greatly, both for her style & as a person. She recently did a wonderful & clever post where she lists some of her fave blogs with a personal description of each one. I was HUGELY flattered to have made that list, and what she wrote about "Fashionably Later" just tickled me beyond words. Thank you Sheila, your mention of my blog was just as good as any traditional blog award and was extra special for your personal touch. Rock on yourself :)

Thus ends the giving & receiving of accolades for now. Thanks again from the bottom of my heart for all the love & support, it really means so much!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Something to hide

Hey, it's the first outfit photo of the new year!

The striped cardigan & blue pin tuck blouse are both from NY&C0. The scarf, pin, bracelet & black short boots are all from Target. The jeans are Ralph Lauren.

I was thinking about the lovely Trace's recent post over at Style Klutz , regarding how one approaches outfit choices if they've gained a few pounds this holiday season. I totally loved her rockin' party outfit and how she put it together -- she looked elegant and not like she was trying to hide anything (not that she needed to anyway!)

So I guess you could say this ensemble is my version of a casual approach to "what to wear when hiding extra holiday pounds".

I'll be outdoors a bit and therefore actually have 4 layers on (long johns & cami underneath) yet don't think I look bulked up at all, despite having gained at least 5 lbs this last couple weeks. My clothes are totally comfy, too, because they are all loose and lightweight fabrics.

The pin cinching the cardi closed offers some semblance of shape while not being constricting. The darkness of the jeans, and the fact they are not a particularly form fitting cut, also helps. I think wearing your best colors helps too, and this shade of blue is one of mine (tho hard to tell in the photo since I'm standing in the shade).

Anyway, here's to shedding those extra little pounds that were totally worth the enjoyment of putting on, and here's to the first official weekend of the new year as a great chance to get out there and get moving to help speed up the process -- enjoy!!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

8 things I learned in '08 thanx to this blog...

1. I’m actually not half bad to look at most days. Ok, that may seem corny -- or conversely, pompous, but the truth is having spent almost a decade of my life as an obese woman who felt simply awful about her appearance (to a large degree unnecessarily), the idea that at this stage of my life I could feel more than ok looking at myself in photographs…let alone that I would even dream of plastering those pix in cyberspace for anyone to see, well, it’s just pretty darn cool!

2. Style matters. It affects our mood, our sense of self and our impact on the community at large. It is a form of expression, an art if you will, and it is the best kind of art because it is accessible to all. Style is the personal art of choosing how to present yourself to the world visually, as a sign of self-respect, form of creativity, and to reflect a sense of pride.

3. Belts are my friends! Who knew, lol? I have an hourglass shape and belting – when done right – really accentuates that. Of course I knew that for other people…but now I see it for myself. No bravery need :)

4. The 3 most important items in a wardrobe? Accessories, accessories, accessories! Once you have a basic working wardrobe, even if it’s not complete, building an accessory collection is not only useful, it’s fun and relatively inexpensive. And you can TOTALLY change the look of so many outfits just by adding something simple, like a bold statement necklace, a scarf, or camisole (which I consider an accessory).

5. Taking photos of outfits is very beneficial, even if they are just for yourself. While I enjoy doing this blog it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But I do urge any woman exploring her sense of style to try taking regular photos of outfits. It’s a great way to catalog looks you like, discover ones you don’t, and it helps you develop your own tastes when you have a visual record to refer to.

6. Shapes can make or break an outfit. A top that seems too full or boxy when paired with trouser jeans can work great with skinny jeans. A shirt that’s a wee bit too long for a pencil skirt can be very flattering when belted with a longer more drapey one. The key is trying things on with a critical eye and not being afraid to experiment (even if only in the privacy of your own boudoir)

7. Size doesn’t matter. Ok now, you know what I mean :) Seriously -- it really doesn’t matter what number it says on a tag or the scale, what matters is how you dress the body you have. True, there are some general rules that seem to apply to pretty much anyone (creating the appearance of an hourglass shape, making legs look as long as possible, balancing the top & bottom, etc) and then there are some things that just seem to work better on some individuals versus others. But pretty much any trend, any look can be translated in some way to fit & flatter any body. Period. Want proof? I am 45, weigh around 170 lbs (on a good day) and am a size 12-16, depending. If *I* can wear skinny jeans, puhlease, ANYONE CAN!

8. There are other women out there that share my attitude about style. Despite differences in taste, age, size, economics, culture, or a myriad of other variations there is a common thread amongst the many wonderful women I’ve “met” since doing this blog. Wanting to make a statement thru appearance and embracing not only our own exteriors but also each other’s has been such a wonderful thing to witness. The support, acceptance, ingenuity, imagination, generosity of spirit and willingness to share has been lovely to experience and participate in. I’ve felt welcomed into a neat little community that is as big as the whole world and I am enriched by all of you every day. Thank you.

Blessings to all in this New Year, may 2009 bring you all the happiness & joy you deserve!!!