Sunday, March 22, 2015

First Days of Spring

Hello there! So again, I did not post for over a month, sorry. I planned to be back sooner and I even had a few draft posts in the works, but somehow, life just gets in a way.

Winter has ended ( according to the calendar) and we greeted the first day of spring with another snow storm. But yesterday it was warmer and today the sun decided to come out, which cheered me immensely. It was still cold but I decided to at least ditch the boots and the winter coat, as it seemed I have been wearing them for years. I love my coats and boots and since I don't have that many pairs they actually make it easier to dress everyday but this has been a long winter...




Jacket: Warehouse, bought from Asos, top Michael by Michael Kors, Jeans by True Religion, shoes by Vince




I went to see Insurgent (from Divergent Series) with my daughter. We liked it a lot. When she was a couple of years younger I have been conflicted about Hunger Games and worrying that the view of the world is too cynical for a pre-teen but I think she is now mature enough and all those topics are actually good conversation starters and opportunity for some interesting intellectual discussions. so we have seen Divergent and all three Hunger Games movies,  The Giver and Lucy. Even if artistically they are nothing special they all revolve around the question of what makes us human and for that alone, in my opinion, they are worth seeing at this age.

***

How about you?  Are you enjoying spring and shedding layers of clothing? Have you seen Insurgent and when do you think those kind of movies are age appropriate?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Emerson Fry Pink Coat to fight the Winter Blues

We are having so much snow here this winter, its driving me crazy! With the weather like this, schools are closed or have delayed openings, roads are icy and I end up working from home most of the time.  I am very grateful that I can do it, but sometimes it gives me a cabin fever.



So last weekend I had to fight the dreariness of the winter with a pop of pink! The coat is from Emerson Fry (2013) and I love it.  Perfect for layering, well made, timeless design. I am also carrying my other fav: Marc by Marc Jacobs Sheltered Island Top Handle satchel. I desperately needed a black bag since the strap on my trusty Banana Republic messenger bag broke down after few years of a heavy use. I got this one during F&F sales. It is available at Bloomingdales here, alas no discount now.  Perfect size, great shape, soft leather and not heavy, what more can you ask?  I know what: outside pocket for my phone! Still,  I am very happy with it.



The rest of my outfit is all from The Outlets at Bergen Town Center. I live only few miles away from it and love shopping there; Nordstrom Rack for shoes, Bloomingdales outlet for denim and Last Call Studio by Neiman Marcus for tops.  They also have Saks Off 5th but I am always completely shopped out after hitting the first three. They have J.Crew factory as well. If you are in vicinity and have some time, I think it is worth it! I am wearing Paige skinnies (from Bloomies), Sam Edelman Booties (Nordstrom Rack) and Michael Kors sweater (Last Call). All three (combined) around $150. This can cheer me up in no time, lol!



Photo credits: my lovely A. Thank you sweetie! She really wanted to do some fancy editing and filters, she is an Instagram queen and thinks my pics are boring. But I thought you may want to actually see the clothes...  You know I am cool, right?  Just kidding ;)

***

Can an outfit cheer you up in the winter? Have you ever shopped at Nordstrom Rack or similar outlets? Or do you prefer some other distractions to fight the winter blues? Please share!

Monday, February 16, 2015

My blue and silver bedroom and update on Madewell order

My old bedroom was bright, warm and cozy and while I lived in my old house I loved everything about it. 
But once I unpacked the boxes in my townhouse I knew I wanted something completely different. 


Below you can see what was my new bedroom before I bought the house. Its a nice and big room with enough space for a bed tucked in on one side and a spacious seating area with big windows overlooking a backyard on the other side. I thought I would replace the flooring and work with my old furniture.  But suddenly I wanted a change. I couldn't do warm colors anymore. I felt like the earth tones were out there to suffocate me.  Everything I liked was blue, gray or silver..  And I really wanted blue upholstered bed and Lucite bench. 


In fact, I first painted this room the same color i had in my old bedroom but here, and maybe just at this point in my life, it looked dated and unexciting. I had a great decorator to help me pick the paint colors and we decided to go with color scheme that we already used in the other areas of the house. Once I started there was no going back. I sold my old bedroom set to a young girl decorating her first apartment. It made me happy to see somebody excited about using it! Now I felt less guilty about picking up my dream furniture. Everything i picked up was some kind if deal but of course it still added up so I had to replace some of my choices with more affordable versions. Scouting Wayfair, Joss and Main and Lamps Plus became my everyday ritual for couple of months.  Not so different from checking J.Crew site for popbacks!


I did get the bed and chaise I wanted and eventually i found all the other pieces at great prices, including some real steals from Lamps Plus Open Box sales. I contemplated adding mirrored nightstands for some Hollywood glam factor but in the end, I decided to go with the white ones from Wayfair to match the cabinet on the other side of the room. I love having those big windows across from my bed!



I finally had a bedroom big enough for a chaise lounge, something I always wanted. Now, this is a perfect spot for reading and just having some time to myself. 

I have to tell you, it is so hard to take good interior pictures without the wide angle lens and proper lighting.  I feel like the 'before' pictures sometimes look better, rooms are brighter and seem bigger  because they were taken by professional photographer, colors enhanced and exposure adjusted, so you have to take my word for it, it does look better irl.



The fun part of being single is that you can buy whatever you want and you don;t have to compromise. Even if your partner has a similar taste there is always going to be something you adore that does not appeal to them. Now that I only had myself to ask, I suddenly I wanted to go all girly and a little glam. I was like a kid in the candy store. 

Some of my choices surprised even me. Who would have thought I wanted a skull hanging over my bed? But guess what? I love it. I named him Fernando.

I am very happy with how it turned out. Every morning when I wake up I stare at my little personal oasis. To me it was worth every penny.

What do you you think?

***

Since some of you asked, I wanted to update you on my last Madewell order. I turned out that I love both tees, they are drapey but not too sloppy in size M, exactly what I wanted.


And I am finally comfortable in my legging jeans, Oh what a liberation!



***  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Love is a wave

U2 is one of my all-time-favorite bands. Last year I fell in love with their latest album, Songs of Innocence. There are so many wonderful songs and great lyrics there!

If you go your way and I go mine
Are we so...
Are we so helpless against the tide?
Baby, every dog on the street
Knows that we're in love with defeat
Are we ready to be swept off our feet
And stop chasing every breaking wave?

(Every Breaking Wave by U2
from Songs of Innocence)


Martha's Vineyard, the place i love


It is easy to fall in love but at some point in relationship we choose to stay in love and this where I think love truly begins. Love is a choice. We humans are always looking for love in some form, loving our parents, our partners, our children, our friends, our country, our jobs, our dreams for the future, our memories of the past. 

I think this may be one of the reasons we celebrate Valentine's Day, to remind ourselves that we are choosing to stay. Wherever we are, there is always some love to hold on to. Even if you are not in a happy place, I believe that when you stay with something you love,  love will find its way back to you. Because love is a wave.


love you so much A!!!


Hugs and kisses to all of you...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Madewell and how I (don't) worry about my size...

Did you see the post from J.Crew Aficionada about Madewell coming to Nordstrom and Net-a-Porter? I have a Madewell store in the nearby mall, so it doesn't make a huge difference to me, but I think this is great news to those who don't. I love Nordstrom!

Madewell has some great boots and bags. I was dying for Rag and Bone ankle booties last year but could not justify the price and Madewell had some good alternatives (Billie!). I ended up not buying them, but only because I was so wrapped up in the house decorating madness. But last summer I needed a few new t-shirts and Madewell had just the styles. I think they are a little edgier and trendier than J.Crew but still without logos and unnecessary embellishments.



In fact, their striped linen tee has been one of my favorite items recently.  Yes. To the point that when I look at my iPhone pictures, it sometimes seems like that's the only t-shirt I own! I also seem to be drinking a lot of champagne, but that's a good thing, right?




Here I am, rowing in the Central Park, dressed in almost all-Madewell outfit. The white vest was another one of my favs, It can instantly turn even your shorts-and-tee outfit into something chic. And I wore that necklace to death. Quite literally, as one day the chain came apart and it was all little pieces all over the floor. So OK, maybe it is not such a great quality, but I still loved it while it lasted (kind of like my ex, but nevermind). I saw this necklace on some TV personalities, including Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper. I love her style, don;t you?


They now have something quite similar, called Arrowstack necklace.




Here is that t-shirt again, this time with my Rag and Bone Fedora.  I also bought it in red and solid gray (the t-shirt, not the hat), but somehow I did not wear those that often. Contrary to the care label washing instructions, I just wash them on a regular cycle. Who has time to hand wash the t-shirts? They do shrink if you put them in the dryer but they will stretch again in the next wash.  I also like their viscose slouchy v-neck tees, they drape well and they are supersoft. That said, they do sometimes develop those annoying little holes in front. I gave up on it and just assume they will not last more than one season. Oh well.

For now, I realized that I need a couple of long sleeve t-shirts, as I seem to have  'outgrown' most of what I have in my closet. Sigh. I even suggested to my boyfriend that maybe if he dumped me, I started losing some weight, being brokenhearted and such, but buying couple of things in a bigger size may be a more pleasant solution. Don't worry, eventually I may skip some of  the DD breakfasts and may even get back to an exercise routine, lol.

Here is what I ordered:



She is wearing my necklace!

And this too:

I should have gone to the store to try it on, but I am too lazy. That's what happens when you start getting fat like Meghan Trainor too much.

Btw, why is everything cropped these days? I can't do cropped!

***
What do you think? Do you buy from Madewell? Do you own any of the t-shirts I ordered?
Please chime in, it would be no fun without you!





Sunday, February 8, 2015

Moving out

Since I have been on the house decorating kick I thought I would share the story of selling my old house and finding a new place. I loved everything about my old house. It was a 1920 Tudor Colonial, on a lovely tree-lined street and I have spent a lot of time getting it to the point where I wanted it to be. We have done some major renovations there so at fisrt I wanted to stay there. I could afford the mortgage (barely) but after living there without my husband for a year I realized that it was just too much maintenance for me. After I made the decision to sell I had no regrets. It is a major hassle to get the house ready for sale, so it became my pet project and I often thrive on challenges.

I had a wonderful realtor who is also a friend and she was super helpful with every step of the way. She brought a stager named Barbara, to look at the house, rearrange some furniture and figure out what to do with couple of rooms which were empty after my ex moved out. I have to admit that I thought I don't need the stager.  Didn't I know it all after I spent so many hours watching HGTV?

I was wrong. Barbara was able to come up with some tweaks I wish I had known when I actually lived in the house. And it was fun! If you are selling the house I would encourage you to get the stager.  My realtor paid for her services out of her commission but it would have been worth it if I paid for it myself.

This is the 'before' of my living room:


Barbara had me put the red sofa at an angle in the corner and swap the brown chair and the ottoman. Then she mixed up the pillows and put the floor lamp behind the red sofa (not visible in the pic). Suddenly, the space opened up and my furniture started 'talking to each other'.





She said coconuts sell houses...



Added some decorating touches...



This room was empty and I thought I didn't have any extra furniture but somehow we found it.



Then she helped me to clean up the playroom. That was quite a task as you can imagine.



I even painted the stairs to the attic.


Of course I can never be sure if all those changes made a difference.  But when the house eventually went on the market I got four offers in the first two weeks. I ended up selling it above the asking price.

I decided I don't want a single family house anymore. With the help of my realtor I found a two bedroom townhouse in the same town. It was perfect for me and my daughter! Now, this was going to be so much easier.


My new place
The move is always a pain in you know what but at least I already had all the furniture.  Or so I thought.... But that's a story for another post...

***

Have you moved a lot? I am now in my sixth house and I want to stay here forever. But I know I have said that before...Oddly, I don;t like moving but I did enjoy getting the house ready. Do you think staging can make a difference?










Thursday, February 5, 2015

Back to K

As I mentioned in my 'back from the grave' post, I have not been shopping for new clothes recently. I had a lot of other things going on and I was more focused on decorating my new place but mostly it was because I have considered myself a finished project.

I was always interested in fashion. I grew up with a mother who owned enough shoes and clothes to stock a department store and in High School I've even sewn my own clothes. However, over the years, dressing up in the morning became an afterthought. Then one day, few years ago, I looked in the mirror and screamed in horror. How did I became that frumpy, slightly overweight mother, hair up in black scrunchie, clad in clearance sneakers and ill fitting jeans? For the next couple of years I went through my own 'what not to wear' project. Somewhere on my journey I have become a JCrew junkie and even started a blog documenting my shopping habits. But you already know that.

I did not stop blogging because I was depressed after getting divorced, as painful as it was. In fact, after my ex left in December 2012 and I got laid off, I traveled and got a new job and I was still posting quite a lot until the following summer.  But as I was becoming the new single-again, totally-grown-ass-woman, I realized that I am not a project anymore. I was done. I still wasn't perfect, mind you (just ask my ex, haha). But somehow, I was good enough.

I realized that I went the whole circle. In many ways I was back to the way I used to dress, But I was weeding through what I learned during my fashion obsessed period, discarding what I could not keep up with and sticking to my tried and true, hopefully more refined, definitely more confident.

Nowadays, I do think about what I wear every morning. But I went back to wearing more jeans and t-shirts. I like my skinny jeans because I think my legs are my best feature. I stick to certain brands and I never regret paying a premium. I also love good quality swingy t-shirts. I dress it up with heels and maybe a necklace or a scarf and usually this is my uniform. When the weather is warmer I love to wear dresses, when its cold I have a few favorite coats and boots. I bought a Rag and Bone fedora and it works wonders with many outfits. Nothing earth shuttering but it works for me. I have worn jeans and t-shirts before and looked frumpy. I thought that I needed much more variety and I wanted to be unexpected. But I discovered that variety and novelty were overrated, at least for me.

Wearing True Religion Embellished Ankle Skinny Chrissy Jeans and FCUK t-shirt 

Fit is king and quality is my prince charming. Wait, how about the queen? Well, queen is all about the hair. I had a couple of big fancy parties to attend recently. Every time I contemplated buying a new dress but I decided to get my hair done instead (it was still cheaper, too). Hair is the best fashion accessory. That's when I realized the advantage of LBD and black clothes in general. Nobody remembers them, so you can wear them multiple times! And they hide the stains better. Genius!

Did I really need to spend all that time and money to arrive at the obvious? I guess I did and I have enjoyed the journey. I feel like I am Dorothy discovering that I could have came back to Kansas all along. But it was definitely more fun to travel on the yellow brick road. JC must have been the wicked witch I have slayed!

***

What do you think? Does it make any sense to you or am I just rambling incoherently? Love to hear your thoughts!!!!

    

 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Hello Again

Hello Everybody,

I feel like I am back from the grave...

I have been MIA for so long, it was surprise for me to see that I even had any page views anymore. Anyway, a lot has happened since I posted last time. I have been talking to some of you privately or you might have seen me on Facebook or Instagram, but mostly I just disappeared. So if you want to know what I have been doing, I got divorced, I lost my job, I wallowed in pain, I lost some weight, I traveled, I found a new job, I sold the house, I moved, I dated, I decorated, I fell in love, I gained my weight back and then some more.

I did miss you all but I kind of lost my passion for all things JCrew and I was not sure in what format I can get back to this blog or some other reincarnation of it. I thought the solution would somehow magically reveal itself to me, but I finally realized that nothing really changes until you change it, so here I am, again.

Not sure how I will proceed but I will take it one post at the time. I have not been shopping for clothes so much recently. In fact, I don't think I have bought anything since last summer and I haven't seen the inside of the J.Crew store for more than a year. It's not that I suddenly stopped shopping, I did shop for some other brands and then, after I moved, I focused on shopping for the house, I guess I can only handle one passion at the time. I thought I can share my new pursuits with you here and see what happens.

Thank you all for being here, and as always, I'd love to hear from you.


To the new chapter!


ajk
Yes, I am back to my maiden k :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Birds


Hello everybody!

Again, I have been very busy, plus I had some problems with my loptop, so I haven't been posting recently, but I wanted to show you a new graphic t-shirt that I got from J.Crew recently. I don;t see it online, so it is probably coming in the next rollout.


In my opinion it is a very nice rendition of a graphic tee and I was happy to grab it. I miss the great t-shirts that J.Crew used to make and I haven't seen anything that I really liked recently. What I like about this one is that it is a fun make-you-smile print but not too twee or over the top. Keeping the color neutral tones it down but I do like the touch of gold. Of course this is just my personal taste and some may say the birds are the epitome of twee, but I like them. The cut is nice, I took a Small. I tried a Medium thinking that maye it is supposed to be loose fitting but it was just boxy and shapeless. In small it still has a little slouch but it is not clingy. I also like the neckline, the 3/4 sleeves and the hemline. The fabric drapes nicely. It was priced at $45 which of course is a lot for a simple t-shirt and I am sure it will go on sale. I got it with the 25% off, still not cheap but I decided I really liked it and I wanted to wear it right away.



And I did! Last weekend, when I went apple picking with my daughter. Actually we both wore almost matching outfits, although it was not planned. So we both had our new graphic t-shirts in gray, skinny jeans. No I did not wear my pink Valentinas, lol. Her moose shirt and from abercrombie ( I know, we are at that stage, she is 10, sigh).

We had a blast! This weekend we are planning to visit a giant corn maze.

What are you up to?

What do you think about the birds t-shirt?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Keyholes (in Silk and Viscose)

I thought the silk keyhole top was a nice alternative to a spaghetti strap camis. It seemed bra friendly and providing a little more coverage while still having a sexy vibe to it. I was hoping it would work for going out but still be appropriate for my casual office and it should look good with a blazer.

Well, I guess it wasn't meant to be after all. I think it would be OK if it was 2 inches longer and not so swingy. I am wearing size 4 and I think maybe a 6 would have been better? Maybe a little bit longer but probably still not enough. And it would most likely have too much volume at the hem. The armholes are cut quite high it this top, usually the J.Crew camis have the opposite problem, but not this one.

I like the fabric and it is not see through, definitely a plus. The neckline is very pretty and not too low on me, even with regular bra. It has bra keeps so you don't need a racerback or strapless. The color is not really blue, definitely more of a dark teal. I like the color and it is quite flattering with my skin tone but it has limited pairing options imo. Ideally this type of top would go with dark or black jeans but the teal does not look good with either imo. Light wash denim would probably be better, like they have it on the model. White works of course but I could not think of any other color.

The back length is fine and it drapes well. The fabric covered small buttons in the back are difficult to do up and you cannot really get it on without having them undone or you risk getting your make-up all over the neckline.

 

I do like the neckline a lot, so much in fact that tried it in another item, the keyhole dress in square dot. Since I did not buy it I don't have pictures but I liked the fit. Size 6 was perfect on me. It is just a little bit high waisted on me but not too much, it did not bother me. If you are shorter (I'm 5'6) or smaller than a C cup you probably will not have that issue at all. The dress fell right above my knee, definitely office appropriate. The print was flattering and it gave it casual air, making it a nice day dress. It could be made more businesslike with a navy blazer. Too bad it is viscose but it felt quite nice against the skin and I think I would like to get it once the price is right. That is, if I am still interested at that point. Often, by the time my 'watch' item makes it to the deep sale, I have already moved on to the other likes. I am fickle, I know J

 

Since we are on a subject of viscose I also tried this blouse in black:
Again, no pictures this time but I really liked the fit of it, especially with toothpick jeans. It had a nice casual vibe. Size 4 was perfect on me, so size down or take your smaller size. I see that the black and ivory are currently sold out in most sizes but they had plenty of them in store. I do wish it was silk because I did not care for the feel of the fabric, it was heavy, cold and not very soft. Still, it seemed to drape well but I am just not sure if I would be comfortable in it.
***
What do you think?
Did you try the silk keyhole top?
Is viscose a deal breaker for you??
Also, see the keyhole silk top on Gigi HERE.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Red Taboo and Blue Sunflowers


Sometimes it is the little details that make the outfit. I went through a period when I was buying and wearing a lot of statement necklaces and costume jewelry. I have accumulated quite a collection. But recently, along with going back to neutrals and simple streamlined silhouettes, I find myself going back to more subtle and delicate jewelry. So the recent email I got from J.Crew about the 'outfit changing necklace' did not tempt me at all.

No, not for me.

I usually like to just wear a simple gold necklace and I have quite a few but I for some time I had this round gold disk on a delicate chain in mind. However, when I had it priced at the local fine jewelry store I realized that the prices of gold are so high right now and I did not want to spend a lot of money. So what is a budget-minded, gold-disc-obsessed gal to do? Shop Etsy!


After a little poking around, I found exactly what I needed from a lovely Canadian seller, Himi from Blue Sunflowers. This is not a sponsored post btw, I am just very pleased with my purchase, so I wanted to share it. It does feel great to support a small, independent artisan, as opposed to big name retailer. My experience has always been great with Etsy sellers, great quality for the price and a more unique product.
You can pick the chain length, put your name or anything that is 4-7 characters on it and even add a little heart. My necklace arrived in about two weeks (it would be much faster if you are in Canada because of customs), nicely packaged. It did not disappoint and I am very happy with it.


I am wearing 17" chain. For wearing with a cami like this one it could actually be a one inch longer but it is perfect to wear with button down shirts. The disk is 16mm in diameter. It was $39 and you can find it HERE.

Another purchase I am absolutely thrilled with is Yve Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte lipstick. I was skeptical because it is very pricey but I LOVE it. It is the best lipstick I ever tried, glides on smoothly, stays on for a long time (and I tend to eat my lipsticks right off) and it is highly pigmented. It is glossy but it works perfect blotted as a stain. I am wearing a Red Taboo (#18) shade.

YSL Rouge Volupte Red Taboo

Not so long ago I was a non lipstick wearer but I am hooked and now I cannot go without it.
***


What do you think?

Have you bought jewelry on Etsy?

Are you a lipstick wearer? Have you tried Rouge Volupte?



Friday, August 30, 2013

J.Crew Eaton Boy Trousers Review

I was curious about Eaton Boy Trousers and they got good reviews from JCA community so I wanted to check them out. I am always on a lookout for the perfect fitting pair of trousers in basic colors.

Most of my try-outs end in failures because majority of bottoms are cut for more curves than I am blessed with. But the 'boy cut' sounded promising. I loved the walnut color so I ordered them in both walnut and black. I only took pictures of the walnut ones. Black ones actually look better irl but I would not be able to show you any details, it is hard to photograph black, especially in the late afternoon light. I apologize for the quality of pictures but I hope you can get the idea of the fit.
So the walnut color is not disappointing, it is beautiful and I guess walnut is a great description this time. They are NOT lined. Usually, I cannot wear unlined wool pants, like wool café capris, I find them scratchy and not draping well. However, these I could wear! The wool is not scratchy, it feels soft and I could start wearing them now as opposed to waiting for the weather to cool down. This gives them more versatility since they are cropped, which in my world, limits their use in the winter. The length is good but I wish they were more tapered towards the bottom, maybe they could be tailored. Also, if you'd like them longer, there is about 1.5 inches in the hem to lot out.
I have ordered them in size 2, which is the same size I recently took in cotton café capris, pencil skirts and Andie chinos so I would say they fit TTS. They are definitely mid rise as you can see in the pictures.
Well, the fit in from is good imo. They have pockets but I would leave them closed for a more streamlined look. I like the hook and tab closure and the pintucks.
Now, the back view is not that great on me, lol. This is probably due to my, hmm, limitations and they may look better on most. Actually, I think it looks a little better irl, due to the twisted position but they do bunch up in the upper tigh area. I have the same problem in café capris, so if you don't it will probably not be an issue.
I think I have confirmed once more that the J.Crew pants are not the best fit on me, my favorite are still Theory trousers but even Banana Republic fits me much better, not sure why I keep trying. As for the Eatons they are also very expensive for what they are imo, even with the 25% discount I got. I still quite like them, maybe because I mostly get the front view, but I have to consider others see the back too, right?
***
What do you think of Eatons?
Yay or nay? Keep? Return? On Sale?
Please share, it would be no fun without you!!!