Friday, December 31, 2010

Only in California!

There are a lot of things people complain about here in Norther California. The cost of living is very high and we don't have those great seasons ya'll do in other part of the county. It has some great pay off though. For example, on the day after Christmas this year, when a record blizzard was hitting NYC, we were playing on the beach. Not in bathing suits exactly, but not snowsuits either. The kids had a fabulous time!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tick Tock, Tick Tock!

As the clock ticks away the remaining moments in 2010 I feel compelled to make my list for next year. I love lists. I wouldn't call these resolutions by any means. It's more of a list of guidelines that I hope to be able to follow more of less as 2011 begins. I have found that if you make resolutions and don't keep them you feel bad which just makes things worse. So here is a list of things I hope 2011 and I will be able to follow:

1. Smile more, especially at home. Sometimes when I get home from work I find my self snapping at the kids. I want to walk through the door with a smile, because truely coming home is the best part of the day!

2. Feel less guilty about working. I tend to have a bad case of working mothers guilt. This leads me to over compensate. It's good that I have a job that helps provide for my family. I should be proud of that, not feel guilty.

3. Exercise a little more. I really feel better when I do.

4. Have more fun. We only live once.

There, that's not even a very long list. Wishing everyone a safe and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Eve

Now that the frenzy is finally behind us I am going to start uploading my pictures from the fabulous holiday we jsut had and will being to share them. I did want to post this one really quick. I snapped it just before we headed out the door to Christma Eve Mass. My daughter C sings int eh childrens choir and they did a beautiful job. Later in the evening I realized that my oldest son, A, and hubby were dressed similar. It was especially funny as A had made a huge fuss this holiday season about dressing to match his brother and sister. I generally buy the boys matching shirts and vests that coordinate with the dress C wears. Anyway A and Hubby both had on white Brookes Brothers shirts, blackwatch plaid ties, navy blue Brooks Brothers blazers and Bass loafers. It was to funny! Anyway, I hope your holiday was merry and bright!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's almost here!

Oh my goodness! it is so hard to believe that tomorrow night is Christmas Eve. I'm working this one last day and then I'm off tomorrow and Monday. Really can't wait. Hubby is home today and he and our daughter C have been baking up a storm. I can cook, not bake. When last they called they had made carmels, another batch of marshmellows and shortbread. Yumm! Can't wait to get home! Both A and brother O are al the last day of baseball camp. It's kind of funny, A loves baseball. He's almost 10 and has played with singleminded fanaticalness since starting tball at 5. O has never played before. He is 7 and startled both Hubby and I when he annoucned he wanted to play this year. At first I suspected his brother had brainwashed him. Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Counting Your Blessings

I love the Ray Confiff Singers Christmas Album. I remember it best from growing up and it plays on a continuous loop on my ipod this time of year. I especially like the line from the song "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" that goes like this "And if you're worried and you can't sleep, you can count your blessings instead of sheep" I just think that such a great sentiment for this time of year. It's easy to get caught up in shopping, wrapping, holiday party going or to fall off the edge into scroogeville. So, to re-focus myself on what truely are my blessings this year and get me in the mood to really enjoy what matters this holiday weekend I am going to count my blessings!

1. All of my family is health and well (includes imeadiate and extended)
2. Kiddies are all doing well in school and happy
3. We have food on the table and a roof over our head
4. Hubby and I are still married and in love after 15 years of marriage and 3 kids
5. Hubbies small business is still in business and seems to be on track to survive this icky time
6. My job is stable and going strong
7. I have friends I love who love me

That's just a small list. I could go on and on but then like the song says "you'll fall asleep, counting your blessings" I still have things to get done, so I can't fall asleep right now! Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Holidays are upon us!

Well the Holidays are almost upon us. As my mother would say, the festivities most merrily commence! In a some what surprising turn of events I am very organized this year. Frequently at this time I am running around like a loon with a bad cold. But I have all my gift bought and even wrapped, cards are sent and stocking stuff ready to go. Don't hate me please! I have no idea how this has happened. This is our year to be home on Christmas, we go to my folks on alternating years. C is singing in the Children's Choir at our church for the 6 pm mass on Christmas Even and then we will head to a friends house for dinner and festivities. Hopefully, C and I will get out to hunt on Boxing Day but it has been raining a ton here so maybe not. I hope all of you lovelies out there are having a safe and happy holiday season!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Man and his Mission

We live in the great state of California. As a result all 4th graders study the state during the school year. One of the 4th grade rights of passage is the mission project. They are assigned a mission and must do a report and creative visual on the mission. They can not use a kit to build it. A was assigned Mission San Francisco de Solano. This is about a 2 hour drive from our house. After checking out a book about the mission A compelted his report and was launched on the task of building his mission. It turned out pretty good. He actually did all the work himself with only minimal help from us. I just hope it survives the trip to school tomorrow!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Favorite Holiday Tradition

I love the Nutcracker ballet. Every year when I was a child my mom and dad would take my sister and I to see it. I was a special day. We'd get all dressed up, have a special lunch or tea and then go see the ballet. Now that we are grown, we take my daughter who is 7 and my sister's who is 5. Neither of my other boys are at all interested and my sisters daughter is to young, she just turned 2. We meet at the BART station and ride into down town SF, then we have lunch at Max's Opera Cafe and walk to the War Memorial Opera House. Each year we pick a new ornament for our tree at home and then see the ballet. We have cookies and hot chocolate at the intermission (the grownups have champange). Then we ride the train home. It's a wonderful day that we talk about all year long and look forward to next year. It really makes me feel like the Christmas Season is upon us. Here are some pictures from this year's trip. Just to satisfy the fashion side of the blog I would note that I am wearing a silk J Crew camisole from a few years ago. I don't know the name, my ivory celosia cardigan and a pair of Banana Republic black pants. C's dress is from Gymboree and her red coat is from Strasburg.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wish I were there!

Isn't this cool. Apparently there is a huge storm and Paris is totally covered in snow. I love the look of these pictures. I am sure it is a huge pain if you live there or are trying to get home, but really I wouldn't mind being stuck there, although I am sure that is one of those things that sounds cool but that is not as much fun if you actually are stuck there. Still, I love the pictures!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oh We Need a Little Christmas!

I love that song. I've used this photo from an older J Crew Holiday catalogue. I just totally love this image. Several different folks have posted pictures of older JC holiday items this week. I love the yellow coat. I have the same one in red. I wish I had this skirt too. Really though my favorite thing is that the model is happy, smiling and looks like she is having fun. That's what the holidays are all about, right?
We had a great trip last weekend to cut our tree and then decorating the house. As soon as I have a chance to actually download the pictures I will post them. I'm having a pretty good christmas season thus far. No major drama, just fun. Almost done with my shopping too! Yeah!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Oh I WANT These!

How cute are these custom holiday gift tags? I first spotted them in Decembers edition of Traditional Home. I made it over to the Lobrid's site (click here to visit ttp:// I think this one with the little mouse is my very favorite but I could look forever before choosing! I love this type of thing. It's the litle personal touches that are so perfect!What do yuo think?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Key to Your Heart Giveaway

Hi there, I just had to post about a fabulous giveaway going on at How I Met Your Father. It is this totally fabulous Lilly Pulitzer Key to Your Heart necklace. I love the details on the key and heart. If I can't win I would love it to be one of you! Click here to visit and enter. Be sure and mention I sent you over. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Striving to Get in the Mood

OK, tomorrow is December. I can officially start feeling the Christmas love. In the B of A plaza directly outside my office they are having a tree lighting ceremony and a band is singing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of The Year". I'm not feeling really festive right now though because thoselittle annoying colds my kids had last week have turned into a sinus infection on me. Still I thought I'd make a list of things to remember to cherish this season, when all is nuts and the pressure to be perfect is sometimes overwhellming:
1. I'm doing the best I can. So what if it isn't all color co-ordinated and Martha Stewartish.
2. The kids are happy if I can just be there. It's worth it to sneak out from work to attend the school party. If that can't happen, baking cookies is enough.
3. A mess you enjoyed making (in the kitchen) is the fastest to clean up.
4. So I didn't work out today, that's what January is for
5. They are only little for such a short time, try and cherish it.
6. It's not a competition, with my sister or my friends.
7. In 4 weeks it will be over, enjoy it while you can.
Hopefully those reminders will help me keep it all in perspective. I'm going to stop in to Starbucks on my way home and get me a gingerbread latte in a RED CUP!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Do you "Dress" for Thanksgiving dinner?

Despite the fact that it seems to me much of the world has moved directly from Halloween to Christmas, Thanksgiving will be clebrated this week. I have always loved Thanksgiving. In some ways I prefer it to Christmas. It has great food, family and friends without the hysteria of high expectations and gift buying that sometimes seem to accompany Christmas. But what I am wondering is do you "Dress" of Thanksgiving dinner?

The reason I ask is that I have a bit of a quandry this year. If we were going to be at my parents the answer would be yes, of course. At my own house, same answer. Now I'm not talking super formal but a nice skirt and sweater, black patent mary janes and white tights for my daughter, cords, dress shirts and vests for the boys, same for hubby. Usually all the boys, including Hubby match.

This year we are going to one of my sister in law's homes. She lives in Carson City which is outside Reno, Nevada. It's about a 4 hour drive and we are leaving early (like really early) in the morning on Thanksgiving day to drive there. It's also really cold here now. It will be fun, there will be lots of people, great food and cousins for the kids to play with. My husbands family is NOT dressy. We made this same trip last year and I forced my kids and self to change before dinner. I think we were the only ones who did.

I get that the holiday is about more than how you look. But I like to look good, even while hanging out. I hate to make everyone get dressed nicely to drive all that way so early but don't want to see my kids looking like slobs at the Holiday table. So a dilema is at hand. I think I am going to wear skinny jeans, a merion turtleneck and boots which is more dressy than anyone else will be. That way, if I don't get to change it's ok. I will likely coral the kids and make them change though. Appearences are important. If that makes me superfical, so be it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Give Away at Shop with M!

In honor of reaching 100 followers Shop with M is having a lovely giveaway from J Crew and Kate Spade. My favorites! Hop over there to say congrats and have a chance at this lovely prize!

Shirred Wool Skirt

OK, so I am a year behind the times but I am loving the shirred wool skirt J crew did last winter. I missed them last year. They just weren't on my radar for whatever reason. I managed to score the gray one and the coral heather one over on the JCA. I have to admit they are really great. Now I did size up. I would normally take a medium in a skirt like this and it would be to short. Instead though, these are both larges. They sit lower, almost and then the length is perfect which is good because there is no hem to let you. I'm wearing the gray one today with textured black tight, flat black boot and a black turtleneck. I'm going to see the new Harry Potter movie with my sister after work so I wanted to be comfortable since I won't get home to change. Do you have these skirts? Do you love them?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Conferences and Report Cards

It's that time of year. Those of you who are teachers know the pain of conferences and report cards from your end. But I thought I'd tell it to you from mine. I have 3 kids in elementary school. The oldest is in 4th grade, I have one in 2nd and one in 1st. Yesterday afternoon I had all three conferences. This in itself was a scheduling miracle that I am not quite sure how it happened. The stars were all aligned on back to school night I guess.

First up was the first grader. Some background, he is 7 which makes him one of the older kids in the class. Actually, he is the twin brother of the 2nd grader. However, they have a late August birthday and he just wasn't ready when she clearly was. He is also on the autistic spectrum, although not diagnosible. He did a great deal of therapy between 18 months and 3 years and is totally mainstream with no services but there will always be some issues. Anyway, giving him that extra year was the best thing we could have done. He is excelling. His ready level is extremely high, he has no behavioral or social issues in class. I was so happy to hear how well he was doing. An absolute wonderful moment as a parent.

The came the second grader. She is a very good student but is one of those people who can does fine with the minimum of effort. She really needs to be pushed to excel. As the teacher put it , "I just don't think we have seen all that we can see of C" Her behavior is excellent and she is doing good work, just not excellent like she could. I was pleased to hear this and not really surprised. She really needs ot be motivated and we are going to work to figure out the best way to do this. She is very competitive.

Finally, the 4th grader. He is my super sweet, sensitive boy. He struggles with both dyslexia and dysgraphia. His teacher is aware of this and works well with him. He is also extremely good in class, respectful and well behaved. His report card and conference showed that he is also trying hard but the teacher feels he needs to push out of his comfort area. An example is that all his in class writing is about baseball. Now, that's his favorite sport and he knows alot about it but he needs to branch out and try something else. His reading has really improved but he is reluctant to try new, harder books. He reminds me alot of myself.

So all in all, a sucessful grading period. I am thankful, in this week before Thanksgiving, that my children go to a wonderful public school with teachers who care so much for their sucess.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Finally took the bait

Ok, I finally bit down and took the bait. I've been lusting after the J Crew pencil skirt in the yellowish color I think is called Bronze Ocher. I wanted it last year, didn't buy it. This year I have been looking at it on line, seeing all the cool Polyvore sets with it and generally considering it. I really wanted to see it in real life. I just wasn't sure about the color. I wasn't really sure it would work on me.

Then last night the J Crew gods smiled on me. I had to go to the mall to buy 3 copies of the book Mr. Popper's Penguin's for my son's 4th grade class. The teacher asked people to donate a couple of copies each so that each kid in the class could have one to read. The book store is very close to J Crew. So I poped in.

I told myself I wanted to see the newTartan shirt but who was I kidding. By the way, I didn't like the tartan shirt. I thought the colors were a little muted and it didn't fit well in the shoulders. But then, like a ray of sun shine there it was, the bonze ocher pencil skirt, in my size! Needless to say I grabbed it. It's a great color I never would have considered. I ended up trying it with the new navy striped tee that says Rev`e on it in sequins and a black pine forever cardigan. Again, not a combo I would have considered but loved. Needless to say, those three things came home with me!

Just as another note about the other items in the store. I wasn't really impressed. The other skirts were too short, the colors were sort of blah and I wasn't really inspired. I also wanted to see the new reindeer tee since I missed last years but it didn't thrill me as much as my other purchases did.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I was doing my usual lunch time blog perusal when I came upon some shots from the Talbots pring preview on The Wardrobe Review. I love everything about this. From the elegant model who looks clean and classic to the longer but still tailored skirt. When I contrast it with the pictures I have seen of the J Crew spring role out, well I can tell you where my dollars are going to go.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Long Overdue Halloween Post

OK, I admit it. I'm way over due in posting my pictures of Halloween fun. In my defense it was an insanely busy weekend and it took me a while to get all the pictures downloaded. First up we have a picture of the three kids heading out to trick or treat. A Police Officer, a Colorado Rockies Baseball player and a Cheeleader. For only being out about an hour or so, a great deal of loot was collected. It's still being hoarded and guarded.

This second picture was taken during the day on Halloween. it is opening meet for the Los Altos Hounds. This is my daughter on the little pony, me on the big black horse and my mom on the red mare. It was a gorgeous day and alot of fun. C has been riding out with us on her pony since she was 3. She turned 7 in August. This is her second year off the leadline. With the exception of the fact the pony hates to cross water she does great.
Finally, this is a picture of hubby and I at a grownups only party Saturday night. We have a friend who always threw the best halloween parties, band and everything. Then a few years ago she moved away and we were so sad. Then this year she moved back. Yeah, wild halloween party again. It was quite an event. A good time was had by all.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Just Wrong in So Many Ways

OK, I swear this is not whinning. This is sheer amazement at something that is so bad I feel the need to call it to you attention lest it tragically fall into your shopping cart and find it's way into your home. J Crew calls this the Super 120 Tulip Mini Skirt. Their description is:

"Swaths of our famed four-season Super 120s merino wool drape divinely from a fine Japanese grosgrain elastic band, creating this modern desk-to-dinner skirt that's at once sweet, sexy and sophisticated. Sits at waist. Fully lined. 17 1/2" long. Import. Dry clean. Catalog/ only."

Ok, translation time. First off instead of "swathes" read "hip highlighting". Second, I don't know about you but there is nothing desk appropriate about 17 inches at my office. I don't want my office look to be sweet or sexy. This certainly isn't sophisticated. Add to that the no makeup, messy hair poor posture and wack-a-doodle footwear choices and this is an epic fail. Topped off by the fact that is cost $138. J Crew, I am truely speechless at how bad this is. Now, let me call your attention to the picture below

This is older J Crew, 2007 I think. Anouck is my favorite all time J Crew model. I used to want to buy everything she tried on and I endlessly tried to copy her lipstick shades. Anyway, these girls look happy, clean and really quite darling. I would buy the skirts they are wearing for $138. And they aren't "swathed" in anything. I know I am of the group that perfers the "old" Jcrew to the current one but really, can you blame me?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Personal Triumph!

I've noticed that alot of my blog posts sometimes seem to be whinny when I read them later. You know, yesterday I whinned about red cups. Lots of days I whine about my life. I've decided my New Years Resolution (hey I Strbucks can have red cups in November I can make my resolutions then too!) is to be more positive. I want to celebrate life, not whine about it. SO without further ado, TA DAH! I figured out how to link my polyvore sets on the blog. SO now you can see the things I make on polyvore should you be so interested! I'm not very tech savy so this is a big step for me! Have a great day!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Red Cups Are Here!

Now that Halloween is in our past and those nasty molding jack-o-lanterns have gone out with last weeks trash I see yet another sign that the Holidays are upon us, Red Cups! You know the ones I mean, the Starbucks Red Cup. A sight that practically requires a ginerbread latte or pepermint mocha to be sipped while visions of sugarplums dance in your head! I have only one trouble with this. It's not Thanksgiving yet. I'm still feeling the pumpkin spice love. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas. I am the first person to get my tree and decorate my house. I just require that it be actually in December. I also love Thanksgiving. It gives me that fun, family holiday feeling without all the pressure (or expense) of gifts. I'm loking forward to my first red cup, you can be sure. But you can also be sure that it will be on December 1. Does that make me a candidate for Scrooge?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Now that's work appropriate

I was over at the mothership the other day and there were some wonderful images of really what I consider "old school" J Crew. The style and look that were the Paris and Scotland cataloges we all love so well. I was looking at other images from "Paris" and found this wonderful page from their suit collection and was amazed. It actually looked like something I would wear to work. No droopy, frayed, borrowed from the boys stuff. This is how I like to look at work. Clean and pulled together. The models also actually look like they have seen a sqaure meal in the last 24 hours. I actually own this suit and it still looks as good today as when I bought it. Please J Crew, can I have another?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

A very Happy Halloween to all of you out there! I hope you have wonderful plans. We have soccer games tomorrow morning and then Hubby and I are going to a grown ups only party. I am so looking forward to it. We have these good friends who always through this huge halloween party with a band. A couple of years agao they moved to Colorado and we totally missed their party. Lucky for us they moved back this year and so the party can resume. Totally looking forward to it. We are still working out our costumes but I think Hubby and I are going to be Hansel and Gretel. Have a safe and fun Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The rule I fail to follow

In reviewing my list below about shopping I can see that there is one rule, well ok 2, that I consisitently have trouble with. That is dressing for the life i have, not the one I wish I had. Here's why, I used to be a stay at home mom. I was pretty hip. I loved my skinny jeans tucked into boot in the fall and my capris in the warmer weather. Then circumstances intervened and I went back to work full time.

A note of thanks, its a good job, in this economy I am lucky to have it and getting it has kept my family afloat. I always throw that in. It reminds me of what I heard Jeff Foxworthy say once about guys and their hair. They don't want to insult it in case it goes away.

Anyway so back why I keep breaking this rule. I don't live in my jeans, cords, j crew tee and down town field jacket anymore. No, I live in Banana Republic Martin pants and their no iron dress shirts. And don't get me started on the weekends. Some moms run around looking so cute at the soccer field and the baseball diamond. Not me. I'm that mom in the black ATSO ref tee shirt. I'm also that mom under the catchers gear warming up the little league pitcher. (I know that sounds silly but trust me, those 10 year olds really through hard and it hurts when they hit you!) So it seems like I rarely dress cute but casual on the weekends anymore either.

The issue is I have trouble with the line. Occasionally I cross the line and wear, say my imperial tee under a black suit or my stamp tee with pants and a cardi. Trouble is, I wish I was still that other person, living that other life. I know you can't go back again and I should be thankful (I am!) but still sometime I forget.

Oh, the other rule is that I often buy stuff on ebay without trying it on if I know it will fit. Not a huge sin I suppose.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More Rules for Basics

I've said it before and I am saying it again, I LOVE LISTS! So, in an effort to help me stay focused on my plan for simpler (read faster) dressing, I am creating yet another list or two to help keep me in line.

First, my basic goal:
1: Quick morning dressing (I have 3 kids to get to school and a train to catch, I don’t have the time to stand staring at my closet)
2: An outfit that will be office appropriate and maybe make it to a PTA or Little League (I am on both boards) meeting on the way home without making my feet hurt.
3: Warmth (I will not spend the winter wet or shivering)
4: Comfort (physically comfortable and mentally feeling confident and stylish)
5: Style (I will not fall prey to a look that is currently hip but I totally can't carry off but remain me)

Second, my rules for wearing layered basics without looking completely boring or feeling like a slob:
1: Think about poportion, at least half must be somewhat fitted. This applies more for weekend dressing as all my work pants are a straight leg, wool trouser. Some have a slightly wide leg but all are the standard trouser. Well frankly they are almost all the BR Martin pant.
2: A clear color palette for easy mixing and matching (I will be shopping for grey, black, plum, cranberry, and pale pink.
3: A little pop of color (This can include makeup. Lipstick helps tremendously. I am thinking the collar of a pink tee just poking out, burgundy tights, etc.)
4: Add depth (to add interest to the neutrals with texture and subdued print.)
5: Accessorize ( Scarves, gloves, chunky bracelets, interesting shoes, a great bag.)
6: A carefully edited closet and more selective shopping equals easier dressing. I've already cleaned out alot of my closet (which brings me to my next list…)

Building a better basic wardrobe shopping rules:
1: Get in the store (only buy online if I have already tried it on. This is important as I often impluse buy on ebay and the result has been a closet full of stuff that isn't quite right)
2: Thoughtful shopping (not trying to rush by buying a bunch of stuff online. Also applies when in store. Must take time in dressing room. The corollary to this rule is not to bring the kids. 3 kids whining and fighting or running around does not makes for a frazeling shopping expereince)
3: Don't be afraid to take it to the tailor and if it needs tailoring, get it done! This is another important rule for me as I have wider hips and a narrow waist.
4: No impluse or boredom buying (I sometimes use retail therapy when I should just take a walk instead.)
5: If it doesn't work in at least 3 outfits, pass.
6: Wait for sale
7: But remember it’s okay to pay full price occasionally. (only if it is to die for)
8: Just because it is on sale does not make it worth my dollar (even at 50% off, if it's not great then walk away) Again, this is a trap I fall into often.
9: Buy for the life I have, not the one I wish I had. I am me. As fabulous as that sequined mini skirt is, where am I going to wear it?

Do you have any rules or tips for wearing and shopping for wardrobe basics? Or favorite places to shop? If so please share!

When is a mini to much?

Here's my thought for today. When is a mini to much? I'm not really talking about when might a mini be inappropriate. I can pretty much figure that out. And I am not talking about micro minis such as the 15 inch minis J crew has been churning out. I'm talking about the cute reasonable minis, think 17 to 20 inches, from the past years like the one above. I see lots of cute fall looks with these minis and tights for fall. I don't think I would do bare legs and yellow wellies but I might do tights with those wellies. But I just turned 40. Is that to old? I'm not heavy and my legs look pretty good but is it just to young? What do you think? Maybe only in certain situtations? All thoughts and guideance appreciated

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Riding Boot Fashion Question

Riding boots, always a classic and one that I love. I saw these brown ones on the J Crew web site today. Love, totally love but way out of my price range at $325.
However, I have these exact ariat black field boots at home in my closet. There's only one catch, I actually have ridden in them. Not a ton and not recently. I actually have a customer pair of Dehner riding boots that I normally wear. They are called dress boots which means they don't have the lacing. Any way, the point of the rambling is that I'm wondering if it is ok to wear real, actual riding boots? They've been cleans and polished to a shine, no horse poops. The only place you can see evidence of actual use is that the inside calf shows wear. As in it rubbed against the saddle. What do you think?

I Just don't get booties

Ok, I am sorry but I just don't get the "bootie" craze. I guess I could see wearing these short little boots under long pants. They would keep your feet dry for sure. But I totally don't udnerstand wearing them with skinny jeans or pants and certainly not with dresses or skirts. And don't get me started on the peep toe bootie look. If it is cold and/or wet enough for boots it is to cold for open toes. I tend to be very classic though and maybe this is just to trendy for me.

This is the look I like. Flat (or heeled) boots with skinny jeans or pants. It just looks more finished to me. I am sure I am in the minority here. Doy ou wear booties? Am I totally missing out?

Friday, October 15, 2010

To belt or not to belt? That is the question

Today it seems like belts are the cool accessory. Yet no one actually belts their pants. As in, yes I am wearing a belt but not through the belt loops of my pants with a shirt tucked in. Look at these two shots from Banana Republic. I think both looks are pretty cool. I just am not sure they ould be worn in real life. I mean, what happens when you go inside some place, like say your office. You take off the hat, scarf and jacket right? Where does the belt go then? Don't get me started on scarves either. I love them, I just can never figure out what to do with them inside. It seems silly to sit at my desk wearing a scarf. Maybe I am missing something?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wardrobe Revamp -Basic Layers

I feel the need to reevaluate my wardrobe again. I look in my closet each morning and I don’t see a lot that is easy to throw on and still look chic. For this fall and winter I really want to move more towards a classic style of simple pieces and easy layers made interesting with great accessories.

During the week I take my 3 kids to school and then public transportation to the office each morning and it is usually rainy, muddy, and increasingly cold. I also work for a financial services firm but am not required to wear a suit. This environment hardly calls for a silk dress or bare legs and heels much less open toes. I also really hate the open toe bootie look. For one thing I just don't get open toed shoes with tights because if it is cold enough for tights, it is to cold for open toes shoes! I need to focus on adding more comfortable basics to my wardrobe.

The thing with basics though, is they need to fit great. I have alot of tops that are either too long, too tight, too loose, or too something else. It’s so difficult to find tops that are simple and drape well. It takes a surprising amount of time and pickiness to find basic layering pieces. It realy is an overlooked area. A perfect basic will last a long time and actually give you a better cost per wearing ratio than some wildly expensive perfect statement piece.

I’m making up some lists to help me stay focused( I love lists, don't you?)

What I don’t need:
Bright colors
bright prints
clingy material
thin cotton tops (as in no more Jcrew embellished tees)
button ups that gape
High heels or any hurty shoes
Ruffled tops (I feel like a clown)

What I do need:
deep colors: black, grey, navy, plum, cranberrys
longer (below the waist) tops
tees in non revealing scoop, boat, cowl, or vneck
long layers cardigans that can be belted
A new crips white button down (maybe with french cuffs)
Scarves (althought I struggle with exactly how to wear them)
A cool statement necklace and maybe a little more bling

I would love to find tops that are somewhat fitted and flattering around the chest and upper waist and then drape over the lower waist and hips. Not an empire waist though, I hate those because I always feel I look prego in them. It can be a fine line between the perfect top and that "is she or isn't she" prego period. I recall it cleary. Not going back there!

What I already have:
Black and brown flat boots
Trench coat and a great bright red winter wool coat
A variety of belts (although I’m not opposed to pick up another on sale)
denim pencil
Skinny jeans to tuck into boots
Cord for a fall/winter alternative to jeans
Plenty of cardigans, mostly clean lined basics (think Jackie)

Do you have a fall and winter wardrobe strategy? What look are you going for this year?
Also, where do you buy your basic layering pieces?

Monday, October 11, 2010

How do you dress up pants?

I have a question, how do you make pants dressier? I have been slowly shifting most of my wardrobe from skirts to pants due to foot and ankle issues that make it necessary for me to wear flat shoes. I've pretty much got it down for work. Really that part isn't hard. But how do you take the same black and gray wool slacks to dressier events? We are invited to a house warming party this coming weekend. It's a a cocktail party and these friends are quite smart. I am sure it will be a fabulouse event. I have a great pair of black slacks but I am not sure how to take them beyond the office. I do also have minnie pants in black and coal. Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Swoon Worthy? I think so!

I love fall. I know we don't really have it here in the Bay Area but I used to live in Connecticut so I know what fall is. October is my favorite month of fall. Bright days and cool crips nights. Pumpkins and apple pie. And leopard print? I love the rich look of leopard print accessories, especially on a bag. Just the right touch of sophistication and style. I spotted this baby on line at Talbots of all places and fell in love. Rich black leather, cool hardware, a very lady like shape made a little naughty with the calf hair print. I'm hearing the siren song, are you?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Being a big girl

You know how they say "be a big girl"? I'm sure I say that to my daughter. Well I am sucking it up and being a big girl about the holidays this year. A few years ago I managed to work out a reasonable Thanksgiving/Christmas trade off which made both my husband and my mother happy. Not an easy task. But it worked. Anyway, a monkey wrench was thrown in this year. It is a Thanksgiving with my parents and Christmas at home year. However, my parents just sold their house and the one they are moving into won't be done in time so they are essentially living in the flat over their barn. Not enough room for everyone. I say to my mom, "don't worry, that's why you have grown up daughters. We can all come to my house or go to my sisters." She responds, "no we are going to go to Acapolco to visit friends. Aren't you coming? " My sister and her family are going. Start of big girl time. My husband owns his own small business. As in it's him and 2 other employees. He just can't be gone from Wednesday to Tuesday which are the travel plans they made. I felt oddly grown up whe I told my husband I totally understood and if that's how it had to be then I was fine. I guess I'm a big girl now.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Hi there, actually blogging from home today as there is a sick child on my sofa. He's been having asthma trouble the last couple of days. When it gets hot here in the Bay Area and there is no wind like we normally have the air quality gets awful. Anyway, as we were getting out the car at school it dawned on that this was not a well child. Teary eyes, dark circles, flushed cheeks. In good conscience I couldn't leave him at school. I was also certain that if I did, they would call me just as I arrived at my office and say he had thrown up in class and come get him. Anyway, I brought him home with me. That's what sick days are for right?

But I digress, I really wanted to talk about shopping at Nordstroms. Do any of you do that? I got a cataloge with the above picure in it and I am just digging the outfit. It's totally how I hav been dressing these days. Ever since I had to swear off my high heels and live in flats or very low heels, this look just works better for me. Plus in financial services, it buys you a little more crediblity when everyone else around you is an older white man. I went to their website and it is the Halogen brand which I have never heard of. The items had good reviews on the Nordies web site and I ordered all 3 for $156 and free shipping. Seemes like a pretty good deal. Some of the other outfits looked interesting. Has anyone had experience with this brand or Nordstroms?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Great Deodorant Conversation

My oldest son is in 4th grade. There are 22 boys and 6 girls in his class. We are starting fall with a heat wave here in the Bay Area. Yesterday a note came home in from our teacher requesting that folks either start wearing deodorant or showering in the morning before coming to school. I've heard from others as well as my sister how is a teacher that 4th grade is often the begining of body odor so I wasn't to surprised. I had actually already had this discussion with my son and started him using deodorant as well as washing his face every morning when school started. It goes without saying that showers are non-negotiable. Proud parenting moment for me.

What surprised me this morning at drop off this morning was how many people were borderline offended. Sort of like, how dare you suggest my child should use deodorant. I pointed out that it was not aimed at anyone person but there are 30 kids in the class, it is 100 degrees outside and they go outside and play soccer or baseball or just go to PE, there is no air conditioning in the classroom. I don't blame the teacher. I have totally noticed in driving carloads of my son's friends around to varrious practices, there comes a time when they stop smelling like wet puppies and frankly start to smell, well let's just say less than fresh. More like gym lockers.

What do you all think? Would you have been offended?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Look What I found in my mailbox!

Oh my god! What did I find in my mailbox waiting for me today? A Red Card, from J Crew! I almost passed out! I don't think I've ever received any of the little gifts they send out. I was so excited. I'm going to go by the mall on my way home from work tomorrow. I need a new pair of black minnies and I have been eyeing the merino sweatshirt. Hooray!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In acceptance there is peace - I am not Emma Pillsbury

OK, that's a lame title for the post but it will make sense if you keep reading. I have been doing alot of thinking about happiness lately. I am reading the book The Happiness Project, which I love so much I bought a copy for my sisters birthday next week. For me, how I look has always been somewhat tied in to how I feel. Yes, I am that shallow. I was never the kind of person who could run around with no makeup and sweats. Anyway, I finally accept the kind of style I have that makes me feel good, look good and fits my life. I am a 40 year old working mom of 3 kids. In my work life I am counsel in a large bank. I have painful foot issues inlcuding bunions and serrious arthritis in my ankles. I look best in tailored styles. As much as I love the look of all the ruffled neck J Crew silk camis, when I look in the mirror I hear the song "send in the clowns" Hence I finally stoped buying them. Today I have no black wool slacks, my watercolor leopard evie cami, a grey jackie cardigan and silver ballet flats. The look I aspire to is more closely linked to the look Keri Russell is rocking below. Black, grey, taupe. Clean and tailored. Pants or jeans.

Note to self, I am NOT Emma Pillsbury. I would love to be. I love the great pencil skirts, the bow blouses, the high heeled Jcrew shoes. Especially the gold ones and the penelope mary janes. I am filled with longing when I watch the show. But those shoes make my feet hurt. The pencil skirts make me look silly. Now that doesn't mean I don't have a few and love them but they are by and large the solid perfect pencil ones. Trust me, a flowered pencil skirt with a bright cardigan and bow blouse makes you look ridiculous in a meeting with senior directors of brokerage. Especially if they are all men 20 to 30 years older than you. Nor does the look really work for my life. I have to referee two different under 8 soccer games on Saturdays. No pencil skirt looks good with a stop watch and whistle, not to mention the black AYSO tee shirt they insist we wear. I am not a 20 to 30 something teacher, no disrespect if you are. My son's 4th grade teacher dresses like this. I love the look and wish I could rock it. I have tried hard. I keep buying the skirts, when they come out or on ebay. Turkish Delight, Impressioninst, Sunshine Peony, Pastiche, Ink Blot, Fleurette. You name it, I've tried it. They are not me. There I said it out loud.

As I said, in acceptance, there is peace. Step one to being happy is to be who you are. I am not Emma Pillsbury. I am me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What Makes You Happy?

I've been thinking about happiness alot. What is it? Am I happy? If I'm not happy, what would make me happy? The book The Happiness Project was recomended by a friend and I will be picking it up, hopefully today. Let me explain why sometimes I wonder if I really am happy.

The past, well 7 years, have been very stressful. My husband started his own company after being laid off when the dot com bubble burst here in Silicon Valley. He was laid off almost 18 months before he started his company. This in and of itself is usually stressful. We already had one child but then we had twins, one of whom is autistic. My oldest son was discovered to be dyslexia and dysgraphic. Due to the poor economy, I went from being a stay at home mom (which I loved) to having to go back to work full time to a job I don't like. I turned 40.

Ok, wow that sounds bad. It is the dwelling on these things that make me feel sad. Let me see if I can turn it around. My husbands company is still in business, despite the horrid economic climate. It's even started to make some money. My son who is autistic is extremely high functioning. He is in a mainstream first grade class and doing well. His challenges exist but they are not glaringly difficult in comparrison to many. My older son works hard and is not frustrated by his learning issues. He is extremely sweet and tries so hard. While I don't love my job, I do it very well and it pays me extremely well. I feel fortunate to have it, it saved my family. I may have turned 40 but my husband and I have been married 15 years and are very close.

Ok, that sounds better. I am trying to concentrate on turning those negative thoughts around. Remember how people used to say "Turn that frown upside down"? When I start to dwell on the dark side I try and turn it around. Exercise helps as does just sitting down with a cup of tea and thinking about how blessed I really am. Thanks for letting me vent! The picture is on of my lovely family taken last Christmas. It's to remind me what is important in life!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Now that's what I am talking about!

This is an image from the new Talbots look book. Yes, that's Talbots. OK, totally love! I want to buy everything she has on from the great green coat to the totally awesome red shoes. Love the jeans too! This is exactly how I used to feel about J Crew. I wanted to buy the whole look so I could be as fabulous as the model. This particular gal is gorgeous and happy looking. No washed out, frayed, tattered, borrowed from the boys obsessesion here. Sorry J Crew, I might be moving on!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ink Blot?

I recently scored the ink blot pencil skirt form a lovely over on the JCA weekly exchange. I really love it and the colors work great with others in my closet. I think the print is really unusual and dark enough to move into fall even though it is light weight. I could use a few styling suggestions to take it beyond the obvious. I am wearing it today with a black tee and gray cardigan and black pumps. I can also see it with a white blouse or black turtleneck and tights. Any other suggestions out there?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Winner Is...

Thanks to everyone who commented on my post asking about back to school shopping for my daughter. We ended up at Lands End and they were having a 25% off everything sale which was great. We looked at mini boden which was also highly recomended but she really wanted to go somewhere with me, without her brothers, and try things on. We got 3 of these cute tunic dress/tops, 3 long sleeve dresses, 3 long sleeved tees, a couple of pairs of coordinating leggings plus cords and jeans. All for way less than I was expecting! I know they will hold up because they are Lands End and she got to feel like a big girl. A win all around! Thanks for all your input!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Just Add Ugly

Ok here is my vote for the ugliest thing in the new rollout at J Crew. I am not counting the feathered jacket, lamb stole, sequined harem pant type pieces which are so bad they are ridiculous and only can be worn by Jenna when appearing at some fancy place or in the inner circle of hell. This is called the Drea dress and the price is $118. Here is how J Crew describes it:

"Just add leggings and voilĂ !—instant elegance. Less is more, as seen in this simple yet chic all-season dress that we consider a style cure-all. Fashioned from a featherweight baby alpaca blend, this versatile gem keeps you warm while your silhouette stays slim. With a roomier fit through the hips and a dropped drawstring waist, it's the perfect blend of comfort and sophistication. Merino wool/poly/nylon/alpaca in a 12-gauge knit. V-neck. Three-quarter sleeves. Hits at midthigh. Import. Dry clean."

First, as we all know, "hits at mid thigh" is J Crew code for ridiculously short. Second, "featherweight" is code for see through. Third, they didn't add leggings, they added weird thigh hi stocking things and horrid looking boot things. Add to that the fact that the model looks strung out on drugs and it isn't exactly a look I am dying to copy! Never, never, never!
Now that said, I am not hating fall at J Crew, there are some lovely pencil skirts and other pieces that are resting in my cart but still, this is really not something I ever want to see in person!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back to School Shopping for Girls?

Hi there fabulous ladies and a happy Friday to you all! I have a question. I need to take my daughter shopping for some new clothes for back to school. She is 7 and will be in the second grade. However, she is very tall for her age and so looks loder. She wears a size 8/9. I am very traditional and like my children to dress like children. I don't want her to look like Brittney Spears. Her school has a very strict dress code but no uniform. I am stuck in that she seems to old to buy everything at Gymboree but I think the clothes in her size at Gap or Old Navy seem to old. I have to admit that as much as I love J Crew, I do not care for their kids clothes. I think they are too expensive, not well made and too trendy. These clothes will see recess, art class and the lunch room. No cashmere! Any shopping suggestions?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Going to the Chapel! (well went to the chapel anyway)

Today is my 15th wedding anniversary. Wow, that's hard to believe. In some ways it feels like we got married eysterday and in some ways it feels like yesterday. We had a wonderful wedding day. The ceremony was at the Carmel Mission Basilica which is a beautiful church. The gardens were gorgeous and in full bloom. Then the reception was at the Monteray Plaza Hotel. It was so fun, everything seemed to go perfect. Flash forward 15 years and 3 kids later and still going strong. It hasn't been an easy 15 years, in fac the last 10 have been the opposite of easy. But our committment never wavered. I'm pretty proud of that. There were several times when I thought about throwing in the towel but instead just kept trucking. It was worth it. So Happy Anniversary to me!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Help! Is there a Stylist in the House?

You know those days when you look in the mirror in the bathroom at the office at about 3 pm and think "OH MY GOD" and not in a good way? You find yourself wondering who is that slightly overweight person with the horrid haircut and bad glasses? And what is she wearing? Well I have just had that experience. Granted I have gained about 5 to 7 pounds over the last 2 years since I went from working part time to working full time. I also couldn't get my contacts in this morning and I hate my glasses although most consider them unobjectionable. My hair is bad, my last cute was an attempt to take a plain, all one length bob and layer it, not a good idea. It may have to go. But what I would truely love is a stylist. Someone, like Stacey and Clinton from What Not To Wear, who would come over and go through my closet. Tell me what to get rid of, what to keep and what I should buy. I feel like my closet is full of not quite perfect things and lone orphans I always thought would be perfect and aren't. Maybe it's just not exciting or full of things I "love". For example, today I am wearing gray Banana Republic pants, with a plain white tee and a black J Crew cardigan and black ballet flats. Not objectionable but not great either. I think the pieces in my closet are fine in abstract but what else I need to make them stand out is missing. Any of you lovely bloggers in the San Francisco area want to help me out? Anyone else have any great ideas? I want to look pulled together, sharp and stylish and I feel like I am falling short.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Now and Before?

In a lot of ways I feel these two photos illustrate exactly the disconnect so many of us feel with J Crew these days. The cute gray pencil skirt is slightly different from the top to bottom picture which I think is is from fall 2008 or 09. I see the ruffled top but the model looks great, she is smiling, the styling is clean and yet fun with those great purple shoes. I want to buy each piece in the hope I would look as great as this girl does. The I look at the picture of the first model which is on line and in the stores now. I've actually seen and tried on this skirt in real life and it's really pretty and in fact on my want list but look at the styling. Ugly clunky boots, messy hair, a gray tee shirt and military jacket. Not to mention the model looks like she just rolled out of bed and hasn't eaten or combed her hair in a month. I don't want to look like that. I know that we all moan about the "old J Crew" but these two pictures totally demonstrate why I am less excited these days. What do you think?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Pearl or Carbon?

The one thing I will have from the early fall rollouts at J Crew is the new perfect pencil skirt. I missed out on last years version in all but the blossom color and have been reduced to stalking the JCA exchange and ebay with limited luck. I went into my local J Crew on my way home today and the one color they had in my size was the greenish bronze color. It fit and felt great but totally not my color.
If you saw my post below about a signature color you will understand when I say my winter "color scheme" is gray, black and white. I have a red Lady Day coat that rocks. So, I'm in need of a gray one. I went on line and there are 2 choices, the lovely pearl color on the model, although I don't care for how it is styled or this lovely dark gray color called Heather Carbon. I am drawn to the light gray color but considering that much of the time I will be wearing it with black tights as the winter approaches maybe the darker color is a better choice. Also, I'm thinking the darker color might be a more slimming choice?
Maybe I should bite the bullet and grab both before it is to late? What do you think? And if anyone has last years version in that great plum or blue color, sz 10 that you don't want anymore, be sure and let me know!