28 February 2010

Here in Dubai - Hope I Get to See It!

So after a looong 13+ hour flight, I really am in the Middle East now. Dubai, aka the "City of Gold." Unfortunately my views of the city have been limited to the what I can see from my room and from a cab for now, as work has priority and we've had a couple of late nights out with our hosts here.

Thankfully, a couple of us have late flights back home on Tuesday, so hopefully we'll at least have a few hours to see the city in the daylight and be tourists.

Here's the view from my room. It's kind of cloudy outside because it was the start of a sand storm. I got sand in my teeth just by standing outside the hotel waiting for a taxi. 

Yes, that is a mall connected to my hotel. Pretty much the thing to do in Dubai is shop. Malls are everywhere and they are huge - helpful when it can get up to the 100s in temperature in the summer with high humidity. Even the bus stops in this town are air conditioned.

I'm typically a Courtyard by Marriott or Embassy Suites kind of gal when it comes to hotels, but we are staying at a five-star hotel in Dubai. I can't help blubbering - my room is kickass.

Here's a portion of my bathroom. Yes, that is a shower ROOM with a tub in it. It took me ten minutes to find the buttons that controlled the blindes to the window - I thought I'd never be able to take a show sans flash.

The funny street signs artwork installation that is in my hotel lobby.

One of the key landmarks of Dubai - the Burj Al Arab, which is the only seven-star hotel in the world. I guess when you are supposedly the most top-tier hotel ever, you can make up as many stars for yourself as you want.

My first "official" dinner in Dubai - ha ha. Shepherd's pie is very middle eastern, don't you think? We ended up hanging with the expat crowd at to the Dhow and Anchor at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, which is an English pub. Pretty awesome meal though.

25 February 2010

I Need To Be

I was complaining this morning - heck, all week - about a business trip I need to leave on today. I am a little tired of traveling so much for work. I don't want to go to Dubai. I hate flying coach. I don't know what to pack. I can't believe all I can find is a middle seat on the plane. There goes another weekend lost to work. Whine, whine, whine.

Then I remembered Fashion Therapist's awesome post about giving up complaining for Lent. And read Eleanor's post this morning about her style icon mom (key word: mom). And got tagged this morning by the lovely Dea and beautiful Ady who wrote that my blog makes them a happy (eternally flattered).

At the risk of sounding sappy (and creating a run-on sentence), this little bloggy community full of all sorts of different people who, through their unique stories and shared interests, can sometimes really help remind a gal (i.e., me) that there are more things to life than just whining about it.

I NEED TO BE more grateful about the things I have and the opportunities that I am given.
(I won't wax poetic about this topic because we all know what I'm typing about).

So with a smile on my face that I really mean, I get to leave on a jet plane this afternoon for Dubai and will get to spend a few days in the "city of gold" visiting exotic locales, eating yummy food and hopefully getting in some shopping between the work part.

Here's my ready-for-a-long-flight OOTD:

Jacket: J. Crew herringbone professor
Shirt: Lands' End Canvas gingham poplin
Jeans: J. Crew bootcut
Shoes: Madden Girl wool flats
Necklace: Etsy by MDsparks

24 February 2010

Sunny Day, Sweeping the Clouds Away ...

The forecast said it was supposed to snow today in Atlanta. And it was dreary this morning ... but the weather faltered and the sun came out and it turned out to be a beautiful day. I celebrate by breaking out another skirt. This one is tiered and kind of shiny so I feel girly - but not ruffly, so I don't feel like I'm playing dress-up.

Has anyone else seen Forever 21's new Country Rebel collection from Twist? Now I'm not going to be breaking out the short denim cut-offs or teeny mini skirts anytime EVER but they've got some cute floral blouses and cardis in some saturated spring tones. Try to see past the kind of weird styling and look at just the clothes ...

Cardigan: Forever 21 hand-me-down from older sis
Tank: Faded Glory from Walmart (that's right - $4!)
Skirt: J. Crew tiered cotton sateen
Tights: Anne Klein
Belt: same dang belt I almost always wear ...
Bracelet: J. Crew enamel
Shoes: Franco Sarto grey suede Gamble

23 February 2010

Pink to Pink

OK, so I totally wore this exact outfit over the weekend. I don't usually like pinks and corals, but as soon as I got this shirt, I wanted to pair it with every pink think I own. And this J. Crew oldie cardigan (made out of sweatshirt material, yeah) is one of my favorites.

I couldn't help copying myself - I think I look fairly put together (and very color-coordinated, which is a yay or no-no dependent on the day) and this outfit is so easy and comfortable. Plus, even though I don't do a lot of pink, I have to admit the color makes me feel cheerful and kind of girly, even though my outfit is really simple.

Is there a particular outfit from your closet that you find yourself turning to again and again?

Shirt: Lands' End Canvas gingham poplin
Cardigan: J. Crew shawl collar fleece wrap
Jeans: J. Crew bootcut
Shoes: Clarks Herring flats
Necklace: Laila Rowe

22 February 2010

No Pull-Ups ... No Knee Socks

Let me start off by letting you gals know that any sentence, phrase or task that ends with the words "to failure" already has it out for you.

Well, that's what the Fitness Test for P90X demanded - a series of exercises done "to failure" so that you can measure your progress before starting the program and after. And that didn't sound exactly bad at first - couple of pull-ups, push-ups, wall squats and jumping jacks. No biggie. I was an athlete back in high school and college (famous last words) - I could do those easy. Except I don't think I ever actually had to do a real pull-up before. And to do as many jumping jacks as you can for two minutes straight is not easy. And holding a wall squat "to failure?"

Regardless, after much hemming and hawing, BF and I both "passed" the set minimums to start the program. And to celebrate, I made oven-fried pork chops (Shake 'n Bake, baby!) and potato risotto (with extra parm, please) for dinner. And had pralines for dessert.

Here's my OOTD. I tried this look with knee socks and it was not pleasing. But I love my new Aldo's - my first pair!

My demeanor is slouchy and sad because I'm all like, "where did the sunny weather go?"

Shirt: Banan Republic cotton
Skirt: Ann Taylor Loft tie waist denim
Tights: Anne Klein
Shoes: Aldo Currie
Necklace: Anthropologie Double Torsade in mint
Bag: Dooney & Bourke leather letter carrier

20 February 2010

Hostess City of the South

Guess what, ladies? (No, we have not done P90X yet ... I leave that box in a corner of the kitchen and hope it gets covered up by carbs and goes away.)

BF got the very last-minute idea to head to Savannah, GA on Friday afternoon and spend the night!

This is where working from home does have its advantages, because I was able to just kock off early and get into scramble pack mode. BF of course came home to me and a mess - because I'm a terrible packer and though we've talked about doing these little trips a lot, this is one of the few times they've actually happened, so I was a mess.

This was my first trip there so BF was gracious enough to do touristy things - we spent Friday night along Bay Street (which is kind of the main thoroughfare there) and bar-hopped along Riverfront Plaza, which is (dur) right by the Savannah River, and where all the tourist-y bars and restaurants are. Then we had dinner at this great restaurant called Garibaldi's by City Market.

On Saturday we headed over to Forsyth Park and strolled around the Historic District, taking in all the beautiful homes and many many squares. We also visited Colonial Park Cemetery and window-shopped along Broughton, which is the main shopping street in town.

I didn't realize how big Paula Deen is in Savannah, because we tried going to the Lady and Sons for lunch and it was like a mob scene outside the place. And they told us they couldn't seat us for lunch until 2:45 p.m. (it was like 11:15 a.m. at the time - come on!) Then we thought about trying Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room, another famous Savannah dining institution, but she takes her weekends off.

It turned out fine though, because we had lunch at a cafe in City Market and then visited a candy shop where I had my first pecan praline. I am in love! Of course, I dragged BF back before we left to get a pound and a half of it to take home. (It was buy a pound get another half pound for free - how could I not?)

I'm a terrible photographer, so I'm going to have to apologize for these pictures. And no couple shots because suddenly BF wants no photos now that he is in pre-P90X mode. I also think it is difficult to capture how beautiful a place Savannah's Historic District is. Walking around, you almost expect fine southern ladies to come out of their mansions in big hoop skirts.

Wouldn't it feel magical coming home to a place like this everyday?

Note to anyone planning on visiting Savannah - it is a beautiful walking town with everything pretty close to each other but it is also highly cobble-stoned, especially around the river area. Please wear comfy flats because those stones and steps are NOT even. Have means you, BF, in your fancy loafers.

Savannah is so beautiful even their drain pipes have character.

Before we headed back home for good, we took a little detour and went to visit BF's family nearby. There's nothing like visiting familiy (to-be!) and sitting down to a good home cooked meal. And visiting pets!

Meet Buster. He lives with BF's parents. Buster is adorable as heck and super-lovable, but also borderline blind and a huge chicken - which for a dog, makes him even more adorable. Buster loves to cuddle and I love to cuddle him back.

19 February 2010

Garden Cardi Party, and an Ominous Package

After seeing Ady rock the Anthropologie City Garden cardigan so well, I was inspired to pull out and retry my as-of-yet-unworn beauty. I mimicked Ady and tried my cardi open with a like-color belt.

And then I fell in love with the City Garden all over again. It's not widening and I kind of like the peplum-y effect after belting. And the textures. Ooh, the stripes. Now I also want the Soft Patch cardi - similar feel in grey, also by Tiny.

Weeee to me.

I'm trying to show off a different belt here, but I think I just look like a frilly bodyguard.
No more thumbs in jeans pockets, self, I mean it.

Cardigan: Anthropologie City Gardens cardi by Tiny
Top: Old Navy cotton cami
Jeans: J. Crew hipslung
Shoes: Nine West Temani wedges
Belt #1: cheapy gold woven belt
Belt #2: Urban Outfitters Deena & Ozzy stretch (now on sale for $14.99 - but ivory is gone)

As for my ominous package, here it is:

I'm not going to lie, I'm a wee bit really intimidated. I am going to get my butt kicked. BF and I are going to do the Fitness Test this weekend to see if we can even handle the program.
Wish me luck, ack!

18 February 2010

Caranday Wannabe?

Missed out on the Anthropologie Caranday dress?

No worries, The Limited has got you covered. Plus some other Anthro-worthy looks as well in their spring collection. (Honestly, I haven't stepped into a Limited store since like high school, so this has been a surprise for me. And when did they get a web site? How out-of-the-loop am I?)

Thanks to Chloe's new blog, I found out you can get 20% off your purchase with code 774 and free shipping for all orders over $75. Thanks, Chloe!

Large Skirts and Summer Boden

I wanted to keep my skirt-wearing streak going (woo hoo, third day straight - a new personal record), so I broke out this oldie but goodie of mine. Unfortunately it's an oldie only because I've had it for over two years and this is the second time I've worn it.

I remember buying this skirt during my first visit to Singapore on a shopping expedition with a friend. She was normal height and maybe a size 4/6, I am short and typically a size 2 - so I didn't really consider either of us big by any means ... but apparently in Singapore, we're a wee bit larger than the average gal.

The gals in Singapore are mostly all petite and slender. Which helped me not feel like a shorty but my standard 2 in the US was like a size L over there. And my friend got sized out of some clothes!

So I considered myself lucky to get this skirt and I really like the colors. Plus it's got pockets and kind of school-girl pleats. BF said I was very ... "studious-looking" today.

Jacket: J. Crew wool herringbone
Sweater: Banana Republic ballet neck
Skirt: purchased over two years ago in Singapore
Tights: Target ... apparently always Target
Shoes: Stone Mountain wedges via Endless
Necklace: Urban Outfitters multi stone bib

And FYI ladies, Boden is previewing their summer collection (Summer already?!) and offering a 10% discount and free shipping/returns on their new items. Click here to go to the preview site and use code PRUS if the discount doesn't already automatically apply.

So many pretty things. I think they've gone dotty this summer, but I don't mind. Too bad they won't ship until April. Oh well, I can just peruse their regular site here.

17 February 2010

Jailhouse Rock

My latest Anthro acquisition: The Slate Stripes Shift by Maeve. I'm not sure what it was about this dress that drew my attention - maybe because I like Maeve dresses. Or maybe because I heart stripes. Or maybe because I found this on Ebay for about a third of retail and thought, what the hey.

Well ... hey.

Yes, it does look slightly reminescent of something a fashionable jailbird would be wearing. And yes, it looks mildly ... sacky. But it's got cute red buttons on the back and though the fit is loose, it is cut so it doesn't gap at the underarms.

On the dress form.

On me, un-retouched. :o) I was just trying it on and didn't feel like taking my tissue t-neck off.
Bad #1: Unfortunately the dress looks on me exactly like it does on the dress form.

Me being a silly-butt. Speaking of butt - Bad #2: This dress does NOT pass the bend-over test.
And yes, that is that a saggy dress paunch up front - Bad #3, I guess.

Redeeming #1: I kind of like it with a belt. Sans t-neck and with a cute cardi over it, it may work.

Redeeming #2 & #3: The material is lightweight and soft, and the dress is super-comfy on.
Plus I like the cute contrast stitching detail.

OK, so I'm kind of undecided on this one. But I think I can make it work (only partly because I can't return it since I purchased it off Ebay) and I kind of like having some Anthro pieces that not everyone will be wearing.

What do you gals think? Hopefully not an unanimous "nay"?

Mini Me

One of the few good things about being short is that a mini skirt is not as mini on me as opposed to regular-height people. So I can get away with wearing minis to work or just to go out shopping in without looking like I'm trying to emulate Britney Spears (And Brit-Brit honey, honestly you're getting a little too old to dress like Britney Spears).

Some of the bad things about being short (other than all the regular bad things about being short) is that cropped pants sometimes fit like regular pants on me, and BF likes to remind me that at my height, the air has already been used (thanks, BF).

But I've grown (ha ha) to love my height and just embrace things as they are. So I can wear minis without danger. And reach the bottom shelf easier.

The scarf right now for me is a must as I'm still hacking up bits of lung here and there and it keeps my neck toasty. Plus I can grab it and cough into my scarf and not at people when I'm out in public. Yes, I am big fun to be around right now.

Cardigan: J. Crew merino wool from years ago
Skirt: DKNY denim mini
Tights: Target (apparently my go-to source for plain black tights)
Boots: Type Z leather buckle pull ups
Scarf: "pashmina" from NYC street vendor
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