29 December 2011

There are a Few of My Favorite Things: 2011

Year-end almost always means a time for reflection. This being a fashion-related blog, I felt the need to reflect on some of my best purchases from 2011 - what items really spoke to me and did I purchase happily without regret? Here's my top ten from 2011:

1.  Rebecca Minkoff - where was my life before you?

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2.  J.Crew's "modern red" - sure it is not really red, but this punchy orange color has been my constant go-to through summer and fall. Keep these brights up!

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3.  Dressed up sweats - J.Crew, I live in your sweats on the weekends.

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4.  Sam Edelman adena - These weren't cheap but also not that expensive for a pair of comfy shoes that also made me feel very high fashion.

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5.  Anthropologie hello sunday blazer - This is cheating because I technically purchased this jacket in 2010. But I didn't really start to wear it, and love the bold statement, until this year. I think this jacket was the start of my striped obsession.

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6.  Lands' End Canvas gingham poplin - This was a favorite in 2010 but I had it give it another round of adulation since I purchased more colors this year.Gingham continues to be a favorite of mine and I adore wearing it as a neutral.

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7.  Anthropologie greybar coat - This is an old Anthropologie item. I tried it on in-store years ago and had always regretted not purchasing it. Then a few weeks ago I spotted it on Ebay. And I had to buy it and had to mention it here, even though I haven't even had a chance to wear it in an "official" blog capacity yet. And yes, for a person who normally loves to wear patterns and bright colors, it is hard to not look like a crazy pattern blast lady in this coat ... but I loves it!


8.   Xhiliration by Target teanna platforms - The best cheapie shoe purchase for me. I loved the look so much I bought them in two colors. Trendy platform comfort for only $20 a pair? Score!

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9.  Forever 21 leopard pleated skirt - Cheap, on trend, flippy fun. What could be better?

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10.  The ring - okay, I didn't buy this, but this is probably the single most important purchase made in my household for 2011. I've been told this is going to change my life. Eeps!

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What about you, ladies? What have been your personal best purchases for 2011?

(BF and I have been on a whirlwind visit-all-the-families-now-we-know-why-we-have-never-done-this-before holiday trips this week - I'll be back to regular blogging and regular reading in the next few days - thanks!)

Happy New Year's, ladies!

27 December 2011

Luck of the Draw: Meet the Parents

It was New Year's Eve a few years ago when I was introduced to BF's family for the first time. I was already nervous for many reasons - BF confided that I was the second girl he's ever brought home to his family, he's incredibly close to his mother so her opinion mattered a lot, I knew nothing about social graces, and - this is not fair at all - but BF's fam grew up in the rural TN and I am very evidently ... not from TN, so I was fearful that I'd be treated differently. These were the nervous thoughts swirling through my head.

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Once we were through the front door of BF's mom's imposing house - big white house up on a hill, ablazen with seeming a million holiday twinkles - I was immediately whisked into a flurry of introductions. Seems the family was having a party so all friends and extended family were also in attendance. I was getting to meet everyone all at once.

BF's mom surprised me by greeting me with her I-didn't-know-it-at-the-time trademark teethy red lipped laugh and open-armed embrace. BF's mom is like ... think of Paula Deen, but brunette with a penchant for online trading, blingy baubles and fast Cadillacs. I liked her immediately.

BF's stepdad - who is like 6'6" and a few entire human sizes larger than I - followed suit with another bear hug. Then came the cousins, the friends, the neighbors, the aunts, uncles ... it was a swirl of faces, floating names, southern twangs, hugs, welcomes, cocktails, smoke, fried chicken.

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At one point near midnight I recall sitting down at a card table with BF, his mom and her friends with wine and blackjack. Almost everyone else was smoking. It was all a haze - the literal cloud hanging over me. My head was throbbing. I think when the clock finally struck midnight - was there ever a longer night, it seemed - I was slouched on the couch watching Dick Clark with the partied out kids.

It was overwhelming, confusing, relieving. I survived meeting the parents. I think they even liked me a little.

Now this doesn't qualify as my craziest, most fantastical New Year's Eve ever! but it certainly was the most important in my life. And I couldn't help but to think back on it as we approach the conclusion to another year and the unwrapping of a brand new fresh one.

What has been your best NYE story so far? And if you're in a sharing mood, how was it when you first met your honey's parents/family?

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Dress: Asos sweater shift (worn here - sim sleeveless here, longer here)
Shirt: J.Crew solid perfect (sim 3/4-sleeve here)
Tights: Anne Klein
Bracelets: F21 / J.Crew (sim pricey here, here)
Ring: Banana Republic (sim here)
Boots: Type Z (worn here - sim here, luxe here)

26 December 2011

Shared Sparkles

Hi ladies, I hope you're all in the midst of thoroughly enjoying your holidays! I'm home all snug and cozy with the parents up in the NE and it has been grand - even despite the sis, bro-in-law and little nephew are all feeling under the weather. So this is an outfit from last week, because when I'm with the parents, I'm most likely in some sort of fleece pant with wooly socks.

One thing that I enjoy doing when I am home is to spend time cooking with my mom. Now that may not sound like a big to-do - and it isn't - but I only get to see my mom rarely during the year, my dad is typically pretty territorial about his stuff in the kitchen (for reals - don't be messing with his stainless pans), and my mom normally hates to cook. Get the idea who the regular cook of the family is yet?

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But when we get together, we enjoy nothing more than to spend an afternoon messing around in the kitchen when my dad is out, specifically for me because she can then teach me her Chinese recipes.

Now we don't aim high here - I sadly know how to cook pretty much a whole lotta Asian nothing and we're not hand-making dumplings or anything like that because no one can make them as good as grandma anyways - and we're probably not making any "traditional" Chinese cuisine. But we mesh together stuff that I remember eating at home with the family while I was growing up and that's tradition for me.

Pork meatballs with minced ginger and scallions. Savory egg pancakes stuffed with veg. Lemon-steamed salmon fillets. Soy-braised pork. Almond dofu (okay, this one is from a box, but I never eat this stuff except when I am at home, so it counts). And other stuff that I am too bad a daughter to remember right now.

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The food is good, sure, but what I appreciate most is the time I get to spend with my mom and the history and family tradition she is passing down to me in the pleasant manner. I don't mind the mess we make, the splatters on my sweater, my mom correcting me on how to chop scallions / wash onions / oil a pan ... Or the recipes that sometimes don't turn out. Or even the second or third trips to that one specific Asian food market a good thirty minutes away because they are the only ones that carry a specific brand of whatever.

Are there any traditional family recipes that you love to make for the holidays? What's your favorite recipe that's been passed down to you?

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Sweater: J.Crew spangled stripes (sim here, cardi here)
Shirt: Lands' End Canvas floral poplin (worn here)
Skirt:: J. Crew dorrie (worn here - sim mini here, midi here)
Tights: Anne Klein
Shoes: Vince Camuto bronco (worn here - sim low here, here, suede here)
Necklace: J.Crew cluster pearl (worn here - sim here, here)

22 December 2011

JewelMint & Bonus for You!

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A few weeks ago, the folks over at JewelMint contacted me about trying a few of their collection pieces and I jumped on the chance. Have you ladies heard about JewelMint? It is an unique members' only jewelry club where you can get on-trend pieces designed by Kate Bosworth and stylist Cher Coulter. Signing up for JewelMint is free and you get to select a new piece of jewelry each month for only $29.99 (which includes shipping).

I've never joined a membership club before because I was concerned about being automatically charged for items and potentially questionable quality. Well, my first experience with JewelMint has alleviated most of my fears. Members have the option of skipping months if they choose not to purchase (and won't be charged) and can also return items or cancel their membership if they are not happy with something. Plus until you make your first purchase, you won't be charged at all. See all the faqs here.

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I went ahead and placed my order through the JewelMint web site and the process was pretty easy - take a quick style quiz so the style gurus there can gage your taste, choose from a selection of jewelry picked for you (and you can always opt to see more options or delete certain pieces). Purchase an item and then sit back and wait for it to be sent right to you.

I received my JewelMint order in less than a week and each piece was beautifully gift boxed. I was also pleasantly surprise with the quality of the items. The pieces themselves look and feel high-end to me - plus they are styles you won't be able to find at your local department store.

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As a great bonus to you ladies, JewelMint is offering 60% off your first purchase! Use code RSPCTJM when placing your order - and it is only good through the end of the year, so check out their site now for some glammed out personal holiday treating!

Happy Holiday-ing!

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

Blazer: J.Crew Robert Noble herringbone (worn here - sim here, luxe tweed here, double-breasted here)
Sweater: J.Crew Factory ocelot (worn here - sim here, here)
Tee: Lands' End Canvas
Skirt: Lucky Brand (worn here - sim here)
Shoes: Michael Kors hamilton (worn here - sim here)
Cuff: Tiffany 1837 sterling (sim wider here, here)
Ring: c/o JewelMint neo bedrock duo
Necklace: c/o JewelMint fantasia

20 December 2011

There Doesn't Seem to be Anyone Around

I may look like a grown up, but appearances can be deceiving. I think to be a grown up, you must have had experience doing mature responsible adult things, such as oh, say, living on one's own, for example. Well for a serial monogamous like myself, I pretty much went straight from living with my parents, to roommate living through college, and then straight into the cohabitating arms of a significant other.

I've only really lived alone once a few years back, before BF, for a period of about a year, probably less ('cause let's face it, once you start dating someone, even if you two lived separately, you spend so much time with each other and at each other's places that it no longer counts). I had just broken up with my then-boyfriend and while he got the dog in the split, I ended up with the short end of the stick - pretty much homeless.

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Thanks to the rec of some friends, I ended up at a ground floor one bedroom in a gated apartment complex. It was a pretty standard apartment - white walls, beige carpet, basic appliances. I was scared and excited for myself as this was a big deal for me. I would not have a parent or roomie or boyfriend to fall back on anymore, it was just my name on the lease, just me coming home every evening.

The hardest part for me in the beginning was that I realized I did not have any of my own stuff. I had to get a TV, a sofa (okay, Walmart futon, but with the upgraded cover), an armchair / massage chair and a bed all in a hurry. And strangely enough, ex helped me move my meager belongings and bring in my new furniture. I also bought a TV console all by myself, and spent one weekday evening - and an entire six pack of beer - assembling it. This was major - I was becoming a person with my own Stuff.

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If felt really weird at first coming home each night to - myself. It was dark until I turned on the lights. The bed was made if I made it. I hung cheap art on the walls that I bought from Pier One. I used to vacuum the entire apartment with one of those little Shark stick Vacs. I ate dinner sitting on the floor with my back to the futon because I had no tables. My idea of decor was a peculiar splurge of three Marimekko printed floor pillows. Everything in the fridge, every product, every decision - it was all about me. And that felt strange. And strangely liberating. For a short period, I literally had no one else to care about except for myself.

Honestly, I prefer where I am now. I have a live-in-BF-soon-to-be-hubby, an adorable pup, loads of stuff. I like having other people to take care of. I like cooking for more than just one person. I like having someone who can come in a hurry if I come across a big bug. But I do look back with fondness at that period, especially if the BF is driving me up the wall or if the list of stuff I need to get for the pup far outweighs what I need. However short it was, for a while, I was completely independent, on my own, all grown up.

Have you ever reall lived alone? What did you enjoy the most (and least) about when you lived by yourself?

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Top: F21 blurred birds (worn here - sim longer here, here, black here)
Skirt: J.Crew jardin (worn here - sim pricier here)
Belt: Asos metal keeper (orange here, aqua here)
Earrings: T+J Designs (worn here - sim here)
Shoes: Nine West temani (worn here - sim here, here)
Thanks to 60-something degree temps in SE, I can forego tights for yet another week!

Lilywinkel Giveaway Winner


Thanks again for the generosity of Annie with Lilywinkel for giving away a set of her gorgeous flower clips. And thanks to you ladies for entering!

Out of 45 comments - 44 of those being qualifying entries, the winner drawn by random.org is ...


Entry #2, which comes from Aimee! Congrats, girl!


Aimee, I am going to send your info on to Annie with Lilywinkel and she will contact you directly re: the flower clips.

Thanks to all those who entered!

19 December 2011

Denim, Denim, Stripe

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We're at the big countdown to Christmas and Hanukkah, ladies, are you all caught up with your holiday-ing? What gets you into the festive mood for merry-making?

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I was in Sin City last week for business, and being at the mecca of glitzed out commercialized everything has finally put me into the holiday spirit. I guess it can't be helped when Christmas cheer is beat into you by 10,000 flashing strobes and a sea of decked out shops.

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Blazer: Cartonnier by Anthropologie hello sunday (worn here - sim here)
Top: LEC heritage oxford (worn here - striped version here)
Jeans: Levi's 545 (worn here - sim here)
Necklace: Anthropologie tinsley strung (on sale, check stores - sim here, -ish here)
Shoes: Etienne Aigner ethel

So here are some of the glitzier seasonal visuals of what I did in Vegas when I wasn't knee deep in that "work thing." And proud to say that I actually did not gamble a single cent during the time I was there, nor buy a single trinket - though I did manage to haul home three new food baby pounds yay to tighter jeans ...


L: La Reve at The Wynn - watery spectacular.

Fancy dinner time at Joel Robuchon - The Chandelier Bar at Cosmopolitan.

L: Tower of meats.


A shop dedicated to the '50s silhuoette - Art to-go.

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