Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Years!

Happy New Year's everyone! Cheers!!





Monday, December 27, 2010

Fun with Colors

Hi everyone! Like many others, I've taken a little break from blogging (read: getting dressed) over the holiday break, so I haven't had many outfits to share. I should have a few outfits later this week, though - New Year's Eve is a-comin'!

The real reason for this post is to ask you to let me know what you think of my new layout! It's fun to play with these things, but it's definitely a work in progress. I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours the merriest of days!




















Just a few of my holiday favorites for you to enjoy... =))









Enjoy this wonderful time with your loved ones!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Night to Remember

Thank you SO much for all your kind birthday wishes and compliments! This post is a little later than I had intended, but that's me - always late to the party. =7 I had a wonderful time with wonderful friends, and I am happy to share a few moments (and outfits) with you here! (In other words, this post is photo heavy!)

First, the obligatory full-body outfit pose from home, with fresh make-up, hair and sassiness:

Dress - Connected Apparel (I cannot remember where I got it, though) /
Navy faux suede pumps - Payless / Necklace - Urban Outfitters

Let me say a few words about this dress. It's been in my closet for a few years now. I first wore it for my sister's bachelorette party back in 2007 (I think). I was heavier then, so it was considerably tighter on me, but after I'd lost a bunch of weight, I still came back to this dress often - especially when I had gained a few pounds but needed a dead-sexy dress to still make me feel good. Unfortunately, I've gained back more than a share of those pounds, so I was so happy to be able to rely on this number for my birthday. It's a dress that really celebrates my curves, you know? And what better dress than that to wear for a birthday - one that celebrates YOU?? =)

The dress is just perfect for a winter night's event (long-sleeves, thick cotton material), with totally figure-flattering details. Its double-banded waistband perfectly defines and accentuates my waist, with a roomy but shapely bottom to conceal all manner of sins below. The deep v-neck showcases my buxom girls and narrows my broad shoulders. (A good bra - thank you Lane Bryant plunge - is imperative with that much cleavage, though!) The length is also perfect for my tastes - I love a retro length that hits below the knee (as you see for my love of pencil skirts), showing off just a bit of my calves and ankles (which I generally love), but not too much to make me feel uncomfortable - or cold!

I toyed with various pops of color in my accessories for a long time, vacillating between blues and pinks in shoes, jewelry, and handbag. This necklace filled the space of my d├ęcolletage the best, however, even though it was still a neutral color. So, I relied on the color of my fabulous fuchsia Gustto, and finished off with these rich (though not bright) navy pumps. I thought it was a good balance of colors, but I clearly think that my shape is the star in this outfit, rather than color. =)

Handbag - Gustto (via BBOS)

You saw a few preliminary pictures with this same backdrop at the restaurant. I just love the burgundy walls (especially with my dress) and I couldn't resist having a little fun with a "prop." As we were pretty much the only party in the entire restaurant at this point (we had an early reservation) I figured I could act like I owned the joint for a bit.


And now, meet my boyfriend of nearly 6 years, Bob. He's cute. =) He also knows how to rock an outfit like the best of them.

Bob's Outfit: Navy blue blazer, redone with mother of pearl buttons (his idea!) - Polo Ralph Lauren / White button-down with blue diagonal stripes - Banana Republic / Light blue tie with pink stripes - Haines & Bonner (via TJ Maxx) / Pink pocket square - Polo Ralph Lauren / Brown heathered pants - Jos. A. Bank / Brown cap-toe oxfords - Johnston & Murphy / Glasses - Ted Baker

I love the backdrop here - rows and rows of wine bottles in lounge room of the restaurant (located on the other side of the room from my picture above). I did actually try to take the outfit picture in front of it, but it sadly did not turn out well. (Stupid camera. I have a new one on my wish list, though! We'll see if Santa pulls through.)

Aw, the loving (read: schmoopy) gaze...


I'm clearly all smiles with this boy at my side. =)


Friends! Look at them rockin' that photo op pose...



Group shots!



This girl here, a (former fellow) grad student finishing up her dissertation, has always rocked an outfit, especially a jacket. She has her own style that I've always admired and has even inspired me on many occasion. I tried to talk her into starting her own blog, but she wasn't having it. Maybe I'll have her guest post from time to time. =) In the meantime, check back for an update of her outfit deets. (I have to get them first!)


I didn't take pictures of the food, which, as the (sometimes obnoxious) foodies that we are, we often do, but after a few glasses of wine, great conversation and laughter with friends, and extraordinary food, I didn't even think of taking food pictures. Oh, and this isn't a food blog. And I was hungry! Seeing as how we've been to this restaurant for all of our birthday celebrations, we can confidently say it was heart-stoppingly tasty. Thanks to the phenomenal staff at Bacaro for a memorable evening!

A Christmas tree made of wine corks - Awesome!


Monday, December 20, 2010

Birthday Dinner (Preview)!

What a wonderful birthday dinner I had with friends tonight! This is just a teaser for you now, but more pics to come, I promise!



PLUS, the spoils of my Anthropologie birthday shopping spree...

See you soon!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Inertia

You know those days when you don't realize how exhausted you are until you stop moving? Yeah, that was today. I gotta say, though, I like a day where 9 hours go by in a blink of a eye, even if I spent most of it running around. I got my work-out today, that's for sure! (Er, something I definitely need more of...)

Black and white checkered jacket - The Limited / Floral cardigan - LOFT /
Ivory camisole - LOFT / Turquoise skinny belt - The Limited / Black wide-leg pants - NY&Co. /  Black ankle length boots - Laundry by Chinese Laundry

As today was a super early morning for me (I rarely see this side of 7am for anything), I knew 1) my hair was going to go up, 2) I was going to need a latte (after I picked up bagels for my staff) and 3) I needed to find an (good) outfit the night before. And this was it! I'm really pleased with this remix of mine. What I like most about it is the pattern mixing/layering of the jacket and the cardigan, both of which, when worn separately, have significantly less pizazz. The pairing just adds so much more texture and depth to a potentially boring black pants ensemble. I added the belt for just a little more color to tie it all together (literally and figuratively, really).

My only regret - my shoe choice. Nine hours of running around calls for a much more comfortable pair of shoes, or at least a pair with Footpetals inserts. These boots were a failure on both counts, even though they were the right height and silhouette for the paints. Gotta pick your battles, eh?


Outtake! I should do more of these. Shoot, it's new pose, for cryin' out loud...

Re: the latte - I got it for free! The Starbucks barista (manager, actually), with whom I used to work at Banana Republic back in the day, not only recognized my voice through the drive-thru speaker, but told me the latte was on him today. You rock, Jason! Totally made my day. That, and my fabulous, fantastic, funny and hard-working staff that helped make an otherwise hard day of work relatively easy. Garsh, I'm all warm and fuzzy inside now.

I also just watched WALL-E so that might have had something to do with it, too. =)

Necklace and Earrings - LOFT

It's barely started to sink in that I have two weeks of holiday vacation bliss now ahead of me. What to do with myself? I think I'll wrap presents...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Scarf It Down

What a busy day! I can't remember the last time I was so productive in such a short amount of time. Tomorrow (yep, Saturday) is my last day of work before a nice two-week holiday vacation, and since I've been out sick for most of the week, I had lots of catching up do! Top it all off with some lovely coffee klatch with Tania and then oodles of errands, and here I am! Tomorrow will be a verrrry early morning since I'll have to be at work by 7:30am, so we'll see if I get to bed here at a reasonable hour. (Doubtful, night owl that I am.)

Hey, look! A new pose! =7


And another (goofy) one! I had to experiment with angles today, since - sadly - this blazer is kind of boxy on me, and there was no helping it even with a belt. It's just a little too big in the shoulders and long in the arms. Strange, because the other one I have (same size and everything!) fits perfectly!

Blazer - LOFT / White tee - The Limited / Flare-leg jeans - Lane Bryant

This outfit is really all about the scarf, though. Yet another find from Affordable Scarves, I'm smitten with its color palette of grey and purpley-pink. And the print! Gotta love a chain print. (Well, at least I do.) You know, come to think of it, I purchased this scarf precisely to wear with this very blazer. I remember lamenting that I didn't really have a scarf to go with it yet, but really thought one would be the perfect accessory for it. (Duh, since I wear this combo often.) Blazer + scarf = wardrobe magic. And I'm getting better at tying them!

Handbag - Tano "Homemade Cake" in Bordeaux /
Taupe (ankle-length) boots - Laundry by Chinese Laundry (via Famous Footwear)

I kept everything else pretty muted, since I wanted the purple hues to be the star. Add some great jeans, a crisp white tee underneath, big brushed silver earrings, and taupe boots, and you've got yourself an easy, classic outfit. Done and done. Perfect for a busy Friday, methinks.

Chain print scarf - affordablescarves.com / Silver earrings - The Limited (?)




Thursday, December 16, 2010

It Only Gets Better

I'm feeling so much better today, everyone! Thanks for all your well-wishes, too! It was wonderful to rejoin the human race and to actually get things accomplished today. Primarily, that meant heading to Target to restock the Kleenex supply! And oh, man, I can't wait to start drinking lattes again...

Green cropped military jacket - Maurices / Striped tee - LOFT / Dark skinnies - Gap / Reversible loop scarf - affordablescarves.com

Today's outfit is remix of a few things you've already seen before - kind of a conglomeration of this outfit and this outfit. Definitely a favorite silhouette of mine, especially if it means I can wear these boots! And getting back into the swing of things calls for an easy and comfortable number.

Handbag - Tano "Minilisa" in Blue Marine

I will admit, though, that I wore my snow boots all day, since I forgot my regular boots. I really need to waterproof them, too, since I'm really afraid what all this snow and slush will do to them otherwise!



I love this scarf. Yes, yes, I'm a broken record there.... I love that it's two scarves in one since it's reversible - you can wear it so many ways just by deciding how much of each print you want to stick out. I feel like I have a complete set now that I have it in yellow and grey!  Bonus: Hilary of byhilary just picked up this scarf, too. Now, as she put it, we're twinkies! Great minds think alike...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sick Day

First of all, I apologize for the previous ghost post that might have popped up in your Google Reader. I was experimenting with some new settings on Polyvore and they got the best of me!

Second of all, I'm still sick. Still. After a week of feeling miserable with no end in sight, I finally decided to go to the doctor so they could hook me up with the good drugs. We'll see if I actually sleep through the night without coughing every 10 minutes... I've been in and out of work all week, but I simply had to go in today. I even did my hair! But, once I got home I was so beat that I just couldn't fathom outfit pictures and the subsequent blog post. On the plus side, I'll get to wear today's outfit (and actually post it) again sooner than later!

But since I've been absent yet again for longer than I'd like, I wanted to share a few wishlist/outfit ideas in lieu of the outfit of the day. Birthday dinner, Christmas dinner and New Year's Eve are all approaching rapidly, and a girl's gotta find some new duds! Bonus: Boyfriend is taking me to Anthropologie in Chicago for a birthday shopping trip (hurray for 15% off birthday discount!), so you better believe I've got a growing wish list to share...

The first set is based around skinny jeans/jeggings. I just love the look lately, especially with those darn hot boots of mine. I love this pieced-together-looking Anthropologie sweater wrap, layered over a comfy but colorful tee.

Things to Wear with Skinnies 1


These next few outfits are based again on skinnies, one with this fantastic plaid capelet from Anthropologie that I simply must have, and a similarly shaped neutral belted jacket (also from Anthropologie), each layered with a comfy neutral tee, perhaps in grey or cream. Add some statement jewelry (Banana Republic of course!), and you've got an easy, chic ensemble.

Things to Wear with Skinnies 2

But really, this is where it's all at: New Year's! New Year's is also my anniversary with boyfriend - this year it's 6 years! I'm not yet sure what I'm going to wear at all. I had toyed with revisiting this outfit from last weekend, considering how fabulous I felt in it. But the Anthropologie dress featured below, now that it's gone on sale, is something I keep coming back to. Add some dusty blue tights, navy suede pumps and I think It would be the perfect winter/celebratory outfit! I'd feel like a sonsy little snow bunny! Another option is, you bet, a grey pencil skirt with this amazing printed wool cardigan, again with fantastic navy suede shoes. (Hmm, it seems blue might be a theme..) Decisions, decisions!


New Year's Outfits


What's on your wishlist this holiday? More importantly, what are you going to WEAR to all these fantastic holiday celebrations coming up!?!




Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hunker Down


I'm not sure I have much to say today, which might be just as well. I'm still sick, boyfriend is out getting dinner (best Chinese in town!), and then we're hunkering down for one heck of winter's storm coming overnight and through tomorrow. In order to make sure we wouldn't need to step foot outside tomorrow for anything, we made a point of getting our errands done tonight. I'm actually looking forward to being holed up with the boyfriend tomorrow. Besides a good football game, I'm especially excited about spiced French toast for brunch (a favorite), with sausage, strawberries, orange juice, and tea, or maybe even French press coffee. Brunch is hands-down my favorite meal of the day. Point me to to a good brunch place, and I'm there. I'm not looking forward to all the laundry we'll be doing tomorrow, however...

Grey cardigan - LOFT / Mauve tank - LOFT / Beige wide-leg pants - NY&Co. /
Yellow skinny belt - NY&Co. / Taupe boots - Laundry by Chinese Laundry

So why did I get all dressed up today? Well, work of course. The outfit was built around my new scarf, which has tons of colors to pull out - hence the grey cardigan, mauve tank, yellow belt, and blue handbag. I have a similar one, but I had been waiting for awhile for this particular color to come back in stock. The minute it did, it was mine! And I know I've said it before, but I just love loops scarves. I'll never have enough! It's definitely incited a love for scarves in general, and slowly but surely I'm learning how to tie them when they're not foolproof loops. Inspired by Tania at What Would a Nerd Wear and Sydney at The Daybook, now I want a big cozy cowl scarf to help me get through the rest of the winter - maybe like this one.

Handbag - Tano "Minilisa" in Blue Marine

Reversible Loop Scarf - Affordable Scarves / Earrings - LOFT
Happy ice storm, everyone!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Easy Does It

Well, like most of the population right now, I'm sick. Boyfriend was sick for over a week and I was fine. In fact, I believed I was immune. Then, BAM. Sick. Knocked me out of two days of work, and maybe more if I could have gotten away with it. But, I needed to go into work today to prepare for a big event tomorrow. I'm feeling a little bit better - still a little congested in the chest and sinuses, though. I seem to get a cold of some sort at least once a season, so I think I was overdue. Times like these I'm grateful for my electric kettle, seeing how much tea I've been drinking. Tea, Emergen-C, a few essential oils, and maybe some Advil Cold and Sinus. Who needs a doctor?

That said, I'm impressed I even took pictures today. More importantly, I'm impressed that I've managed not to look like I've been hacking up a lung and blowing my nose for the past 3 days. Actually, I think taking a hot shower and just getting dressed does help that sort of thing. And make-up. =)

Blue plaid flannel tunic - Lane Bryant / White scoop neck tee - LOFT /
Woven Denim Pull-on Jeggings - Lane Bryant / Boots - Ciao Bella (via DSW) /
Sterling Silver Jewelry - Kohl's

A flannel tunic, jeggings, basic jewelry, and flat boots are just the thing for sick days that you can't spend at home in bed.




Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

As I hinted in my last post, I had a hard time picking out an outfit yesterday. I'm not sure why I left the chore until the last minute - maybe because I had gone an entire weekend knowing exactly what I was wearing each day, and I took for granted that would continue. (I just don't typically plan ahead, even though it's clear I need to.) I think I also forgot about the fact that I would have to work an event in the evening, so I couldn't rely on a casual denim ensemble to take me through the body frustration issues I was experiencing. (Thank you, PMS.) Instead, I needed to find a comfortable, forgiving, yet dressy outfit - wouldn't you know it, those are pretty much the hardest to put together when you need it! Murphy's Law. As a result, I stayed up much later than I should have, tearing up my closet and hating on my body in the most fierce way. I eventually gave up and went to bed, with barely an idea of what I would wear, and the remains of my closet still splattered all over the floor.

Blazer - NY&Co. / Printed top - Anthropologie (via eBay) / Brown wide-leg pants - NY&Co. / Brown faux-croc heels - Nine West /
Maroon skinny belt - NY&Co.

But it's amazing what a new day can do. Not that I had any revelations or anything, just that I knew I needed to wear a jacket (structure + camouflage = perfect PMS clothing cure) and I preferred wearing pants. Looking through my closet at the few things still hanging there, I kept coming back to this Anthropologie top I had won on eBay. I wasn't excited to ever wear it because, though it was a rather flattering top, it wasn't terribly interesting or even colorful - just kind of blah - and I hadn't yet found away to punch it up with needed color. Well, add the light color dressy blazer I knew I had (requirement #1), a maroon belt to pick up more color in the top, all worn with easy wide-leg pants (requirement #2!) - and I had my outfit!


Looking back, I can't believe how easily this outfit came to me the next day. Nor can I believe the severity with which I hated my body while still recognizing that the feeling was a monthly phenomenon that would eventually dissipate. It's made me more thoughtful about my body image during that finicky time of month, and to consider how much it affects me. And you know what? Documenting that here I hope will help me work through that more productively. Or, at least know that that there is always light at the end of the tunnel...

Handbag - Tano "Minilisa" in Blue Marine

The icing on the cake? A number of people at work complimented me on this outfit, and it really felt good. =)

How do you guys get dressed during difficult body issue moments?


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What a Pair

Okay, so I didn't get up this post last night like I had hoped. I was soooo close, but then boyfriend came home and distracted me. (Er, that sounds saucier than I meant it to... =7) And then I realized that I still had to figure out what the H I was going to wear the next day. Remembering that I would have to work in the evening, I was thrown for a loop to put together a comfortable (read: PMS friendly) outfit not involving jeans. Nearly the entire contents of my closet is now on the floor. Anyway, that's my excuse. I'm sure I'll touch on that again in today's actual outfit post - which I have EVERY intention of doing when I get home tonight!

But for now, we return to Saturday. Saturday promised to be a busy but delightful day of more holiday performances - two performances of Nutcracker, a kagillion performances of School of Music jazz ensembles, etc. etc. As I said in the post for Friday, I was committed to wearing some of my best wardrobe items for such a big day. What does this mean for Jessica's closet? Pencil skirt (of course), a great top, a statement necklace, and shoes in a great punch of color. Bam.

Puffy face c/o Boyfriend's spicy fried rice with jalape├▒os that smoked up the apartment
just before these pictures were taken.

I. love. this. outfit. Perhaps as much as, if not more than, the outfit I wore on Sunday. It really boils down to the top and the necklace. The top was a boutique find last fall, and I've worn it only a handful of times since. Actually, I wore a very similar version of this during last year's Nutcracker weekend, but with pants, and again on New Years, but with a black skirt. When worn with a skirt, however, I've found that, because of how short the top is, I need to belt it, otherwise its gets too boxy and my shape gets lost.

Like an idiot, I forgot to take close-ups when I was still wearing everything, so here are some individual close-ups:

Top - Elm Design (via local boutique)

The top is an architectural gem. The tied/bunched folds are totally customizable (it also continues in the back) and really make the neckline all the way around so eye-catching. It's also probably the most expensive item of clothing I own, but I believe it's been worth every penny. I've come to realize that I would much rather put down money for one piece of truly special clothing than ten pieces of average, ordinary clothing, I already have enough basics, of course, but when it comes to adding new things to my wardrobe, this principle has been my guiding light...(even if I don't always follow it....)

Necklace, ring and earrings - Banana Republic

This amazing necklace (and ring and earrings) is a Banana Republic piece (shocking). I had found it last winter after I purchased the shirt (a similar one is available now), but I think they are made for each other. I actually don't have many other tops that I can wear this necklace with - given how short the necklace is, I really need to have a portrait collar or boat neck in order to fill the neckline properly, and I just don't have many of them in the right color palette. So, these two pieces have become a duo.

This is the first time I've worn the top with a light colored pencil skirt, however, mostly because it's the first time I've had one in my closet! I really love the balance of colors as a result - neutrals, yes, but add the pops of burgundy in the belt, shoes and necklace, and it all comes together so nicely.

Skirt - NY&Co. / Double wrap belt - LOFT / Burgundy pumps - Charles by Charles David (via Zappos) /
Handbag - Tano "Minilisa" in Blue Marine

Le sigh. What a great weekend - working and all. Any day that I can feel good in my skin is a good day all around, regardless of what I'm doing. Period.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Let It Snow!

I already blogged about last Thursday - on time, no less! So, now we're up to Friday. Almost caught up! This might actually happen tonight...

Rippled and Ribboned Wrap - Anthropologie / Lilac tank - LOFT / Brown wide-leg pants - NY&Co. /
Necklace - LOFT / Brown faux-croc heels - Nine West

Friday was the opening night of the long Nutcracker weekend (from which I am currently recovering), and since it was going to be a non-stop flurry (no pun intended) of weekend performances, I wanted to be sure that 1) I knew what I was wearing ahead of time and 2) they were some of my best pieces. As you saw from yesterday's post, my aim was true! Just wait until you see the post for Saturday...

But, wow, getting ahead of myself! This sweater is new - a random surprise wishlist gift from Boyfriend, purchased at our Anthropologie visit during Thanksgiving break. I'm in love with this sweater (I even posted a review on the Anthro website), so you can be sure I'll be wearing it a few ways. And actually, this is my third wearing...I wore it Thanksgiving day and again over the weekend when we returned home. But, I didn't get pictures of the Thanksgiving ensemble, and the picture quality of the second wearing is just too poor to post. All that means is that I'll just get to wear it again sooner than later. =) You better believe you'll see it again in the next week or two.

For this version, I dressed it up with nice pants and a little more colorful tank to offset the otherwise dark tones of the ensemble. You might think me crazy for baring my arms during a cold December, but I knew I could get away with it given the fact that lobby would be swarming with patrons all night. Besides, I think I like it slightly better this way - as little extra bulk as possible, and the flesh color also helps break up the dark colors.

And yes, picture quality is still not what I want, though it's closer. I just can't go without flash given how late I take pictures these days. I continue to experiment...

Handbag - Tano "Minilisa" in Blue Marine

But here's the REAL gem of this post. It SNOWED that night - like 6 inches!!! It's been such an odd autumn that I had no idea when we'd see real snow. It typically doesn't snow like this until January, but here it was! Normally, I might have stressed about roads and whatnot, but I honestly was just so overcome with its beauty that none of that bothered me. Once I got home, I even tried to capture our view with pictures to share...


A blanket of snow that quiets the earth and brightens the night sky brings only the warmest thoughts.. =)


Even-Handed

I'm just gonna keep on trucking. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my team is kickin' some butt on Monday Night football. (Go Pats!) I think Boyfriend would be proud that, not only am I hootin' and hollerin' at the TV in his absence, but I'm doing so while writing about clothes... I'm so well-rounded. =P

I take you back to last Wednesday with this post. I'm not terribly happy with the picture quality of my face (my camera has been really uncooperative lately - in the next few posts you'll see the fruits of some different settings), but I was having a good hair day and I like how this look came together. I don't feel like I knocked it out of the park or anything, but I like this particular combination of color, pattern and accessories. It's a nice, even-handed use of them, methinks.


I gotta do something about this belt though. It's one of those that are adjustable in the back, but after a day of sitting and standing and walking around, this one never stays put at the length that I need it to. So, I clearly need to poke some additional holes in it in order to wear it only at its longest. Fortunately, I do have a belt puncher (no idea what it's actually called) - but only because I once borrowed it from a friend and completely forgot to return it to her before she moved away. Whoops. It's definitely the most unlikely tool I (now) own, but it sure has come in handy!

Printed cardigan - LOFT / Burgundy scoop neck tee - LOFT / Brown wide-leg pants - NY&Co / Nude heels - Nine West (via Endless.com) / Ring - Banana Republic / Handbag - Steve Madden (via Endless.com)

Necklace - LOFT / Earrings - NY&Co.