Thursday, March 31, 2011

Quintessentially Yours

I'm sorry I've gotten behind, everyone. My laptop adapter died on Wednesday, and with it my laptop. I've been searching around for inexpensive replacement solutions, and I think I've found something, but for now I'm at the mercy of the availability of Bob's (enviable) Macbook. It's also been a very busy weekend, and I've just now been able to regroup and find some time to catch up on my posts! So, without further ado...

I love this outfit. It was one of those outfits that came together accidentally; a kind of unexpected perfection, if you will...

Black cardigan - LOFT / Animal print top - Ann Taylor / Pencil skirt - New York & Co. 

The top is, in my opinion, exquisite. It's a sort of abstract animal print in a luxurious color palate of slate blue, black and tan, and the pseudo-shawl neckline (or whatever it is) gave it such lovely structure. For that reason I would have preferred to wear it alone, but at the last minute, I opted for an additional layer of the cardigan not only for extra warmth, but also because I felt a little self-conscious in the top's body-hugging stretch satin. Once I had the cardigan on, however, I was struck by how the whole outfit became even more elegant, how the neckline became more delightfully pronounced, and just overall how much more shapely it made me look.

It is such a quintessential "Jessica" outfit, really...

Handbag - Tano "Minilisa" in Blue Marine

I preferred to go without a necklace, thinking that extra bulk at my neckline would take away some of the clean lines created in the top. The gold accessories I did wear gave added warmth and maybe just a little bling without going overboard.

Ring - Banana Republic / Earrings - The Limited

I had first thought I would wear a pair of embellished gold heels, but I chose these gorgeously classic suede high heels instead. Methinks they put the final stamp on the clean lines of the whole outfit.

Black suede heels - BCBG (eBayed)

And Bob liked it too. =)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring in Your Step

This week has already proven itself to be a killer, and it's only just begun. Oh how I long for the peace and quiet of spring break again...

I sure did jinx myself by waxing all poetic about the warmer weather last week, even going so far as taking down the window wrap; naturally, flurries and overcast skies have been with us for a few days now, and my pictures have gone back inside. I took advantage of the cooler temps to don this recent acquisition from Anthropologie, the Neo-Refinement Pullover (sold out online). 

Neo-Refinement Pullover - Anthropologie / Grey wide-leg pants - NY & Co.

It's a funny little top: if you lay it out flat, it's basically the shape of square, with the neck hole at the top of one side, and the arms forming the edges of the two adjacent sides. I really don't know how better to describe it, actually, so I shall humble myself by sharing my MS Paint skillz.

Amazing, right? When words fail, draw. I'm think I'm channeling in my inner Kendi.

Anyhoo, the result is this wonderfully drapey and asymmetrical garment that is uniquely flattering and just a smidge sexy (thanks to the hint of the shoulder it allows). I almost didn't buy it because I wasn't sure how much wear I'd get out of it as we (slowly) make our way into spring, but I'm glad I did. It's wool, yes, but  it's on the lighter side, and its elbow length sleeves will translate well for slightly warmer temps. Folks have suggested wearing it with lighter colored bottoms to balance out its fall-like hue. White ankle pants and some killer wedges come to mind...

Handbag - Tano "Minilisa" in Blue Marine / Yellow open-toed croc-embossed pumps - Nine West (eBayed)

Today, though, was a grey-pant day, but one with sunny yellow peep-toes peeping out. I like the perhaps unexpected combination of maroon and yellow, of course (an initial inclination was a pair of navy blue pumps), but it also serves as a much-needed reminder that spring really is on its way.

Close-up courtesy of a previous outfit
Earrings - The Limited / Ring - Banana Republic (eBayed)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Writing on the Wall

I've been meaning to do this fun "get-to-know-the-blogger" game after I was tagged by Ariana, but I'm only now just getting around to it! Ariana makes a good point that seeing each other's handwriting is a fun way to see another side of our personalities - just don't try to forge my signature, mmkay? I shall warn you, however - I have the messiest handwriting ever! My dad used to joke that I could be a doctor with handwriting as bad as mine...

So, the rules are:

Write your name & blog name
Write, "A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog!"
Favorite quote
Favorite song
Favorite bands/singers
Anything you want to say
...then tag some other bloggers!

Here you go!


Favorite quote(s): "Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach" (Aristotle) and any line from T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

Favorite Song(s) "Adhesive Love" by the Stone Temple Pilots, "Let Down" by Radiohead, "Gravity" by Sara Bareillis, and "Mayonnaise" by the Smashing Pumpkins.

Favortite Artist(s): Smashing Pumpkins, Incubus, Ray LaMontagne,The Sundays, Radiohead, Ella Fitzgerald

Closing words: Sorry I couldn't just pick one! (I guess I just don't work that way.) And thanks for welcoming me with open arms into this amazing blogging community. You are all wonderful!

Tag, you're it!
  1. Sara of Bombshell Beauty
  2. Kimberly of Fab Finds Under $50
  3. Tina of T Minus, T Plus
  4. Erin of Work With What You've Got

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Today's outfit is taken from Kimberly's March Outfit Inspiration calendar, albeit a week early... After she had posted the calendar, and specifically this image of some fabulous Anthropologie pieces featuring a maxi skirt and mixed patterns, I immediately thought of a striped maxi dress I had recently acquired from Maurices. Taking advantage of the 70 degree weather and a casual performance-less week, I thought I would try to style it similarly today!

Striped maxi dress - Maurices / Military cropped jacket - Maurices / Belt - LOFT / Blue cut-out wedges - LOFT

Since it's a dress rather than a skirt, I obviously wasn't able to wear a top and mix patterns, but I do appreciate how the lace neckline is able to achieve a similar purpose. Like the original, I accessorized with a belt to break up the stripes, one that I could wear lower on my hips (kinda) and could angle a bit. My military-inspired cropped jacket topped it off nicely - I'm loving the grey and olive together here.

I do like how the blues and greens play together in the original, so I chose my blue Tano and navy cut-out wedges to add that particular hue. I could have also worn a sporty blue zip-up instead (I don't really have a blazer like the one pictured), which I might do for another wearing, but I really wanted to pair my military topper with this time around. All in all, I think I did okay!

Handbag - Tano "Minilisa" in Blue Marine

As you can probably tell, it was pretty darn windy when I was taking these pictures. Hey, my own wind machine! (I liked the effect, obviously.) But, it had plummeted 15 degrees within a hour, so once again my lakeside pictures were postponed for another day. My brick background on my porch is growing on me, though, despite the fact that it is sooooooooo easy to tell when my camera is crooked. You'll have to forgive me for that one today, please - it had gotten so chilly so fast that I rushed through the shoot!

Ring - The Limited / Necklace - Kohl's / Earrings - LOFT

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Brick House

I know I've been quiet for a few days, but that's because things have been (pleasantly) quiet in my corner of the universe! I will have a few fun casual outfits this week, starting with this one...and brought to you by long-lost outside pictures!

Striped top - Urban Outfitters / Skirt - Chloe Dao (eBayed)

Thanks to another wonderful day of almost 70 degree weather, I was determined to resume outside photo shoots today. I wanted to take a field trip to a park after work to scout out some new picture locations, but it had been overcast with the threat of rain all evening, so I decided to see how the light on my covered porch fared instead. I'm actually impressed by how these turned out! My old camera could not have produced these. The fact that I can now take outdoor pictures in the privacy of my porch (and regardless of precipitation) thrills me quite a bit, too!

Handbag - Tano "Minilisa" in Blue Marine / Sandals - Nine West

My skirt and its full back zipper, last worn here, was a fun little counterpart to the exposed zipper on the front of my top. Altogether it's a nice little casual nautical look, especially paired with these two-toned sandals and simple jewelry, but it could be easily dressed up with some neutral (gladiator?) heels and a statement necklace for evening attire as well!

Ring - The Limited / Earrings - LOFT / Necklace - Kohl's

I'm so thankful for Spring Break, you have no idea...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Not Without a Fight

Whoa. Longest day ever. I think I jinxed it yesterday when I was all too eagerly celebrating being so close to break. Not without a fight, apparently. In fact, I'm still at work as I write this (at 10:30pm). My brain is fried from working on the staff schedule all day, not to mention the somewhat stressful performances we had this evening, so I figured some mindless blogging would help me push through a little longer. (Bob is also working the performances tonight; he's not yet done and he's my ride home...) And at this rate, I wouldn't have been likely to get in a post tonight otherwise!

Military jacket - LOFT / Sweater - Lane Bryant / Pants - New York & Co. / Cut-out wedges - LOFT

I was looking through the past month of my outfits last night and I was struck by how bloody often I wore a pencil skirt - like every other day! There's no shame in the fact that I love wearing them and how I look in them, of course, but I figured I could break out of that routine just a bit. As a result, I decided to go a little bit more casual tonight than I might have otherwise.

Handbag - Tano "Minilisa" in Blue Marine / Belt - The Limited

Mainly inspired by the combination of olive and burgundy again, I put together one of my (three, believe it or not) military jackets with this ruffly-topped sweater, one I think I'd worn only once quite some time ago. It was good to find a new way to wear the top, and I especially like how the ruffles at the collar create such great texture at the neckline. I only wish I had a fun animal print belt in a more substantial width than the one I wore, and I think my hemline could be just a wee shorter (or my shoes taller).

Ring - Banana Republic (eBayed) / Earrings - New York & Co.

Oh well. At this point, I hardly care what I put on my body; just get me to the end of this week! Shoot, just let me go to bed, for that matter...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Flower Power

Just a couple more long days and late nights of performances before spring break! I don't automatically have vacation time like the student population, but it is certainly going to be much quieter, and I'll have lots of opportunities to relax as a result. It's comforting that the days of my evening work attire - and the pressure to impress - are numbered! Even if temporarily...

Peach cardigan - The Limited / Printed top - The Limited / Tweed pencil skirt - Lane Bryant / Handbag - Tano "Minilisa" in Blue Marine / Grey faux-suede pumps - Apt. 9 (Kohl's)

I kept coming back to the idea of pattern mixing with this tweed pencil skirt, which I did so delightfully in this outfit. (Seriously, so much of me just has wanted to re-wear that outfit in its entirety!) Instead, I chose a similarly colored patterned top and an equally vibrant cardigan to get the same silhouette and overall feel. And given that spring isn't quite yet here (almost! almost!), the wintry tweed balances out the springy (even summery) peach cardigan in the same way it did the bright teal one in the original.

With all the peachy tones, including my somewhat bulky bib necklace (a really tricky piece to wear), I added some pops of contrasting color with my turquoise ring and my blue Tano.

Necklace  LOFT / Ring - The Limited / Earrings - The Limited

Bottom line? I'm all too antsy to break out my spring attire!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I really like this color palette. Kelly green, grey and golds/tans aren't a usual combination, perhaps, but I'm a fan of doing out-of-the box things with shades of brown and grey. The combination in this outfit made it a more visually appealing one, too, methinks.

Green top - Banana Republic / Pencil skirt - New York & Co. / Belt - Banana Republic /
Grey faux-suede pumps - Apt. 9 (Kohl's)

I'm also getting on the wanna-be Irish in me, it seems... Or doing another impersonation of Mad Men's Joan (said Bob).

Handbag - Steve Madden

The top is a tricky one, or maybe it's my body shape that makes it tricky...I dunno. It's loose and flowy in the bust and waist, but then is very snug at the hips. Come to think of it, it's a Banana Republic top, and nearly everything in that store has been fitting that way lately... So to help solve the fit issue (or at least give the appearance of solving it), I belted it, choosing this color for the reasons I mentioned above. It might have caused odd bunching issues in the back, but you don't have to see that, so there.

Ring - Banana Republic / Necklace - Lane Bryant Outlet / Earrings - Maurices

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Yacht Club

I feel like I should go sailing in this outfit. Or at least be standing by a sailboat along the French Rivera, anyway. I mean, can you get more nautical than these navy stripes and a bit of yellow?

Cardigan - LOFT / Striped top - The Limited / Trouser denim - LOFT / Carmel open-toed pumps - Banana Republic

What's not to love about it, though, eh?

Handbag - Steve Madden

And guess what - the clasp of my necklace even looks like a life preserver!

Polygon necklace - Banana Republic / Topaz ring - Banana Republic (eBayed) / Earrings - Banana Republic

Anchors aweigh!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Keeping it Simple

I stayed up way past my bedtime last night trying to figure out what I was going to wear today. It was a day that promised to be extremely eventful with its multiple and large performances, so I really wanted to wear a fantastic outfit. Not necessarily a "notice-me" outfit, but definitely one of sophistication and personality. When I finally went to bed, thinking I had an outfit that would suffice, I had plowed through at least five different options. Needless to say, I was exhausted. Well, I was even more exhausted when I woke up this morning (it has been a long week that seems barely to have begun, and the lack of sleep is not helping), and once I put on the intended outfit, I knew it was just not going to do either. So, I decided to strip back all my expectations for something "special" and keep it simple: pencil skirt, structured top, and just a few accessories.

Drape top - The Limited / Beige pencil skirt - New York & Co. / Teal skinny belt - The Limited

I've not worn this shirt before; it was a clearance find at The Limited, and in fact I kept the tags on with a possible intention of returning it. Its color is what I love most about it - it's one of those that always seem to look good on me. It has some internal structure because of an elasticized waist, and it flares out so wonderfully over my hips, but I thought I'd add a belt to add further definition and a bit more visual interest. Even though it's the same (or a very close) color, I think it gives some depth - one of the reasons I love to layer colors in the same family. I do like how I've been able to style the top, though, and the color really is fabulous, so needless to say I'm keeping it. =)

Beyond that, the pencil skirt was a no-brainer. It's my go-to item whenever I want to up my sartorial ante. If it was warmer out, I might have taken out my new open-toed nude patent pumps for a spin, but as the weather is as crappy as can be (another thing that is NOT helping me through this particular week), I went with nude nylons and pointy-toed pumps. Simple, but effective.

Handbag - Gustto "Pavia" / Nude pumps - Nine West

My ever-colorful fuchsia Gustto (which continues to brighten my day in lieu of the sun) and some funky jewelry put that final stamp of personality on the whole thing.

Occam's razor wins out again.

Ring - Banana Republic / Necklace - Banana Republic / Earrings - The Limited

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Seriously. I love these jeans. I think they're magic. No matter what outfit I wear them with, I feel totally fabulous. I have never had a pair of jeans that did that - that made me look good no matter what I decide to wear with them or how I am feeling that day. If that's not magic, I don't know what is...

Military tie jacket - LOFT / Striped top - The Limited / Flare-leg jeans - Lane Bryant / Red belt - Banana Republic

I was thisclose to wearing sweatpants and a hoodie today, but what with this blog and all I thought I should do better. It took some doing, but I thought I'd try this military-inspired jacket and striped shirt (a fool-proof pairing, really). And these jeans, of course. I wish I had some florals to try Kimberly from Fab Finds Under 50's suggested pairing, but alas - I don't have any! What up with that!?

My first instinct was that my pairing would be too drab, and I found myself wishing I had some fabulous red pumps to spruce it up. Instead, I did the inverse with a red belt and some great neutral wedges. Considering that I wanted to wear comfies to work, I was pretty happy with (and pleasantly surprised by) the result! And I think it's (another) proof that a great pair of jeans can be the equivalent of (or better than) comfies any day...

Handbag - Tano "Minilisa" in Blue Marine / Brown cut-out wedges - LOFT
Hammered disc ring - The Limited / Earrings - The Limited

Bonus shot for the day: This is me testing the light while brushing my teeth this morning. (Bob reeeeally wanted me to post it.) How's THAT for multitasking, yo!

You're welcome.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


The hours I keep are killing me! I'm not quite sure how I made it through this particular 14-hour day, and I'm even less sure how I'm managing to stay up to blog about it! So, if it's alright with you, I'm going to keep this one short and sweet tonight.

Grey cardigan - LOFT / Watercolor tank - Anthropologie / Blue pencil skirt - Shapefx (Spiegel) / Pink skinny belt - The Limited

Yes, I know -  I forgot to wear polka-dots today... I was so excited about the outfit I put together with this new skirt (the same Slimming Pencil Skirt by Shape FX that I reviewed yesterday, but in blue) that I had to wear it as soon as possible, forsaking all else! That's okay though, because had I worn a polka-dot ensemble, it probably would have been this one again, just because I love its brightly-colored pattern-mixing (with polka-dots) goodness oh-so-much. (And seeing as how I rarely repeat outfits for anything, that's saying something.) So we'll call this one a wash, eh?

Anyhoo, I'll just let the pictures (read: color) do the talking for the rest of this post...and maybe you, too!

Handbag - Steve Madden / Shoes - Banana Republic
Ring - Banana Republic / Necklace - Kohl's / Earrings - NY&Co. (?)

Happy International Women's Day!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Shape FX Pencil Skirt Review

As promised, I'd like to share a review of the red pencil skirt I posted yesterday.

It's the Slimming Pencil Skirt by Shape fx®, which you can purchase through or the Shapefx site itself (though still related, I think). If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I've been on hunt for a red pencil skirt, and preferably one in ponte knit. (Just can't get enough of the stuff.) After searching high and low for one of good quality and good length, I thought I'd try the Shape FX line, which apparently comes highly recommended by Oprah (saith the description).

Photo courtesy of

It's a pull-on skirt, which I like for its ease. I thought it ran pretty true to size, comparable to the sizes I wear at Lane Bryant actually. Some (but not all) Speigel skirts do have a plus size line with more generous cuts in the waist and hips, but I thought I'd see how I fare with the straight sizing on this one...and cuz it was cheaper. (The straight sizes go up to size 18.) I chose the 16 regular (I wear the same size in bottoms at Lane Bryant) and it fit perfectly. It does fit VERY close to the body, and though it does smooth away some lines as it says it will, I don't think I'd wear it without Spanx.

The other thing I like about it is that it has a higher waist specifically designed to help shape those problem areas in the midriff. It did do so a little bit, giving a relativity smooth line there, but not nearly as well as my high-waist Spanx do. I did appreciate the fact that it wouldn't hit me right at the worst spot of my waist to exaggerate my muffin-top, however...

Diagram courtesy of

I like the length on this one, too. I think skirts that hit me past my knees are the most flattering on me, but for some reason they've been pretty hard to find. The description states it's 27" long, but this accounts for the high waist. The nice thing about that, though, is that how high of waist you choose is pretty adjustable, so you can determine exactly how long you want the skirt to be.

After wearing the skirt all night, I did notice it stretched out a bit, owing to its high Lycra count. But I appreciated that fact since it felt less clingy as the night went on, making me less self-conscious even with my Spanx!

I had contemplated purchasing the Hold-You-In Pencil Skirt by Shape fx® instead or even in addition to the other skirt, especially since it had come with rave reviews. But, for the same reason I didn't try the ASOS CURVE Ponti Pencil Skirt, I didn't care for the seaming all over it.

I purchased both this red color, which is a nice deep scarlet red (more blue than orange in the hue), and the sapphire blue, which I'll be wearing later this week!

Bonus: If you register for emails at, you'll eventually get a 30% off welcome coupon good for your entire purchase! It's good for only one day, but I kept getting them every 3 days or so! Guess they really wanted my business...

Disclaimer: This review was done on my accord and by my own desire to share information. I purchased it with my own $$ and I was not asked or paid for this review in any way. =)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bootie Call

Today's outfit may be considered a lesson in experimentation. I don't particularly care for this outfit, but I did decide to wear it anyway because, bottom line, what's to loose? Not every outfit can be total perfection, and that is just too much stress to put on a person to try. (I've had to learn that the hard way.) Besides, I'll only get to know my personal style better my having a few duds from time to time, and - shoot - I might even learn to like styles I previously hadn't liked!

Red pencil skirt - Shape FX* / Striped wrap - Maurices / Cream tank - Banana Republic / Black belt - LOFT / Black Booties - Payless

One of the things I liked least was my shoe choice, these faux-cuffed booties. (Though, the more I look at the pictures, the more they grow on me. Huh.) I've had these booties for a while, even with tags still on, but I never felt up to the challenge of wearing them. I decided to wear them with this outfit, again, to just give it a whirl, and because I did think the outfit need some kind of additional spunk. I figured if ever spunk could be added, t'would be with the currently trendy (but somewhat questionable) bootie!

And I guess I don't hate it as much as I initially did. True, they are ridiculously comfortable and, as I said above, super spunky, but I was most concerned with what they did to the line of my leg, which I think is the most common complaint leveled against them. Or maybe having all that solid black on my (giant size 11) feet is just too jarring; perhaps an open-toed bootie in a nude color would have been better? But the picture documentation continues to make me reconsider, as has been done more than a few times before. Maybe not a total loss, after all?

The other thing I don't love about the outfit is my jewelry choice. All the pieces seem to be a bit hodgepodge and don't work well together. I blame the necklace, which is new and wanted to be worn whether it worked or not. (My jewelry can be so pushy sometimes.) Well, it didn't. Perhaps some kind of funky gold or black number would have been more cohesive. Funnily, I didn't think much about it at the time because I was so concerned about the booties!

Black enamel flower ring - The Limited / Necklace - Lane Bryant Outlet / Gold loop earrings - The Limited

Meh, overall it's not bad. I think my knee-jerk reaction of dislike is simply caused by the fact that it's quite a different look for me with those shoes! Yet again, I'm grateful for my blog's ability to help me push my own limits...

* If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I've been looking for a new red pencil skirt. I've purchased a few, including this one from Shape FX, and thought I'd do a proper review in a future post. Stay tuned!