Friday, June 29, 2012

All in One

Ah, Friday. So nice to see you again. Especially since I'm beginning another holiday-week vacation! I could get used to this. Though, now that I think about it, spoiling myself as I have with so much vacation time might become a problem! Meh, I'll worry about that in August... =S

I have to say, I'm rather impressed by this little ensemble. I threw it together in the heat of a good-grief-what-the-hell-am-I-going-to-wear-today moment and I quite like it. In many ways, it follows a recently developed little formula of mine: cardigan, belted flowy top, skinnies (perhaps first realized with this outfit). The top, a clutch hitter from Old Navy, has become a great candidate for similar silhouettes, so much so that not only did I pick up the green one (color-blocked recently here), I bought the ivory one too. And I plan to apply the exact same formula on the next good-grief-what-the-hell-am-I-going-to-wear day.

Cardigan - LOFT / Top - Old Navy / Skinnes - Lane Bryant /
Handbag - Urban Outfitters / Sandals - Bandolino "Moderngirl" (via

I think I most love the colors, though. Between belt, top and cardigan, the shared but varied blues and greens make me happy. All my favorite colors in one place!

Belt - Talbots / Ring - Ruche / Necklace - chrdesigns on Etsy / Earrings - Ruche

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Of all the maxi dresses I've recently acquired, this one is my favorite. I liked the fit of its printed cousin so much that I couldn't help trying it on in purple on a subsequent store visit. I nabbed it as quickly the checkout line would let me. The regal, solid color flows over my curves with ease, making me look (and feel) like a tall drink of...grape juice? Welch's grape juice, of course.

Drawstring maxi - Old Navy / Denim jacket - Theory (eBayed) / Sandals - Old Navy

Soft, pretty draping in a rich, vibrant color is always good thing, anyway. Especially when it's as comfortable as this maxi is. I shan't lie: I've worn this outfit at least three more times after these pictures were taken. That's almost, like, daily.

Handbag - Coach (gifted)

I know that I've copped out and topped it with my denim jacket again. It was a cooler day, though, and the denim gave just the right casual vibe I was wanting. Plus, I really love the combination of blue and purple, so much so that I'm now desperately searching for a great navy cardigan. (Yes, believe it or not I don't have one.)

Ring - Ruche (gifted) / Earrings - Anthropologie /
Ginko and Gunmetal necklace - chrdesigns on Etsy

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Around the Block

So I do have another maxi dress outfit to share, but I thought I'd interrupt the maxi-mania with not only more pencil skirt love, but bright yellow and happy green color-blocking love. (Also, I can't seem to not wear this denim jacket now. You've been warned.)

Denim jacket - Theory (eBayed) / Green tank - Old Navy / Skirt - Talbots / Belt - LOFT
Handbag - Urban Outfitters / Shoes - Bandolino "Moderngirl" (Endless)

It should not be surprising, but I'd been contemplating (read: obsessing over) the idea of a yellow pencil skirt for a little while now. I mean, 1) it's a pencil skirt and 2) it's yellow. I figured experimenting with brighter colors would be a good way to wear the wardrobe staple in summer off-season - having more fun with them than I might during the regular season. I liked all the bright color blocking I've been seeing on Pinterest and various blogs, too, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to try my own hand at it. Pretty much love it.

Lemony yellow meets kelly green, who run into summer white for a day of colorific fun. Sounds like a good short story. Maybe? Title forthcoming.

Ring - Trina Turk for Banana Republic / Earrings - Banana Republic

Friday, June 22, 2012

Maxed Out

So about those maxi dresses...yep, still in love. Aside from being the easiest thing to wear this summer, they seem to be just about the most flattering too. I need that these days, fo sho. Continuing my run of good luck at Old Navy, this maxi was one such score. I wasn't sure how flattering the print or drawstring waist would be, but it's just about perfect. So much so that I immediately proceeded to buy the dress in the solid purple color, too - which I like even better. Extra bonus: I got to size down.

Maxi dress - Old Navy / Denim jacket - Theory (eBayed) /
Sandals - Unisa (via

I realize I'm likely contradicting myself by wearing it with just that little denim jacket here... Oh, sure, I'll continue to experiment with other layering options, but I guess I just like what the jacket can do structurally for an otherwise all-over soft, flowy look. When it ain't broke, ya know?

Handbag - Tano / Necklace - Anthropologie / Ring - Ruche / Earrings - gifted

I'm off work today, my friends. We're going up to WI for the weekend to see family, eat great food, drink good drinks, walk along the Sheboygan lakefront (me ol' stompin' grounds), and maybe scare up a bonfire or two. If that's not an ideal summer weekend, I don't know what is.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Birthday Boy

That's one handsome man. How could I resist starting off this (little later than usual) post by featuring the birthday boy himself? Especially when he's wearing the crap out this blue Ted Baker suit, a crisp white shirt, and BR pocket square (that he picked out for one of his birthday gifts). My outfit pales in comparison after that anyway. =)

Melrose Mesh Top - c/o Kiyonna / White pencil skirt - Macy's (Charter Club)

At least, I feel much less dressed up than I would have liked to have been. Quite disappointingly, the dress I was planning to wear didn't fit, so I had to scramble to put something else together that I could feel comfortable and confident in and wasn't too much fuss. This was Bobby's day, after all, and I wasn't going to let my frustrations damper the cheer of the day. I immediately thought of this great Kiyonna top that flatters all my assets and camouflages everything else, paired with, of course, a pencil skirt.

The real stars of the outfit were my accessories, however. I'd been plotting to debut some fabulous new shoes and my Trina Turk for Banana Republic pieces on this occasion, so it was imperative that whatever I wore would let them shine anyway. I do suppose it's hard to let a little box clutch and fabulous cocktail ring take center stage just by virtue of scale, but I sure as hell had to try.

Box clutch and Ring - Trina Turk for Banana Republic / Necklace - Anthropologie /
Earrings - Banana Republic (eBayed) / Sandals - SM Evan's Pump via DSW

Meh, the birthday boy still wins. =)

As has become customary, we dined at our favorite restaurant in town for the birthday meal itself, having course after course of delectable bites and a helluva bottle of wine to celebrate. Good people watching, excellent service, and just a relaxing evening spent together.

An upside down wine label has to mean good luck, right?

Today? A day off, a firmer footing on Weight Watchers (with a hope to fit into that dress eventually) and being ever so thankful that I get to celebrate birthdays and all manner of life's milestones with such a wonderful guy.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ladies Who Lunch

Before I inundate you with more maxi dresses, I thought I'd offer a bit of respite with, oh I dunno, a pencil skirt. I figure it's been a little bit you've seen me in one, anyway.

Lunch at My Place top - Modcloth / Pencil skirt - Macy's (Charter Club) /
Sandals - Christian Siriano for Payless / Handbag - Banana Republic /
Ring - Ruche / Earrings - Lane Bryant

Alas, pencil skirts are not quite the thing for work these days. Just a little too dressy for the likes of the casual, quiet days in my cave of an office. But throw in a midweek, midday reception, and I've got a reason to don one. Especially when it's practically a duplicate of this favorite pencil skirt/embellished tee ensemble. (Just a difference in colors - and at least 5 pounds...) Here's the kicker: the ivory version of the tee was purchased at Ruche for $33; the blue version was purchased at Modcloth for $25. Same designer. Things that make you go hmmmm.... And thanks to reader Liv who recommended these nude sandals from Payless! Cute, comfy and just the look I've been after.

Happy Friday, everyone! Bob's birthday is this weekend, and it will be filled with lots of cute outfits and delectable dining. Oh the pictures I'll have to share with you next week! I hope to have a Weight Watchers update, as well - all good things. =)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Professional Pajamas

Oh, hai, maxi dress! Nice to see you again! Why don't you plan to just stay all summer?

Splatter print maxi dress - Lane Bryant / Instant Sleeves (Taupe) - LucieLu /
Sandals - Unisa (via Endless)

Yep, it's official. The maxi dress has become my clothing item of choice this summer. Maxi dress is to summer as pencil skirt is to rest of year. I've recently acquired five new ones, including this one, and I will probably wear them all within a week of each other. And then over and over again at least until August. They are like pajamas that you can wear out in public! "Professional pajamas" a friend called them. What's better than that? (Besides actual pajamas, of course. And getting to stay in bed all day...)

Belt - Talbots / Clutch - eloquii

When I decided that I would need to bulk up my maxi collection, Lane Bryant was probably one of my first stops. I eyed up a few online (especially this one and this one), but none of them really demanded to be mine. Plus, I wanted to wait until I was able to get into a store (the nearest one to me is about an hour away) and see them in person. Though this dress was one I didn't really care for online, I really loved it in store and - better yet - on me. The colorful brushstroke print was just what my maxi dress collection needed. Oh, and 30% off you say? And I had Real Women Dollars? Done and done. (I paid less than $25 for this baby.)

In keeping with the ways-to-layer-a-maxi-without-a-denim-jacket goal, my "instant sleeves" from LucieLu rank up there with about the easiest option possible. They even dress up the maxi a bit, not that work's summer casual mode would care. This dress is also a great candidate for a cardigan, too, and with so many colors in the dress itself, I can pretty much take my pick! (I might go for yellow next time!) But not today... Since I stayed neutral with the instant sleeves and my jewelry, I went with a bright pink belt to highlight the pink in the dress. And cuz, well, it was pink!

Necklace - LOFT / Earrings - Lane Bryant / Ring - Banana Republic

Seriously, though - be prepared for more maxi posts over the next few weeks...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

How to Try Again

Firstly and most importantly, a new winner has been chosen for the $50 Kiyonna gift card!

Congratulations, Beth Schaffer! Email me within 48 hours to claim your prize!

After throwing something of a sartorial gutterball the last time I wore this top, I've decided that belting it is the way to go. Shocker, I know. But really, it made its best showing belted over a pair of wide leg dress pants, and I'm content to say that it can't get much better.

But you know me, always looking to make things a bit more casual. (Wait, what?) I figured wearing the top with skinnies would provide a nice silhouette - the ever-balanced directive to pair blousy on top with fitted on bottom. It works much better than flared denim, anyway. Pair with brightly colored heels and call it a day.

Top - Anthropologie / Skinnies - Lane Bryant / Camisole - Anthropologie /
Belt - Kohl's / Handbag - Banana Republic / Sandals - Nine West

Hmm, maybe all it needed was a pair of brightly colored heels all along.

Ring - Ruche / Earrings - Lane Bryant

Friday, June 8, 2012

Cotton Candy

Once again, the power of pretty flexes its muscles. (Bats its eyelashes?) This time, it's a sweet coral cardigan over one of my favorite (striped!) maxi dresses (previously worn here and here), turning a relatively simple dress into a feminine delight. I felt so good in this outfit!

Often, I'm not sure how to style a maxi dress beyond the ol' denim jacket. The longer line of the maxi creates tons of proportion issues for this curvy girl, and no matter how high or low I search for great maxis, this continues to be the main reason I don't always love them on me. Maxi dresses are typically sleeveless, strappy or even completely strapless, and this really is the best way to balance out all the material at the bottom half of the body - have less material at the top. But if you're at all like me, baring all that flesh at my top half is not something I'm quick to do. Again, the denim jacket is certainly the easiest remedy, especially if you wear a shrunken or cropped style that doesn't completely cut your body in half. But what if you want to be a little more creative or feminine? Or what if, heaven help us, it's just too hot out to warrant that thick material?? Cue a thin, summer-weight cardigan.

Cardigan - LOFT / Striped maxi dress - Maurirces / Belt - The Limited /
Sandals - Bandolino (via Endless) / Handbag - Furla (via Filene's Basement)

And then it becomes a pretty familiar silhouette for me. Belted cardigan over a skirt? Well-worn territory. I considered wearing the sweater unbuttoned and unbelted, but I wanted to (re)define my waist in order to defy those maxi dress proportions. And of course, not any belt would do - how 'bout a subtle animal print to create a little pattern mixing with the stripes? Just a smidgen of pattern mixing - my favorite kind. What's great about this particular dress, too, is the embellishment at the neckline. So when worn this way, it becomes a great focal point for the outfit in itself.

All this is to say is that I felt like I hit out of the park with this look - styling a maxi in a way that didn't use a jacket as my usual crutch. I felt super feminine, comfortable and even a little chic. Good job, pink.

Ring - The Limited / Earrings - Lane Bryant

Find out if you're the winner of the $50 Kiyonna gift card! The winner has until 10am CST Saturday to claim their prize. Otherwise, I'll be choosing a new winner!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Giveaway Winner!

And the winner is....

Beth Schaffer

Congratulations, Beth! Please email me within 48 hours to claim your prize!

Thanks to all who entered!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer's Bloom

I've decided that wearing pink makes me happy. My mood and self-esteem is significantly higher when I'm wearing it - the glow on my face in these (and other) outfit pictures attests to this. Oddly enough, I've never really been drawn to pink before. Conclusion? Wear more pink. Buy more pink.

Wrap dress - Gap / Camisole - Anthropologie / Shoes - Nine West

This wrap dress is the same style as the dotted one I wore a few weeks ago. I was so happy with the fit that I was thrilled to find they made the dress is this infectiously cheery pink version as well. "Summer Azalea" is the name of the color - beyond perfect. Even just the sound of the name evokes a state of summery bliss.

Azaleas (image via)

I thought I could wear the dress without a camisole, and for evenings out, I perhaps still could. But for daytime, I totes still need one. (I attempted to go the first half of the day without. Uffda.) This is a bummer since the camisole creates unflattering bunching underneath the otherwise clean lines of the dress. A print might conceal this; a light-colored solid cannot. I keep hearing ladies tell me about those mock camisoles (aka "cami secret" or winkee) that attach to your bra; I might have to break down and try them myself!

In other news, I'm recommitting myself to Weight Watchers. For real, this (umpteenth) time. I've gained a lot of weight this year, and possibly even more the last few weeks. Thanks to thoughtful dressing (which I'd do no matter what my size) and careful posing, perhaps this hasn't always been noticeable in my pictures. But it's gotten to a point that it's become difficult to revel in the kind of silhouettes I so love to wear. The crazy thing is that I've been a WW member this whole time, neither going to meetings nor even really visiting the website, but I haven't brought myself to cancel (again) because I really didn't want to admit defeat - even though I've clearly been defeated. We eat well overall - local, fresh produce and grass-feed meats, and a near avoidance of any processed foods, but we just eat too much. And exercise? Non-existent. However much I want to practice the curvy-girl mantra of embracing the size I am, I can't deny that, especially as I approach my mid-thirties, I know my heath is at risk. I'm simply not as healthy (or happy) as I need to be...

Handbag - Coach (gifted)

So, I'm hoping this public declaration of my intentions (and reasons) will help me forge ahead. I've already tracked both today AND yesterday, and despite the scary total number of points I've accumulated in only two days, I know that I'm regaining control. So here we go!

Ring - Ruche / Necklace - LOFT / Earrings - Ruche

Stay tuned for the winner of the $50 Kiyonna gift card tomorrow!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sticky Sweet

If you look closely, you may be able to see my skin glistening in these pictures. It was a hot, sticky evening and we were resisting the urge to finally turn on the A/C for the first time this summer, determined to hold strong against Mother Nature, the electric company and the act of enclosing ourselves in a(n albeit humidity-controlled) box for the next few days. Plus, we only have wall units - very inefficient, practically-on-the-floor, deafeningly loud wall-units (and the same I suspect our creepy-crawler visitor snuck into), which increased our desire to hold out as long as we could. But I should know better. Getting dressed/putting on make-up in such conditions (oh, and I was PMSing) is NOT conducive to high levels of self-esteem. I changed my bottom half three times (denim skirt - denim flares - skinnies) and even contemplated not going out at all. Ah the joys of being a girl...

Handbag - Banana Republic / Necklace - LOFT / Earrings - Anthropologie

Thankfully, and with great restraint and patience, Bob coaxed me into going out for drinks. He insisted that he loved my outfit, especially the fantastically flattering new Kiyonna top I was determined to wear, believing it was the best outfit I had worn all week. But it was the promise of some refreshing cocktails, and maybe some nachos, that really got me out the door...

Truth be told, the all-over close fit I'm donning here is quite outside my comfort zone, which is why I couldn't decide between a skirt (familiar), jeans (comfortable but way too warm) or skinnies (have no fear!). Also, circumstances have to be relatively extreme for me to go sleeveless; I typically aim to conceal all that arm-flesh at all cost. But the top was so damn fabulous (kind of like a tight hug, really) that it almost single-handedly convinced me the entire outfit simply had to be worn, and that my arms and thighs had to just get.on.board. That, and it was just too friggin' hot to really care anymore... Sleeveless Kiyonna top FTW! On cooler days, I look forward to wearing the top with a cardigan and any of the bottoms I had been considering - I have a pencil skirt in nearly every color on the top! In fact, the weather promises to be much more cooperative this week, so I may do just that.

Roselyn Ruched Top - c/o Kiyonna / Denim skinnies - Lane Bryant / Sandals - Nine West

We sure as hell turned the A/C on when we got back home, by the way.

Have you entered my giveaway for $50 Kiyonna gift card yet? If you tweet about the giveaway, you even get another chance to enter each day!