Monday, December 27, 2010

Snowy Day

My dear buddies in Boston are enduring a recent blizzard...I am blissfully in New Orleans while the storm hit (whew!) but I am thinking about the snow gear that is ESSENTIAL when this happens.

  1. Waterproof coat: I am a fan of something that gives you warmth and keeps you dry. My favorite is Lands' End's commuter coat: great colors, terrific lengths, and some key features that protect things like your hands: it has a sweater like sleeve at the cuff that prevents snow and water from draining in (you know how irritating that can be!)

  2. Mittens: I have learned these are the only way to keep your hands warm. Gloves are fine, but the key is that your fingers touch to foster warmth. Look for dry wick ones with fleece or shearling inside for optimal warmth. I am a fan of these from LLBean.

  3. Tall snow boots: I am 100% a supporter of Hunter boots. They are terrific as rain boots and then with the fleece inserts, they become PERFECT snow boots. Totally worth the money and you can mix and match colors to suit your preferences.

If any kind readers want to go by my casa and dig out my car, I'd be very grateful :) Until then, happy snow day!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ho Ho Hope

'Tis the Season.
Happy Holidays.
Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Shopping at the holidays is a favorite of mine. I love the hustle and bustle of busy malls. I enjoy the holiday decor. I crave the smell of pine and winter berry. It's definitely the most wonderful time of the year.

Of course, there's gift giving, parties, gatherings among families and friends. My childhood friends gather annually for our "midnight madness" which in our younger days, was a fabulous breakfast at midnight where we swapped gifts and played games together. As we aged a bit, we moved it to our "Christmas brunch" in the morning. But the tradition stayed the same: good women, celebrating life and Jesus' birthday.

But this year, my holidays have taken a bit of a twist- and with a new perspective on what's really valuable, I have noticed my gift giving also changed. I shopped this year with a little more attention to why I was shopping for people. And it boiled down to one word: Hope. That was the gift I received this year, and somehow wanted to pay that back to the many who love me.

So, while I can't give you a link to buy HOPE, per se- but this little treasure (which I both gave and received recently, thanks Allie!) reminds me to keep my head up and smile.

Pottery Barn's "Hello Gorgeous!" pocket mirror

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Habits

It's been far too long since my last blog! So instead of focusing on one story since November 15th, I am offering a few holiday habits that have served me well. And perhaps you, too: 11 shopping days left till Christmas!

  1. Free Shipping Day: December 17th. This will guarantee you to receive your order in time for the holidays from a host of different merchants. Although this year, I am noticing a significant increase in merchants offering free shipping throughout this month. Always do a Google search for deals before you place your order!
  2. Pay attention to what your gift recipients SAY they would always like throughout the year. In conversations, over dinner, while shopping- you will notice loved ones make note of things they desire, and often say, "Oh, just don't have the money for that right now." I have an on-going list of these comments from my personal list. It makes shopping WAY easy when gift giving comes around. (Also remember birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)
  3. Gift wrap in my book is VERY important. A well wrapped gift shows care. I stock up for next season December 26th and beyond...the deals are often 75% off, and you simply find a Rubbermaid storage bin and be delighted when you discover it next year!
  4. Shop with coupons. I have been interested in the "power lunch hour" online shopping deals that have surfaced recently. Banana Republic and Talbots have both been offering special daily deals from 11am-3pm online for select merchandise. Shop while you have a break- brilliant idea!
And for those who are interested, I did venture out on Black Friday at 4am. Target truly had the BEST pre-Black Friday advertising. (Did you see the fit blonde woman in a red track suit training for the 4am sale?? Made me laugh every time) And not only did they market well, they were organized (with cashiers and shopping carts) and offered $10 gift cards for every $100 you spent. While lines were long, people were fun to watch. My sister and I witnessed the craziest swarm around $3 kitchen appliances....who knew people needed hand mixers so badly??

Happy Holidays everyone. More good things to come as I prep for 2011.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Deluxe Luxury

I was reading in my recent JCrew catalog about a very creative (however pricey) gift idea- and well, it was worth sharing...

Everyone knows there's "wine of the month" or "flowers of the month" clubs.
Personally, I always thought that was a bit overkill, but I appreciated the idea of getting something new each month for a year. Well, JCrew has taken it to a new level (and apparently been doing this for a couple years, where was I??):

For the ladies:
Cashmere of the Month: yes, you literally get a new Italian cashmere sweater monthly (remember, even in summer months, cashmere is fabulous) and for a mere $1800, you too can receive this! This breaks down to $150 a month.
Jewelry of the Month: (featured in the catalog, $850)
Shoe of the Month: (featured in the catalog, $1800) J. Crew’s stylists pick the shoes, so every month is a surprise; the styles are always from the most current catalog; and you can choose between flats or heels or a mix of both. You can exchange shoes for a different size, but you can't go back on your choice.

For the gents:
Tie of the Month: (featured in the catalog, $550)
Shirt of the Month : I can't imagine giving a better gift to a special fella, especially if he's like my brother or cousin who literally wear shirt and ties daily. For $695, may be totally worth it- that's $58 a month.

The money is one thing (clearly), but I absolutely love this idea. It's creative and useful.
If you're interested, the web instructs you to email or call 866.739.5944.

That's deluxe at it's best!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Black + Friday = Nirvana

Ok, 16 days until...The BIGGEST shopping day of the year.
I wanted to give you ample notice so that you can create a strong plan of attack for Friday, November 26th...aka Black Friday!

I have found this site (which updates each year) to be very helpful:
What I like about it is the various "leaks" to deals they tell you about, and even a new iPhone app which helps you identify the best deals in your areas. Very very cool.

A few tips for the big day, and I know I have written about this before, but good to review:
  1. Easy access shoes (slip on and off). Nothing worse than having to tie or zip shoes when trying on something quickly.
  2. Bring snacks and water. If you are serious about the Black Friday deals, you need to be up and out at 5am. Which means no time to worry about a leisurely breakfast.
  3. Be realistic about what you want to buy. I don't recommend shopping for "whatever you find" this day- Black Friday is about seeking out an item (or 2) that is significantly discounted. Go there and purchase.
  4. Go with people you like. It's a crowd heavy day: you should bring along someone(s) who will rally, not complain that you're actually participating in the madness.
Here's my two favorite comrades for Black Friday!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Real Simple is Right On

My daily thought today from Real Simple...SO perfect!

“Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess.”

Edna Woolman Chase and Ilka Chase

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Seeing Red

It's no secret I love Target.

I love everything about it.
The Merona Collection is a fan favorite.
My location now has groceries (which are cheaper).
The athletic and comfort wear is reasonably priced and fits well.
There are endless upscale designers (like Isaac Mizrahi- sniff, sniff, I miss him) who create specialty lines for the store.
I can get $.05 off when I bring my own reusable bags to shop.

The Target credit card (or debit card) gives you 5% off EVERY TIME YOU SHOP. Why in the world wouldn't I get this card? I literally go there once a week (ok, sometimes twice)- and saving automatically seems like a no brainer.

I do love that you have two options for a card:
  1. A Target Debit Card can only be used at Target stores. It draws right from your existing checking account, just like writing a check. Remember, you'll always enjoy 5%* off, plus more benefits.
  2. A Target Credit Card can only be used at and Target stores. Don't forget, you'll enjoy 5%* savings and tons of other benefits.
And now, seeing Red doesn't seem quite so bad :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tame the Inner Animal

It's no big shocker that you're noticing animal prints EVERYWHERE in fashion. Belts. Shoes. Purses. Scarves. Wraps. Dresses. Vests. You name it, the animal print is out there.

I have always liked the idea of it, within reason. I bought my sister a very cute giraffe (brown and white) printed tote bag monogrammed with her initial last year from Lands' End. I stole from her an amazing pair of Ellen Tracy flats with leopard print and black beaded toe, which resulted in me purchasing her a replacement pair. My "go to" Target had a perfect leopard print wedge which she delightfully took for a swap.

My beloved St. John is also making a fortune on the leopard print ensemble. Here's a couple of my favorite pieces from the collection: I dig the vest as a signature piece, and check out the subtlety of the leopard bling on the back jean pockets! So chic!

I am also a bit fascinated by animal print making more of a statement in purses and wallets, too. There's something strangely powerful about carrying an animal print handbag, or better yet a's like the inner animal is waiting to be released into the wild world of consumerism :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Slimfast Hangers!

A few weeks ago, my mom and sister were visiting me in Boston, and we came across those ultra-slim space saver hangers you see everywhere. We talked about how we've always wanted to change out our hangers so that the clothes in our closet hang uniform, not to mention (for us Type A personalities) it looks fantastic....clean, precise, perfect.

The Christmas Tree Shops (which has recently opened in Dallas, my Texas friends- just past the Galleria, in a shopping center next to Bed Bath and Beyond) is the best mix of "the Dollar Store, Bed Bath and Beyond and Big Lots" according to my sister. And she's right- for anyone in New England who has been shopping at the CTS for years, you know this as the perfect place to get random things for crazy cheap.

Hence, the ultra slim hanger find. They come in packs of 10 for $4.99. I have yet to see them priced cheaper anywhere else- and let me tell you, I bought 11 packages (yes, that means I currently am hanging 110 pieces of clothing...yikes that's a lot) and they are PERFECT for my compact little New England closets!

Here's a pic of the after shot (I recognize I should have a before pic, but honestly, take a look at your closet- you know what it looks like...)

Now all I have to do is color coordinate my closet. That's for the next holiday weekend.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sweat Cutely

I recently have made a new commitment to getting in shape. Honestly, it's just time. After a really crazy summer, that flab above the waistline has gotten a bit OOC. (out of control for those who don't know me well). In any case, for a girl like me who loves fashion, I wanted to make sure I looked cute while sweating away the lbs :)

I laughed a bit when I heard that Stella McCartney (daughter of Paul McCartney) was now making designer athletic wear with Addidas. Honestly, if I am going to sweat and possibly stain clothing (let's face it, sweat stains), I'm not interested in investing lots of $$ in a piece. But in my recent perusal of her designs at Nordstrom, I fell in love with a few items:

Since we know ruffle is the hit detail of the season, who could resist this piece...

Or how great is this quilted bag? (I'm a sucker for a good bag...they never are a problem when you put on weight!)
And then...there was Zella, the Nordstrom product for athletic women's wear. How PERFECT is this coat? And seriously, who would wear this to exercise?

But I digress...the truth of the matter is, I'd never really wear anything this adorable to sweat in, but for my "sporty weekend" look, ABSOLUTELY. That makes me want to jump for joy like my girl in the top image!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Factory Facts

I'm an outlet shopper, as most know about me. And when outlet prices can be found ONLINE, suddenly the world of discount shopping becomes that much more accessible. I was thrilled to hear that J.Crew finally bit the bullet, and joined the game!

While sometimes the outlets disappoint me (they can be hit or miss, people), I usually make J.Crew a usual stop. There are many times when I find the outlet prices to be similar to sales in the full price store, but occasionally, you can score a great find. My latest was this really fun ruffled scarf (I bought it in charcoal gray) to add a little flair when the weather gets cooler.

I'm just pleased to see that that the online world continues to be enriched with more options. I was mentioning the convenience and joy of online shopping with a coworker who injured her foot, which resulted in surgery and several weeks of recovery. In a moment of panic, she asked me, "How am I ever going to shop if I can't drive to the stores?" I smiled, put a hand on her shoulder, and calmly said, "Friend, the world wide web. Online shopping will satisfy your itch, and you can continue to hide purchases from your husband since they'll be delivered during the day." :)

And that, friends, is a fact.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

QVC for Dummies

I know my sister will laugh at this post because she's a QVC junkie! And I admit, I have been suckered into the world of multimedia retail. QVC sells an enormous variety of merchandise: Clothing, Handbags, Jewelry, Beauty Products, Electronics, and way more. But I'd like to focus on the world of QVC jewelry.

Many may know jeweler Tacori, who have created a line on QVC that is absolutely amazing. They joined up with two other product lines called "Epiphany" and "Diamonique" to produce one stellar piece of shimmer. Let's do a vocabulary review before I dive in:

Diamonique Jewelry: Longing for the brilliance of diamonds but want an affordable option? Set in precious metals (14K gold, sterling silver, or Platinum Clad® sterling silver), Diamonique stones are diamond-carat size rather than weight. Precision-cut from premium materials, they're rated E on the color scale - a perfect blue-white. (courtesy of the QVC website)

Epiphany Collection: Go platinum for less with Epiphany® jewelry. A layer of platinum is plated onto a sterling silver base, resulting in a luminous Platinum Clad® look (courtesy of the QVC website)

Now, Tacori IV: So they took the Diamonique stones (which are incredibly brilliant and sparkly) set them in the Epiphany Collection (note: the layer of platinum is what's closest to your skin), and then used their iconic intricate designs to create the BEST collection of jewelry. Here's one ring I just purchased (for $40!):

And then, I found these lovely studs that sealed the deal!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Feelin' Good, Mom!

There have been a lot of babies born in my life over the last few years. Not any babies from me per se :), but my ladies have all had little ones...and I hear regularly that they are looking for comfortable, chic, and affordable clothes for their lives. Seeing as moms on the go are constantly moving around, bending down, reaching behind...they have to have clothes that fit that purpose! So, I did a little research, and I came up with a few good clothing lines to support those mamas: (coming soon: Preggo moms who need to wear professional attire and still feel human...that will be for you, S!)

Gap Pure Body: It's the perfect line for layering and comfort. The soft fabric and color options for the basics like t's and tanks are essential to the wardrobe. The key to these items are the details which add a little something special: buttons at the shoulder, an exposed zipper in the back, a ribbed shawl neckline. And everything goes on sale at the Gap, so watch your sales!

Lands' End Feel Good: Not long after Lands' End launched "Lands' End Canvas", they also started a comfort line called "feel good" where there are several items that feel like cashmere, but are the softest cotton (which makes them more affordable!). I think one really nice sweater coat covers all ails (especially on those not so skinny days), and the ruffle adds something special to a normal everyday look. Imagine with a white t-shirt and jeans!
Pure Jill: This line from JJill is 100% comfort. And while their tops are WAY boxy and big (even the XS), I am a fan of the pants. I like that they make a cropped and boot cut pant, while also a slim leg for those who aren't yet ready to embrace leggings. While these are little more pricey for pants, the fabric and softness is well worth a good pair.

While those easy tops from Target serve a great purpose (and are affordable), it's sometimes worth getting a few more sturdy pieces (i.e., cardigans, sweaters, pants) and allowing yourself to buy the underpinnings which are easy to launder and toss when damaged. Feel good about that, moms!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Blue Box Branches Out!

The iconic blue box is holding something new these days...purses!
Tiffany & Co. has branched out of their world of fabulous silver and sparkly diamonds to embrace a new accessory....the handbag. I must admit that I am still a bit skeptical about whether this is a good move for the company, because as we've seen before- when a company starts to saturate their brand with too many items, you lose the sense of identity and product recognition. (Can you tell I work at a business school? Those kids are rubbing off on me.)

In any case, a few years ago Tiffany & Co. started designing frames for glasses and sunglasses. I remember at that time thinking that was a bold move, seeing again that jewelry is really their thing. I am all for a brand expanding to embrace new trends in the market, but I don't want to see them veer from what makes them truly great.

So they call it "The Leather Collection": Magazines everywhere are writing about it: InStyle, Self, Vogue- and the consensus is, there are some pretty interesting, classy, and well made pieces. My favorite is the TRT: Tiffany Reversible Tote, which boasts the iconic blue suede on one side, and a metallic leather on the other. Truly fantastic!

I will give them a chance, seeing as their brand has consistent, loyal followers. And, well, I admit- I am one of them :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The No-Show Sock

My brother, an avid runner, was on the fence about whether it's age appropriate for him to wear black athletic socks with his running shoes. He's also a high school teacher, so he's acutely aware of how the "younger fellas" dress, so he was quite perplexed when I told him- ABSOLUTELY!

But there's a few rules, fellas, about the black sock:
  1. They HAVE to be low cut (or no show). Not even a shorter crew works. Trust me here.
  2. Make sure they have some blend of polyester, nylon, spandex. Cotton DOES NOT WICK SWEAT.
  3. They should have some kind of microbial absorbing action- do I need to remind you that socks smell terrible after a good work out?
Age could be a factor here- but honestly, I don't care how old you are- the tall (even crew) sock in black is a no-no. My neighbor (he's in his 90s now, so I will be kind) who lives across the street in Texas was infamous for the white sneaker, tall black socks. Please please please don't be this guy!

So remember, if you're not going to wear the low cut white running sock, black is just as good, if not more trendy! And the reality is, the black sock looks better with a grey athletic shoe, rather than stark white. Show it off, boys!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Psst...Your Zipper is Showing!

Yes, it's supposed to!

Has anyone else noticed the trend? Exposed zippers on clothing! I love it and have been slowly acquiring great pieces with this fashion forward idea. I'm sure many of you are thinking- "No, no- the zipper isn't supposed to show! It's supposed to be hidden." I did too, initially, but then- you start to see so many fun ways the exposed zipper adds something to the back of a dress, skirt or shirt. Let me show you a few of my favorites:

The Dobby Stripe Silk skirt: I fell in love with this and just had to have it (thanks to the 30% off friends and family discount from last weekend). Again, I loved the pattern and style, then turned it over and saw the ADORABLE exposed back zipper. Done.

Zipper Tank Dress: WOW. Honestly, I am not a big Ann Taylor fan (the LOFT yes, but not the main line) and this dress is really fantastic. The exposed zipper functions almost like a belt breaking up the dress so that a waistline can be created. Brilliant.

And then there was TRUE love. This dress left me practically drooling at the Kate Spade store downtown. I ALMOST bought this full price, and well, friends, patience rewarded me...50% off! Honestly, I couldn't love this dress more.

I realize the exposed zipper isn't exactly earth shattering, but wow- have I found some perfect pieces for the fall by embracing this trend! And the best don't have to worry if your zipper is will DEFINITELY know :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wrinkle Free Heaven

Recently, my brother and cousin were on the look out for some wrinkle free dress shirts. These are two men who have to wear button downs everyday for their professions, and my brother even has to sport a tie. As I assisted with their purchases, I had a good conversation with these two about the value of the wrinkle free cotton shirt, one that I found insightful and helpful as a personal shopper:
  1. For obvious reasons, they are easy. You wash, you dry, and you hang it up. Done.
  2. The quality of the cotton is thick, which helps make the shirt look sharper (without the added chemical starch).
  3. They come both in button down and non-button down collars- great for the versatility of tie vs. non tie.
  4. As you wear the shirt throughout the day, it doesn't wrinkle. You know that "post car ride wrinkle"- that's why men wear jackets. But with these shirts, it's just not necessary.
Both Brooks Brothers and Nordstrom make a great no iron shirt- I've heard men rave about them for years. And here's a tip, fellas- Brooks Brothers is having their summer clearance NOW- 50% off (so these shirts are $40 now) and Nordstrom is having their Anniversary sale through August 1st...(shirts are also $40).

Wrinkle Free, my brothers!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


If you haven't already noticed, fall items are out. And it's time to buy them. Because, let's face it, when we want wool trouser pants or a cashmere sweater, they will be much more expensive and harder to find! This fall, one particular trend is catching my eye, and perhaps yours too.

The military jacket.

I never particularly loved this look, until I scored a lovely Ralph Lauren dark denim military jacket for $26 recently! It's absolutely perfect- fitted with a little stretch, with the iconic large gold buttons to sharpen the look. In fact, it was so perfect, my mom and sister immediately went out to buy one for themselves. After all, we live in three separate cities :)

I liked this Ralph Lauren jacket- military with a twist...and in white!I also liked this knit version (although it's juniors- ignore that. it's way too cute to pass up at that price.) Whatever you decide, pay attention to three things:

1) the buttons (the golder, and more intricate, the better)
2) the rugged feel (it should have a little edge to it- after all, it IS a military jacket)
3) the pockets (all military jackets have multiple pockets- the more utilitarian it appears, the better)

It's at least one way you can ignore the summer heat and look forward to brisk fall!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

21 + 10...never too old

Now that I'm working in retail, I'm discovering all kinds of little "finds" at a discount. I coveted a co-worker's black blazer with adorable ruffles and the perfect weight for cool indoors (malls are notoriously freezing)...only to find she paid $15 at Forever 21 for it!

I NEVER (and I mean never) wanted to go into that store. It looked like a tween's haven, and believe me, I am long past my tween's. Well, since my co-worker said she was 21 times 2 plus 6...I figured I had a shot to discover something there that wasn't too inappropriate for my age.

I found the $15 jacket (yes!) and came across some other terrific finds- again, remember the quality of these items are what you pay for, but honestly, when you want something that looks nice, but aren't really interested in paying for trends at high prices, Forever 21 has a monopoly on the market.

I adored this jacket, which is reminiscent of some much more expensive St. John...check out the comparison!
And who wouldn't love these gardenia stud earrings that are SO much like Chanel or Kate Spade??Honestly, I'm ok with 21 + 10....

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What Goes Around, Comes Around

I haven't really ever been a huge second hand store shopper. Maybe that's because I simply haven't found the "good ones", until recently! I have to sing the praises of two particular spots in Boston (which have additional locations for my out of state readers) for some terrific finds...

Second Time Around: This terrific designer consignment shop (with locations all up the eastern seaboard and in Illinois) honestly surprises me. I have consigned some of my clothing here (with great success) but also figured out that the Newbury Street location (hello, upper class!) has some terrific merchandise. When I was there last weekend, I came across the classic, khaki Burberry trench coat (normally $1200!) for $250! It fit like a glove, not one stain, so perfect. (And for the record, I did not buy it, but literally convinced the woman next to me to buy it!) So here's my trick, find a locale in an upscale neighborhood. All the best designers are there.

Boomerangs Special Edition: Resale shops can be hit or miss, but this one is just perfect. Located in the South End of Boston, this little treasure boasts all kinds of designer apparel (men and women's) with some terrific trinkets, accessories and even art! I loved the shop clerk, who was honest enough to share with me her opinion about a jacket that was adorable, but just didn't fit me right. Her "two cents" gave her credibility, which in turn made me value the experience that much more. I found designer jeans, an Armani top, and even a fantastic gift for my brother! (all for less than $60!) The best part yet: ALL the proceeds of their sales go to the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts.

That, friends, just feels like good shopping all around.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Undershirts Please!

First off, Happy Father's Day to all those dads out there...and especially to my special pops who has made me a better person.

Several years ago, I was home in Texas helping my mom do laundry, and I came across some of my dad's undershirts to fold. Now, my father is pretty darn good dresser, thanks to his girls, but he never pays attention to brands and especially could care less about where to buy clothing. So you can understand when I nearly fell over when I realized that his undershirts were from... I recall asking my mom, "Since when did Dad buy his undershirts at a quality department store??" Most men buy the 3 pack of Hanes from Target and call it a day. Well, not my dad, and that opened the door to a fabulous little fashion find...

Now living in New England, I notice that men here don't wear undershirts like they do in the south. I'm not sure if it's just out of basic necessity: It's so damn hot down there, the undershirt protects outer clothing from sweat, and it just doesn't get that hot in the north. Or maybe I am biased b/c I grew up knowing all men to wear undershirts with polos, dress shirts, etc. From a fashion perspective, I always thought it looked more clean, put together and polished. With an undershirt, you didn't have to catch a glance of male nipples or hair peeping out...which kind of still makes me cringe.

So, gents listen up: I recognize you go through undershirts (if you wear them) often. But let me give you a little heads up: buy quality cotton that doesn't stretch out or shrink easily. You also want softness- we ladies call it "second skin fabric"- so treat yourself to something comfortable! Now enter the Nordstrom undershirt: Unbelievable quality. My father has been wearing these for years and swears by them. So suck it up, pay the $27.50 for a 3 pack, and you won't think twice about whether it was a good purchase or not. Perhaps a good belated Father's Day gift??

Does this encourage more New England gents to wear an undershirt? This southern girl hopes so!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Show a Little Leg!

Summer weather means we ladies finally show a little leg! (Can you hear the cheering and clapping from the gentlemen?) I'm not one to love wearing shorts- after all, when you get a little older, the upper thigh just doesn't age well. So, whoever invented the Bermuda short should be kissed.

The best part of the Bermuda short (or sometimes called the "walking short") is the length allows for appropriate leg coverage, while there is great versatility in owning a pair. You can wear them casual for a day walking along the beach, an afternoon lunch or even to the office. It's all about the fabric and color combination, and this season, you will see lots of options to choose from.

This is a great pair for a casual afternoon- the subtle pin stripe is adorable! I am showing the back side because it's important to avoid pockets for these shorts. It slims the whole look. Pair it with a polo or embellished t-shirt, a colored sandal (you don't have to wear blue) and you'll look as fresh as a Newport morning!

Or I'm loving the new suiting options for this cut! Talbots got it right by featuring the jacket/short combo with a tailored top for a professional, crisp look. I can just see this with a great neutral heeled sandal (preferably patent leather) and some kind of colored accessory- a necklace, a pin, a great scarf maybe?

However you choose to wear the Bermuda, just remember- it's the perfect way to show a little leg!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pin Attire

For any sorority girl out there (yes, I admit it, I am), you know what "pin attire" is. I often like to accent an outfit with jewelry or a pin, and with these great new ones I've found- I'm tempted to add them to canvas purses or bags, too! Here's a few of my favorites:

The Lobster Claw (honestly, this is so adorable)
The Sailboat
The Seagull

It seems that LLBean caught onto the same trend as Lands' End Canvas by creating a "signature" line, which looks similar to those nautical, New England styles that are iconic in Maine. I've liked how each of these lines have included some classic summer designs, while adding some spice to traditional wear. The pins above are a great example. Remember, you can add them to any sturdy fabric (steer clear of silks and rayon- you don't want to puncture or tear that). I'm already thinking of how to add the lobster claw to my beach bag...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Santana Knit

Well, friends- it's official...I'm working at a lovely little department store (which shall remain nameless per the request of the HR department) where I'm selling St. John. Let me say, after two days of our orientation and training on the registers (thank GOD for a touch screen!), I'm feeling pretty darn excited.

Here's what I learned today: the Santana knit is St. John's signature fabric, which is a careful blend of rayon and wool that has been intricately woven to create this amazing knit that has definite texture, but the softness is to die for. The COOLEST part: no alterations are done as we know it. The knit is "blocked" which means it's steamed at incredibly high temperatures to either shrink the fabric to a smaller size, or stretched to a larger size. One of my new co-workers was telling me this amazing story of a woman who bought a size 12 jacket and had it blocked to a size 16 to fit her perfectly!

I'm definitely looking forward to what else I learn about the product, and maybe I will pique your interest about my designer label! Don't worry...I won't spend all my $$ here :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sale Time!

With Memorial Day weekend ahead, I felt like I should at least blog a little about up coming sales and what you should be looking for. Here's a great site for coupons from merchants all over. If you don't shop this weekend, you're crazy- it's just a perfect time to get in the summer time mood!

Five things come to mind that are hot sellers during this weekend:
  • Patio furniture
  • Grills
  • Fans/AC Units
  • Pool accessories
  • Beach cover up/ Summer clothes
I was doing a little online research about how to make the best deal during the weekend, and I came across this great little article. May it serve you well as we celebrate Memorial Day, Monday, May 31st!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Wear My Sunglasses At Night

Faithful readers, I apologize I have been so MIA! The travel gods have taken hold of me, and while my journeys were incredible on so many levels, I am tired...and well, hoping to get back into the routine of blogging, shopping and anything else that makes me feel good.

I was thinking of ways that I could decompress from all my travels (which may be hard while I am blogging in the middle of one of the craziest gates at Logan International Airport), but I was reminded on my ride here of how I need to find time to create a little sanctuary, especially in the midst of chaotic times. Which lead me to think about what gives me rest...the ocean...which then led me to thinking of sitting outside...and since this is a blog about shopping...I went to a necessary item for all outdoor activity: SUNGLASSES!

Until recently, I have never been a supporter of buying designer sunglasses. I always thought I'd lose them, scratch them, drop them, forget name it. And then reality set in. I RARELY lose things; I am super careful with my property, and I honestly covet some designer styles. So, what the hell? Break a few rules, Maria. So I'll protect my eyes, gear up for summer, and seek out someplace oceanic for me to wear them :)

The key to a good pair is fit and style. Depending on your face shape (oval, long and lean, round, etc.), you can identify which shape looks best and most comfortable on you. A few key points:
  • Make sure they don't slide off the bridge of your nose when you lean down. They need to fit snug enough that they don't move.
  • Make sure the style doesn't overwhelm your face. The larger frames that are trendy now can be fun, but remember not to look like bug eyed :)
  • Look for frames that complement your skin tone. I saw a very fair blonde woman trying on these jet black frames- it made her look even more pale, and didn't make her look very approachable.
  • Be careful with gradient lenses: they may look trendy, but sunglasses are supposed to protect your eyes from the sun! The darker the lens, the more UVA/UVB rays you deflect.
  • Always put them back in their protective casing. This is how they get scratched! Even if you buy a cotton wristlet to keep them in, it's worth it.
  • And if you simply can't keep track of your sunglasses...don't invest in full priced eye wear. Marshall's or TJMaxx often have designer styles at discounted prices. The new Nordstrom Rack (in Natick for my MA readers) has some fantastic ones at good prices!
While I decide which ones I want to splurge on, you can see the ones I really like...

The AviatorThe Jackie OThe RayBan Classic

Friday, April 30, 2010

For Garden Lovers

Since Mother's Day is coming up, and my mom is HUGE gardener (her backyard increases their property value exponentially!), I knew this little discovery would bring me some great gifts ideas!

Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters (same company) launched a new retail concept that focuses on gardening pieces, furniture and wellness items (for the bath and body) called...Terrain is just as lovely you would expect an Anthro line to be, and it has a refreshingly "relaxing" tone- just browsing the site makes me feel like I am breathing deeper. I especially love the quirky plant stands like this one...Or the intricate floral vases like this one...Every little detail is lovely, and for anyone you may know who loves their garden or can appreciate natural beauty, this little site is an absolute treasure. Maybe you'll turn into a garden lover too :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Time to Tone

Sometimes it takes me a while to "buy into" fads. I like to see if they wear off or sustain before I really decide to spend money on something that could potentially be a bust.

Let's take the skinny jean, for example.
I didn't wear this trend right away, seeing as I had my doubts about whether enough "normal" people could wear these without looking like fools. And sure enough, the skinny jean won.
Fads = 1, Maria = 0

Or there's the 80s comeback: slouchy fabrics (ladies, remember Units??), neon colors, and leg warmers. Seriously, it was enough in the 80s, and shouldn't be relived.
Fads = 1, Maria = 1

And now that we're tied, I'm faced with another: The Reebok EasyTone athletic shoe.I saw at the holidays there was a big push for these little trendsetters. $100 shoes is always an interesting sell, but the real piece of intrigue for consumers:
  • "Get a better butt and better legs with every step. With EasyTone Inspire, you can get firmer thanks to our patented sole technology, which emulates walking on sand. EasyTone technology improves muscle tone in the hamstrings, calves and glutes up to 28%"
Honestly, need I say more? I recently purchased a pair, and let me tell you, the Fad won AGAIN, up 2-1. They are even making a new "TrainTone and RunTone" shoe for basic training or running. So savvy. I'll tie things up before too long...meanwhile, time to tone!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Saving the Planet, One Day at a Time

The 40th anniversary of Earth Day is Thursday, April 22nd.

And while I don't identify myself as a "tree hugging" child of the 70s, I do have a strong appreciation for all things organic, recyclable, and reusable. It not only feels good to be conscious of how I consume and the ways I dispose of what I consume, but I know in the end, it's my little part of helping Mother Earth.
And let's face it, She could use all the help She could get these days!

So, in recognition of a day where life should be preserved and respected, here's a few things you could do or think about as we approach April 22...
  • Check out DisneyNature's new movie "Oceans" released on Earth Day (it looks beautiful!)
  • There's no excuse: Use reusable bags at the grocery store. I even bring them along with me when I shop at the mall since EVERY store uses their own separate bags. If you need to buy more durable ones, I really enjoy this site for many reusable products.
  • Organic clothing can be lovely and responsible. There's a growing trend of organic baby's clothing, too (hello, moms and dads!) I have enjoyed products from Ginger and Lime: a great eco-friendly site that boasts not just clothing, but bedding and other great products too.
  • If you're more action oriented, sign the Earth Day 2010 Climate Declaration. Maybe you're interested, as I am, in motivating Congress.
  • For my DC readers, perhaps you want to attend the Climate Rally on the National Mall, Sunday, April 25th. This could be your way of demonstrating your commitment to change.
  • Check out more information about Earth Day and all of the ways you can pitch in!
I think it's time for people to pay attention to how we consume and ways to reduce waste. So, pitch in. Do your part. And find a way to say "THANKS!" to our Mother Earth this year.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Here comes Peter Cottontail

Happy Easter! In the spirit of all things soft, white and fluffy, I came across a pretty fun accent to the Easter dining table this weekend...the bunny fold napkin.

After perusing the latest Martha Stewart Living, I saw this very cute napkin fold. Allow me to say, three women in my house, all with college degrees, could not understand Martha's directions on HOW to fold this little wonder. But after using that handy tool called "Google," Good Housekeeping had MUCH easier diagrams and directions to follow. A little tip for those who are interested: use the thinnest linen napkins you own. And you will want to starch them well so the folding and creases are easier to manage.

We will be using our specialty napkins today as we celebrate our Easter lunch together as a family, including mr. bunny :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Perfectly Patent

This season, I'm pretty excited about the patent leather explosion that has happened all over the fashion circuit. I've always liked the sheen and the shine inherent in patent leather, but the color variety is everywhere! I can't get over the ways patent is showing up- in shoes and bags, yes- but in belts, in the trim of clothing or even hair accessories. No matter where you find it, it's a season favorite and you should embrace the color spectrum while it's hot!

Let's review how great patent is...
In shoes: I especially would love these with a simple white A-line skirt and a floral top that can pick up the lime green...

In bags: This is the perfect size wristlet- big enough for something like the iPhone, and not so big that you should have brought along a purse anyway. The large flap is not only adorable, but secures your belongings...and it's on extra sale (additional 25% off right now!)
In belts: I initially thought this wasn't cute, until I saw it in person. The subtle woven patent reminds me of those woven brown leather belts everyone wore in the 90s, but better! And the pop of red would look very cute with white denim jeans or even simple dark denim jeans.

And some fun non traditional patent leather...

Trim on a jacket: Love the mix of a trench (see previous post) and the accent of black patent. It pops perfectly and brings life to a traditional color and style. LOVE it.