Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sex and The City - Not So Sexy

I know I'm a little late with this post, but life happens right? Five and a half years ago after my daughter was born and I was up at random times in the night to feed her, I discovered Sex and the City. Carrie Bradshaw and the gang brought much needed comic relief to that exhausting season of my life. There were no confusing plot twists or tense dramatic dialogue- just unapologetic comedy, over the top fashion and once in a while, a little bit of romance. I was inspired by the whimsical wardrobes of the somewhat lovable characters. I must admit that I do see some Carrie Bradshaw in the way I dress now.
When the first Sex and The City movie premiered, I got exactly what I expected- a 1/2 hour plot stretched to feature length to provide a healthy dose of flighty fashion and Mr. Big.
Sex and The City 2 was hardly tolerable. Over the top fashion became big top fashion- as in circus clowns. (I hope I'm not offending any clowns) If one is going to use fashion as the sole purpose of producing a film, you would assume that you would hire a stylist with taste. My five year old dresses her Barbie dolls with more panache.
Fashion woes were not the film's only downfall. The writers morphed Carrie Bradshaw into an unsatisfied, whiny wife who's main beef with her husband is that he orders in too much! Samantha's typical vulgarity was taken to a whole new level of tacky and pornographic. Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon stole the show easily by simply being recognizable as women.
If you are waiting for Sex and The City 2 to come out on dvd, I would advise you to skip it. Let's just remember it fondly and watch old seasons when we need a fix. The new movie will only make you wonder why you were ever a fan.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Weekend Deals

Hey fellow shoppers! I went out on a little reconnaissance mission today for Memorial Day weekend sales. Here is what I found:

Macy's has a printable coupon on their website for an extra 15% clothing and 10% off shoes.

DSW has a printable coupon for $5 off if you sign up with your email on their website.

Forever 21 has a huge amount of clearance. (trendy and fun)

Charlotte Rousse has clearance marked at buy 1 get 1 50% off. Also lightweight t shirts

and tanks (great for layering) for $6 each or 2 for $10.

I didn't make it to Arden B, but I'm confident their clearance is worth the trip.

Savers is having 50% off all clothing on Monday. Plan for some competition- it get's crazy
on sale days.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Digging for Gold

I hope you have found your inspiration and are ready to start putting together your summer wardrobe!
As you pack away your winter clothes, consider each item as it goes in the box. Eliminate anything you know is a confidence killer. If you eliminate any major parts of your pie chart, write down what you will need to replace those items. Keep out any items you know need to be tailored. Also, if you hike or camp, put your favorite sweaters and flannels on top so you can access them easily.
Start by unpacking your existing summer wardrobe onto your bed, or any large area. Separate everything into three piles: A (fits well and you love it), B (you like it but it may need tailoring or new accessories), C (purchases you regret, not flattering, worn out).
Hang your A items that hang. As you hang each item, consider what you will wear with it. Do the shoes still work? Do the pants still fit? Do you have the proper accessories? Hang like items together (i.e. pants, shirts, dresses, skirts, blazers, etc.) Make sure your hangers fit the clothes and don't leave "shoulder nipples" in your lightweight knits. If you need to, put hangers on your shopping list. Use the hard to reach areas of your closet for rarely used items.
Add your B items working from best to worst. Repeat the process from your A clothes. You may need to start a tailoring pile at this point. Be specific with your shopping list. If you need accessories, note the color palette, length of necklaces, etc. If you need shoes for something, consider wearing that item when you shop for shoes.
Consult your pie chart as you work. Once you have either a workable rotation, or you reach your C items- STOP. You may be left with a rather large pile- it's ok. Never feel guilty about eliminating items from your wardrobe.
Go through your shoes, handbags and accessories. Eliminate anything you don't wear. Eliminate worn out shoes and handbags.

Shopping List:

* Be specific
* Be generous
* Fill your largest pie division first and work your way down
* Be picky (if it doesn't work for the item you bought it for- return it)


Plan your shopping trips. Know where you are headed and why. These are some of my favorites: (out of state readers, I'm sorry)

SAVERS: This is where I buy most of my clothes. I have several J Crew, Banana Republic, etc. pieces that I paid less than $10 for. Not the best for shoes and accessories. Takes time to dig through all the undesirables, but it's worth it. Returns are virtually impossible, so don't skip the fitting room.

MACYS: Great for anything on your list. When I go here, I don't look at anything but clearance racks. The same applies to shoes and jewelry. If you stick to items that are more than 50% off the original price, you will do well. Any time you're dealing with clearance, you'll need to dig, but not quite as bad as second hand stores.

KOHLS: My all time favorite for jewelry. Again, clearance racks only. Kohls is infamous for running 30%-50% off items all the time- unfortunately these "sale" prices are the same as regular prices elsewhere. Sometimes I'm able to find clothing in clearance for great prices, but I really have to dig.

DSW: Great for shoes and purses. Depending on your budget, you can almost always find something at a discount. I stick to the clearance section, but if you can shop the whole store, the selection is phenomenal.


ROSS: Decent for clothes. I find the brand name stuff here is still above my price range but it's good for layering pieces. Take a peek at the shoe clearance.

TJ MAXX: same

TARGET: I find a lot of accessories here. Use discretion when buying dresses or memorable statement pieces here. I don't want someone waiting in line to pay for their groceries and spotting a dress they complimented me on.

ARDEN B: Clearance racks here are a great place for trendy statement pieces.

I'm sure you each have your favorite stores, but make sure you're getting a good deal!

Tomorrow I'll be posting whatever sales I'm aware of for the weekend.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Road Map to Summer Style

As springtime approaches I am so excited to pack away my winter wardrobe and rediscover my favorite spring and summer pieces. For the next few weeks I'll be doing a series called "A Road map to Summer Style". I'll be walking you through pin pointing your personal style, organization and shopping on a shoe string.
If you are at all like me, many of your purchases have been purely practical and your personal style is not reflected in your closet. I am inviting you to join me for a personal fashion makeover.
Please don't let a small clothing allowance keep you from participating. No matter what you can spend on clothes, this series will boost your spirit and give you the confidence you need to embrace your inner fashionista!
Before we make any big decisions like new purchases or discarding old ones, it is imperative that we make ourselves a road map- so we know where we're going. Our road map will keep us from getting overwhelmed or underwhelmed while preparing our seasonal wardrobes.
We must first define our personal style. Use all the resources available to you. If you are a library regular, look through the magazines while your kids are picking out books. Grab a few fashion books and flip through them when you have some time to yourself. The internet is also a great tool for ideas. Browse your favorite stores' sites and print your favorite looks. Whether or not you can afford to shop at these stores doesn't matter a bit. Remember, we are just pin-pointing our style-not shopping. There is no need to be practical. For example; many of my favorite looks are featured in J Crew, Banana Republic and Ann Taylor. I never shop at any of these stores because I am not willing to spend my entire clothing budget on a single belt! I do however, own several pieces from these stores and some no name brands that accomplish the same look for a fraction of the price.
Your project for this weekend is simple and fun. Identify the clothing styles that you enjoy wearing and make you feel confident. Are you a classic woman who prefers understated elegance like well fitting slacks and skirts with cardigan sweaters? Are you more eclectic and like jeans and t shirts with statement accessories? Are you bohemian chic or trendy? Most of us are a variation of a certain style that has our own unique flavor.
While you gather inspiration for your personal style, make a pie chart that divides your time according to your lifestyle. These options work for most women. Use your pie chart to decide how many pieces you need for a workable rotation within each division of your time.

-Casual (the fun,comfortable facet of your style)
*family activities
*summer barbecues
*shopping w/friends
-Professional (functional,appropriate,tasteful and stylish)
-Evening Social (the best time to show off your personal style and great for statement accessories)
*date night
*drinks w/friends
*evening social gatherings
-Daytime Social (great time for personal style that is feminine, but not too fussy)
*baby/wedding showers
*daytime weddings
-Cocktail (more formal pieces that you love with elegant accessories)
*evening weddings
*holiday parties
-Exercise (well-fitting sportswear for the gym or home workouts)

Your personal pie chart will help you make sure that you are covering all your bases and not over buying for the things you rarely do.

Next Thursday I'll be talking about packing up the winter wardrobe and examining our spring and summer pieces. We'll discard what no longer works and make a list of what we need to feel fabulous this summer!
I will also be posting shopping tips, suggestions, and destinations on Friday the 28th so we can all make the most of what can be a fantastic shopping holiday weekend. Feel free to post questions and comments. I'd love to hear about your style evolutions!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

For J

I have not written anything in almost a month now, but I am forcing myself to do so, hoping to cure my writer's block. Why is it that when we are struggling with grief, it is so difficult to do the things that best relieve it? I suppose that we must choose to act instead of relying on our emotions to inspire us to act. Although I feel no inspiration, I read something today that jolted me out of my little world of sadness. As we are all so very different in our triumphs, struggles and those secret things we desire, I reveal my own weaknesses in hopes that you won't judge me too harshly. Four weeks ago, I discovered that I am with child. Upon this discovery, I could not hold back the tears of grief. One might wonder "What on earth do you have to grieve about?". I admit that many people grieve about terrible losses much weightier than my own, but this logical realization did not make it any easier for me. I felt so violated. Having been sexually assaulted by a stranger when I was in my 20's, I do know how it feels to be violated. This feeling that my body had been taken over without my permission (yes, there were precautions), and would now dictate my future from this moment on, felt so unfair. My mind was made up that our little family of three was perfect and all I could handle. I enjoy the special times with my daughter and had envisioned my life with just her. Now I am forced to make room for another human being in all of our lives. My future vanished before me, replaced by another and the emotions accompanying this change were far beyond the typical responses I received from others. "Oh, that's so exciting!", "Never expected, but always wanted!"- all the good intentions and light heartedness behind the comments seems to highlight my flawed mothering instinct ever so painfully. I have a child whom I adore and have poured every bit of myself into her wonderful little soul. Why can I not do that now? Where is that love I felt for her as she grew in my belly five years ago? I didn't mind the sacrifices and physical maladies. Why do I hate them so much now? Perhaps it is because I know now the challenges that I face. My own selfishness draws me inward into my own seclusion, but motherhood demands one's complete emotional presence. We mothers must reach to the depths of our inner strength as we try to rear our children with love and respect and compassion. I know the toll this takes on my mind, body and soul. As I was greeting the world in my own way this morning (checking every one's comments on facebook) one post put my predicament into perspective. My cousin, a personal hero of mine, was ordered to go to Afghanistan. He, like many other brave soldiers, fought in Iraq and lived through the horrors of war. There is hope that he may not have to go, but if he does, his life then takes a path that he did not want. The future he had planned for himself shifts to the daily fight for survival that he has tried to forget. As I grapple with my selfishness in the future, I will remember the price of war - the cost that heroes and their families pay to keep the rest of us safe and free. As I consider the new life that has been entrusted to me, I am humbled by the lives that have been lost, and the heinous memories that haunt our heroes. Thank you to all the men and women who protect us, and for your forgiveness when we forget the price you pay.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ball Park Lights

What is that feeling I experience when I drive by a neighborhood ball field lighting up the night sky? Since I've never been an avid sports fan, this feeling catches me off guard and seems to light a corner of my soul. For a fleeting moment, all else fades away and I am captivated. Perhaps those lights are a beacon of sorts, of something untouched by greed, lust or power. Those lights illuminate raw innocence, though driven and competitive. Whether children or adults, those players' lives are for a short time uncomplicated and focused on something entirely superfluous- a game. I consider how refreshing it would be to forget about the pressing issues of life and channel all my energy into a game. I quickly remember, though, that I was usually one of the last children chosen for sports teams and with good reason. As I pass the ball park, realizing my thoughts and fantasies have come and gone in a single second, I am thankful for that moment- that fleeting moment that lit a corner of my soul. Until next time, my attention returns to stoplights and store fronts.

Product Review

I've tested a few products that deliver on their promises, and I'd like to share them with you. First, if you color your hair and have had problems with your color fading, try L'OREAL Ever Pure shampoo. This shampoo is very affordable and it has extended my time between coloring at least 2 weeks. I have been extremely pleased with this product as it smells great, feels wonderful and leaves my hair soft and moisturized. I have never been very loyal to my hair products, but I will use this product again. In fact, I will be loyal to this shampoo for ever, or until something better comes along.

Next, of all the deodorants on the market, I have always been a fan of Secret. Dove, however, lured me away with promises of minimizing the feel of underarm stubble. I'm sure I'm not alone in my hatred of that little patch of sandpaper that develops under my arms at the end of the day. If that was too much information, I apologize. I've got to say that Dove Ultimate Visibly Smooth delivers on their promise to minimize that feeling. Since I shave everyday, I'm not sure it minimized any appearance of hair, but I definitely felt softer as I crawled into bed. It has a nice fragrance and does the job. Although deodorant isn't the most exciting product, I figured you might like to know that there is something out there that softens underarm stubble.

Last, but not least, I've found a great inexpensive lotion that really moisturizes. I must admit that I am a complete lotion snob. I've tried almost everything out there from $1 to $50. I am always disappointed. Although I've hated Jergens in the past, I tried Jergens Shea Butter Cream. I have been pleasantly surprised by this very inexpensive product. In the winter my skin is typically so dry and itchy that I draw blood by scratching. This product leaves my skin moisturized and I rarely itch. The soft fragrance won't interfere with your perfume. It absorbs within a few minutes and doesn't feel greasy.