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How many outfits do you need for Christmas this year?

6 Dec

Much thanks to lawyernomore for coming up with the idea for my post today!

For me, the hardest part of Christmas dressing is that there are so many days for which I’ll need an outfit. We have my husband’s extended family Christmas at his grandparent’s house, the “small” family Christmas at his mom’s house, then my family has an extended family Christmas, a Christmas eve celebration, AND Christmas day. That’s five outfits just for family gatherings!

While I certainly could repeat outfits, I try not to since these are days when a lot of pictures are being taken. My kids get Christmas outfits from each set of grandparents, plus assorted others in hand-me-down boxes, so even they don’t repeat clothes.

We dress up for the Christmas Eve service at church (dresses and heels), but the other events are fairly casual so I usually go with a variety of sweaters paired with jeans or skirts. I often try to mix it up with new jewelry if I’m wearing a sweater I’ve worn in past years.

Christmas 2009

2009: Sparkly sweater to dress up the jeans a little

Christmas 2010

2010: I guess this was the year of the red sweater

Christmas 2011

2011: The two-year-old wasn’t quite up for her fancy dress yet

How many Christmas gatherings do you go to? Do you tend to wear the same thing to each?

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What I Wore This Week – Blathering Edition

22 Nov

I considered taking Thanksgiving off from posting, but figured surely some of us are at least periodically hiding out from our families and reading blog posts, right? I know I do.

So, for your Thanksgiving procrastination, I give you: What I Wore This Week – Blathering Edition.

The Blathering is a blogger meetup/conference and it was in New Orleans this year. (As an aside, this was my third year going and I just found out the word blathering is a mashup of Blog+Gathering. I had no idea! I thought it meant we’re wordy people who blather on about ourselves on the internet and then meet for lots of in-person blather…ing.)

Anyway. The weather in New Orleans was gorgeous. Some people preferred to have light jackets/cardigans and some (like me) did just fine without.

On Thursday, I went with jeans for comfortable traveling. I left my house at 5 am and landed in New Orleans around 5 pm.

Shirt: Eddie Bauer, Belt: Target, Jeans: Kohls, Boots, not pictured: Born Annarellas (discussed in this post)

Friday I ramped it up fashion-wise to meet nearly sixty other bloggers.

Shirt/dress: Xhilaration at Target (It’s apparently supposed to be a slutty dress, but I wear it with pants/leggings:)), Necklace: New York & Company, Pants: dENiZEN Essential Pull on Skinny Jeans, Shoes: Born Molly in Chianti

Saturday I went with a comfortable outfit for sightseeing.

Shirt: Where else? – Target, Fuscia skinny jeans – Mossimo Colored Skinny Denim from…Target (like this but not from the junior department), Necklace: New York & Company, Boots: Born Annarellas

Saturday night I glammed it up for the fancy dinner. This picture is from September, but I wore everything exactly the same, including the necklace and shoes.


Dress: New York & Company, Necklace: New York & Company, Heels: Naturalizer, Girdle underneath (discussed here on my personal blog): Flexees Firm-Control Slip, Kohls

For the last day, Sunday, I went with a comfy dress – given to me by the lovely Laura from The Diniwilks!

Dress: Land’s End Fit and Flare, Necklace: New York & Company, Boots: Born Annarella

I also accessorized every outfit with my Canon, because when you only get to see your internet friends once a year, you need lots of pictures!

SAO Gift Guide: Toddlers

8 Nov

Today I have your toddler gift guide!


L to R, all from HannaAndersson.com:
Night Night Baby Sleeper Pajamas In Organic Cotton, Rio Red/White Striped
Roomy Footed Sleepers in Apple Red
Night Night Baby Sleeper Pajamas In Organic Cotton, Santa Dance

First up, there’s the always-popular gift of Christmas pajamas. I prefer the classic Hanna Andersson striped pjs (on the left in the picture above), plus, through Sunday, everything on their site is 20% off, so there’s not quite as much sticker shock. For some reason, I’m ok paying $25 for Christmas pajamas, but $32 seems like too much.

The one issue I have with them, though, is none of the holiday pajamas have feet. The sleeper in the middle photo above isn’t technically holiday-themed, I just thought it looked Christmassy. From catalog photos, it seems they want you to buy slippers or socks to match and that kind of annoys me when I’m already spending $25 (or $32) on pajamas. I might go with a warm winter-themed sleeper, instead, so they can be worn for several months after Christmas.


The Stacking Ring Maker from Land of Nod

I bought this for my son last Christmas. He was six months old at the time and couldn’t stack rings, obviously, but enjoyed looking at them and found them to be excellent teethers (which perhaps wasn’t optimal, but they’re made of all-natural rubberwood and the color/paint/whatever it is is non-toxic so I let him have at it).

Now that he’s a toddler, he LOVES them. After his cars and trucks, this is probably the most played with toy he has. I vastly prefer finding these wooden rings all over the house to cheapo plastic ones and it’s held up to a lot of abuse over the past year. You can’t even tell he used to chew on them.


Melissa & Doug Construction Wooden Chunky Puzzle
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Vehicles Maze Puzzle

Speaking of cars and trucks, you can never go wrong with a Melissa & Doug puzzle, right? Pictured above are the ones my son would like best, but they obviously come in all sorts of themes. (I had a hard time deciding between farm animals and construction vehicles.)

If you’re concerned about pieces getting lost or in the way, we’ve found the maze puzzles (pictured on the right) to be a good option. Our public library has several of these and both of my kids (ages 16 months and 3 ½) played with them for about 45 minutes nonstop last week. They seem like a gift that would grow with your child, too. The 16-month-old just likes to run the vehicles around the tracks randomly, but the 3-year-old found matching the vehicle to its home and figuring out how to get it there a fun challenge.


Gummy Bear Lights from UncommonGoods.com

I thought these gummy bear lights would be both a fun and practical gift. For liability reasons, I’m sure, they’re officially listed as “not intended for children,” but I’ve been searching for night lights for my kids’ rooms and think they’d be perfect. The light is easily turned on/off with a squeeze of the bear’s belly and I like the one-hour timer option so the light doesn’t have to remain on all night.

A toddler might be a little young for putting it within their reach and letting them use the squeeze function, but I know my three-year-old would do well with it, so this might be another something they can grow into.

What are your toddlers getting this year?

Help! What men’s coats are in style?

25 Oct

My husband, Thomas, has a gift card to Kohls and would like to get a new winter coat, but we have no idea what kind to get. It’s not vitally important he gets the cutting-edge style, but he doesn’t want to end up with something totally lame, either. We’re pretty sure Columbia coats/ski jackets are sooo ten years ago (don’t quote me on that, though!), but have no idea what’s “now.”

Here’s what we looked at:

Apt. 9® Solid Fleece Jacket

I like the cut of this one, but not in fleece. I’m not a big fan of wool jackets, either, because I prefer something more structured. Like leather, but not leather. As the description on a different jacket phrased it:  “Faux-leather construction offers a rugged look with light weight.” Whatever that means.

Chaps Double-Breasted Car Coat

Thomas liked this one. He said he prefers buttons to zippers (as do I). It looks sturdy and like it would be appropriate for a variety of occasions.

R&O Ottoman Hooded Shirt Jacket

We decided this is what we think is in style (although maybe not with the faux-fur lining this one has). Are we close? What kind of coat do you think a(n almost thirty-year-old) man should be wearing these days?

{photo credits: Kohls.com}

Dry shampoo: my favorite way of getting a little more sleep

11 Oct

When I was on maternity leave, I had the typical new-mom problem of no time to even take a shower. I started playing around with dry shampoos, since I didn’t have to worry about what to do if the result wasn’t going-out-in-public friendly. For a long time (months…) I very carefully applied a little at a time, then combed it in, so I wouldn’t get the gray-hair look from using too much. It took almost as long as actually showering (but saved me the time I would have spent blow drying!)

When I later found out you’re supposed to apply it the night before and let it soak in/get rubbed in by your pillow as you sleep, it completely changed my work mornings. On dry shampoo days, I can roll out of bed, get dressed, throw on some makeup, and be done* (those are my favorite days). Plus, I don’t have to spend time carefully distributing it here and there. I just dump a bunch on, comb long enough I’m not shedding powder as I walk around, and go to bed.

My favorite dry shampoo is Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo.

Picture from Sephora.com

I like to use the travel size bottle from the bins by the register at Sephora. One $11 bottle lasts me months and it’s the perfect size for throwing in my purse or carrying in my makeup bag when I travel. I suppose I could buy the larger size to keep at home and the smaller for traveling, but I don’t see the need. The smaller lets me be a little more precise, which is helpful if I happened to miss a spot the night before or am having an oily day.

Pick up a bottle the next time you’re at Sephora! (Also available on Amazon here, from a third party seller.)

*You’ve figured out by now I don’t shower every day, haven’t you? Don’t write me off as a crazy, dirty person! It’s way better for my dry skin AND my formerly-brittle hair if I only shower every other day.

(And, no, I don’t exercise. Oops. But when I did, I simply exercised every other day and followed it with a shower.)

Reader Question: Belt shopping

5 Oct

Style All Over reader Erin asked us to find a “really awesome belt” to go with her gorgeous new dress:

My first thought was all gold accessories, including a wide, shiny gold belt. Turns out shiny gold belts – especially wide ones – are hard to find. Here’s what I came up with:

  • ASOS Metallic Metal Keeper Super Skinny Waist Belt (ASOS): $10.55
    After no luck in all my usual places, I finally found almost exactly what I was looking for through Googling (though it could be a little wider), but I’ve never heard of this store. On the bright side, the belt is only 10 bucks.
  • Foiled Metallic Skinny Belt (Express): $17.43
    Initially I rejected the idea of a blue belt on the blue dress, but I think this could be a way to go metallic without being quite as daring as the gold.
  • Fossil Shotbead in Antique Gold (Zappos): $32.00
    If that first belt looks like it might blind you, this one is a little more muted and I like the shotbead detailing. I think this is my favorite gold belt. (Too bad it’s the most expensive!)

I also think brown belts would pair well with the dress and would be great if you’re going for a more casual look. I picked belts with detailing because I thought plain brown belts didn’t match the stylishness of the dress.

  • Floral embossed belt (Gap): $39.95
    I’d go with the “olive” option in this belt, which looks pretty close to dark brown. I like the subtleness of the detailing on this one.
  • Tooled Jeans Belt (Eddie Bauer): $49.95
    This one is a little out there. I never would have thought of pairing an Aztec-design belt with the dress, but for some reason I think it would work – with cowboy boots, of course.
    Eddie Bauer has lots of sales, so even if you’d never pay $50 for a belt – I wouldn’t! – you can probably find a pretty good coupon code. Same goes for the Gap belt.
  • Style&co. Belt, Wide Woven Stretch (Macy’s): $10.99
    A stretch belt may be the way to go with this dress so it will stay put around the waist.

As I said, I originally thought gold, but when I came across these cheetah/leopard print belts I immediately knew this is what I would go with:

  • Metallic Cheetah Print Belt (New York & Company): $17.46
    The ‘gunmetal’ is my first choice out of all the belts (I’d wear it with silver accessories), but I love the ‘dark brown’, too.
  • Wide Leopard Print Belt (Old Navy): $17.50
    I wouldn’t pay full-price for this one – it seems to be typical Old-Navy cheap, but if you found it on sale, go for it!

Flat-soled boots for sensitive feet

27 Sep

My feet are…how should I phrase this…temperamental, I suppose. They need to be properly supported at all times or they’ll let me know they are displeased. I wore tennis shoes* almost exclusively through college. I even got special permission to wear fancy-ish tennis shoes that could be worn with my prescription orthodic inserts when I had an internship in an office environment (sexy, right?)

When I graduated and got a “real job,” though, I wanted to wear something a little less ugly.  I can’t remember where I heard this (My podiatrist? The internet? Word of mouth? I honestly have no idea.), but someone or something told me Born shoes have good support and might work for me. I’ve rarely worn anything else in the five years I’ve been at my job and always have a black pair and a brown pair, replacing them as necessary.

Last year I discovered Born, specifically their b.o.c. by Born (lower-end) line, makes boots – boots without heels, even – and it changed my life. I can wear boots! I could even wear skirts! (I’d never worn them to work before, because how exactly are you supposed to pair a skirt with black dress shoes?)

Do you want to guess what boots I bought? A black pair and a brown pair. I pretty much alternated them all last winter. I love these boots. They are SO comfortable and look great with everything.

b.o.c. by Born Annarella – available at DSW for $119.95

b.o.c by Born Martina – on clearance for $89.94 with only a few sizes remaining (sorry!)

(This summer, after Maura posted about them, I even bought a pair of Born ballet flats. They’re nowhere near as supportive as loafer-style shoes, but I wear them once a week or so. I’m starting to actually have a shoe collection!)

 

*Remember the accent vlog? My answer to “what do you call gym shoes?” has always been tennis shoes. Even though I’ve never played tennis. Occasionally I’ll call them running shoes. Sneakers are what old people say. I can’t remember the other things people call them.

Belt it! for an instant hourglass shape

13 Sep

I’ve had two kids, which has left me with what I call the is-she-pregnant-or-just-fat? shape. This problem is at its worst when wearing loose flowy clothing. I resisted the belting trend for a long time, thinking it would make my shirts look like those maternity tops with empire waist sashes tied with a bow in the back.

Once I tried it, though, I found it was just the opposite – the belt drew attention away from my stomach while also emphasizing it wasn’t really a pregnant shape. It also adds variety to outfits I’d gotten bored with and gives a new life to belts that used to fit around my hips and…don’t anymore.

I’ve had this dress for about 5 years. Pre-kids I wore it with a cardigan and a long silver necklace. Here’s how I wore it just a few months ago, featuring a belt I’ve had for probably about 10 years.

(If you like it, it’s a Fossil belt very similar to the one in the bottom right of the collage below).

I have a couple wide, stretchy belts meant for belting shirts/dresses, but I’ve found regular belts work just as well and are easier to find a wide variety of. I like to look at goodwill and other thrift shops for super-cheap ones.

Here are some I’ve been looking at lately – I think they’d be great for adding some interesting detail or color to your outfit:

Top row: Merona wide belt with buckles, New York & Company Colored Patent Belt

Bottom row: New York & Company Glittery Skinny Belt, Fossil Belt: Floral Studded Vine

Have you tried belting shirts/dresses? Do you prefer the belts meant for shirts or grab whatever’s handy?

My Favorite Accessory: ModCloth Through the Wire Headbands

30 Aug

I have fine, straight hair that pretty much refuses to do anything. It won’t stay in an updo without several packages of bobby pins and headbands rarely stay put. I’m also accessory challenged and have a terrible time choosing accents (which I why I own only three necklaces).

Several months ago, I received a ModCloth Through the Wire headband in my Birchbox and fell in love. I love the retro fifties-style look and since it stays in place via a wire instead of using elastic or being headache-inducing tight it’s the first headband I can keep on my head. I’ve noticed there aren’t usually many options on ModCloth’s website – right now there are two: the red polka dot I have and a flowered one called bouquet – but I’ve had good luck finding them on eBay.

At $13.99 or less, it’s an accessory I can stock up on and – bonus – my one-year-old son can’t grab and break it like he does necklaces. I also like coming up with new ways to style it.

Demure

Wrapped (sorry about the towel)

Full-on housewife

Check out modcoth.com for a few more styling suggestions (and let me know if you figure out how to do the fancy bow thing in the listing).

Stretch your wardrobe – wear a skirt as a dress!

16 Aug

I was shopping for dresses the other day and thought I’d hit the jackpot when I saw a whole bunch – on the clearance rack! In my size! I pulled them out and…they were not dresses, but skirts. I tried them on anyway and liked this one, but it wasn’t really what I was going for to wear to a summer party.

Just for the heck of it, I pulled it up and tried it as a dress.  The drop waist meant the lower part of the skirt started right below my bust and made it look like it was always intended to be worn this way (once I added a belt to create an empire waist). I like it way more than the slightly dowdy skirt.

By the way, that’s an admission wristband I’m wearing, not an electric blue bracelet.

My only problem is it’s a little short. It stops well above my knees. I intended to buy some capri-length leggings, but haven’t been able to find any. Do you know where I can get some? Should I wear full-length? Knee-length? I was also considering spanx-type shorts (or bike shorts?) that don’t show, but are there in case of stray gusts of wind. Would that be a better idea?

How would you wear this skirt?

P.S. If you think I’m crazy and shouldn’t wear this in public, please let me know.