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My New Ginorm Beach Hat

5 Jul

So, hey, I’m at the beach right now!

In preparation for this trip, I was on the hunt for a hat. Specifically, a giant one. However, because I have no spending money to speak of, I was limited to shopping at Amazon and LOFT so I could use reward points or a gift card, respectively. I ended up buying the San Diego Women’s Ultrabraid X Large Brim Hat in the Toast color from Amazon:

Also available at Zappos

So, going into this, I knew this hat would be big. I read the description, I measured out the dimensions, and I thought I was prepared for a hat of this bigness. And then this box arrived.

Ginorm hat box!

Holy crap. And then I tried on the hat.

Ginormous hat

Hmm. I wasn’t sure. Was I just too small for this hat? Did it smack of rice paddies? My husband took one look at me and said, “That’s … kind of ridiculous.” But I kind of liked it! And it was exactly what I was going for, that is, GINORM HAT.

I took the only logical course of action and posted the picture on Facebook and Twitter. The responses (including the joke-y ones) were unanimously in favor of KEEPING IT. So I did!

In the wild!

I love how light and floppy and foldable it is. There were plenty of jokes from the rest of the family, but WHATEVER, I am perfectly happy not getting sunburned, thank you very much.

The only down side to this hat is that it can easily get blown away in a gale, so I safety-pinned a strip of fabric (a canvas belt from an old pair of shorts, actually) inside the brim to act as a neck strap. As if I needed any more reinforcement of my senior citizen status, right? But no, I refused to lose this hat in the wind. So far, so good.

View from under The Hat

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Update on the Over-the-Shoulder-Boulder-Holders

3 Jul

I decided to order a bra in my new size, which I thought was 32H. I got this one in that size.  It fit pretty well, but the band was just a little too snug.  So I exchanged it (by the way, Amazon is doing a free month of Prime right now) for a 34H.  However, you may have heard that lawyers don’t do math, so I forgot that if I went up a band size, my cup size would also have to change.  Naturally I thought about that after I ripped the tags off, so sure was I that this bra was going to be right.  Be ye not so stupid.

It turns out, even though I have some space in the cups, this is a really well-constructed bra, and it still looks decent and works pretty well.

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Obviously I will be ordering 34Gs from now on, but this one does give me some needed lift and it really cuts down on the bounce factor.  The only negatives are obviously the extra space in the cups, and that because of that, it tends to form a little wide on my torso, and rubs my upper arms a bit.  I’m pretty sure going down a cup size would solve that problem.  (My husband’s input:  it is very Mad Men.  Take that as you will.)  I will say, after wearing this bra for the day, putting on one of my old bras felt almost supportless.  I’ll spare both you and my pride a picture of that.

Interestingly, I was at a major discount retailer picking up dog food one day, and I wondered if they had any bras in sizes over DD.  Guess what?  No dice.  So I picked up a Hanes t-shirt bra in a 38D (I could not find D or DD cups in less than a 38 band size), just to see how it would compare, because on the rack it looked about as huge as the one I ordered.  It actually fits okay.  Definitely not as structured or well-made as the Le Mystere, so I guess you get what you pay for.  I’m not sure what is wrong with the bra manufacturing and marketing industries in this country, but at least now I feel like a more informed shopper.

Birthday Purses From Rue La La

1 Jul

I have decided I’m only buying purses from Rue La La from now on. [If you become a member (which is free) through this link and buy something, I will get a credit.] Rue La La is a site that offers a limited number of clothes, accessories, home decorations, and other assorted items for 48 hours. I don’t buy things from the site often, but everything I’ve bought has been a great deal.

I bought this Cole Haan bag a year or two ago and have used it pretty much every day. Cole Haan bags are normally in the $250-$300 range. I got this one on Rue La La for about $100.

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I also bought this Kate Spade wallet on Rue La La a year or two ago for about $40. The retail price is around $150.

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My birthday is on Friday, so I decided to splurge on two bags I absolutely loved on Rue La La. I’ve been looking for a good-sized crossbody bag, and I found this great orange Coach crossbody on Rue La La for $102- the Coach Ashley Leather Hippie. The retail price was about $250. I love it. The strap is just the right length, the orange is dark enough to not be a shocking safety cone orange, and the size is big enough to hold my stuff without being too bulky.

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I also saw a tote and decided I would regret not buying it. The retail price was $358, but I got it for $116. It is the Coach Park Leather Tote. The leather is really soft, and the colors are a little bit unusual. I love it.

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Happy birthday to me!

Things I bought recently

26 Jun

So, Anthro is having a summer sale and I succumbed.

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The top skirt has a slight high-low hem, which I’m on the fence about, however, it also has pockets, an elastic waist and a hem long enough that I don’t have to worry about flashing people if I wear it to a playground. Seems like the perfect weekend skirt. The bottom is the latest attempt to find a denim pencil skirt that doesn’t look woppy on me. (That’s a technical term.)

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This Vera for Target ladybug scarf is my other, much cheaper new acquisition. It was an impulse buy. I had no idea who Vera Neumann was, but the print was pretty and whimsical and I am a sucker for ladybugs. They’re lucky, you know, and I figure I always can use a little luck. They also seem cheerful to me, so this scarf is the perfect thing to perk up a day — much like a pair of shiny red shoes.

What have you bought recently?

Do you use clothes to improve your mood?

 

What Really Happens At A Bra Fitting

17 Jun

I’ve been meaning to get professionally fitted for several years now, but I’ve had lots of good excuses for not doing it. I finally got up the courage to do it a few weeks ago and went to Nordstrom on my day off.

As I walked over to the lingerie section I considered running away to look at purses instead, but I took a deep breath and walked up to the cash register in the lingerie section. When the salesperson was done ringing up someone I told her I’d like to get a bra fitting.

She took me back to the changing rooms. I took off my shirt (but not my bra), and she measured me right under my breasts. Then she disappeared to get me a few things to try on. She watched me try the first one on, which was a little awkward but not creepy. Then she left me alone. I picked out the two that felt the best. The saleslady came back to check on me and got me a different size in one of my favorites after seeing it on me.

Then I bought the two bras. The end. It was easy and unembarrassing.

I actually had the correct band size, but my old bras were two cup sizes too small. The new bras make a huge difference. I look better, and they feel better too.

I tried to take photos to show the difference, but they turned out odd. It is hard to photograph your own boobs. Plus I don’t know that I really want you staring at photos of my boobs. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Mixing and re-purposing clothing

6 Jun

Well the 31×31 Mission: Put Together challenge is over. There are a few items I wore to death during May and don’t want to see again for a good long while – I’m happy to have my full closet to wear again. Overall, though, it was a fun challenge and I am very happy with some of the new clothing combinations I came up with. I never would have put some of these things together normally! I also tried a bunch of new hairstyles in an effort to get some variety going, which I’ve continued.

My favorite new outfits included:

Day 15

This skirt/dress combo I wrote about two weeks ago

Day 11

This pattern-mixing, belted-cardigan, so-much-going-on outfit! It’s not noticeable in the picture, but this white cardigan has a beige pattern on it. I never would have thought to pair it with my leopard print tank top. It made me feel a little daring while still not being too out there.

Day 3

Blue striped scarf on blue striped dress. When it SNOWED IN MAY, a couple days into the challenge I didn’t have a lot of options as far as warmth went. I never would have worn a patterned scarf with this striped dress, especially one that also had stripes, but I think it really worked.

I’ve just now noticed all of my favorite outfits included that same belt. I only wore it 5 days out of the 31, but man do I love that thing!

Summer Hat Style

8 May

Do you wear hats?  I know derby hats have become semi-popular again in the past few years, and everyone loves a good sun hat when you are strolling the beaches of St. John, but are hats becoming a regular accessory again?  I went to a “Derby de Mayo” party over the weekend and thought to be somewhat festive, I’d just pick up a cheap hat on the way.  I ended up loving it:

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You guys, I got this hat at Wal-Mart.  I am not proud, but it was SEVEN NINETY-NINE and I will probably wear it to the pool/park/zoo all summer.  (I have a 21 month old – my outings are not fancy.)

Obviously we don’t live in a world where people are walking around in wide-brimmed sunhats in day-to-day life, but hats are kind of fun, right?  Do you wear them?

Handbag Dreaming

10 Apr

This is traditionally the time of year I start getting itchy for a new everyday bag.  However, my current Kate Spade is still in excellent shape and I still really love it, and we are also about to put our house on the market (please send happy sale vibes if you have ’em!), so I’m not feeling real spendy this spring.  But! A girl can dream, right?  Here’s what I’m swooning over lately:

This one from Banana Republic sure is pretty:

Banana Bag

I am actually in need of a cross-body, for outings with a toddler, so I can bend down to catch said toddler when he escapes without smacking him in the head with my tote:

KS bag

Hey – this one is kind of the best of both worlds:

Jcrew bag

What are you dreaming about these days?

Carry-on Keeper

29 Mar

I decided to return the brown tote bag I got from Target recently because I didn’t really love it. It was a little too distressed and casual than what I was looking for, and for vague reasons I had yet to identify, I thought I’d prefer to be able to detach the shoulder strap. I don’t know, I just like having options, even if I never exercise them.

Since then, I received a gift card to DSW, so I poked around the site, looking for larger tote bags with a detachable shoulder strap, handles that look like they would flop down, in a reasonably neutral color (brown not necessary) at a fairly low price point. The hunt became more urgent as I planned a long weekend trip to Miami and realized that my beloved camera bag was only large enough to hold, well, my camera. It was a great bag for walking about, but it wouldn’t do for my straight-up carry-on for the flight. At the very least, I needed to be able to hold my camera, a bottle of water, and a book. I found a few candidates, including the Jessica Simpson Kendra Tote.

Jessica Simpson Kendra Tote

(The bag is sold out at DSW, but the best price I can find now is $81 at Belk.)

The price at DSW was $70, but I could get almost half of it with the gift card. But then I noticed that it was only available online, so I couldn’t go look at it at a store, and it wouldn’t be delivered in time for my trip. Hm.

I decided to stop by TJ Maxx on the way home to find what could be found, and hey-o! The Jessica Simpson Kendra Tote Bag! For $47! I spent an inordinate amount of time in the store, trying it on and scrutinizing my reflection in the mirror. The bag didn’t look too big on me. The shoulder strap was adjustable. I liked the 3 outside pockets. It looked large enough to hold everything I needed. Sure, it wasn’t as good a deal as at DSW, with the gift card, but I had it now, in my hands. Okay, I decided. Let’s buy this thing.

At home, I tested the bag again with my flight essentials, and it stood up well to my trials. Like any rational person, I ran the purchase by Twitter, and upon receiving their blessing, I snipped off the tags with confidence.

Last weekend, I used the bag for my trip to Miami, and it worked out great! I was able to carry everything I needed easily:

  • Camera: I used this camera bag insert, and I still had plenty of room in the main cavity of the bag
  • Water
  • Book: I only carried 1 book at a time, but I read Where’d You Go, Bernadette (liked it okay) and Bomb (LOVED), and I started The Princess Bride on the flight back. All were bulky library copies.
  • Swedish fish: yes, a flight essential for me!
  • Phones: personal and work
  • Sunglasses
  • Scarf, shoved through one of the loopy things on the end
  • Various beauty items: lip gloss, hand sanitizer, etc.
  • Paperwork: boarding pass, itinerary, parking confirmation, etc.

Not bad!

I’d definitely recommend this bag. Depending on the situation, I used it as a crossbody and a tote, and it held up well to my abuses over the weekend. Plus, my sister kept staring at it and saying things like, “Man. I need to get a bag like that.” And that is basically the highest form of praise, people.

Details, details

20 Mar

Sometimes it’s the subtle details that really make an outfit or a piece of clothing great. Take for instance the slightly darker wash on the side of these pants from Anthropologie. It’s a pretty basic pair of jeans, but that tuxedo stripe makes it a bit special — and lengthens the leg.

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Jess at Just Expresive is great at details like this. She always has on a piece of jewelry or a simple piece of clothing with a surprising detail — a keyhole back, a tie closure, unexpected embroidery — that really makes it HER.

I try to keep this in mind when I shop and when I get dressed every day. The littlest things can make me happy.

Like these gold glitter shoes:

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This teal pendant:
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(Found at Serenity Blue in St. Augustine, Fla. You probably could find something similar on Etsy or a place like Francesca’s.)

 

Or the leopard print on these sunglasses:
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(Found at Target. These are similar and also from that fine establishment.)

 

I find it’s usually these little finishing touches that people notice. What are your favorite little details?