“Put a bird on it”

1 Oct

Have I told you about my bird obsession? Well, I am. Obsessed. With. Birds. I have multiple bird feeders in my yard and fill them daily. I have names for many of my regulars. I’ve decorated a lot of my home in birds. I own clothing  and jewelry with birds on it. It’s borderline abnormal. So, you can only imagine that, when I saw this button-down at Target, I had to have it:

 

 

I love it. Birds, aside, it’s soft–like a brushed cotton, it’s comfortably cool for Texas’ warm fall and it fits nicely without pulling in the front or back (as button-downs sometimes do on me). Here’s me giving it a spin, for a lunch date with my daughter at her school:

photo (20)Do you have any animal or object that you seek out when buying home decor or clothing?

 

 

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NYX Eye Makeup

23 Sep

I went to Ulta on Friday because I hit the trifecta: I was near it, I was by myself, and I had free time. My plan was just to admire the Benefit blushes and ogle Stila’s In the Light eyeshadow palette (which I am going to get as a reward if I ever lose another 5 pounds- so I’ll probably get it in February, aargh).

As I was wandering, I stopped in the NYX section because eye makeup was buy 1, get 50% off. (You don’t need to buy an even number of things. They were actually taking 25% off everything, which I wish they would just tell you.) I have heard good things about NYX, so I bought two Jumbo Eye Pencils, a Retractable Eyeliner, and an eyeshadow.

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(Dental floss pictured to keep everything else from rolling off the counter.)

The Jumbo Eye Pencils are great. They are really creamy, easy to apply, and simple to blend. I would buy these again.

The Retractable Eyeliner is really similar to my go-to eyeliner, Cover Girl Perfect Point Plus eyeliner. The NYX eyeliner is softer and applies much nicer. It also comes in more colors. The downside I found is that it runs a bit by the end of the day.

The eyeshadow was really soft, but I ended up not liking the color, so I returned it. The return process at Ulta was very easy.

Here’s how the makeup looked yesterday.

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And here’s today.

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Ole Henriksen Youth Activating Oil

17 Sep

I don’t want to be a whiner, but since proper fall weather doesn’t appear in south Texas for another month, I just can’t even begin to get excited about fall clothes right now.  Around these parts, we’re still indelicately sweating through our tank tops, while some of you are pulling out your sweaters. But, I’m not bitter…really.

So, since I can’t seem to get excited about writing about clothing these days, I thought I’d share another beauty find. A few months ago, I received a sample at Sephora of this:

Ole Henriksen Vitamin C Youth Activating Oil: $45

Ole Henriksen Vitamin C Youth Activating Oil: $45

I was completely happy with my Cetaphil moisturizer before bedtime and wasn’t particularly looking for something new. Also, the idea of slathering oil all over my face was a bit off-putting, but I gave it a shot. It felt decadent and instantly seemed to brighten my complexion. It became my new little bedtime indulgence that I looked forward to. When my sample ran out, I ran to Sephora and purchased a full-size bottle. So far, I’m still really enjoying it and it hasn’t caused any breakouts or other odd, facial maladies.

Have you tried any of the new “youth serums” that have hit the market?

Things I’m Loving Now

11 Sep

Fall is upon us, people! Let’s get excited!  If you want to showcase your autumnal enthusiasm, might I recommend this polish?

Fall Sparkles

Fall Sparkles

This is OPI “DS Indulgence” which I randomly picked at a pedicure and fell in love with.  It has just the perfect amount of sparkle without being gloppy or over the top with glitter and is a little more orange than the photo shows.  I love it.

As Labor Day is behind us now, I decided it was time to bring out my new beauty, purchased during the most recent Kate Spade surprise sale:

Hello, my pretty.

Hello, my pretty.

I’m currently 21 weeks pregnant, and I’m trying to navigate the exact opposite seasons than I experienced during my first pregnancy.  Last time I was at my largest during the summer, so I wore a ton of skirts and dresses.  This time I needed some serious work pants, and I caught a Gap friends and family sale (that included maternity!) recently and had some success.  I picked up these and these.  I highly recommend both of these pants in terms of quality and fit, especially because they come in both ankle and long.  Last time around I made do with a pair of black full panel pants from Target, and while they did the job, the panel and the length were both too long.  Which probably  means I just needed a tailor, but I never got around to that.  Plus they attracted pet hair like whoa.  Anyway, these pants are super fantastic.

I’m also thinking I’ll have to layer to get the most out of my wardrobe this fall and winter.  Key in this endeavor is comfortable pieces in bright/interesting colors, like this top, which I just picked up on sale at Old Navy:

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I wore this to work today with black pants and a long silver necklace and I think it worked out pretty well.  I’m also in love with this dress, which is easy to throw a cardigan over and I will probably pair with tights and boots this fall/winter if I ever find any black boots FOR THE LOVE. I have a similar one in black, also purchased at the Gap F&F sale.  They are both very “Hi! Here is my belly!” clingy, but, they are in dark colors and I’m trying to embrace the belly this time around as much as possible.  I mean, there’s really no avoiding it, right?

I know I’ve mentioned my problem with gold shoes, but I found these Born gold flats in the clearance rack at Macy’s this summer (I think I got them for 40% off of the sale price of $45) and they were the only pair and they were in my size so be quiet, I had to have them.  They are SO comfy and I will likely wear them a lot this fall.  Maybe even with conservative tunics and leggings if I am brave enough to try that at work.

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Have you scored anything you are loving lately?

Vacation: All I Ever Wanted

9 Sep

My husband and I spent the weekend in Las Vegas with my best friend from college and her husband. My plan was to get uninterrupted sleep, laze around, eat a lot of good food, and be goofy. My plan was a success!

No matter what you wear in Las Vegas, you’re going to be more dressed up than some people (tank tops with the whole side cut out to show someone’s entire bra) and not as dressed up as other people (designer dresses that cost thousands of dollars).

On our first night there, we all went to see Jerry Seinfeld perform, and then we went to dinner at a fancy-ish place at the Wynn. I wore a dress from Lands End Canvas, a cardigan from J Crew Factory, a belt by Vince Camuto, and a necklace by Kate Spade. The belt and necklace were from TJ Maxx. I also wore glittery eyeshadow because, duh, Vegas.

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The next day we had brunch at Mesa Grill. This is what a Vegas breakfast looks like.

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I wore a Lands End Fit and Flare dress and a Target cardigan.

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During the day we saw a billboard for a Boyz II Men concert, and I easily talked my husband into going with me. Our friends went to see a Cirque de Soleil show. They really missed out because H and I had a terrific time at the concert. Boyz II Men (who should probably just be called Men at this point) sang and danced for over 90 minutes. They sang new songs, old songs, Motown songs, and a cappella songs. It was AWESOME.

I wore sequins because, duh again, Vegas.

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What’s that? You want to see other random photos from my trip? Ok, twist my arm.

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Denim shorts–an update

3 Sep

Yes, I know that it’s September 3rd now. Labor Day is behind us and many of you are beginning to think of wearing tights, boots and turtlenecks very soon but I hate unfinished business, so I wanted to fill you in on my denim shorts saga.

I ended up with these from Nordstrom.

$69 at Nordstrom

$69 at Nordstrom

I’ve been very pleased with them so far. The fit is just what I wanted and the rinse is good too. I tried on every pair that American Eagle had and nothing really “blew my skirt up,” so I was really happy to find these at Nordstrom. I’m hoping that they’ll continue to carry me through our warm Texas fall.

Everyday Makeup

26 Aug

I don’t do fancy makeup. Though I love looking at expensive makeup. I’m a drugstore kind of gal. Here’s what I use on a daily basis, for the most part.

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I don’t wear foundation every day, but when I do wear it, I like something light that covers up redness but doesn’t cover my freckles. This Almay foundation seems to work pretty well.

The Benefit Hervana blush is really light. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but it has grown on me.

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For eyeliner, I’ve been using Cover Girl Perfect Point forever. Most days I just use brown, but some days I like to mix it up with blue.

Eyeshadow: Rimmel. Nothing exciting.

Under eyes: I’m still using Benefit Fake Up because it was $20-ish. Not sure if I’ll buy it again, but I don’t dislike it. I just don’t LOVE it.

For my lips today I am wearing Revlon Just Kissable Balm Stain in Honey with Rimmel Stay Glossy in some super pale color I don’t remember- possibly Unlimited Gold.

So now… What you’ve all been waiting for… Before and after photos!

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Shellac manicure

20 Aug

Yes, I’m aware that I’m probably the very last person in the continental United States to try out this “new fangled” Shellac manicure. I recently had several back to back weekends of social events and I decided that I wanted my nails to look nice–a departure from their usual cracked, bloody and ragged appearance.

I’d heard good things about the staying power of the Shellac manicure, so I decided to give it a whirl. Typically, a traditional manicure is bunged up before I even get from the nail salon to my car–then, only to compound the damage is my compulsive hand-washing habits and just general banging about the kitchen that I’m famous for.

The Shellac manicure lasts upwards to 2 weeks and, the best part, is that it dries completely almost immediately, so the chance of user-error is slim. Here’s what my latest Shellac manicure looks like:

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I pay $27 for mine, which seems like a bargain. Have you tried a Shellac? What’s your experience?

Making Outfits Summer-y

16 Aug

I tend to wear a lot of saturated tones, including black, so I have a hard time looking all breezy for summer. I just do not have a lot of light neutrals or pastels in my wardrobe. Here’s how I get around it:

Sheer cardigan from LOFT

A sheer cardigan: I have a white cardigan similar to this one, and it lightens up the darkest of clothing items. It’s also nice when I’m going to experience a large swing of temperatures. Then I can wear something sleeveless and still have the cardigan for when I’m chilly.

Floral scarf from Forever 21

Lightweight scarf: Throw one over jeans and a black t-shirt, and you’re done! This scarf adds interest without heat and aligns with all of my rules for buying scarves.

Pink bubble necklace from Amazon

Statement necklace: It’s the same concept of the scarf, but with even less heat! I have a big cobalt necklace like this, and even though it is legitimately ginorm, it’s really all you need with a basic outfit. But again, see how I gravitate toward saturated colors? I could really use a mini white one.

White watch from Fossil

White watch: I wear my white watch all year round, but it helps especially during the summer by giving the illusion of a white bangle.

Nordstrom Personal Shopper: My experience

6 Aug

For a few years now, I’ve been intrigued by the notion of the Nordstrom Personal Shopper service. Essentially, Nordstrom employs a team of people whose job it is to help customers choose clothing in a private, by appointment only, one-on-one setting. The service is free; you simply make an appointment then you receive an email or phone call, asking you lots of questions ranging from your body type to your hobbies and lifestyle. From there,  your stylist works within the budget that you provide them with to find clothing, shoes and accessories for you at Nordstrom.

I’ve had friends do it before and I was always fascinated by what they ended up buying. Recently, I decided to take the plunge and give it a whirl. Unlike many folks, I don’t have a new job that requires a new wardrobe, nor do I really need any new clothes. What I simply wanted was someone, with a fresh-eye and unbiased opinion to tell me what looks good on me (and what doesn’t) and to maybe push me out of my rut-riddled comfort zone a little. I gave my Nordstrom Personal Shopper a rather meager budget and told her that I really was only looking for a few key pieces–maybe enough for a couple of well put-together outfits. I was curious to see how the whole thing would work. Here’s my experience:

When I arrived, my Personal Shopper (Neil) apologized because, while they usually have a dressing room stocked with clothes, ready for you to try on, she was a little unclear about what I was needing or looking for. Also, I went last week, which is technically still summer, but the store was actively clearing out summer stuff and pushing the fall merchandise forward. She wanted to clarify what season I was looking to buy for. So, she walked the store with me. She wanted to see what sort of pieces I gravitated to and then pulled pieces on her own as well. Then, we headed to the dressing room.

I have to say, most everything that she pulled for me, I would never, ever have chosen for myself. Either the color was not what I’m usually drawn to, or it was a style that I didn’t care for on the hanger AND, the sizes she grabbed were considerably smaller than what I thought I wore. While I was in the dressing room, she was running around the store grabbing more items and returning my rejects. That alone was worth it for me–to have someone, with a clear knowledge of the store and it’s current merchandise, scouting for me and doing the “dirty work.”

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So, these are the best of everything that I tried on. The only thing that I didn’t purchase was the dress. I liked it, but just don’t have enough opportunities to wear a dress like that. The orange, yellow and black top with leggings was the outfit that the stylist liked the best on me. It’s entirely not what I would’ve chosen for myself, but once it was on, I liked it and everyone who’s seen it on me enthusiastically agrees with the stylist. The second outfit (with the horribly blurry picture, my apologies) I really loved. That’s a lacy tunic top which I never would’ve thought I’d like, but I really love the drape of it and it has some faux-leather details on the shoulders that make it sort of fun and edgy. I was most comfortable in the flowy pink top (even though pink isn’t my favorite color–the stylist thought it was a good color for my complexion) and that’s another top that I wouldn’t have chosen (it was also from the junior department).

The most amazing aspect is that I was able to stay within my meager budget and got a ton of pieces that I should be able to mix and match and utilize to their potential. I plan to use the personal shopper service again if I have an occasion or just want a few new pieces to spice up my wardrobe. I tend to forget that Nordstrom, while being a very nice department store with many high-priced, fancypants items also has some very reasonable price-points–many items not that much more than Target prices! The customer service is bar-none and, even though I felt a little sheepish, taking up so much of Neil’s time with my small budget, she was lovely and patient with me. I even tried to shoo her away a couple of times, feeling as though surely she had more important, big-spenders to be helping and she told me, “Nope. You’re my appointment and I’m with you until you’re satisfied with what you have.” Talk about incredible, right?

Have you ever utilized Nordstrom (or any other store’s) personal shopping service? Please share your experience!