Madewell

I went to Madewell this weekend and had the same thoughts I always have when I go there.  “I like a lot of this stuff. The quality is much better than I expected,” and “I feel so old.” Most of the women in the store looked to be in their early twenties. I’m 33. Sometimes I bring my two kids into Madewell and then I  feel really old as I squeeze my stroller between display tables and remind my 3 year old to look with her eyes. But no matter, a mom needs clothes too and I happen to like the ones at Madewell.  I’ve been dreaming about what to pair my chambray shirt with.

spring

Madewell
madewell.com

Madewell shoes
madewell.com

Coach handbag
coach.com

Ray Ban ray ban eyewear
$190 - net-a-porter.com

The haircut that made headlines

By now you probably have read about Karlie Kloss’ new haircut. We live in a day and age where haircuts make headlines. Crazy isn’t? In case you haven’t seen “the Karlie.” Here it is.

karlie

The haircut looks great but I think it has a lot to do with 1.Her gorgeous face and 2.The slight wave to her hair.

I have stick straight hair and my hair never looks quite as cool as I would like. It’s more tangled than tousled. Every time I walk into the salon I envision leaving as an uberchic French girl with artfully disheveled hair. I got the disheveled part down, but artfully? Not so much. After much thought I’ve decided my hair’s silky straightness is to blame. I once had a stylist tell me my hair was “too silky” and could use a little damage to make it more “piecey” looking. After I got over my shock,I had to agree. What was once my hair’s best asset was actually holding me back from hair perfection. Who knew?

At that point I even thought about getting a perm (did I just write that?) because if I recall correctly, those really effed up my hair. Damage would be done! But I came to senses and went out and bought a bottle of Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Spray instead. While not the end-all be all solution it does help and I will keep using it until I find a better solution. Any ideas?

Surf Spray

Bumble and Bumble bumble
bloomingdales.com

Ballet flats

Here in Colorado its been snowy and cold but you wouldn’t know it by looking around the stores. Retailers have rolled out their spring line-ups full of florals and sorbet brights. I can’t help but get a little excited about the upcoming change of seasons and swapping my riding boots for ballet flats.

As a SAHM the ballet flat fits my life perfectly. Its cute, comfortable, and versatile. Perfect for looking put together at preschool pick-up/drop-off but also comfortable enough for a visit to the playground.

Like my clothes, I like my ballet flats in go-with-everything neutrals. The Frye Carson is one of my favorites because the price is right and the quality is high. I am very hard on my shoes and these last a long time. The sole is very durable. They are the workhorses of my spring/summer closet. I have them in black, fawn, and textured camel, but you can be more adventurous than me and get them in colors like green and violet.

Frye Carson

When I need a shoe with a little more visual interest but still want to keep things neutral I go for something textured-think python, suede, or quilted leather- or a shoe with interesting details like the fringed Belle by Siggerson Morrison Adaya (on SALE!). I’m dying to get the Loeffler Randall Quinnies. Enjoy!

Ballet Flats

Loeffler Randall and Belle SIgerson Morrison

Loeffler Randall nude flat
loefflerrandall.com

The skinny on straight leg jeans

There’s nothing worse than walking around looking like an inverted triangle, except for maybe looking like you have drumsticks for legs. In order to avoid these unfortunate looks I choose straight leg jeans over skinny jeans, except when I want to tuck my jeans into tall boots.

I’m not against skinny jeans. I think they look great on lots of people. If I could wear them well then I would but they just don’t work for me. I’m slim but I have wide hips. No amount of dieting will whittle away my bones. I have to work with these things.

For those with wide hips you need a little volume in the lower leg area to balance things out a bit.

Below are my go-to brands for straight leg jeans.My top choice in premium denim is the COH Elson which is a medium-rise jean. I love it in black. SO versatile! For a slightly less expensive pair Madewell’s Rail Straight jeans are perfect. I have them in Black Frost and the Madewell Wash.

jeans

jeans

7 For All mankind
7forallmankind.com

Have kids, will travel

Casa San Gabriel, 3 stunning cottages in Umbria Perugia Villas


Before I was a mother I used to say absurdly naive and smug things like: “I’m not going to let having kids change my lifestyle at all. I’ll still go to nice restaurants, have nice things, wear nice clothes, and travel, and not to Disneyland. Why do people just give up?” To whom I uttered these statements, I can’t recall, but bless them for not punching me in the face.

3.5 years and 2 kids later I understand that its pretty much impossible to go on living exactly the way you had been. Although we have less money, time, and energy to throw around the Husband and I do our best to maintain some semblance of our former life.

Occasionally, we go out to nice restaurants but not as much as I’d like. And when I say occasionally, I mean like, never. OK, it’s not that bad but we go far less frequently than during our childless days. On occasion we’ve even dared to take our kids out to “nicer”restaurants,places that tell you where the trout you are eating spawned and that sort of thing. You know the type. And of course, according to the script, our 3-year-old did break a piece of glassware 15 minutes into dinner. But we aren’t discouraged.

We do have some nice things too, so I suppose that hasn’t changed much. They just aren’t nice for very long. Like in our living room, we have this beautiful ivory wool rug. Yes I chose an ivory rug when I live with a 3-year-old and a 9 month old. It says something about me, I’m just not sure what. Delusional, foolhardy? Perhaps it reflects my desire to believe an ivory rug still fits my lifestyle and a reluctance to accept that in this new life, nice shit in my house will be destroyed. It apparently also says I’m quite tenacious as this is the SECOND ivory wool rug purchased in the last 3 years.

This is not to say I’m bitter because I’m not at all. I love being a mom and I love our life but the fact remains that we do things a little differently now. For one, we travel far less than we used to. The main obstacle is the cost. We’ve done a few road trips to relatives homes and one vacation which required air travel. That trip went well and now we are planning an April trip to NYC and I’m even starting to dream about traveling internationally. Realistically this is about 2 years out as we just don’t have the funds right now, but one can dream. Where would you go? This is my very tentative plan.

ITALY HERE WE COME!!!!
(maybe)

Self Catering Holiday Villa Rentals in Umbria, Italy: Umbria Vacation...

Plane tickets are crazy expensive so I’d plan my trip for the off-season when they’re only ludicrously expensive. According to my very-thorough research the cheapest time to go to Italy is somewhere between October to March. I’d go with October.

When:October

Besides tickets, a major traveling expense is lodging. I love places with character and thus hate chain hotels. Romantic B&Bs are out of the question because apparently screaming children ruin the ambience. So my solution is to rent a small cottage. It would be great because we wouldn’t have to worry about our kids being too noisy or jumping on the floors at midnight etc. We would also have a kitchen which means we wouldn’t have to eat out all the time.

Where: Casa San Gabriel in Perugia, Italy
According to the owners Casa San Gabriel is “located in a stunning valley, surrounded by ancient olive groves, vineyards woodlands and a scattering of beautiful Umbrian properties.” Sounds good to me. And when you get bored with that you can take a swim, make pizza in their traditional, outdoor pizza oven, or take one of their pet alpacas for a walk.

Cost: Off season-4 nights $774

Casa San Gabriel, 3 stunning cottages in Umbria Perugia Villas

Casa San Gabriel, 3 stunning cottages in Umbria Perugia Villas

Casa San Gabriel, 3 stunning cottages in Umbria Perugia Villas

Kids art that won’t cramp your style

Like a lot of people, I live in a house where rooms have to multi-task. We have a sewing room/place where I keep the kids’small trampoline/guest bedroom that shares a jack-and-jill bath with one of the kids’ bedrooms. Did you get that? We also have a playroom/family computer room. These multi-use spaces require decor that is young and playful, but not garish or too cutesy. Finding the right wall art is key. I think the pieces below fit the bill.

Kid's Art

The little blue box that doesn’t leave my heart aflutter

I have a confession. I don’t “get” what the fuss is over diamond jewelry. OK, that’s not exactly true. I do think diamonds are sparkly and pretty and I still think my engagement ring is stunning (I receieved it 7 years ago, been married for 6 -how time flies!) And I love Cathy Waterman’s designs.  http://www.cathywaterman.com/  But I just don’t quite understand the level of lust they inspire.

Some things are expensive because they work better than other ,similar objects-think the Dyson vacuum. Other things are more expensive because they take more time and skill to make, like the handcrafted furniture from this site.  http://vermontwoodsstudios.com/ I’d fork over the cash for some of their stuff without hesitation.

But then some things are more expensive because they are status symbols.  They say something about the owner, something like “Hey I’m rich!” True, some of these status symbols might also take more time to make and/ or they work better, say like a BMW. I don’t own a BMW but I’m sure it’s probably a more comfortable, maybe even more reliable ride than my old  Hyundai Santa Fe. And I’m sure an Hermes Birkin is a perfectly lovely bag made out of some baby animal’s supple, young hide  with mind blowingly  even stitching or whatever. But there’s a point at which your money is not going to get you something “better” it’s just getting you status. I mean really Hermes, 10-20k, for a bag? Is it THAT much better? I by no means am saying I am above buying status items. Au contraire. I think about the labels I buy often and I like getting things that others would recognize as “nice.” If I could afford a Beamer it would be sitting in my garage right now. There just comes a certain point where the amount of money being shelled out for a status item seems a bit ridiculous to me and thats how I feel about diamonds. Maybe I’m just cheap but I think they cost too much and now you can get fake diamonds that could fool most anyone’s naked eyes. I wouldn’t  reject a Tiffany bracelet I’d just rather have something else. Vent over.

This post was supposed to be about how I like these lovely necklaces below. They are simple and different but not too “out there.” I admire someone who can pull off the statement necklace. I just don’t think that person is me so I veer towards things that are a bit tamer while still being interesting.

necklaces

Mirror, mirror, on the wall

Yesterday I went to Anthropologie. I LOVE that store. Yes the merchandise is overpriced ($100 polyester shirt-WHAT?)  and the quality is not always the greatest but I just can’t help myself. I love anthro! They have some marketing genuises at that company. They don’t just sell you clothing but a LIFESTYLE . I fall for it every single time.

There is something distinctly Anthropologie about the way their stores look, smell, and sound like. You walk in and first thing you notice is that Anthro smell. Those candles! And then you see the impressive and ever changing window and store displays.  And of course, there’s the soundtrack. Camera Obscura, Feist, She and Him, and the like. The store feels cozy and chic and makes the clothes that much more appealing. Would I spend as much at Anthro if the stores looked like Talbot’s inside? Probably not.

Its kind of a ritual of mine to go there, soak up some of the atmosphere, and peruse the goods while the Husband takes the girls to a nearby park.  Yesterday while I was there I found a few items I wouldn’t mind adding to my closet.

stuff

Dolman tee
anthropologie.com

Dolman tee
anthropologie.com

Pilcro slim fit pants
anthropologie.com

Pilcro
anthropologie.com

Oxford
anthropologie.com

Cuff jewelry
anthropologie.com

Ridged Ribs Boatneck
anthropologie.com
All of the tops above are by Bordeaux. I have been impressed lately with their basic shirts. They remind me of some Vince shirts I’ve had my eye on but they’re half the price. The jeans are both by Pilcro. I am consistently impressed by how this brand fits my slim but pear shaped figure. I’ll be back soon to purchase a few of those items.
Of course I’ll have to bring them home to try them on and see if they look as good as I thought they did. You know Anthro has magic mirrors, don’t you? I remember the first time I noticed. I was trying on some jeans. I remember thinking “hey these look good!” but maybe just a little too good.  When I put back on my own clothes my suspicions only grew. I was pretty sure my ratty old jeans hadn’t looked that good when I left the house. How had my hips lost a few inches? I inspected the mirror, trying to see if it was at an angle, as that can give a bit of a funhouse skinny mirror effect. It was hard to tell. I went home and read about fitting room skinny mirrors and as it turns out this is happening in lots of stores.  I had no idea. I happen to think Anthro’s mirrors are especially deceptive and it really annoys me because I end up buying lots of stuff so I can try it on at home in front of my own brutally honest mirror.

The Equipment Blouse

I’m late to the party with this one. For years I have been seeing  Equipment blouses everywhere. On blogs, in magazines,on friends. As mentioned before, I am trying to revamp my wardrobe with classic, neutral, high-quality pieces. With that in mind, I placed an order for this shirt. The Equipment Brett blouse in Nature White.

EQUI-WS279_V1

I sized up from my usual medium to (hopefully) achieve a more blousy, loose look, as I’ve read the Brett is more fitted than the Signature blouse. I’m not a fan of the Signature’s two front pockets with flaps so I passed that one over.  I  considered the bright white color but opted for the nature white as I think it will flatter my complexion more. If the blouse works out I might have to get one in rosewood or nude. Those colors look versatile, sophisticated, and gorgeous. Here’s what I’d pair them with.

y

And like this…

y-1