Saturday, May 29, 2010

Adrien: Dumb Stuff I Buy.

I look pretty mild-mannered on the outside but inside my former self still lurks: the black leather jacket/Doc Marten wearing art school girl is still around and occasionally she makes me buy things I probably shouldn't.
Listen, I know I'm not Kate Lanphear but that doesn't mean I'm not going to keep trying. I mean, look at her:


Dang. Anyway, I was online searching for just the right David Bowie t-shirt. It had to be cool, appropriately slouchy, and not too garish. (There are a lot of bad Bowie shirts out there, people.) But then, I found this:



And I WANTED. IT. Badly. And I was angry because it was too much money for a t-shirt. And I kept thinking about it. And I still wanted it. Even though it is not really something I need at all.

So, I found it on another site cheaper and also found a 20% off code and I bought the damn thing. It's en route, so we'll see what happens.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Adrien: Fun with squirrels

This morning I had a guest visitor during my photo session! My husband is the resident critter-whisperer and has recently been adopted by a mother squirrel and her two babies (who we call "the minis.") Initially, Mama Squirrel was hesitant about taking peanuts from our hand but now if she sees us in the yard she'll march right over and demand to be fed.

Which is exactly what happened this morning:






dress: Target
sandals: Aerosoles
necklace: Banana Republic
bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs
squirrel: cute but greedy

Marianne: Looks I Love

I'm sorry I'm such a slacker this week. Work is kicking my ass and there's no other way to put it. While I am managing to dress myself every day taking a picture seems to be beyond my capabilities. And forget having time to shop!

So, since I'm a slacker, I'm giving you a completely lazy post. Two looks that I love for the summer, neither of which would actually be flattering on me. Let's discuss!

This pretty little thing is from The Sartorialist. I love her barely-there sandals, the bag, the breezy hair, and that lovely airy white dress. Reasons I would look terrible in this outfit:

1. I have a 1-year-old and I eat a lot of red foods and I'm clumsy.
2. I adore shapeless breezy little dresses like this, but they make me look fat and/or pregnant.
3. Try as I may to leave my long hair down in the summer, the second I step out of the air conditioner it gets enormous and also feels not unlike draping a limp cat across the back of my neck.

Okay, so I could do the bag and shoes. That's something!

Michelle Williams has such an amazing style, but she is literally my exact opposite. She is tiny, blonde, with short hair. I am a giantess with long black hair that is always a mess. But still, I love this look from Cannes. This one will not work on me because:

1. Duh, the hair. I feel like this look begs for sleek, short hair. Adrien could rock it.
2. Blousy on top + tight on the bottom = I has a sad. I am smaller on top and have some pretty generous hip action and this seems like a recipe for disaster.
3. Dark colors in a Deep South summer can be really hard. I would be sweating, and sweating also makes me sad. I love the heat, but I tend to wear lighter colors in the summer.

So tell me, what do you do when you love a look that won't flatter you?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Adrien: Found! My easy summer dress.

I mentioned earlier that I was looking for a replacement for my Dresses That Will Never Die and I think (hope!) I found it. I returned a few unfortunate purchases at Old Navy and picked up this dress instead:





Here it is on me last weekend:


As long as it doesn't shrink drastically (fingers crossed), I'll probably pick up another one in this color:


It's short, but the empire waist fit is forgiving. It's comfortable and washable and best of all, I can still wear a real bra under it. Also, it's all of $20. (And will probably be cheaper if you wait five minutes.)

This tends to be my summer uniform when I'm not at work - simple cotton jersey dress and flat sandals with a light cardigan in my bag in case of air conditioning overload.

Adrien: Hottest day of the week.

It's supposed to be 92 degrees today (bring it!) I dressed accordingly:


I added a light cardigan for the office so I don't have to huddle over my space heater like a shivery poodle. It just can't be too hot for me. I am the one who's happy as a clam when everyone else is asking, "Is it hot in here?"

dress: Banana Republic
cardigan: J. Crew
belt: Forever21
shoes: Rebel
bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs
necklace: self-made

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Adrien: Shopping on eBay

 I got an email the other day from a friend of mine, who asked if I'd please write about buying stuff on eBay. I've been buying (and selling) on eBay for more than ten years and I've had all kinds of experiences, surprisingly few of them bad. From this experience I've learned a lot about what to buy and how to buy it. Here are my tips:

Do your research. Don't buy something unless you know the brand and know how it fits you. If possible, try it on or (if it's a bag) visit it in person. I rarely shop randomly on eBay, meaning, I almost never go search for "t-strap shoe" because I'm going to get all manner of horrible strippery pleather things. Know what you want and know the brands you want. If there's a particular hard-to-find item you're looking for, set up an alert so eBay will email you when one is listed.

Everything is Faked. If the item is designer, know what details to look for or find someone who does. There are great online resources for bags, jeans, shoes, you name it. The Purse Forum is a godsend for designer bag fiends. Just remember:  Everything is faked. I cannot say that enough: Everything. Is. Faked. This is especially true of designer bags and jeans. Shoes don't get faked as often, but it does happen.

Keyword tricks. Lots of people stick the word "Anthropologie" in the listing even if the item didn't come from Anthro. (This is against eBay rules, just FYI.) This goes back to knowing your brands and knowing what you're looking for. If there's no clear description/photo, email the seller and ask. If you think to yourself, "Wow, I didn't know Anthro carried that brand!" it's probably because they don't.

Photos are everything.
If the seller photos suck, email and ask for better ones especially if the item is used. Don't be afraid to explain the concept of the macro button for close-ups. If the item looks trashed in the photos, trust that it'll probably be worse in person. Conversely, if the seller provides good photos and describes every tiny scratch and ding, that's a good sign! It means your seller is diligent about the item and not trying to hide anything. You'll probably find that the item is better than it looks. Also! I almost never bid on an auction that only shows stock photos. I need to see the exact item I'm buying.

Ask questions. Email about anything not addressed: smoke-free home? Any undisclosed damage? Has the item been dry-cleaned? If the seller is rude or doesn't respond at all, move on. Sometimes I'll ask a question just to see if I get an answer, especially if the seller has low feedback.

Check the feedback. It's pretty much all you have. I like using Toolhaus to suss out all the negative feedback but be reasonable: A seller who has 50 negs out of 12,000 total feedback is probably okay. (Unless the 50 negs talk about the items being fakes. Then you run.)

Best Offer is awesome. If the seller has a Best Offer option, go ahead and make an offer, but don't insult them. I usually assume a 10-20% discount off the Buy-It-Now price.

Be a repeat customer. If you find a seller who sells something you love and you had a good experience, add them to your Saved Seller list and revisit from time to time.

Be a sniper. For the love of God, do not get into a bidding war. You are just driving the price up and you'll probably lose. DO NOT bid early and often. Bid last. Sniper software is your friend and I recommend Just Snipe. It's sneaky but it works really well.

Take a risk. If you love a pair of boots you saw at Nordstrom last year but never even tried them on, do a little research via online retailers. Anthro now has website reviews, so does Banana Republic and Zappos. Read the reviews and try to get an idea if they'll work for you, then go for it. If they don't fit? Back on eBay they go.

My most recent "take a risk" eBay purchase was a pair of slightly trashed black Frye t-straps. The seller photos/description were terrible but I love my pewter pair (and they're on their last legs) so I snapped these up for a very low price knowing I was taking a risk. They arrived looking, well, pretty trashed:


(What did she do to you, poor shoes?)

But, all the damage is on the outside and easily repairable. I obviously need to get them re-heeled and polished up, but the insides were in really good condition and the soles weren't terribly worn. It was a risk, sure, but one that will hopefully pay off. I'll do an "after" post when I get them back from my shoe guy.

So! What have you bought on eBay lately? Do tell.

Adrien: Major Award!

"Damn hell, you say you won it?"

Heh, yeah. Today it's all about the Hillier. I am wearing it with my crazy Kmart skirt that always gets me the funniest compliments from men. Dudes just love this skirt and I have no idea why. I'm wearing it with a top I got in a consignment store in Sacramento a few years ago that I rarely wear even though it fits really well. I just always forget about it. The shoes are a pair I got two summers ago because Marianne bought a pair and I want to be just like her.




top: Max Studio? (I cut the tag out)
skirt: Kmart
sandals: Madeline
necklace: Keen
bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Adrien: Lucky Girl.

I've never thought of myself as a lucky person, but I am persistent and I enter a lot of contests hoping one day my persistence will pay off. Well, that day was last Wednesday when I got an email from the adorable Jessica at What I Wore telling me I'd won a $400 gift card from Beso.com.

I didn't believe it. I sat there and read the email and didn't believe it. Then I started shopping in my head, like, immediately. Remember this entry? It went something like that. I had SO MANY THINGS in my mind I could buy with that $400! Frye shoes! Also, Frye shoes! Or a spree at Banana Republic!

You know what helps with in-your-head shopping sprees? Beso.com. If you haven't checked it out yet, you should. it's a shopping portal that allows you to take that sort of ephemeral sandal idea in your head, enter it into a search box and get back a ton of great options from different stores. It's also a really good tool if you know exactly what you want to buy and need to comparison shop (which you should do.) And I'm not just saying all this because they just gave me $400, I really like the site! It's a great tool for someone like me who needs to know what my options are. Like, right this second they have it set up so you can see all the nautical striped items. I just clicked "View all Stripes" and dude. DUDE.

Anyway! I digress. Yes, I had a PROBLEM. The very, very best kind of problem. I always get really stressed out about gift cards because I feel like I need to pick Exactly The Right Thing. This was even harder because it was a Prize. I spent a bunch of time searching around and then I was all, *squealing brake noise* WAIT HOLD UP. I CAN GET A HILLIER.

I. Can. Get. A. Hillier.

And that was it. See, when it comes down to it, I'm a bag girl. I'd rather have a new bag than almost anything because bags always fit, they don't shrink when you wash them, and they don't give you blisters in weird places. And, the right bag will make anything you're wearing look more awesome, I'm convinced.  Plus, it would feel like a prize. One really special thing that I'd always remember as something I won. And damn have I ever wanted a Marc by Marc Jacobs Hillier:

Right?

The lovely folks at Beso.com gave me a Zappos gift card that I spent so fast I think my computer caught on fire. And because Zappos is staffed by magical elves, it's already on a truck and will be delivered any second now. I WAIT.

Thanks Beso.com! Thanks Jessica!  You've made me a very happy girl.

Edit: MEEP! Look what just arrived:

Love love love!

Marianne: Help me spend my gift card, part II

When last we played Help Me Spend My Gift Card, I was pondering several
anthropologie choices. I know you've all been on the edge of your seats, wondering what I chose.


Right?


Is this thing on?

Anyway, I ordered these Frye sandals and waited for them to be delivered with breathless anticipation. And then they came, and I immediately put them on, and...I could have cried. They were instantly uncomfortable. I stood up and they were so high that I felt like I was going to fall over and my feet protested like you wouldn't believe. So sad.

Back they went, and now I'm waiting anxiously for their replacement: Gorgeous, right? I can't wait to get them!

Since then, I received a lovely $150 gift card to Piperlime from my husband. Well, actually it's to Banana Republic, but I haven't been any more impressed with them lately than Adrien has, so Piperlime it is. And of course, I've spent it many times over in my head. Maybe you'd like to help me settle on what to buy?

With the Frye sandals not working, I still really need some black sandals. Like, really, really need them. I have at least two different outfits that I have planned in my head but cannot wear because I have no black sandals! Tragic. Anyway, I like these White Mountain sandals, mostly because they are $55.

I also love these Miz Mozz clogs, they are $99, which would still leave me $50 to spend on something else. I like that they almost have a Swedish Hasbeen feel to them, for half the price.

Two more black sandal options that I like, but maybe don't love. I could be talked into them, though. I'm impressionable. These $90 sandals from Clarks look really comfortable but I am not sold on the heel shape:And these, from Naya for $110, look like I could be on my feet all day, but they are a little boring, aren't they?Since I'll likely have a little money leftover after the shoe purchase, I'm also liking this funny little dress. I don't really know why. But I think it will be flattering and would be cute pulled over a bathingsuit or over skinny crops:



That's a lot of black, huh? Maybe this says something about my mood. Anyway, what say you? I need opinions, people!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Adrien: Questionable.

I think everyone has a few items in their wardrobe that, for whatever reason, don't pull their weight. I'm wearing one of mine today, a silk skirt from Banana Republic that I bought last spring because I looooooved it. On the hanger.

But I don't quite think I love it on me. I keep trying, but it's sort of hard to make this one a go-to piece and I don't know why. Anyway, it survived my consignment shop cull this season, but it might not be a keeper for next year:




What do you think? Am I just not being creative enough about how I wear it?

top: LOFT
skirt: Banana Republic
shoes: Frye Mary sandals
necklace: Keen Designs
bag: Marc Jacobs collection

Marianne: Burning up.

You guys. It was hot this weekend. More than hot, it was humid. In that special, East Tennessee way that makes your hair big and your makeup slide off your face. It also makes you drink during the day. And so, I spent much of the weekend in as little as possible.
This dress is five years old, so hooray for being ahead of the ikat trend!
Big hair and boobs that probably need more coverage, thanks to that nursing baby on my hip. But it was so hot!

Gratuitous Lulu shot. She says that smocking is going to be super hot this summer. Hell, she's already on the romper trend, so maybe she is right?

What did you wear this weekend?

dress: Joie

shoes: Bobbie Blu

earrings: Keen

hair: Designing Women

Friday, May 21, 2010

Marianne: Wonderbar Week 3--Healing Crisis or Hormones?

Just a quickie post because this day/week has been insane. CRAZYTOWN. But I did manage to get my husband to take a picture of my face this week.
Double chin what what!

Before I get in to my update, let me just address this picture. I love my husband. Adore, even. I think he is the superbest. But why is this picture focused on my bra strap and not my face? And this was the BETTER of the two he took. He is an excellent photographer so I am not sure why he struggles with my dumb fashion pictures, but he does. The end.

Okay, not the end. Let's talk Wonderbar. This past week I had some breakouts, and wondered if this was the predicted Healing Crisis. However, since this breakout coincided with my period, I can't really be sure. Here's what I can tell you--my skin feels pretty great. I am not using any moisturizer (other than the tinted moisturizer I wear as makeup, but it's not very moisturizing), and no other face product other than Cetaphil to remove makeup. I feel like the texture of my skin is good and it's getting softer. The red marks I had are fading, but they might have done that anyway. I swear my lines are not as deep but that could be wishful thinking.

So, is the Wonderbar making a difference? Three weeks in and I don't really know. It's not making anything worse, which sadly is a great development for me. I am guessing that it will take the full six weeks before I start seeing a marked difference, just like the folks at Wonderbar said it might.

Adrien: The Devil's Cloth.

More stripes, I know. But hey, did you know stripes are actually the look of the transgressor? The outcast? The criminal? I'll fit right in. I love this dress so much and today I paired it with an Anthro belt that only stays closed if I don't breathe. So, no breathing today! Just looking cute and turning blue. The things I do for fashion. Okay, outfit:






dress: Old Navy
cardigan: Target
belt: Anthropologie
shoes: Frye Iris
necklace: Keen Designs
bag: Rebecca Minkoff MAC

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Adrien: The Sun!

It finally stopped raining! I was so excited to see the sun this morning that I decided sandals were in order. I dressed from the bottom up because I knew exactly the pair I wanted to wear, I just had to figure out what to pair them with. The dress I ended up choosing is one that Marianne (and several other friends) owns too. We all bought it in a frenzy a few summers ago and it has been a great purchase. It's light and fun and perfect for hot weather:



dress: Forever21
sandals:
Farylrobin
bag: Rebecca Minkoff
necklace: Keen Designs
cat: ridiculous

Marianne: Random Fitting Room Reviews

Right off the bat, I have to admit that I kind of forgot about The Limited. I mean, there was a time when that was the place to shop, though even all those years ago I didn't shop there much. I did work at Express when I was a freshman in college, and sometimes I took advantage of the discount we would get at our "sister" store, but I can't say I've ever been a rabid Limited fan.

And I know it's "The Limited", but come on, you call it Limited and I do too. Let's move on.

ANYWAY, my point, and there is one in here somewhere, is that when I saw this post on Lindsey's blog, I was intrigued. Mostly by that black and white skirt, I wanted it. Bad. So, armed with the discount, I ordered it in a size Large. And, because I have no idea what size I am anymore, it was way too big. I wanted to try it on in Medium rather than dealing with mailing it back, so off to the mall I went.

I hate the mall, but I had a little time on my lunch break and they had some cute dresses on sale, so before I tracked down the skirt, I grabbed a few to try on. They were a nice cotton sateen with cute details...at least on the hanger.
This dress had so much potential, a cute shirtdress top with a swingy circle skirt. But I had fit issues here, obviously. The skirt part was too short and the top was downright frumpy. The buttons weren't placed well, with just one unbuttoned I looked mumsy, and with two unbuttoned...well, this is a family blog and I can't show you that.
On to dress #2. I loved the tomato color and the subtle ruffle placket. But again, there are fit issues and they make me sad.
Super slim on the bottom but I actually think it I were wearing proper undergarments (read: SPANX) that wouldn't be a dealbreaker. But there was too much fabric on top again and it bunched unflatteringly. I am hardly tiny on top, especially since I'm still nursing, so I don't know who this dress is really made for.
Hi, belly.
The last dress is not one I picked out, but the well-meaning sales associate was really trying to make a sale, so she brought it to me. Based on the other two dresses, I had a feeling that the double-breasted top on this was going to be less than flattering, and I was right.
It's not terrible, just not me.
And now, the skirt I came for. They had exactly one left but it was thankfully the size I needed...I think.
See, the Large in this skirt sat way down on my lower hip. Since I wanted more of a pencil skirt feel, ideally to wear with a shirt tucked in and a wide belt, I thought the Medium would be a better fit.
I do think this is the size I need, but now I'm wondering if it's too short. I think this calls for putting together some experimental outfits at home.
So...yeah. The Limited. I can't say that I really felt like this store had much in stock for me, and the prices were high for the quality. But I do like my black and white skirt, as long as I can convince myself that the length is okay. Time to do some thinking.

Wonderbar! update coming as soon as my camera battery charges enough to get the pictures uploaded.