After yesterday's glorious 60+ degrees and bright sunshine, my wake-up this morning seemed like such a letdown. But even the dismal grey skies and raindrops falling on my head can't squelch my TGIF exuberance today.
We have a fun weekend "getaway" of sorts planned, thanks to good friends. A cross between a sleepover and staycation...just the thing to jumpstart Spring and our usual warm-weather travel itch!
Right now, I'm crushing on quirky "seasonally appropriate" prints and impatiently waiting out April's showers...
Now that winter's chill is finally subsiding, I'm far more willing to hang outside long enough to snap a few pictures. This winter, in particular, seemed to just drag on forever. I'm still not 100% certain we won't get one last surprise blizzard. In fact, today when I was on my way to the mailbox, the steady mist we'd been experiencing all day turned into flakes. And just as quickly as I looked heavenward and inquired "Are you serious?!?" it reverted to rain again. Someone was clearly a day late with that April Fool's prank!
I, for one, always think Spring can't arrive soon enough. Listen, that first snowfall is lovely...really, it is. But the bitter cold...the chunky uncomfortable layers...and the next 90+ snowfalls...not so much! Even my son got tired of snow days this year!
Last week it seemed I adhered to a uniform to usher in warmer weather. Pairing a lightweight top with a casual jacket and jeans worked out so well the first time, that I just kept reaching for the same formula day after day. Ah, consistency!
Free People's metallic bronze vegan leather jacket caught my eye at the tail end of last summer, and I could not get it out of my head. Despite a hefty pricetag, I wishlisted it and hoped for a sale. From time to time, as summer waned and fall temps. began to drop, I'd check in on it. And never would it budge. It remained firmly, stoically full-price no matter how I begged and pleaded. One day it struck me to cover my bases and search it out on other sites, on the slim chance that one might have a coupon or sale that would apply. And there I found my bliss! 6pm.com had it...hugely discounted and obviously ready and willing to come home to me with free shipping! 24 hours later my wallet sighed as I finally got my hands on my glorious, coveted, longed-for...you get the point... And perhaps let out a squeal or two of delight! Oh the exquisite beauty of subtle metallic sheen...the flattery of a fitted moto shape...the malleable neckline... Wait, did I mention the neckline and collar?!? Malleable?!? A hidden interior wire means you can literally bend the collar and neckline to suit your fancy. That little gem of a detail takes you from structured to slouchy in seconds, depending on your mood! Now it would be, I'm sure, easy to assume that I immediately donned my new favourite item and wore it to shreds. Easy, that is, if you don't already know about my propensity for 'saving': saving for a special occasion, saving for a special day, saving...in the closet, still tagged and bagged! Oh yes, gentle reader, my closet is a curated collection of sorts...newly acquired, much desired pieces waiting out their turn safely ensconced in their plastic shells-tags to be clipped solemnly upon that first, long-awaited wearing. So yes, squeal...I own the fabulous jacket of my dreams...now to put it away and not wear it!!!
Six months later now and Spring has arrived. Of course....of course it's the perfect time to start wearing my 'new fall jacket'!
Here I paired it with a double dose of leopard print and spent a good deal of the day wondering if I'd gone overboard. What say you? Can leopard prints be mixed and matched? Does pairing a leopard print top and leopard print shoes qualify as a faux pas, or have we come to consider the print a neutral? What if both items were clearance scores under $10? Surely that makes it more acceptable!
Well aware that I was treading a fine-line twixt neutral and not, I kept my makeup pretty neutral as well...with just a touch of deep green on the eyes to keep from looking monotone. My makeup here is pretty much my daily go-to, fairly understated and low-maintenance. Just a few swipes and done, without looking overdone.
Top (no longer available): Express Leopard burnout tissue tee
Jacket: FP Vegan Leather Metallics Jacket
Exact match: http://www.freepeople.com/motorcycle-jackets/vegan-leather-metallics-jacket/_/PRODUCTOPTIONIDS/B075318A-4CE8-403C-90AB-69F77886252D/
Shoes (no longer available: Anne Klein
Denim: Paige Laurel Canyon - I won several pairs of these in a Luckybreaks giveaway some 10 years ago, and love love love them! So much so that I have a saved search on ebay for the same style and colour. Perfect fit for my long and lean frame! And those ten year old pairs? They're just now beginning to wear out. Perfect fit...long lasting quality? Win!
Nars Larger than Life Long-wear Eyeliner in Rue de Rivoli: one of my new acquisitions...and a subtle change from my usual olive green liner
Nars Lip Colour in Christina: loving this shade lately...it's me but better...subtle colour one shade better than my bare lips
Nars Cream Eyeshadow in Corfu: just the slightest wash of neutral glimmer on my olive skin
Zales 7 stone diamond wave band (no longer available):this piece (found it on final clearance) was a Mothers Day gift to myself the year my son turned 7
Here's a similiar option with more stones:
Diamond studs: I favour smaller studs as my ear piercings are slightly uneven. Larger studs make it more noticeable...at least to me. So I opted for smaller stones at a higher quality.
Note: I'm having major issues with the blogger app for iPad, so pardon the appearance and lack of standard links. Anyone know how to effectively scroll within blogger?!?
Now that the month of March is drawn to a close, I think it's time for a recap of my favorite purchases from this past month.
This was, atypically, a big shopping month for me. Between some great sales on items that I had wishlisted, a plethora of coupons, and some gift cards that had been burning a hole… I made far more purchases this month than I typically do. Shopping spree, much?
Generally I adhere to a pretty strict budget in regarto my 'personal shopping', which allows me comfort and flexibility in other aspects of my monthly budget. And I try to use a combination of a rollover\reinvestment plan when it comes to money leftover in that category at the end of the month. What works for me is splitting the remainder in half and spreading one half out amongst all my other budget categories, and then adding the other half back into the following month's personal budget. This way I get the thrill of the "I saved myself there so I have more here " idea while still being mindful that it's just part of the whole. But this month, I have to admit, I took it right to the limit. In fact when I totaled up my receipts, I have just $.47 left in my 'personal' allotment! Yowch! Thank goodness I can honestly say that I love each and every purchase I made this month!
Here's what's topping my charts:
Remember that more-miss-than-hit Spring Makeover event that I attended at Nars? Despite some less than stellar choices along the way, the artist did choose one winner for me! I'm still loving this blush...Nars Blush in Gina. And truth be told, I would never have chosen this for myself. Just as with lipsticks, I tend to choose berry shades for blush. The one I had been using was Nars Blush in Amour. But this new shade is quickly becoming my daily go-to. It adds a sun-kissed radiance to my olive complexion that the Amour didn't. And I think I prefer that radiant glow to just pinking up my cheeks, as the Amour does. We'll have to see though, if I'm still loving this shade as the weather gets warmer…The sun gets brighter…And my skin gets tanner. I am worried that as soon as I start to get a bit darker, this shade will be far too pale for me. But for now it's a win!
Another product that's become a quick standard in the daily rotation is this new brow-gel. I bought Benefit's Gimme Brow on a total whim earlier in the month and haven't put it down since. My brows apparently are made up of the same fine hairs as those on my head. So while dark, they're very wispy and thin. And I've always noticed that in photographs, it almost looks as though I have no eyebrows at all! So when I was in Sephora with another mom from my son's social skills group, just wasting the hour and half while they're in therapy, I couldn't resist grabbing a sample brush and painting on some eyebrows! Now mind you, the gal that I was with quite loudly declared that she didn't notice any change whatsoever. But who am I to let that derail me from my experiment. Despite her protestations, I hurried right up to the register with treasure in hand. And boy, am I ever glad that I did! This is such an easy to apply product. And I'm quite convinced that it's just the subtle addition I needed. I haven't gone a day without it since I bought it! I really appreciate the fact that it's a brush-on gel, rather than a pencil or a powder. I always feel like the look you get from pencils or powders is so very obvious, whereas this gel goes on in the way that a mascara would, just lengthening and volumizing what's already there. So while you can go from drab to fab in the eyebrow department, you're not getting that "I obviously draw on my eyebrows every morning " look that I can't stand. And because it's a brush-on gel, you can go back and layer on more to add to the intensity.
I definitely lucked out in the sales department when it comes to apparel this month. A large portion of the items that I had sitting in my wishlists for the longest time all went on sale at the same time. It should come as no surprise that my two favorite items this month both come from one of my favorite stores… Anthropologie!
I wrote about this top, Floreat's Dip-Dyed Peasant Blouse in my previous OOTD post, so you already know that I adore it. It really is the perfect cross between comfy-casual and ornate. Roll-tab sleeves and lightweight fabric mean I can probably consider it a year-rounder: layered in winter and rolled up with shorts in the summer. The neutral motif pairs well with tons of items already in my closet, and I really appreciate the fact that the white bottom isn't too sheer.
My other favourite was a cross-my-fingers-and-hope purchase. I had tried it on in store in a size zero and was disappointed that while the shape and pattern were super-flattering, that hemline was waaaaay short! I have this little inner voice that likes to yell at me that my status as a mother means I am no longer allowed to wear minis! Which, frankly, can be a giant pain in the neck! Since my proportions tend to the long-legged side of things, it can be difficult to find dresses that don't look super-short on me. Long story short, (wink,wink) I added Eva Franco's Stripe Swing dress to my wishlist anyway, and after reading several other reviews about its length, took a risk and adjusted to a size two. When it popped up on sale, I crossed my fingers and purchased, though I was 99% sure I'd end up having to return it. So you can imagine my surprised delight when, upon its arrival and my immediate rush to try it on, there was silence! No little voice saying I looked indecent...no misgivings that I might be risking the risqué. Nope. Nada. In fact, a twirl in the mirror and I knew it was a keeper! Is it short? Heck yeah! Are my legs long? D'oh. But you know what? The high neckline and color blocking provides ample coverage to balance things out. With opaque tights and ballet flats, I could probably get away with this for an office. But ditch the tights and trade-in for heels, and I'm ready for a night out!
When I saw the Free Spirit Beaded Fringe necklace, I just knew it wanted to come live with me. It's equal parts native/boho/festival and edgy between the sheer length of the fringe and the darker jewel-tone color palette. Forever 21 has been churning out fringe necklaces left and right this spring but this was the first one that works with my coloring. I was so disappointed when, shortly after adding it to my wishlist, it sold out online. And thrilled to find a rack full of them in-store the following weekend. So far I've paired it with jeans and a black tank top layered under my teal faux-leather moto jacket (a fall F21 purchase!) for a casual day and with a deep purple dress and black booties for a Moms-Night. But when I purchased it, I was imagining summer days...shorts and tanks, maybe with a plain white tee... I'm looking forward to getting lots of wear out of it! Though I'm worried that I'll regret not having bought two of them if ever it breaks. At F21's price point, I could have (should have?) stocked up!
Surprise, surprise! Another Anthro purchase topping my shopping list! (Does this qualify as an addiction?!?). This Swallowtail necklace was another on-a-whim purchase for me. Without having ever seen it in person, I took a gamble on the colors coordinating well with the dress that I was already ordering. Now mind you, I was a wee bit disappointed that it was shipped separately from the rest of my order, so I had to wait upon its arrival. And when it finally did arrive I was surprised, and not in a good way, by the shipping packaging. The flimsy envelope had me concerned that the necklace might have been damaged. Thankfully upon opening it, I discovered that the necklace was intact, although it's having been packaged in a flimsy envelope meant that at some point along the way, the wires had been bent on one side, so the gems would not lay flat. I've tried several different methods for straightening it out, but so far none of them have worked. Despite that, I've gone ahead and worn it as is, adjusting the side to lay flat more often than I care to admit. It really is a gorgeous piece. And yes, it compliments the dress perfectly. I've only worn it once so far, with black shorts and a deep purple Portifino blouse from Express, and ballet flats. The teal stones in it are an almost exact color-match for my London Blue Topaz earrings and ring. And it just gives off this gorgeous sparkle while still seeming understated. It's a statement piece, yes… But the statement isn't too loud or too brash.
All in all, I'm enjoying each and every one of my March purchases. I have my favorites, of course. But even things that didn't make the cut are sure to become favorites as time goes on.
Now that April has arrived and spring is in full swing, we'll have to see what the sales have in store for me! Will they tempt me to break my budget, or just tease me to the limit. After this month's "spree" I think my wallet would be more than happy if nothing I wishlisted hit sale in April!
What were your favorite purchases in March? Did you buy any of the same pieces?
These days I, like so many others, do the majority of my shopping online. Between the ease and convenience, free shipping offers, and cash rebate sites it just works out better for me.
Cash rebates...that's where it's at.
I can totally justify a purchase when I feel like I'm getting paid to buy it!
So as it's not often that I'm in an actual brick and mortar Anthropologie store, I definitely take advantage of the opportunity and try on every single item that even slightly appeals. A few weeks ago I was checking out the sale room for several dresses that I had wishlisted. This blouse looked like a new arrival, hanging prominently at the front of the store. And the details drew me in. But of course, at full price, it was a no-go for me. And since it seemed new, I didn't hold out much hope that it would drop down to a reasonable price before the summer heat rendered it unbearably unwearable. Once home I added it to the ever-growing wishlist, and sort of forgot about it. Then, lo and behold, on the very next sale day I noticed it listed with a much lower price! Sold! And boy, am I ever glad I pulled the trigger. I'm in love...with this blouse! Between the bronze beads, ombré effect, empire seaming and oh-so-soft fabric...this one's going to get worn down to the threads! Sadly it appears sold out in all sizes online, but you might find one lurking in a sale room yet.
Blouse : Anthropologie Dip-Dyed Peasant Blouse -no longer available
Similiar (love the blue!)
Earrings: Anthropologie (old)
Shoes: Born Adele Flats - no longer available in bronze
Probably my favourite purchase of 2013, this "The Return of Sexy" palette by Too Faced sees almost daily use. Definitely a made-for-me design, with colours that compliment my olive tone. I adore the shimmer in each colour, though a primer is definitely needed if you don't want that shimmer to travel!
I paired the bronze hues with my new Nars pencil in Rue de Rivoli to play off the only touch of colour in my outfit, my earrings. Finished off with another newbie...Nars lipstick in Christina.
Two weeks ago I went to the Nars spring event at my local Lord and Taylor. It was my first time ever participating in one of these makeover events, so I went in with nervous anticipation. I was really looking forward to getting an expert's advice on how to change up my look for spring and summer, and wanted to break away from my usual neutrals. And more than anything, I was looking forward to having someone else select colors that would compliment me. It didn't quite go as I had planned. When I arrived the artist I had been paired with was still working on a previous client. She was just finishing up with a sumptuous teal eye, and it looked gorgeous! But...as soon as I sat down things went downhill. Rather than asking me what I was hoping for, she started right in saying "Oh, I know what to do. I'm going to go bronze for you. Don't worry, it will be nice and subtle." Um? Ugh! Not what I'm here for! After several failed attempts at explaining what I wanted to try, I finally just gave in and let her do as she pleased. And while her technique was I'm sure quite good, the first "done face" that she had me check out in the mirror was not at all flattering. I had to dig my heels in a little bit and assert myself, in order to get it changed. After a handful of other eye make up failures (all way too light!) I was finally 'allowed' to choose my own shades from the bronze palette. So I simply opted for shades that were the most similar to what I already own, and called it a wash. By the end, my face felt heavy. All those layers and layers and layers of shadowing and contouring and bronzing and blushing… It was all a bit overwhelming. And since I don't tend to wear all of those products regularly, I felt the end result looked a little too airbrushed/painted on. At a distance, I had that no-makeup/makeup look, but up close it was way too obvious. I did really like the eyeliner that she chose and felt that the lip color was very flattering…and an unusual choice because I usually opt for berries. What I didn't realize, prior to purchasing some of those items, was that she had layered a lip liner and two shades of lipstick plus a lipgloss to get that singular flattering shade. So you can imagine my dismay when I went to apply the lipstick the next day, only to discover it made me look like an extra from 'Night of the Living Dead'! It was several shades lighter than my actual lip color, and probably only suitable for light-skinned blondes. Thankfully, I was able to go back later in the week and a very helpful salesclerk allowed me to exchange it for another shade. One of my gal pals was with me and after much hemming and hawing, I gave in and allowed her to pick the shade that she felt was most flattering on me. And I'm pleased to say she did a great job! She chose a color that I probably wouldn't have chosen for myself...so score on that point! And I must say it looks far more natural than the berry-based shades that I usually pick. Next time I'm in the market for makeup, I'm definitely taking her along as my 'expert advisor'!