Thursday, December 1, 2016

Delicate Balance

Many dresses today like to mix different prints or fabrics. In this case, with this BCBGMaxAzria dress, a traditional striped dress is taken to the next level with the addition of lace at the neckline and hem. I also love how the stripes are going the right ways to make you look bustier/thinner! I so appreciate that.


Dress: BCBGMaxAzria Bryonna Striped Lace Dress in Merlot and Black

The dress is still available for purchase at Amazon and BCBG.com, and also comes in Blue as well as this Burgundy/Merlot.

If you don't want a dress, this style is also available as just a top. It would work great with black pants or jeans.

Sandals: Kate Spade New York Idelle Ankle Strap Dress Sandals in Black Patent

It might be a little chilly for sandals, but I really don't mind. I will wear sandals every month of the year.

Monday, November 28, 2016

How to Wear a Cape

After a long holiday weekend, I am feeling refreshed and ready for the week ahead. That's why I decided to wear this cape dress from Trina Turk today, because the best way to wear a cape is with a lot of confidence.


Outfit Details:


The dress is available at Dillard's, as well as in other colors at a variety of other retailers. For example, find it in white at TrinaTurk.com or green at Neiman Marcus. A variation of the dress also comes in pink at Nordstrom Rack and navy blue (indigo) at 6pm.com.

I've been wanting a cape ever since I saw Gwyneth Paltrow wear that gorgeous white Tom Ford cape dress to the 2012 Oscars. Since then, I've seen capes creep into a lot of collections, but never at a price point I could afford... until now!

If you're not sure you can pull off a cape, try it out via Rent the Runway (you can order the dress in black). You will certainly make an impression! I had some curious looks at the office today; a cape dress is definitely a high fashion look for the workplace. But if you feel good in the dress, that confidence will show.


It would have been easy to wear blue shoes with the dress, but I decided to bring out the more subtle purple and burgundy in the plaid pattern via these purple Manolos and amethyst earrings. I love the whole look, which -- let's be honest, here -- is a little different for me. I'm not usually a fan of a shift dress, but paired with a cape, anything goes.

Thanksgiving Recap

Here's a quick rundown of how I spent Thanksgiving 2016:

Wednesday, November 23rd

Chapin and I took Wednesday off, packed up the car, and drove the seven hours or so to New Orleans to spend the holiday with Chapin's family. Our boys came along, too, and were fantastic in the car, mostly sleeping... though there was some occasional whining (mostly from Wally). We bought the boys new Sleepypod harnesses, which are supposed to be safer than the Puppia harnesses we have used in the past. Here is Wally in his orange harness.



Wednesday night we had dinner at a great Mexican restaurant in New Orleans called Mizado Latin Kitchen. I loved trying all the different types of salsas, and the food was all so good.

Thursday, November 24th (Thanksgiving Day 2016)

We spent Thursday at the Gibbons house in New Orleans, watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the National Dog Show, chasing Pokémon, sipping wine, playing with Wally and Norman, and eating (of course). Here are our two nephews with Wally and Norman during one of our Pokémon Go excursions. I don't play the game because I'm worried I will get addicted, but at least it's good exercise! I enjoyed spending the time outside with my nephews, too. They are growing up so fast, and are just so adorable. They loved on Norman and Wally so much and really tired them out.


Friday, November 25th

We headed back to Atlanta on Friday, so we were in the car most of the day. I read a new book aloud to Chapin on the drive, so that kept us occupied, and the drive (both ways) went much faster than I expected.

The book is Dark Matter: A Novel, by Blake Crouch. You will like this book if you liked the TV show, Fringe. It's about parallel universes and how they intersect for one particular man. Chapin and I found ourselves yelling to each other regarding some of the choices the main character made, but it definitely kept us entertained. 

By the time we came home, I was exhausted, so I put on some music and a face mask, and just relaxed in the tub for a bit. We ordered in -- Indian food from Tabla -- and spent the night relaxing. I also watched the first episode of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. I had been looking forward to watching the show (just four episodes) for months and months!

Saturday, November 26th

I spent most of Saturday watching the next two episodes of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. I loved snuggling on the couch with my boys, some coffee, and Rory, Lorelei, Emily, Paris and the whole gang from one of my favorite TV series of all time. Gilmore Girls is one of those rare TV shows I revisit every few years. I'll watch the whole series again, from start to finish. I do that with just a few shows: In addition to Gilmore Girls, I like to re-watch Buffy, Veronica Mars and Sex and the City. See, it's a very short list!

Here I am on Saturday morning in my Urban Tee Farm Gilmore Girls t-shirt, some coffee in my pug mug, and Wally and Norman in their usual spots on either side of me. It's such a relief that they are getting along!


Chapin and I also managed to squeeze in some food (pizza at Amazza -- yes, mom, they have gluten-free crust!) and some shopping on Saturday afternoon. After spending two nights at a hotel with the boys, and sleeping in a king-sized bed, Chapin and I decided that we finally needed to upgrade the queen-sized mattress we've had for years. Having both boys in the bed is wonderful, but they take up a lot of room, and Chapin and I haven't been sleeping too well. We bought ourselves a new Sleep Number bed, and we are so excited. I guess you know you're getting old when buying a new mattress brings you this much happiness!

Sunday, November 27th

I saved the last Gilmore Girls episode to watch Sunday morning, and after crying my way through most of it, I called my sister, Gail, so we could dissect the ending. It ends on a cliffhanger, and I'm really hoping they end up making more episodes at some point in the future. It's been so wonderful to revisit the series in this way. Thank you, Netflix!

Sunday, the last day of our vacation, was mostly about errands: buying our Christmas tree, decorating, grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, etc. It was the right way to end our relaxing Thanksgiving break.

Thanksgiving is such a nice holiday, not just because of all the great food involved, but because it's about family, and recognizing all the unique things that make your life wonderful. I am thankful for my husband, parents, sisters, in-laws, and friends. I am thankful for the two furry boys who love me unconditionally. I am thankful for the wonderful memories I have of George and Izzie, the two pugs I loved and lost. I am thankful for a job I love and a company I'm helping to build. I am thankful for a closet full of beautiful clothes, shoes and purses. I am thankful that I am (relatively) healthy -- despite the allergies and celiac, I'm doing ok. I am thankful that I can look myself in the mirror and feel proud of the career, marriage and home that I've built.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Architecture as Inspiration

Chapin and I are huge Project Runway fans. We record the show, and spend most Friday nights in front of the TV: watching, critiquing, judging, forecasting, etc. Plus, there's also some wine and a little junk food mixed in (usually nachos or some type of Mexican food). It's probably my favorite night of the week.

This dress seems like it was born in a Project Runway challenge where the contestants had to be inspired by the architecture around them, from the pleat in the skirt to the criss-crossing lines. I just get a huge skyscraper vibe off it. 

It's a great dress (and very comfortable) from the Erin Fetherston brand. It's hard to tell, but the material is neoprene (scuba), which means it's a good travel dress and won't easily wrinkle.


Dress: Erin Erin Fetherston Striped Neoprene Claremont Dress

The dress is available (in limited sizing) at Amazon, Lord & Taylor, and on the Erin Fetherston website. You can also rent it. The dress runs a little large, so I recommend sizing down. I'm wearing a size 4 for reference.

Shoes: Tamara Mellon Talisman Beaded Watersnake and Suede Sandals (no longer available)

Purse: Aldo Game Top Handbag

This Aldo purse (my first from the brand) was too pretty to pass up for just $40! It's sold out on Amazon, but you can still buy it on the brand's website (and it comes in a few other colors as well).


Friday, November 18, 2016

Huntress

When it comes to scooping up designer brands at discounted prices, I consider myself something of an expert. But I outdid myself this past weekend when I found this Blithe dress at Belk for just $8! Yes... $8 for a dress that originally cost $198.


The dress is extremely flattering, with a round neck that dips low enough for some subtle cleavage, and a cinched waist to show off a curvy figure.

It's almost Thanksgiving, but since it was 80 degrees in Atlanta today, I felt justified wearing a sundress on such a casual Friday before a major holiday.

Outfit Details:

Dress: Blithe Lyda Fit and Flare Dress

Sandals: Coach Monica Scalloped Ankle Strap Sandals

Necklace: Three Sisters Jewelry Tiny Heart Initial Necklace (I am wearing a "C" for Chapin and an "M" for Michele... so cheesy I know!)

Earrings: Three Sisters Jewelry Diamond Bar Stud Earrings (great gift idea)


I also wanted to share some recent photos of Wally and Norman that I took this week. The boys have been getting along so well these past few months, and now even seem to like each other! We started bringing them both to doggie daycare last week -- previously, only Norman went -- and apparently they like to stick together the whole day. My heart is so full!

Their new favorite activity is hanging out on the landing in our stairwell, observing us from above. That's exactly where I snapped these photos one night after dinner. Dogs are so funny!

NORMAN

WALLY

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Fit is Everything

Wearing clothes that actually fit your body, that aren't too baggy or too tight in all the wrong places, can determine an outfit's overall success. That's why it's critical to have a good seamstress or alterations specialist in your back pocket -- I like Gill's Alterations in Buckhead -- for those items of clothing that you just love, but that need some tweaks here and there to conform to your individual body type.

Most people aren't built the same way, yet there's a standardization in sizing that we all have to adhere to, and sometimes even the most polished brands can get it all wrong.

Take today's BCBGMaxAzria dress. I bought it on clearance (originally $178; purchased for $49), so yes, I saved some money, but sometimes even the best deals aren't worth it. The dress is cheaply made, with no lining, and the fabric pulls everywhere. Also, even though I'm wearing a size small, the waist is very big on me. (This is where your seamstress comes in.)

I love the white stitching, but it's not enough to make me love this dress, which can't decide if it wants to be a sheath dress (it's not quite form fitting enough) or a full out fit and flare dress. The long skirt also doesn't do me any favors; as a short person, skirts that hit at the knee or lower tend to make me look even shorter!


If anything, I think I learned a valuable lesson today: Sometimes, if a dress is on sale, there's a reason why. Hey -- at least it's comfortable, right?


Shoes: Saint Laurent Paris 80 Studded Cap Toe Pumps (no longer available)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Daisy Daisy

You may have seen news reports or read about the recent bout of wildfires spreading throughout North Georgia. Atlanta has had no rain in weeks, and the air is so dry. Today is the first day I really smelled the smoke while out with Norman and Wally on our lunchtime walk. (It's wonderful to have an 8-minute commute; it means I can go home for lunch if I have time!) I just hope we get some rain soon.

I had my hair done over the weekend, and I decided to change up the color a bit. I went a little darker and redder as a nod to the changing seasons. What do you think? Let me know in the comments. I've been going to the same stylist for over six years now: Jill Gregory at Grow Salon. I can't recommend her enough!


Today's dress is casual, girly and comfortable, just what I wanted on a day when I know I'll be reviewing a lot of reports and going over a lot of numbers. It's a desk day -- not a client facing day -- so it helps to be comfortable while still looking professional.

Dress: French Connection Daisy Fit and Flare Dress

I bought the dress on clearance at Belk, but it's no longer available there. (I would definitely check out the full selection of French Connection products, though.) You can find some amazing deals on top brands -- if you're patient. My favorite brands to buy at Belk are French Connection, BCBGMaxAzria, Taylor Dress and Trina Turk. Some of the stores are now carrying Nanette Nanette Lepore, too. That's the new, lower-priced line from Nanette Lepore.

The dress is not really available anymore, so here are a few suggestions if you like the overall look:
  • If you like the dress but not the print, check out this other version on Neiman Marcus Last Call. The color scheme is more autumn-oriented.
  • If you like the print, but want something with short sleeves, check out this form-fitting version on Amazon.

Sandals: MICHAEL Michael Kors Mesh Leilah Sandals in Nude

I discovered these sandals deep in the clearance closet at the Belk Phipps Plaza store over the weekend. They were only about $45, marked down from $120. Score! I also got some Coach flats for $25. I still can't believe that. I love a good bargain.

The Michael Kors sandals are still available online at several retailers, and come in two colors: nude (like mine, above) or black:


Chapin and I saw Arrival yesterday, and while I'm not usually a fan of alien movies, I really felt drawn to this one. Chapin really wanted to see Dr. Strange, but I talked him into seeing Arrival instead... and I'm glad I did. It was a great movie. I really enjoyed its suspenseful, thoughtful plot, and Amy Adams gives a wonderful performance. I cried at the end, but only because it's about making tough choices, which of course reminds me of George. I sometimes wonder if I will ever move on or not think about him constantly. I just have to draw comfort from the fact that -- maybe? -- one day I'll see him again.