Tuesday, June 28, 2011

War Eagle

Today I'm wearing what I have dubbed my "Auburn dress" because of the combination of the orange and navy colors. Although Jay Godfrey, the designer, refers to the color as coral, it really looks like orange to me. But what do I know? At least I can support my husband's favorite team, the Auburn tigers, when I wear the dress, right? War Eagle!

Orange is a hard color for anyone to pull off, so it helps to find it in a dress with another soothing color like navy blue. I'm a big fan of color blocking, which you may have noticed if you're a fan of this blog. I like seeing how two very different colors can come together to create a beautiful dress. Fashion is really an under appreciated art form!

You'll also notice that the dark color is on the outer edges of this dress -- the Jay Godfrey Jasper Colorblocked Dress -- to provide an overall slimming effect through the hips and thighs. I love little details like this that show the designer definitely appreciates a woman's body... and all its flaws.

Jay Godfrey is a relatively new designer who has gained increasing popularity in the last few years due to his celebrity following. His designs have been seen on Kim Kardashian, Carrie Underwood, Eva Mendes and many others. I couldn't find this exact dress online, but I did find it in a fabulous pink and blue color combination at Cusp.com.

Jay Godfrey clothing is available at select retail sites, including:

I paired the dress with some closed-toe shoes I haven't worn in a while: my L.A.M.B. Plum Navy Suede Wedge Pumps.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mamma Mia!

This weekend was fairly quiet for me. I caught up on a lot of things I had put off during the week, including:
  • Sleeping
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Cleaning
Sunday, I enjoyed a wonderful dinner out with one of the most important people in my life: my mom! We went to a great seafood place here in Atlanta: the Atlanta Fish Market. My mom tried sea bass for the first time (she loved it), and I had this delicious stuffed flounder casserole. It was amazing, and chock full of seafood bites like scallops and shrimp. I also enjoyed the buttery mashed potatoes that came with the meal. I'm such a sucker for potatoes!

My mom and I even splurged on dessert: Apple Crumb Tart with cinnamon ice cream. It was delicious.

The outing also gave me a chance to wear one of my favorite summer dresses: this Betsey Johnson Cherry Embroidered Halter Dress. I love this retro look so much. Every time I put this dress on, I feel like I am going to a picnic in 1955. Can't you just see Marilyn Monroe wearing a dress like this one?

I paired the dress with my BCBGMaxAzria Holiday Red Peep Toe Pumps.

The dress is a few years old, so unfortunately I could not find it anywhere for purchase online. Here are some similar dresses if you like this type of retro look:
Here's a picture of me with my mom at the restaurant. Isn't she fabulous?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Right Contrast

Today I'm wearing one of the dresses not documented in the early days of the Fashion Challenge. I couldn't find this BCBGMaxAzria Embroidered Contrast Dress online except for this size 10 ebay posting, but it's a fabulous dress, and I like the color scheme as well as the overall cut. I feel like it makes me look slimmer than I actually am!

I have a great pair of navy wedge pumps that I wanted to wear with the dress today, but they're suede, so, since it's going to be raining off and on all day, I opted for these Oh Deer Tortoise Pumps instead. You can wear just about any neutral shade with this dress, though. I like when I have a lot of options for my footwear.

Kate the Great

I'm a big fan of the designer Kate Spade, but I don't own many items from the label. My first item was the red New York rotary iphone case my sister-in-law, Stacey, gave me for my birthday. The second was a gift from my husband (also for my birthday): the Kate Spade New York Bixby Shoulder Bag.

I'm so in love with this bag, and I adore having a new accessory! I like so many features of the Bixby Bag, including the retro design, bauble closure, Fallow (beige) color that goes with everything, and just the sheer size of the purse. It's so big that I can easily fit everything I need inside.

Kate Spade is actually calling the Bixby Bag the "official IT bag" of Summer 2011 on its website and Facebook page.

The bag comes in the Fallow color that I have, as well as Black, Pollen (yellow) and Aqua. It also comes in a super cute clutch version.

The shoulder bag is available at several leading retailers, including:

I can't believe how many retailers are selling the purse, so my advice if you want to buy one: shop at a store that offers free shipping, no sales tax for your state, and a discount coupon code. I got mine for 25% off!

Update 9/15/11: I have updated the list above, as some retailers are now sold out. Amazon has the purse for 45% off, but hurry, because I think there is only one left, and many places won't have the Bixby bag for much longer.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Something Wicked This Way Comes

I just got back from a fabulous weekend in Florida with my gorgeous husband, Chapin. Although I flew out Friday afternoon and back home Sunday night, I still enjoyed every minute... though the weekend did pass in a gigantic blur. The highlight was our trip to Universal Studios Orlando. It was the first time we have ever visited a Universal theme park, so we were both very excited.

As we were staying at a hotel in Tampa, we woke up at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning so we could get there soon after the doors opened at 9 a.m. (Tampa is about an hour and a half from Orlando.) We grabbed a quick breakfast at Starbucks and were soon on our way.

Hogwarts Express
Once we arrived and parked our car in the E.T. section, we decided to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter first. Chapin and I are both huge Harry Potter fans, so getting to see Hogwarts and the fictional town of Hogsmeade come to life (and not just on the movie screen) was a huge thrill.

We browsed at Honeydukes (the candy store) and Zonko's (the joke store) as if we were Harry, Ron or Hermione.
Trying Butterbeer!

We tasted Butterbeer, the preferred (virgin) drink of the students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Butterbeer tastes like cream soda with a hint of butterscotch. You can try two versions: the Soda or the Slurpee. Since the day was so hot, we opted for the latter... and it was delicious!

We took a tour of Hogwarts and went on our own high flying broom adventure with Harry himself (via the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride).

We stopped in at Ollivander's Wand Shop for a live demonstration on how a wand chooses a wizard. (Long line... probably better for the kids than the adults.)

We rode a Hippogriff (on the Flight of the Hippogriff Roller Coaster) and participated in the Triwizard Tournament Dragon Challenge, two very fun roller coasters.
Chapin in front of Hogwarts

Chapin is not a huge fan of heights or roller coasters, so getting him on a coaster during this trip was so much fun for me. I love riding roller coasters - you can hear me screaming and laughing simultaneously throughout the whole ride - so this was the first time I got to do it with my husband. He was a great sport, and I really appreciated him not letting me ride the roller coasters alone. Thank you, Honey!

We also participated in some of the more classic rides, including the Jaws boat ride and Twister tornado demonstration. To be honest, we found both attractions pretty lame and not worth the wait. Fortunately, we paid a little extra for the Express Pass, so we were able to breeze through a lot of the lines. It's definitely worth it if you have limited time, like we did, to spend at the park.

Chapin taking a big bite of his burger
For lunch, we stopped at Emeril's Restaurant Orlando to enjoy a leisurely break in some air conditioning. I had yellowfin tuna tacos and Chapin got a HUGE turkey burger and fries. The fries came with some sweet, zesty ketchup that was delicious. You gotta love Emeril! BAM!

I enjoyed the Revenge of the Mummy indoor roller coaster and the Incredible Hulk Coaster. We skipped all the water rides, the little kid areas, as well as Doctor Doom's Freefall, which held no interest for either of us. In the afternoon, we tried to do some of the indoor activities, like the Disaster motion picture... starring YOU! Chapin was picked from the audience to be part of the "cast," so that was really fun for us. I laughed so hard seeing him up there. He was a great actor, though. He had to act "scared" while sitting in a pile of green balls that they later green screened out so it looked like he was in water. It was really neat, and had they been selling the final video, we probably would have bought it.

The scariest ride was the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. You start off going straight up and then straight down again, and I almost chickened out. By this point, Chapin was starting to actually enjoy riding the roller coasters, so he talked me into it! I wish a I had a picture of our faces as we went up that hill, too. I'm sure they were classic. One way this roller coaster is different: you get to choose music to listen to while you enjoy the ride. I chose Fergie's "Glamorous." I know all the words, so it was comforting to me. It also reminds me of my sister, Gail's, wedding, since she got married when that song was really popular (Summer 2007).

Well, that's the rundown on our trip to Universal Orlando. It was very hot, and I was a sticky, sweaty mess most of the day, but it was worth it.

He's after me!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's a SALE!

There are so many great sales going on at my favorite online retail sites that I wanted to share a few of them with my readers. Here is the rundown of the top sales going on now:

This fashion-centric site features some of my favorite brands, like Alice + Olivia, Diane von Furstenberg, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Milly. The site only does big sales like this a few times a year -- items are up to 70% off -- so take advantage of it! I almost splurged on my first Herve Leger dress, but I couldn't bring myself to spend so much on just one item of clothing! Chapin even said to buy it, but I just couldn't hit the go button.
No discount code needed.

One of my favorite shopping sites is offering additional discounts on already reduced items. Sale ends today, so hop to it!

Barneys New York
Get great deals on women's apparel, accessories, home items, men's clothes, kids clothes and shoes -- including some brands that almost never go on sale, like the Carrie Bradshaw favorite, Manolo Blahnik.
No discount code needed.

Bare Necessities
Stock up on underwear -- like my favorite brand, Commando -- bras, pajamas and much more.
Discount: 25% Off for Friends and Family
Enter code FRIEND at checkout
Valid today through 6/20/11
Fine print: Not applicable for purchases of Wolford, women's SPANX, men's and women's UGG® Australia, and Nike.

Eve's Apple
Get 50% off all regularly priced shoes for a limited time.
Enter code SHOES50PCT at checkout

Lord & Taylor
This site always has some kind of promotion going on, but right now it's 20% off almost everything on the site with code SUMMER. For a limited time, in honor of Father's Day, you can also get 25% off men's clothing.

Happy shopping!

What the Hail!

Atlanta experienced some major storms last night that resulted in high winds, thunder, lightening, hail and torrential downpours. Fortunately, there were no tornadoes in the area, though -- when the rain started howling -- I began to wonder. It was amazing to walk outside this morning and see all the scattered branches, leaves and other debris. These storms are so powerful.

Today I'm wearing a dress from the fabulous Rebecca Taylor brand, which has not previously been documented in the Fashion Challenge photos. It's a mock two-piece dress that does a great job combining the hard (the tougher pencil skirt on the bottom) and the soft (the lacy, delicate top). It's a classic Rebecca Taylor dress that is designed to go from the office to a night out. I really love it, though the skirt wrinkles easily, as you can see in the photo. And I even spent time steaming it this morning!

Monday, June 13, 2011

We All Scream for Ice Cream

My husband has been doing a good deal of traveling for the last few months -- he has even been gone for the occasional weekend -- so we have been spending a lot of time together when he is in Atlanta. Chapin is my best friend, and even though we've been together for almost 12 years now and live in a tiny loft with no real walls or doors, somehow we never get tired of each other. (Hopefully that means we are "made for each other," or MFEO, which always makes me think of Sleepless in Seattle.)

Friday, Chapin came home after spending almost two weeks straight in Florida working on a big project for his company. We were both exhausted from the week, so we picked up a pizza from our favorite pizza place, Antico Pizza -- which is literally the best pizza I've ever had in my life -- and brought it home to enjoy with a bottle of wine. These are probably some of my favorite nights: eating too much, drinking too much and just hanging out at home with the two best boys in my life: Chapin and George.

We spent the rest of the weekend trying to relax and get our energy up for the coming week, which meant a lot of sleeping and movie watching. We ventured to the theater Sunday to see Super 8 on the recommendation of a few friends (thank you, Kate F.), and we snacked on Reese's Pieces in honor of the movie's E.T.-esque themes. Chapin and I also made lasagna that I will probably be eating leftover for the rest of the week. Well, Chapin did most of the hard work, including making a turkey meat sauce from scratch, while I really just put the layers together while he supervised.

We also drove over to the Highlands for some gelato at one of our favorite places in all of Atlanta: Paolo's Gelato. We have been going there since it opened in 2000, during the first year we started dating, so we kind of consider it "our place." We go at least every week during the hotter months of the year, and occassionally will treat George to some doggie gelato they make especially for pets. Here are some classic pictures of George going to town on his treat.


Petite, or Not Petite

Friday, June 10th, I wore a dress that had not been previously documented for the Fashion Challenge, so I wanted to share the picture here.

I think this BCBGMaxAzria one-piece tie dress is perfect for a casual Friday, and definitely works better than jeans in these soaring, dry temperatures. (I think it's been 15 days since Atlanta had rain.)

The dress is comfortable, too, although looking back I really should have purchased the petite version. My torso is so short that I am constantly pulling the dress up to keep it from completely gaping open at the neckline. There are no buttons, and the slit is pretty deep, so if I'm not careful I can put on a bit of a show.

I am five feet and three and a half inches tall (don't forget that half), so I'm really borderline when it comes to choosing the petite version or normal sized clothing. Most of the time, I go with the normal version since I am always in heels anyway, but in some outfits, it's really just better to go petite. That's the trouble with buying clothes online -- you really don't know if you need the petite version until you try it on.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tomo Tuesday

I am very excited because I am meeting my sister, Gail, for lunch at one of my favorite sushi restaurants in Atlanta: Tomo. I discovered this little gem, hidden in a strip mall that also contains a Kroger and Thai restaurant, a few years ago when I worked just a mile nearby. Tomo has some great lunch specials, and since I can out-eat even Chapin when it comes to sushi, this place not only has fantastic food (the spicy tuna rolls are my favorite), but manages to save me some money, too.

Gail was in town this weekend, and it was nice to get in some quality time with my middle sister. Since Gail lives in Tennessee, we don't see each other more than once a month, or every month when things get busy, so I try to take advantage of all the time I have with her. Just three years younger than me, Gail and I are very close, and it helps that our husbands also get along REALLY well.

I decided for the occasion today - Tomo! - that I would wear a new dress. Chapin (sort of) gave me this dress for my birthday. I picked it out, and Chapin said it could be part of my birthday present. In case you didn't remember, I have been banned from purchasing clothes until at least November, but some exceptions were made for my recent 33rd birthday.

This dress is from one of my favorite brands, Cynthia Steffe. I have seen the dress in a few colors: this beautiful Kelly Green, as well as a vibrant Turquoise and Black. The Cynthia Steffe Talia Ponte Dress isn't available at too many stores, but I did find it here. I got mine at a recent sale on Rue La La, one of my favorite deal sites. If you want an invitation to join the site (it's free), just leave your name and info in the comments. Not all the deals on Rue La La are focused on women's fashion; the site also has men's clothing, shoes, home goods and more.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Too Hot

This week has been terribly hot here in Atlanta, hitting about 95 or 96 degrees every day. The mornings are not any better; even at 7 a.m., it's already 80 degrees out. Poor George has not been able to get too much exercise because he can't be out in the heat too long. After about 10 minutes, he is already huffing and puffing due to his thick fur coat and non-existent snout.

One of my favorite things about George is that he knows what he wants. Usually what he wants is food, but there was one time, when he was a year old, that he wanted to cool down. It was a hot summer day in June 2006, and we went to a gathering of the Atlanta Pug Meetup group. It meets once a month, usually at Piedmont Park.

That year, during the summer months, we would go to some of the members' homes, who would have lots of drinks and sometimes doggie ice cream treats on hand for the pugs. This particular meetup featured a small swimming pool. George was hot, saw that pool, and promptly plopped his butt down right in the middle of it. Soon, the other pugs followed suit, but George was the first. Yep, I guess he takes after his momma in knowing what he wants and how to get it.

Atlanta Pug Meetup: June 2006

Sometimes I find it difficult to dress appropriately for the weather during the summertime. Most places blast air conditioning so low that I tend to freeze in a little summer dress or lightweight outfit, and have to carry a cardigan around in my bag 24/7. Other places, like my office, have the air conditioning on low, so that I tend to be a sweaty mess by the end of the day. I think I may have caught a cold from all this hot to cold and back again.

I wore this Juicy Couture dress on Wednesday, and decided to take a photo since I didn't the first time around for the Fashion Challenge. You know me... I love pairing red and gray!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Chapin and I are usually inseparable during long weekends, and Memorial Day Weekend 2011 was no exception. Although we usually spend long weekends in Daphne, AL, visiting with Chapin's side of the family, this year we decided to stay home. Chapin has been traveling so much for work, that he just wanted a long weekend at home to kick back and relax. I really don't blame him! But it was the first Memorial Day weekend in at least six years that we spent in Atlanta. It's crazy how time flies.

Chapin and I tried to relax as much as possible, and I think we were successful. We did get out a little, though. Here's a rundown of our activities.

Friday night we went to see The Hangover II. It is very raunchy, and some scenes continue to haunt me, but it did make me laugh, and it was fun to see the boys back in action. Chapin and I watch the original any time it comes on HBO, so let's just say we've seen it quite a few times...

The Guys from The Hangover

Saturday we went to a cookout at a friend's house, and though I got three huge, itchy mosquito bites (the bugs love me), it was fun to catch up with friends. Chapin grilled turkey burgers with Swiss cheese. I love that combination! I let Chapin pick out my outfit, which was probably a mistake: little shorts (Old Navy) and a little purple top (Victoria's Secret) with lots of cleavage. Suffice it to say there's no picture of that outfit.

Sunday we went out to dinner (Twist at Phipps Plaza) and caught another movie, Bridesmaids. Some people have called Bridesmaids the female version of The Hangover, and it is really funny with a lot of poo humor, so Chapin really enjoyed it as well. I also wanted to mention that Twist is doing a $10 all you can eat select menu that is fabulous. I'm not sure if they offer it just on Sunday nights, but what a deal!

The picture above is us on our way out. I love Chapin's smile in this photo. He looks so handsome.

I am wearing a dress called the Have a Heart Dress from a small brand called Sugarhill Boutique. I have never worn a dress or other item of clothing from this brand, so it was a new adventure for me. I love the red accents (especially the buttons) on a typical, black A-line dress.

And now for the best part: the back of the dress is a heart cut-out. You can sort of it see it in this picture. And check out my calf muscles! It's always interesting to see yourself from the back.

I am also wearing BCBGMaxAzria pumps in a bright, fun red. I have had these shoes for about two years, but have never worn them because I forgot I had them. Yes, I think that means I have too many shoes!

This dress also represented my first purchase from the site, ModCloth.com. The site tends to skew a little younger, but has a fabulous selection of dresses, accessories, shoes and more. Most of the items are very cutesy and feminine - a perfect match with my style. I also like the site because the owners have a pug named Winston, who appears sporadically throughout the website. Here is a snippet from my order confirmation e-mail:

We ended the weekend with a barbecue at my parents' house in Alpharetta. My mom served a huge fruit salad, and I so enjoyed the watermelon. I guess it really is summer now!