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.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Divided

The last few days have been difficult; I can't stop thinking about the fact that Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. It still feels like a nightmare, and I am scared for the future of our country.

Today's dress seemed like a good choice for this tumultuous week, because I feel divided as a nation, and betrayed by other women who clearly should know better.

Did I vote for Hillary Clinton just because she's a woman? No.

Did I vote for Hillary Clinton because her policies take into account women's rights, gay rights, healthcare, childcare and so many other issues? Absolutely.

I feel as if education was a driving factor in this election, insofar as those with less education, who did not take time to read about each candidate's political issues and stance, voted for Mr. Trump because he promised to put more money in their pockets. Mr. Trump is not an advocate for women's rights, and he is not an advocate for small business, two issues that are near and dear to me. He is a bully, whose inexperience and platform of hatred will perpetuate a society of distrust and disaccord.

I don't want to use this blog as a platform for expressing my unhappiness about the way the election turned out, so I won't go any further than to say: I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed in every person who made a racist, sexist man the leader of the Free World, a man who will always put his own interests and the interests of his brand above the interests of the people who elected him.


Today's Outfit:

Dress: Shoshanna Connor Black and White Long-Sleeved Dress

Shoes: Jimmy Choo Lottie Metallic Leopard Print Sandals

Monday, November 7, 2016

Draper James: Targeting the New Southern Woman

Today I'm wearing my first purchase from Draper James, the brainchild of actress Reese Witherspoon. The website (and a few retail stores -- though none in Atlanta), sell clothing and accessories focused on the modern Southern woman. I could easily see most of the items on the website available in department stores like Belk or chain stores like Anthropologie.


The designs here are ready to go: to the playground, to the office, to a football game (there's even a tailgate section!), to drinks after work with girlfriends. You don't see a lot of black, but you do see fun prints and classic styles with some catchy Southern phrases mixed in.

For example, Totes Y'all adorns a cute tote bag, and "Hello Sugar" appears on some red plaid mugs perfect for holding coffee on Christmas morning. You get the picture. Living in Atlanta, I'm probably well within the target demo for the Draper James brand, so I have been wanting to try out a piece for myself.

I nabbed this cute floral fit and flare dress during a recent sale, which is the only way I would buy something. (I did not build up my wardrobe by buying dresses at full price.) Although most everything is adorable, many of the items are fairly expensive, with dresses retailing for upwards of $300. (I scored this dress for about 70% off.) With the prices so high, I expected a lot from this little summer dress, but I was a tad disappointed: The dress wasn't lined, and ran a little big. It did, however, have pockets, and the material was lightweight, perfect for a hot summer day in the South.

But overall, I am pleased with my first Draper James dress.

What I like about the designs from Draper James is that they aren't childish like many other brands aimed at Southern women. For example, can you really pull off the shift dresses and neon color palette of Lilly Pulitzer past your 20s? Southern women are bright, successful and fashionistas in their own right, whether they're toting kids to school or presenting a new idea at work. It's nice to have a brand that treats Southern women as more than eye candy. (Don't forget that Reese Witherspoon is in her early 40s, too, right around my age.)


Dress: Draper James Floral Seersucker Sweetheart Fit and Flare Dress

Here is Reese Witherspoon wearing the dress in her popular Instagram feed. It's currently sold out, but check out this other floral dress from the brand (though it's not currently on sale). Fun fact: I actually met Reese Witherspoon back in 2002 during a junket for Sweet Home Alabama. During my last year in college and for a few years afterward, I was a writer and editor for INsite Magazine. That was a long time ago, though!

The dress was also seen on a recent episode of New Girl. Jess (Zooey Deschanel) wore it in the James Wonder episode (Season 6, Episode 8).


Pumps: Stuart Weitzman Capsize Metallic Cap Toe Pumps

We set the clocks back an hour this weekend, which usually -- to me, anyway -- signals the official start of the Fall/Winter season. I know this dress is better suited for summer, but it's still in the 70s here in Atlanta, so I'm wearing these types of dresses while I can!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Just Call Me Kiki

Even though it's Friday, I have an important meeting today, so I wanted to look extra professional. A sheath dress is always the perfect work outfit, no matter the day.


Outfit Details:

Dress: French Connection Kiki Palm Floral Sheath Dress

The dress is still available at the following retailers:

I also really love the maxi dress version if that's more your style.

Sandals: Studio Pollini (no longer available)


For my sisters... The name of today's dress made me think of this cheesy TV movie from the 1980s:

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Peachy Peplum and a Busy Week

It's only Wednesday, but this week feels very long already, mostly because I've had so much going on:

Our work Halloween party at Local Marketing, Inc. 
I love giving the staff an opportunity to have fun and bond with co-workers. Halloween is the perfect time to do that: costumes, candy and scary movie trivia!


Halloween at home in our neighborhood.
I love seeing all the kids dressed up and handing out (good) candy. It's such a fun night and a childhood rite of passage. I felt very old, though, when I would see costumes I didn't recognize, like anything from Minecraft.

Celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary.
This week, Chapin and I are celebrating 17 years together and 13 years married. Chapin surprised me by stopping by the office with these beautiful flowers from Petals A Florist. He knows how to make me smile!




Now, on to the fashion! Here are today's dress details:


Dress: BCBGMaxAzria Ashleigh Sleeveless Zipper Peplum Dress in Light Geranium

On Lips: Clinique Pink Honey Almost Lipstick

I love when my shade of lipstick perfectly matches the shade of my dress!

Earrings: Three Sisters Jewelry Diamond Bar Stud Earrings

I adore these earrings. They go with everything, and I always get so many compliments on them. They make a great gift, too -- just ask my sister, Laura.

Sandals: Jimmy Choo Fearne Glitter Criss-Cross Wedges in Beige

You can buy these exact wedges on Saks Off 5th (on sale), but they also come in a variety of other colors: Anthracite (black), Champagne, GoldNude and more. This particular shoe tends to run small; I'm normally a 38.5 (8.5) in Jimmy Choo, and I'm a 39 (9) in these sandals.

Jimmy Choo is probably my favorite of the designer brands, mostly because the shoes are designed with real feet in mind. Be careful when buying shoes from designers like Manolo Blahnik, who tends to think most women have very narrow feet!

Since I've gotten more into running over the past few years, my feet have changed. Calluses have developed, and I feel more comfortable in a slightly wider or bigger shoe. As always, if you're not sure about your size, just go to the store and try on some different options. Shoe shopping is always more fun that way!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween 2016

I always enjoy dressing up for Halloween, which means Norman and Wally have to dress up, too. I even manage to convince Chapin to dress up every once in awhile (though not this year). The year we were zombies, he was pretty into all the makeup, but that's more of a rarity.

This year, I decided to do a holiday-themed costume with my two boys, so... I'm the Easter Bunny and Norman and Wally are my Marshmallow Peeps!

Just hanging with my peeps: Halloween 2016

I bought the Peeps costumes on Etsy, from Danielle Pursel of Sew Dog Gone Creative. She does amazing work, and I have bought costumes from her in the past. For example, she made the little French outfit that George wore in 2013. I have been missing George even more than usual, especially around this time of year, but I understand that life goes on, and I must continue to celebrate holidays like Halloween without him. Sigh...

Halloween 2013

We have not participated in Costumes on the Woof since that year, so I decided I would enter Wally into the competition this year. We didn't win any prizes, but we had a lot of fun at the Loews Hotel in Midtown Atlanta, walking the runway and meeting other pet parents. Here are a few photos from the event.

Photo by Gemini and the Bear Photographers

Photo by Gemini and the Bear Photographers

Photo by Gemini and the Bear Photographers