February 28, 2011

I'm back!

     Hi Everyone!  I'm back from the hell that is bar study and bar exam taking.  To tell you the truth, I have really missed blogging.  Its going to take me a really long time to catch up on reading blogs as there are currently 400+ unread items.  I'm guessing "mark all as read" will be making itself known in a day or so.  Anyway, I feel really good about the bar and hopefully in a month I'll be planning out my swearing in.  Thanks for all of your support too--you guys are the best!
   Not only is today my return to blogging, its also my first day back from work.  I took all of 2 days off and I'm back to the grind.  I wish I could take more time off, but such is life.  Part of me is excited to get back to the grind and immerse myself in work, part of me is not so thrilled.  I want to take a few more days to sleep in, watch tv all day, and hang out with Bella.  I'll be taking full advantage of my weekends though.  
    One super exciting thing I'm looking forward to is revamping my home office.  Right now I have a beautiful desk The Fiance gave me a few years ago for my birthday.  I absolutely love it.  My office chair and bookcases, on the other hand SUCK.  I'm looking forward to replacing several pieces of my office furniture.  For example, I want a new office chair, a desk lamp and some bookcases.  I'm thinking some artwork would be good too.  What, for you, is a must have in your office or working space? 

*This is a CSN sponsored post*

February 14, 2011

Brief Hiatus

     Happy Monday.  Today is Valentine's Day, so Happy Valentine's Day to you too!  Today is 8 days from the bar exam.  Yup, that big bad test will take place Feb. 22nd and 23rd.  As a result, I'm going to take a brief hiatus for the rest of February to concentrate all of my energies on the bar and then recovering from actually taking the bar.  I may post something between now and then, but more than likely, I'll be back on or about March 1. Til then, I leave you with this beautiful picture I took with my iPhone of the Fiance's Mustang at sunset.  

February 11, 2011

Mixing Patterns

I wore this outfit yesterday.  I've been inspired by Brittney of A Day in the Life Too . . . to get out of sweats and into real clothes while I study.  It ended up being just as warm and comfortable as if I had worn PJ pants and a sweatshirt all day long instead.  In other words I sat with a blanket over my lap anyway.  I'm not sure if the clothes necessarily kept me on task more than normal--but I wasn't embarrassed to go outside to get the mail like I normally am when I wear my monkey face PJ pants.  
    This skirt is significantly shorter than I normally wear.  Because I spent the day in a chair, under a blanket, fidgeting to get comfy, it was PERFECT!  The short skirt let my legs move and get comfy without being restrictive at all.  I'm not sure I would wear this skirt without tights ever, but with tights I would feel perfectly fine wearing this in public.  
    As you can see, I am boldly mixing patterns with my leopard print rain boots and purple plaid skirt.  I am quite a fan of this combination.  If I had actually left the house I may have even worn these boots instead of my suede knee highs too.  I'm generally not afraid of pattern mixing.  The only reason I don't do it more often is that I don't have a lot of patterned pieces in my closet.  I should probably work on that.  How do you feel about mixing prints? Fun or scary?

The Details:
Undershirt:Fruit of the Loom Available Here
Skirt: Old Navy (on sale for $7.97!(
Tights: Hue Available Here
Boots: Capelli via Stein Mart Available Here

February 9, 2011

Shopping Habits

    Right around the first week of the year, I was talking to my mom about my Christmas shopping.  I mentioned that her present to me was an order of clothes from L.L. Bean.  She then asked if i did a lot of my shopping online.  At first I thought not really, but really thinking about it and then reading Kat's post, I actually do a lot of my shopping online.  I do it for a number of reasons too: convenience, price, my home is my dressing room and quality.  It is significantly more convenient to order something online and have it arrive at my door than having to go to the mall as well as other non-mall stores to try things on and then come home with nothing at all.  Its also more convenient to try things on at home where I have the rest of my wardrobe to try things on with, its all about context.  Lastly, online deals tend to be way  better, for the most part, than in store deals.  As a result, I'm able to afford better quality of clothing at a lower price due to my online shopping. 
    Because I do so much of my shopping online, I've come up with a technique.  It's not fool proof or perfect, but it has brought me reasonable amounts of success.  So in the interest of sharing, here it is:

A-C's "Guide" to Online Shopping

1.The Click
Coldwater Creek Blazer
    If I'm looking at a store online its because I've been drawn in by a promotion or sale.  This is almost always the case as I rarely just browse stores for fun.  The sale has to be for a store I already like or have heard good things about too.  I'm not a random online shopper, so I stick to stores I know or know of.  To get these promotions I subscribe to emails like Ann Taylor, Talbots, Old Navy, Banana Republic, eShakti and the like.  Also, every now and again I check slickdeals.net.  A lot of great promotions get posted there such as my ruffle blazer.    

Talbots Dress
2. Skim
    My next step is to figure out what the sale is about and skim the items that are on sale.  Is there anything at all that I like?  If I look around and only find like one thing, I *might* click on it and look, but generally, unless there are several things that I like, I tend to move on.  I think its shopping my attrition, eventually I'll get lucky if there are a lot of things that catch my eye.  Reduce the sample size and my odds go way down. 

3. Click
    Next I open in new tabs everything that has caught my eye and is within roughly 20% of the amount of money I would feel comfortable spending.  If an item is more than that but absolutely amazing, I'll open a tab for it.  But its got to be spectacular.  I generally end up with at least 15-25 tabs open at first.  

4.  Weed
Talbots Skirt
    Now I weed through my tabs and actually look at all that I've clicked on.  How does that jacket look in a decently sized picture and not in a thumbnail?  Is that skirt or dress long enough or too long?  Is that blouse navy or black?  All of these things and more can be answered by looking at the larger image of items as opposed to the often tiny thumbnails provided at first.  I go through and eliminate anything that I don't find cute.  On the flip side, I make sure to keep things I find cute and attractive.

5.  Weed (again)
    This time I weed by price.  I have to decide, assuming the fit and color (to come in a bit) are right, am I willing to spend $X on that skirt, dress, blouse, jacket?  I look at each item individually and decide if that individual item is worth it.  I also look at the items collectively and compare which ones are more worth my money than others.  

Bravissimo Dress
6.  Walk Away
   This is one of the most important steps.  Most of the time I need to walk away from the screen, from all the wonderfully tempting deals and just chill, elsewhere.  Sometimes minimizing that particular screen is enough.  Sometimes I go in to my closet and imagine how the items I've been looking at fit in to my wardrobe.  Other times I just play with Bella.  The point is, I walk away from the computer to keep myself from impulse buying.  Sometimes its a couple of hours.  Other times its been days.  It depends on the sale, the store and the item.
7.  Fit and size
    One of the most important aspects of shopping, whether online or in person is the fit of a garment.  You can have the most beautiful dress in the world, but if its too small, short, big or just not cut to your figure, it will be a bad buy.  In order to aid me in figuring out fit and size, I check out the store's size charts.  I also check out reviews if the site has them.  In addition, lately I've been doing the customer representative chat thing.   I'll ask them specifically to help me choose a size and in return I get the actual dimensions of the item in whatever size(s) I think will fit me.  Because not everything will be available in the size I need or will flatter my shape, this step will also cut some of the items from my list.

Nine West Pumps
8. The Cart
    Now I finally add everything I've approved in terms of style, color, price and fit in to my cart.  And then I look at the total.  When I look at items individually, I tend to think, "wow, $35 for this blazer is amazing!"  But when you have 2 blazers, a sweater, a skirt and a dress, it all adds up.  By putting it all in the cart and looking at the total, its really hard to deceive yourself.  

9.  Weed (again!--3rd time's the charm)
   Looking at the total, how much do I *really* want to spend today?  Is everything in my cart a real steal or just filler?  This is the time where I get ruthless.  Its time to decide how much total I'm going to spend and what is really worth buying.  

eShakti Dress
10. Coupons
    Lastly, I do a google search for promotions.  Yes, I know I started out by going to a sale, but sometimes you get lucky and can add a 10% off coupon or a free shipping deal to a sale.  
11.  Buy!
   Now that I've exhausted myself and overthought every aspect of this purchase, its time to buy.  

    I can honestly say, that if I go through each of these steps, I am generally quite satisfied with the items that end up on my door step. Yea, paying for shipping sucks, but being able to weed through things and really think through a purchase rocks.  It virtually eliminates impulse buys and keeps my wallet (more) full.  Sometimes I do step away again before I buy or ask a friend what they think somewhere along the way.  But its not always true, so I didn't include that in my 11 steps.   So yea, this is my process when I shop online.   

Do you have a particular process for shopping online?  Are there certain things you *must* do before you buy?

February 7, 2011

Post of Many Names

    This post could go by several names: To my mother, Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Little Post that Almost Wasn't, Third time's the charm. . .  Essentially, I wrote the post about my mom over a week ago.  It took wearing the outfit 3 times (yes I do laundry) to finally get decent pictures, something I wasn't sure would happen.  The sidewalk behind me literally ends right there.  So yea, here goes. (finally)
    I (originally) wore this outfit a week and a half ago on  Thursday when I went on a quick grocery trip.  I actually wore it that night and decided to recreate the outfit so that I could get good pictures (again).  But that's not the point of the post.  This is about my mom.  (When I originally put the outfit together) I was standing in my closet and grabbed my new pair of black jeggings.  I knew I wanted to wear them with my new Tsubo Hepti booties.  But then, what else to wear?  I didn't want to be weighed down by a coat, so I looked in my sweater section of my closet.  I decided to go with this soft caramel colored sweater.  And, yes, it used to be my mom's.  This was also part of the haul that my sister brought me after her Christmas break.  
     I've always loved this sweater.  The color is a soft neutral that works with everything.  It is also the perfect length.  A lot of sweaters that I've seen lately are way too long for me.  I get that a lot of tall ladies prefer the availability of long sweaters and shorter gals may like long sweaters with leggings, but for a short curvy gal like me, a shorter sweater works best with skirts and pants.  To add to the list of awesome characteristics, this sweater isn't all that bulky either.  Its not skin tight, but it does highlight my figure.  All in all, I love this sweater.
     Naturally when I grabbed this sweater I was thinking about my mom.  In fact, my mom probably wore some version of this outfit 20-30 years ago.  Thinking that makes me feel connected to her, even though she is several hundred miles and several hours worth of a plan ride away.  Little did I know when I threw on the sweater and stepped out my door that she would end up text messaging me.  Apparently my poor mother has a kidney stone (still) and spent all of that Thursday in the Emergency Room.  They gave her pain killers, but she expressly told my sister and me that she would rather give birth to several babies in a row than have to deal with a kidney stone.  While it was hilarious to hear her say this, I felt really bad.  She's so far away and only has my dad to take care of her.  I know they're adults and have lived on their own for a while, but I feel at least marginally guilty that I can't be there to help her out.  

Isn't the zipper just killer?
    If you want to know the story about these booties--Check out my review of them here

 Do you feel connected to people through your clothes?  Is your closet a way to feel close to your loved ones?

The Details:
Sweater: Carara (thrifted) Similar Also Similar
Jeggings: Old Navy

February 3, 2011

Tsubo Hepti Review

Tsubo - Hepti (Dark Chocolate Suede/Terracota) - Footwear     Let me tell you about these booties.  When booties first came into fashion, I was not their biggest fan.  Its not that I didn't like them, I just figured I wouldn't participate.  Then, several weeks ago, Tiffany of I am Style-ish had a post in which she was wearing a pair of really cute booties.  A day or so later, Sally of Already Pretty posted on Twitter that 6pm.com was having a sale on Tsubo shoes.  I've heard plenty of wonderful things about Tsubo shoes and boots from both Sally and Audi of Fashion for Nerds.  So I clicked over to 6pm.com and marveled at all the beautiful Tsubo shoes they have available.  I thought of getting the Tsubo Eini in Red/Metallic Dark Grey, Tsubo Nabu in Black/Light Grey, or Tsubo Acrea in Mecca/Chartreuse.  In the end I chose the Heptis because they were different and I need a new pair of brown boots and I kept thinking of Tiffany's post when I looked at the Heptis.  So I called mom to see if I could use the remaining of my Christmas money on shoes, got the go ahead and ordered them.  
Tsubo - Hepti (Dark Chocolate Suede/Terracota) - Footwear    They arrived within the week and it was love at first sight.  Luckily I checked out others' reviews so I knew to order a half size larger than I normally wear.  They are really comfortable and I can barely feel that they have a 3 inch heel.  The metallic orange inside adds a funky touch that only I am privy to.  All in all, I would definitely recommend these booties.  They do have a 3 inch heel, so if you're not used to wearing heels over 2 inches, I might reconsider.  Also they're suede.  I am planning on spraying them to protect them, but I would not wear these out in the slushy winter weather some of you are experiencing.  
     And guess what guys--Today only: Tsubo Shoes Up to 70% off! at 6pm.com .  In fact, the Tsubo Heptis are $43.50!  In addition, 6pm.com is offering Heart to Heart Shipping Promotion - $2.95 flat rate shipping from 2/1 to 2/14!

*This review was neither asked for or compensated for*

February 2, 2011

I Feel Pretty!

     Like I mentioned in my previous post, last night the Fiance had a work event to go to.  The thing is, the day was full of a lot of other stuff before I could even think about getting ready.  Normally, he takes the car and I stay home to study all day.  But because the event was at a hotel in town, it made more sense for me to take him to work and then afterward pick him up to go straight to the shindig.  Except that after I took him to work, I went and got a flu shot.  It took a good hour and a half to get in for a 2 minute thing, but since insurance covered it, I feel like it was worth it.  

    Anyway, so on my way home, I stopped to get my eyebrows waxed.  While I've been studying I haven't really cared much for grooming them.  Sure they're on my face and highly visible, but its such a pain to pluck them.  So I've let them grow out.  I used the event as an excuse to get them waxed.  A friend had recommended this hair salon, so I went online and checked out their prices.  Since I would get charged the same thing at the mall, I figured I would go to the salon instead.  I got there and was impressed by the salon.  Their prices are reasonable and the salon itself is beautiful.  I asked if I could get my eyebrows done and within minutes I was headed to the back to get my eyebrows waxed.  The esthetician was really nice and friendly.  She asked me if I wanted them cleaned up or shaped and I said yes to both.  I think they turned out excellent.   I would definitely recommend checking out Tanglez Hair Salon if you're ever in the Wilmington (NC) area and are in need of getting your eyebrows waxed. 
    So after I finally made it home I had to put the Fiance's clothes together so that he could change in the car after work.  Then it was time for me to decide what to wear.  Monday I had picked out 3 outfits and I let him choose which one I should wear.  Since it was his event, I thought it was only fair for him to decide what I should wear.  He chose this Talbots dress that I bought using my Talbots dividends last fall.  
     I got to decide on the accessories.  Even though its 66 and raining today, last night was pretty chilly so no bare legs.  I went with my Merona polka dot tights to keep me warm and add a bit of a youthful flair to my LBD.  To keep the theme of unexpectness going, I went with these burgundy pumps.  (Let's ignore that the mirror I used for this is not 100% clean and reflective, k?)  
     These pumps were my Christmas present from the Fiance.  I had been stalking them online for quite some time, and then mid-November they went on sale for 50% off with free shipping.  I got him to order them for me and they arrived about 2 weeks before Christmas.  *I* wanted to open the box and try them on.  He wouldn't let me!  So I waited until Christmas day to open them.  And lo and behold, I thought they were too tight.  I was a wee bit perturbed as I could have tried them on and gone to the mall to check out the sizes all before Christmas.  In the end, I dragged him to the mall to try on the shoes on in 9.5.  These ended up being too big.  The lovely lady behind the counter was able to stretch out the 9s for me so that they were no longer tight.  Hooray for great service!
    So, let me tell you about my hair.  Since I washed my hair a few hours before having to leave the house, I had to figure out something to do real quick.  After washing and putting in my Hana Shine Shield leave-in, I threw my hair up in a towel to dry for a bit.  Once it was dry, I finger combed some mousse into it and dried my whole head with a diffuser.  The result was a lot of curls and a lot of body.  Unfortunately, it was also a lot of frizz.  I felt kind of Hermione-ish.  So I put my hair in a Clever Clip, ironed my bangs and decided that that would be good enough if I couldn't do something cute with my hair.  I ran out of the house with my hair up, resigned to wearing it up.   After picking up the Fiance I undid the clip and amazingly, my hair turned out beautifully!  I have no idea how it happened or why I was blessed with this serendipity, but I even *felt* pretty.  And that is HUGE.  So off we went to the Fiance's event looking and feeling great!

The Details:
Dress: Talbots (no longer available) Similar with Belt, Similar, Similar with Sleeves, Also Similar
Tights: Target Available Here
Heels: Nine West Available Here (not in burgundy)
Earrings: ?
Coat: Tahari (consignment store) Similar Shape


So the Fiance had a work banquet thing to go to yesterday and I got to be all fancy.  Here's a sneak peak. . .
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