Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday's Fancies: Pastel Easter Brunch

Pastels always bring me back to Gap Kids circa 3rd grade (1994ish? - good Lord, I'm old) in the absolute best way possible. I still distinctly remember that spring line full of pastels and the hours my sisters and I spent in the dressing room, fighting over who got which items (we absolutely could NOT have matching clothes).

For me, this is my first memory of truly caring about "fashion" and became focused on putting outfits together, rather than having my mom pick things for me and trying them on just to make sure they fit.  In this case, it was a pair of pastel yellow overalls (yes, you read that right) and a long sleeved white tee with four butterflies across the chest, all a different mix of pastel hues.

The row of butterflies peeked our perfectly over the bib of the overalls (in my 8-year-old mind, anyway) and the flecks of yellow in their wings was picked up but the yellow of the overalls. I wore that outfit to DEATH, also alternating with a much-loved v-neck pastel-striped sweater (strikingly similar to this new RL one).

In recent years I have found myself less drawn to pastels - they are a perpetual spring trend but my closet has become dominated by saturated orange-reds, kelly greens, cobalt blues and of course, neons. I think it's time to incorporate some softer, more feminine pieces into my spring wardrobe. Pastel yellow has been an all-time favorite (I'm fortunate to have the darker brown hair to set it off) - as long as I can stay away from a pastel overall, I think I'll be right on-trend.

Equipment Blouse / Topshop Jacket / J.Crew Snood
Mango Skirt / J.Crew Necklace / C.Wonder Studs / Rebecca Minkoff Bag
J.Crew Bracelet / Zara Heels

This outfit would absolutely put a spring in my step on Easter morning (har har) - and I wouldn't blend in with the Gap Kids-decked kiddies.

More pastel prettiness going on over at {long distance loving}!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Eating Clean: Day One

Today is exactly two months before we leave for Hawaii. I have never really been one to diet for vacations, but over the last month or so, I have started to have extreme sugar cravings that have only gotten more insatiable as time went on. And of course, this has contributed to some unwanted LBS.

So all that is to say, the timing is right. I have never followed a real diet, but my mom started eating clean and following a loose plan last week to help with digestion issues - and not only are her problems almost entirely solved, but she lost 3 pounds. CRAZY.

The biggest reason I am eating clean is to stabilize my blood sugar levels. I constantly try to deprive myself of things I know are bad for me (mostly carbs) and I end up cutting out a lot of nutrients I actually need to feel satisfied. At the end of the day, I end up bingeing - whether it be on blueberries or Cinnamon Toast Crunch...or gum (I easily go through a pack a night, judge me). I am praying that this eating plan will help me to not only to make sure I get the nutrition I need, but also keep my blood sugar from spiking and causing insatiable cravings.

That said, I am NOT being strict about this. I know, especially living with a boy, that I can't eat perfectly. We go out (a lot), we drink (sometimes a lot...) and I know myself well enough to know that if I completely deprive myself of these things I enjoy, this whole plan will backfire tenfold. I am definitely planning to be more sensitive to my drinking, especially during the week (a vodka soda counts as a carb below if I want to replace one), and am doing my best to avoid processed foods - especially sugars.

These are the overall guidelines I'm following:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday's Fancies: Spring Must-Haves

I can't believe it's Friday again - with yet ANOTHER snow day and my boss being out of the office, the week flew by. I'm not complaining, though - it was really nice to be busy enough to not mind that the boy left me alone for 10 days while he jetted off to Brazil for a "school trip". Sometimes, MBA students have the life, seriously.

While he is off in warmer climates and I am trying not to let my seasonal depression get the best of me, I've been lusting after quite a few new spring/summer necessities. Here are a few items I'm dying to add to my closet to fill some gaps.

I may or may not have scooped up the scalloped dress and the chambray shirt last night (after two years of searching, I FINALLY found the perfect fit in a chambray - about time!). I'm going to need to pick up the panama hat soon (countdown to Hawaii, 2 months!) and I've been on the hunt for a feminine tweed jacket to throw over some of my knit dresses to give them a little more formality (and warmth). At $70, this might be the answer - and I love that it's a little edgier than a traditional lady jacket!

I can't wait until it gets warm enough for open-toed shoes (how amazing is the cutout detail on those Tory sandals?!), but in the meantime, I recently realized that I do not own any nude flats. Nude leader + scallop + bow = sold.

What are your spring must-haves? There's plenty more spring prettiness going on over at {long distance loving}!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Our First Home: The Master Bedroom

A while back when I shared the exciting news that the boy and I had purchased a condo, I shared what I had in mind for the design our bathrooms (master bathroom will be straying from that initial plan - no Martinique wallpaper for me; tear).

I know I mentioned here that though I've been having issues (major understatement) in deciding on paint colors for the new place, but the one color I was confident about from day one was doing navy in the master bedroom. This was for two reasons: one, because the boor boy has been stuck with my very girly linens for the past year and two, the room has FOUR windows, so I knew the dark walls could hold up to it.

I have a very strong vision of what kind of feel I want the room to have; navy & white bedding, white furniture with accents of gold, and either apple green or coral - decidedly prep, erring on nautical but not too strongly. 

That said, aside from having decided on Benjamin Moore's Hale Navy for the walls, this room is a blank slate. We are upgrading to a king-sized bed (the boy is 6'4" so we need all the space we can get) and my existing bureau was $175 and breaks a little more every time I open  a drawer. We are going to push everything from our current bedroom into the guest bed and so, I am left with all the freedom in the world with this room, from the furniture to the bedding, lighting, wall art, and accents. Great? Maybe. Overwhelmed? Definitely.

Here are two options I've played around with for the room (so far):

Green accents (obviously).

And coral.

I am super, super undecided about which I like better; I'm tempted to go with the orangey-coral to make it a little more chinoiserie flair-friendly, but the pop of lime is so fresh and happy, and of course, a bit more manly. 

I haven't fully-decided on the bedding yet. I know part of the color pop will be in the sheets, so I am holding off on that search, but we'll need at least a duvet to start, and I am set on white with navy trim.

Top contenders:

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday's Fancies: Luck of the Irish

I'm Irish. I love green. I (love to) drink. Oh yeah, and I live in Southie, the most Irish neighborhood in Boston (or all of New England?), with the biggest St. Patrick's Day celebration in the country. To top it all of, the Sunday parade actually falls ON the holiday this year.

Needless to say, I am excited for the weekend - and being an Irish green-lover, I've got my work cut out for me in deciding what to wear. This is the one day a year I can "get away" with an all-green ensemble, so it's time to choose wisely

Friday's Fancies - Luck of the Irish

Madewell chambray shirt / J.Crew Sweater / J.Crew coat / J Brand destroyed boyfriend jeans / Tory Burch flat / Converse sneakers / Rebecca Minkoff bag / Tory Burch tote / Snamrock earrings / iPhone Case / Karen Walker sunnies / Essie nail polish

I'm thinking my J.Crew green matchsticks and a kelly green and white striped tee are going to be the way to go (with a shamrock necklace, of course) - but I would totally rock that sweatshirt if I had it.

Am I insane to think I can pull off green on green? Probably.

What are you wearing to celebrate this debaucherous holiday?

Tons more St. Patty's inspiration over at {long distance loving}!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Benjamin Moore: Color Me Overwhelmed.

I am losing sleep over paint. Yes, as in wall paint - the thing that is so NOT permanent and not costing me a dime out of pocket (aside from the massive price tag of a city condo, of course).

We went to see the progress on our new place on Saturday for the first time since we put in the offer, and were shocked to see the walls already going up. We were then notified that we owed them our 4 paint (+ trim - "You just HAVE to do White Dove - there is NO other choice!) colors by Friday of this week. Cue internal screams of "oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh SHIT!".

Realistically, I know that paint can always be changed after the fact if we don't like it. But let's face it we (I) are lazy, and the likelihood of us repainting the whole apartment, or even just one room, after all of our furniture has gone in is beyond unlikely. So, thus began my obsession withe Benjamin Moore's color board and thousands of Houzz searches for paint color after paint color.

I should note that this is my very first experience with selecting paint colors, and that because this is being done by contractors in a condo that is not yet complete (or even close to it), I don't have any opportunity to go in an test our a few paint choices on different walls to see how it meshes with the trim (will be White Dove if for no other reason than I CANNOT pick a white out of a pallette of 100+), how it works against cabinetry (there isn't any yet!), and I can't see how it will look at different times of day/in natural vs. electric light (none of that yet either!).

Suffice it to say that I am clueless. What I know is:

- We are going for New England/nautical (living 1.5 blocks from the ocean on Boston - how can I resist?)

- I need a very, very neutral white on the walls in the guest bed & in the entry hallway (guest bed will have these linens and pink walls are not an option - entry/hallway is going to end up being done up with navy stripes, like this)

- We are doing navy walls in the bedroom. We have 4 windows in the master (woop!) and I have been dying to give the boy a more masculine bedroom after being stuck with girly (not to mention that it's technically children's) bedding for the last year. Navy = nautical & masculine, and I mean, who wouldn't want to sleep in these glorious caves?


(PS: I'll be sharing my ongoing navy bedroom design boards (yes, plural) soon!)

But that's all I've got. After about 18 hours of research, here's where I'm at:


 'Cause I mean, I 'have' to. 

But now - how do I decide what shade of white to paint the cabinets? The same? I think I want something more "pure white", if there even IS such a thing. Another problem for another day (hopefully).


It became clear pretty quickly that Hale Navy is the best/only option for the bedroom. All of the other Benjamin Moore dark blue/navy shades either err too much on the purple side or are too Crayola-y. This shade is super deep and pigmented but in every photo I've seen, has a dustiness to it that keeps it from reading anything but a gorgeous navy in every light.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday's Fancies: Lace Love

Lace, to me, is one of the most feminine and wearable of textiles. While I have always imagined myself getting married in lacy (hello, Monique Lhuillier!), it is also a fabric I gravitate to in my wardrobe, most often in a blouse or a dress.

While this blizzard storms away outside my window, I'm conjuring spring with this dream outfit and switching it up a little with a lace pant and fun pops of orange and pink. I've been lusting after this top for months, and those Tory wedges are at the top of my wishlist for spring/summer - they go with everything!

Club Monaco Blouse | J.Crew Necklace | Kate Spade Studs (similar)
Celine Sunnies | Essie Meet Me at Sunset | Nars Schiap | Tory Burch Wedges
J.Crew Eyelet Cafe Capris | Kate Spade Watch | Kate Spade Wicker Satchel

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Full Disclosure: February Purchases

I can't say enough times (even on this blog) how terrible I am at budgeting. It was one of my goals for 2013 to cut down on impulse buys and focus on things I NEED rather than things I WANT. The fact that I have $300 or less in my bank account to last me for two weeks (after paying credit card bills & rent) after each paycheck is honestly abominable and 100% my fault.

Discovering the Purchase History column on Modern Even (via Meg's post today) inspired me to take a long, hard look in the mirror. Why am I hitting "confirm" on all of these purchases that are all but exploding out of my closet when I have dozens of items in there from as recently as last year that I haven't worn all season? Not to mention that if I hadn't made even a fraction of these purchases, I could somewhat easily afford some of the items I've been lusting after for what seems like forever (4 months could get me a Celine bag).

I need to start owning up to this (publicly) every month if for no other reason than it forces me to look back at my spending and really evaluate what I bought - and be able to take a look back to track my progress over the next few months.

February Purchases

J.Crew Chambray Shift Dress (also forgot...curses) - $100.30 / I have been looking for the perfect fit chambray for layering over leggings with boots in the winter and an easy shift for summer; this was perfect.
J.Crew Factory Chambray Shirt - $48.37 / STILL on the hunt for the perfect chambray shirt. This may go back after I try it on.
J.Crew Blythe Blouse in Black - $58.80 / Both of my black silk blouses are from ON/H&M and I reserve for wearing out to bars (cheap, poorly fitting). It was time for an upgrade and the Blythe is one of my favorite fits from J.Crew
J.Crew Boy Shirt in Dots - $40.80 / In the midst of my search for the perfect chambray, I've also been seeking a polka dotted one - this fits like an oxford but looks like chambray; perfect.
J.Crew Pixie Pant - $78.00 / My black pixies are 3 years old and from the Factory store. I wear them at LEAST once a week, so needless to say, they are in rough shape. I had a 20% off coupon so I couldn't pass up upgrading to a better quality pair.
J.Crew Factory Anchor Blouse - $51.00 / This blouse from last season was my favorite shirt, but I got it on super sale and it was one size smaller than I would have liked. When the Factory came out with it I knew I had to add it back to my wardrobe in a better size (and let's be honest, I've packed on a few lbs this winter...)
Kerastase Fibre Architecte - $35.70 / My split ends are out.of.control. I just got my hair cut and I need this to seal off my ends to prevent more splitting while I try to reduce the damage. This was actually a crazy good deal (this stuff is never on sale - thanks, Birchbox!)
Essie Maximillian-Strasse Her - $8.00 / Confession: I consider my nail polish collection its own wardrobe - it must be assessed for holes. I can't tell you how many dupes I've bought over the years just out of excitement for a new collection. This one, though, was unlike any others I have - and as much as I wanted to scoop up more of the new Essie colors, the rest are all totally uninventive and I can guarantee I have a dupe for all of them.
J.Crew Anchor Bikini - $80.00 & J.Crew Tulle Bikini - $92.80 / I didn't purchase a bathing suit last year, and I am already gearing up for my trip to Hawaii in May. It's not often you can get a good deal on J.Crew swim so I jumped on these suits with my 20% off; still trying to choose between the two!

Maybelline Color Whisper in Petal Rebel - $8.50 / This color is the perfect pinky-nude for daytime
J.Crew Factory Lobster Sweater - $37.44 / I wish I could say that I needed this, but who NEEDS a lobster sweater? It was just too cute not to have.
J.Crew Infinity Scarf - $14.87 / Love this, did not need. That said, I have worn it almost every day since I bought it so I won't call it TOTALLY unnecessary...
Nicole by OPI Kissed at Midnight - $8.50 / I wish I could say this was filling a hole in my polish collection, but if I'm being honest, I have 5 gold glitter top coats already (I promise they are all slightly different!). I've been desperate to find a gold, multi-sized glitter that didn't take 6 thickly-dolloped coats to get a good payoff, and THANK GOD this was the answer.
Sole Society Peony Flat - $25.00 / I have zero need for these - they are just so adorable and for $25.00, I couldn't resist. Bad, Carolyn.
Ann Taylor Scalloped Blouse - $41.99 / I had been eyeing this top for months - I can't resist a scallop, especially at 40% off. I am still on the fence about keeping it; the yellow is SO bright that it's strictly a summer top. Attempting to track it down in navy to make it more versatile...

(2) Revlon Lip Butter - $8.50 (each) / Saw these on blogs, and while I love that they are sheer -er than most lipsticks, these colors only work for me when going out at night
J.Crew Factory Pink Lace Tee - $42.00 / I have this top from the regular store in cream and have hardly worn it (yet another "barely fits" super sale purchase). It's not nearly as versatile as the ivory top so we'll see how much wear this gets...
J.Crew Factory Gold Cable Link Bracelet - $19.50 / I already have a gold link bracelet, not to mention a plethora of other stacking bracelets I wear almost daily (the J.Crew pave link and the Stella & Dot Renegade, to name a few)
(2) J.Crew Knit Stripe Boatneck Tees - $14.97 (each) / I couldn't even tell you how many striped tees I have in my bureau right now (it's somewhere around 12). I know they say "y17+42+19.5ou can't get enough stripes" but really, you can. And these are not basic, they're completely novelty and while I love them, they were totally unnecessary; I got sucked in by the (amazing) price.
J.Crew Factory Multi-Stripe Tee - (forgot this one...and couldn't fit more stripes. BAD.) - $37.44 / This was just totally unnecessary considering I had JUST bought two of the same neon-colored striped tees.
J.Crew Shrunken Dot Oxford - $24.00 / Stupid, stupid, stupid. The tags are still on, it's adorable but I have no shortage of oxfords (and I love the Boy Shirt I bought earlier this month much more...stupid). Note to self: STOP falling for crazy good prices.
Essie Haute as Hello - $8.00 / Speaking of nail polish wardrobe - I have more than enough orangey-peaches in my collection, and to top it off, the formula on this shade stinks. Fail.


Budget purchases: $500.97

On the bubble: $136.30

Totally unnecessary spending: $177.88

I could VERY easily still have almost $180 in my pocket - and if I was being REALLY good, it would be more like $300. Don't even get me started on the list of things I would have rather invested that money in. It's growing every day, but as the big move gets closer, all of this should be getting saved for incremental (and often unexpected) expenses like flood insurance (found that one out last night), countertop alternatives (hello, macaubas quartzite!), kitchen hardware upgrades, etc.  

Here's to hoping for a better (thriftier) March...

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