My Camo Fixation

I’m not sure why this was the year that I became really, really into camouflage prints.

Yes, they’re trendy now, but they’ve been trendy in the past and I’ve never succumbed.

And since I have not magically morphed into someone inclined to participate in activities such as hunting (ok, maybe urban hunting, which is shopping in my vocabulary), this predilection is entirely new.

It started with these pants:

I ordered these pants after spying them in a Nordstrom ad. The muted print is nice and surprisingly neutral. I’ve been wearing them at least twice per week since they arrived. Another blog suggested pairing them with a striped blue and white button down, which I think would look cute. I have two of those exact shirts, but both have idled in my to-be-drycleaned pile for too long to admit, so I’ve mostly been wearing the pants with a light pink or gray tee, sometimes with an oatmeal colored cotton sweater from the Gap. I haven’t paired them yet with the velvet bee mules. but seeing this picture above reminds me to try this soon.

Around the same time that I ordered the pants, I received notice that my next Stitch Fix was being styled, and I quickly added a request for camo bottoms. While there weren’t any available (which, in retrospect was good since I had these pants on order by the time I got the Fix), this jacket arrived instead:

This camo bomber has proven to be incredibly versatile. I’ve worn it a few times already as a light layer over my favorite Target find of the summer, this dress:

The fabric in the jacket is really soft (Tencel?) and I like the cute zippered pocket detail on the arm:

While two pieces of camo in my wardrobe would have sufficed, I also added these sweatpants:

Alas, these are now sold out, but the cute online boutique that sells them has a lot of other comfy lounge pants in stock.

My final two items were from my recent Gap splurge, where I had a bunch of Gap Cash that was burning a hole in my pocket.

 

I promise not to wear this all at once.

Elizabeth & Clarke Fall 2017 Review

If you’re not familiar with it, Elizabeth & Clarke is a shirt subscription service.

Each season they offer a small collection (three items) of shirts, and subscribers can opt for one, two or all three of the designs.

I’ve been a two shirts per season subscriber for a while, and this puts me in good company since Elizabeth & Clarke says that this is the most popular option.

About six months ago, they also raised their prices from (as low as) $20 per shirt (with the three per season plan) to $40 per shirt for the same option. Currently, the two per season price is $50 per shirt, or $100 per quarter.

With the new pricing, the quality has taken an uptick. Many of the shirts feature their Unstainable technology and are winkle-free. Both of these are huge wins in my camp.

For Fall 2017, these were the three choices: a gray sweater (the “Florence”), a sleeveless Burgundy top (“Davis”), and a sleek open black cardigan (“Sloane”).

I chose the gray sweater and the cardigan.

Burgundy is not my jam.

I was excited when the package hit my doorstep last week. Here’s a look:

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Ok, this black cardigan may not look like much, but I swear the cut is almost identical to my beloved M.M. LaFleur Sant Ambroeus Jardigan (which is a jacket + cardigan). Given that the Sant Ambroeus is 4x the cost, this is a potential steal.

From Elizabeth & Clarke:

The Sloane is the best of a sleek black blazer combined with the soft, cozy knit of a cardigan.

My, that sounds familiar.

Regardless, this is a great layer for fall. I’ve already worn this a few times. Two thumbs up. This is one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever received from Elizabeth & Clarke.

Next, the Florence.

From Elizabeth & Clarke:

The Florence is a cozy, yet collected glacier grey jersey knit sweater with high-quality YKK rose gold zippers as a beautiful detail.

I didn’t realize that YKK zippers were a status item.

Actually, on further reflection, I’m not sure that’s a Thing, but I do like the sweater.

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The sweater was kind of hard to photograph. I think it definitely looks better with the zippers open.

And here is that designer zipper up close:

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Overall, I like the Florence. The zippers are a fun detail and I love anything gray, so this will be a fresh addition to what I wear this fall.

One tiny concern is that the knit seems like it will pill quickly. This is yet to be determined but this feels like an inexpensive sweater. I don’t think it’s a classic, but for a subscription box and a seasonal piece, this fits the bill.

 

 

 

 

Hudson and Bleecker Shoe Bag Review

After reading about the existence of Hudson and Bleecker travel shoes bags on another blog, I got on one of my kicks where I *had* to have them for my fantasy trips (these are all in my head), wherein I am perfectly coiffed, always well-appointed and organized to within an inch of my life using oh-so-stylish luggage and other assorted travel gear.

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So, yeah, I was determined to buy these and keep them stashed in my closet, probably forgetting about them when I actually went somewhere.

Problem number one was that they were sold out everywhere, including on the Hudson and Bleecker website.

I kept stalking the bags, narrowly missing them on a flash sale site, until one day, they re-appeared ON SALE at the Hudson and Bleecker site.

Normally $64 each, they were now $34. I ordered two.

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These are from the “Cinque Terre” collection and are linen with yellow trim. I was really excited to get them.

Until.

I received an email from Hudson and Bleecker a few days later saying that the bags were no longer available. They offered to substitute one of their packing cubes and give me an additional 10% off my order.

There were only two styles of packing cubes to select, one chambray and the other with a floral print.

I wasn’t happy but chose the chambray packing cubes. Supposedly it is the same dimensions as the shoe bag, but with a side zipper instead of one in the center.

One other thing: the packing cube retails for $30. By my estimation, since I had spent $34 x 2 = $68 on the shoe bags, I was already due a refund of $8. If I was supposed to get an additional 10% off the order, that would equate to either $6.40 or $6 more (depending on shoe bag cost versus packing cube cost), so I was expecting to get a total refund of $14 or $14.60. Instead, they refunded me the measly $8, which I thought was wrong.

I digress.

The chambray cubes arrived. I was initially underwhelmed.

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The inside has some nice features, including an internal divider (consisting of a slim zippered pocket, which could hold jewelry), as well as another zippered pocket on the other side.

Here are some close up shots of the interior:

I tried them out with some shoes. At first, I used just one pair of heels:

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This seemed like poor space utilization, so I tried a few combinations with two pairs:

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Two pairs of flats worked the best, but the heels/flats combo was also ok.

I’m going to give these a real life test next month when I take a work trip to a medical conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gap Cash Spend

Back to School shopping this year consisted of two parts.

One: Click “Buy Now” on the Target supply list that the kids’ new school conveniently put together.

Seriously, this was the easiest thing ever, and all of our school supplies showed up on our doorstep within 24 hours.

24 hours.

Let that soak in.

Granted, we now live in Minneapolis, the home of Target, but still. That was awesome.

Two: A sub-two hour shopping trip to the Gap store at the Mall of America, where I grabbed a staggering pile of clothes in the correct-ish sizes and hauled both kids to the dressing rooms. If it fit, we bought it. 

The Gap was running one of their endless promotions that weekend, including 40% off marked prices, an extra 10% off for Gap cardholders, and another 10% off for a donation to the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of America. In the end, I spent about $300 but walked away with four giant bags of clothes for the kids, enough to outfit both of them for school and beyond.

It was also a weekend to earn Gap Cash, which is basically a coupon for up to 50% off a future purchase. There’s a catch, though: Gap Cash comes in $25 increments and is only usable when you spend double the amount. Example: you need to spend at least $50 to use a $25 credit. If you spend $49.99, you’re out of luck. And if you spend $60, it’s still only $25 off.

I received $125 in Gap Cash and this weekend was the window to spend it.

Spouse is starting a new job this week (much closer to home, so this is a huge relief to shed his current 2 hour daily commute), and he needed some new work appropriate outfits. The first part of shopping was easy, two new pairs of pants and a few work shirts. for him.

But of course I had to look around a bit for myself…

This cold shoulder sweater was the first thing that caught my eye.

Frankly, I thought this trend would be dead by now, but it seems to still have a few last gasps.

I liked this sweater because the cut outs are relatively small (thus limiting the cold factor in the cold shoulder look) and it also incorporates another current trend, bell sleeves.

I ordered black but it also comes in light gray. The black seemed dressier and more evening appropriate. I am hoping to wear this out to dinner or to events this fall (if any of those things ever happen, sigh).

I’ve also fallen really hard for the camo trend this season, to the point that I bought cargo pants, sweatpants and received a Stitch Fix jacket, all in camo.

I may regret this decision, but I also added these to my basket:

 

Ok, these are definitely NOT meant to be worn together, but independently, I liked them both.

The gray and tan pattern in this tee is just so good.  Talk about a versatile layer.

On the other hand, the printed joggers are just a splurge.

I managed to burn through that Gap Cash and a teeeeeny bit more.

 

 

 

Tucker Dress Inspiration

Did you see this photo last week?

The title from Mashable says it all:

Insane wildfire photo perfectly sums up America in 2017

Golfing at the country club while the forest burns behind you. Yep.

And this is exactly how I felt about myself yesterday as I sat on the sofa shoveling ice cream into my mouth while remotely tracking two of my friends who were competing in the Ironman Wisconsin.

She just completed mile 62 of the bike portion? Wow! Slurp. Slurp.

Her half marathon time is better than mine, even after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112. Wow! She’s so amazing! Slurp. Slurp.

I was so impressed that two of my friends had done the work required for an Ironman and were now fearlessly competing. That was awesome. 

The correct thing to do here would have been to become insanely motivated and head out for a sweat session of my own, running in solidarity, but I did none of that.

I stayed on the couch.

Argh.

Earlier this year, I set a personal goal to train for and set a PR in a fall marathon. I had my sights set on the Twin Cities Marathon (October 8th), with the secret dream to stay in good enough shape to consider tacking on the 25th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon in January. These are both races I’ve done before and love.

Through the end of July, I kept up with my training fairly well. At that point I was commuting up to three hours a day, but I still found time to get in the weeknight runs as well as the longer ones on the weekends. In the week before we moved, I completed a 15 miler. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it.

And then came the move.

The first week, I missed three training runs during the weekdays but was able to complete my longer run (13.1 miles, it was a drop-back week) on Saturday.

The second week, I missed the weekday runs and the long run. I started to panic. I didn’t know routes, directions or water stops in my new neighborhood. I doubted the safety of running alone. It was hot.

I fell apart.

I made the lame excuse-ridden decision that this was not my year, and called it quits on the marathon plans, but I really let myself down.

Compounding that is the fact that while I changed my exercise patterns, I sure as heck didn’t change my eating. Frankly, the move has opened up a Pandora’s Box of great new restaurants to try in person or via delivery. There is even a liquor store that delivers through Amazon Prime’s two hour service to my house, which just sounds like the most dangerous thing ever. (I haven’t sunk quite that far).

Which brings me to the title of this post: Tucker Dress Inspiration.

Tucker is a NYC-based company that makes feminine, pretty clothes.

They are also very expensive.

While I love to spend money, it is hard even for me to justify buying a blouse that is almost $300.

Except – I have a work conference coming up next month, and the combination of my lifestyle factors (M&Ms, I’m looking at you) and job switch (moving from all suits/all the time to more business casual or even – yikes! – scrubs) has left me with limited wardrobe options.

And of course I want to look good.

These dresses from Tucker caught my eye:

The top one is called The Market Dress in Black Tire Track.

It’s silk and retails for $375.

The bottom is a fun Russian Dolls print.

The style is called “Abigail’s Party Dress” and it retails for $355. Tucker’s website styled it well for fall with black tights and boots. It looks adorable.

The real kicker? Both of these look like they *may* be forgiving of my recent indulgences.

I might have to find out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer’s End

Lately, I haven’t had much to say.

Not that things weren’t happening; they were. 

We’ve been trying to get settled into our new place, which has been interesting. 

The location is great and being in a rental house means overall less worry about things like home maintenance/improvement. But the small size has been a huge adjustment, and I felt self-conscious introducing myself to our neighbors as the New Family in the Tiny Rental House in the Middle of a Neighborhood with Otherwise Extremely Expensive Tear Downs.

That’s the thing to do here: buy an older house in a prime location, knock it down and start from scratch. The tab for all of this is typically $1.5-2 million, which leaves me scratching my head as to how this is so widespread or possible.

The kids also started their new school yesterday. It’s only a 5 minute walk away, which is terrific, and MGM (10) has finally agreed to hot lunch, so there’s one less task to do each day.

I remain cautiously optimistic.

More to come.

New Bobbi Brown Face Palette

Ok, I lost my mind a little bit when I saw that Bobbi Brown had introduced a new version of my beloved face palette, the one that I thought had gone away forever.

This one is currently available at Nordstrom in eight shades, and it retails for $65.

This one may even be better than the last one since it contains everything in the prior kit (corrector, concealer, foundation and powder) PLUS bronzer.

Given how the old palette fell off the face of the Earth, I kind of panicked when I discovered this one and immediately ordered two, lest I have a travel make up emergency.

I should be set for quite a while.