Sunday, August 31, 2008

Football Style

Can you believe it? The beginning of the NFL season is nigh upon us, and you have less than a week to figure out what to wear!

First of all, for the love of sweet, baby Jesus, don't show up in one of these:

Seriously? The last time I checked, there wasn't a single team in the NFL that had pink as one of their colors. I think part of the problem is that manufacturers of woman-sized NFL fan gear don't realize that there's a big enough faction of women out there who actually want authentic looking stuff, just cut a bit smaller to fit our girlish figures. While there is a growing number of options out there for women, they're still relatively difficult to find unless you order online.

Me? I sport a number 81 jersey in a Youth size Medium, which, although was a gift, can be easily obtained at a local Academy Sports:

Which brings me to another source of frustration. I really want a T.O. Tee. If you watch Hard Knocks on HBO, you will know what I'm talking about. Yes, I know, I am a big dork. But they only make the cool ones in dude sizes! Check out the ladies' version:

Are you kidding me? "iDance"? "iModel?" I'm sorry, but I do neither. However, I do love me some me. Why can't I have a shirt in my size that allows me to say that to the whole world??

Anyway. If you want to be a little more fashion-forward while still showing some love for your team, Retro Sport makes some good stuff. All of their apparel has, you guessed it, retro team logos on it. But they look cool, and the fabrics are super soft. And they don't do just NFL; they also do college, NHL, and NBA. You can buy Retro Sport at boutiques, online at places like Revolve Clothing or NFL Shop, or directly from Retro Sport. I wouldn't mind adding these two items to my collection:

And for the spoiled fashionista fan who has everything, I bring you this:

It's like a Judith Leiber, except not. Although at $2449.99, it sure is priced like one!

As IF!

Let me preface this by saying I am NOT getting married anytime in the near future. However, if I was, these are some dresses I would love to try (all from J. Crew, of course):

The Luxe Drapey Jacquard Turner Gown, $1300

I am in love with the neckline of this dress, and the jacquard is a nice departure from your typical lace or satin. So chic and elegant.

Lisette Gown, $2000

This dress is just so unique. I love how the flower applique carries on up the straps of the dress. This would be perfect for a beach or countryside wedding.

Eyelet Cascade Gown, $1200

This sweet little number would look absolutely adorable for a summertime shotgun wedding!

And I would just absolutely FORCE my bridesmaids to wear either one of these cute berry-trim dresses:

Berry-Trim Strapless Nathalie Dress, $350

Berry-Trim Nathalie Tank Dress, $350

The color would be bright peacock, which is a pretty teal that would flatter everyone's skintone, and would work practically year-round.

While J. Crew's bridesmaid dresses are on par with or slightly more expensive with your typical bridesmaid dresses, I think one of their greatest advantages is that they have versatility (a.k.a. they don't just look like bridesmaid dresses).

I am amazed with the pricing on the wedding gowns, however. Many of the styles are unique and beautiful, and cost much, much less than your typical wedding dress (or at least much less than something I would expect to buy). Plus I like how many of the gown have straps, which are pretty much impossible to find these days in the sea of strapless wedding dresses!

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Stylish Nurse

I'm sure this post is relevant to almost no one but me, but it's my blog, so I don't care!!

With that being said, as a recent graduate of nursing school, one of the things I am most excited about is ditching my school uniform of a white scrub top with maroon pants for something with a little more style. Keep in mind, the use of the word "style" is relative, since we are talking about scrubs here, not runway couture.

Pretty much all of the cool nurses wear Urbane scrubs. They come in lots of different solid colors and have contrasting trim on the scrub tops. As much as I am one to not follow the herd just for the sake of it, some of the color combos were just too cute for me to resist. My favorite is Arctic Ice with Chocolate trim. Plus, they are super comfy. The main downside to Urbane is that they have only one measly pocket on the scrub top. Where the heck am I going to keep my phone, PDA, alcohol preps, scissors, cash, pens, etc? Fashion comes with sacrifice. I have also noticed, however, that all the cool nurses don't carry a lot on their person anyway. Note to self: Must learn to be cool.

I bought 8 sets of scrubs, i.e. my entire work wardrobe, for under $300. Jealous?

I am also excited to ditch my filthy, scuffed-up white Danskos (I dubbed them my Smurf shoes) for some shiny black patent ones. Yes, yes, yes! And the shiny patent surface will guarantee that any and all bodily fluids will just roll right off.

I initially ordered some MBTs, lured in by their promise of comfort, and more importantly, toned legs and backside. Even though I told myself that my vanity would not win out over the possibility of having skinnier thighs, I just could not get over how huge these things were. They looked like big, dorky moonshoes. Needless to say, vanity won this battle.

Once I have worked for a while and have established myself as a cool nurse, I am going to rock everybody's world when I show up to work in these bad boys:

Yep, that's right. Leopard-print patent leather Danskos! How I covet these shoes. But for now I am going to lay low and not draw too much attention to myself by wearing the black ones. Good things come to those who wait.

I've Been a Bad, Bad Girl

I think I just bought my bus ticket to hell. Okay, not really; that was a complete over-exaggeration. But I indulged in way too many guilty pleasures yesterday. I deserve to be in time out.

1. I went to J. Crew for the second time this week. Additional Items Marked Down + An Extra 40% off + 15% Student Discount = I Can't Believe My J. Crew Card Isn't Maxed Out By Now. By the way, the Watercolor Floral Madison Dress that I bought on Monday is now only $79.99, plus an additional 40% off. Are you freaking kidding me? That dress is awesome, and a complete steal at that price.

2. I went to the American Girl Store. Yes I did. I'm a grown-ass, childless, 27-year old woman and I totally went there. I've been wanting to go ever since it opened up in the Dallas Galleria last year. It's not even like you can just stop in there on your way to a more age-appropriate store since it's not actually connected to the mall. American Girl Dolls were a childhood obsession of mine, particularly Kirsten, the Swedish Pioneer. I loved her so. I also had Felicity and Samantha, but they got the red-headed stepchild treatment. I guess it didn't help Felicity's case much that she actually was a red head.

I was so disappointed to see that Kirsten is probably one of the least popular dolls now. They even took away some of her outfits, as well as her school bench and lunch. Blasphemy!!! How is she going to even compete with these newer broads who have doll best friends and roller skates?? I think I'm taking this a bit too seriously. After all, I briefly considered asking the stylist at the doll hair salon if they would be able to do anything to tame my Kirsten's frizzy tresses.

3. I skipped working out in favor of some mango margaritas.

4. I went to see The House Bunny. Obviously it's not going to win an Oscar, but it entertained my small, margarita-buzzed brain for approximately 90 minutes. I was mesmerized with how tiny and perfect Anna Faris' body was. Why can't I look like that? Oh yeah, it's because I skip workouts to sip on margaritas.

5. I ordered champagne, I mean, sparkling wine, at a pub. Can we say "high maintenance"? I'm ashamed to admit that I do this quite frequently. Slap the cuffs on me officer, I'm guilty as charged.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Lazy Hostess: Pretty, Easy Cocktails

Summer's not over yet, and this upcoming Labor Day Weekend is the perfect excuse to enjoy some fruity cocktails by the pool (given your pool has not been infested by Crypto). Lucky for you, the great country of Mexico was kind enough to share their delicious fruit nectars with the gringo. Jumex Nectars come in a blue can and can easily be found (in Texas at least) in either the Mexican foods section or the funky soda aisle of your local grocer. Available flavors include Apricot, Peach, Guava, Apple, Pineapple, Mango, Pear, Plum, Papaya-Pineapple, and Strawberry Banana. At only 33 cents a can (which is what my local store was charging), you can afford to pick up one of each and start mixing.

Mango, Guava, Peach or Pineapple would be delicious with some bubbly. Pour a little bit of nectar into a champagne flute, top off with some André, and you're good to go. Or, if you adore you some pear-flavored vodka, you could a shake up shot or two with some of the Pear nectar for a martini that is muy delicioso.

If you are fortunate enough to live in the vicinity of a Target that sells alcohol, you can also fake some homemade sangria. The super-cute Wine Cubes offer both red and white sangria. My favorite is the white sangria. Just pour some into a glass of ice, add some fresh fruit, and everyone will think that you actually made an effort. You could even kill two birds with one stone and use frozen fruit instead of both ice and fresh fruit. How fun!

You can even attempt to recreate my beloved Sparkling Mango Sangria from La Cubanita. Fill a large wine glass with ice, pour in a few splashes of Mango Jumex, followed by some Target white sangria, then top it all off with some sparkling wine. It doesn't taste exactly like the real thing, but it's close enough.

Now that I have given you all these ridiculously simple drink ideas, there's no excuse why you shouldn't greet me at the door this weekend with a fabulous cocktail. Oh, and don't forget to wear one of these:

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Look for Less? Shopping With a J. Crew Personal Shopper

Like I said in the previous post, there just is no substitute for bonafide J. Crew. And when you gotta have it, you gotta have it. Well, what better way to feed your need than with a discount and some free style advice? Since early this month, J. Crew has been running a promotion where you can get 20% off all of your full-priced purchases when you make an appointment with a personal shopper and spend at least $100. Done and done.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't so sure about the personal shopper thing at first. I'm pretty particular about what I wear, and I didn't want the added pressure of having to spend a lot of money because I have someone helping me out. But after hearing other J. Crew aficionadas rave about their experiences with their personal shoppers, I decided to take the plunge and set up an appointment. My growing wishlist of new fall items also helped nudge me in the right direction.

When I first got there, the personal shopper, Lana, had already pulled several items in my sizes and put them in a dressing room. We then talked about what my (fashion) goals were and walked around the store and pulled some more stuff that I liked and that she suggested for me based on what I said I wanted, or what would go with pieces that I already recently purchased.

I thought I went in with a fairly open mind and with the intention of trying everything the personal shopper suggested. However, I soon realized that my already negative opinion of certain items didn't miraculously change once I put them on. The Donegal Tweed Ecole Jacket? Eh. It looked okay undone, but I don't really see myself as a blazer person. Glass-Button Featherweight Merino Cardigan? This is one of those long, v-neck cardigan shapes that is becoming popular. I didn't like it at all. Even in an extra-small, this thing swallowed me and just looked shapeless and sloppy. This is definitely one trend I am not going to adopt. The Dream Taffeta-Sash Cardigan was very plush and soft, and slightly better than I expected, left untied and over a graphic tee, but not something I'm going to spend $150 on at this point. Maybe it if goes on super-sale in the future...

So what DID the personal shopper help me accomplish anyway (besides allowing me to get 20% off)?? She was able to tell me what styles worked for me and what didn't. She was able to come up with suggestions on how to pair certain pieces together. Who would have thought to put a purple Jackie Cardigan over the Serengeti Tank? I know I wouldn't have thought of it, but now it's an option that I have, and it's awesome!  And girlfriend squeezed me into a size zero dress that I never would have even considered trying on, because I never thought my hips would allow it!

Oh yeah, and she also enabled me to spend much more than I wanted to, but damn, I am all the more happier for it! I mean, I actually SAVED over $300, so really, it was a no-brainer.

Bottom line: Lana rocks! And did I mention that she has the most adorable eastern European accent? She sounds just like my friend Miriana, who is from Bulgaria. I can't promise that your local J. Crew will have an eastern European Lana, but they probably will have a personal shopper there who can give you some good style advice, as well as 20% off some fabulous fall clothes if you get in there by August 29th.

What was that you say? What did I buy? Oh yeah. Now the fun stuff. I won't show you EVERYTHING I bought, because that would just incriminate me.

Cool Website:

I'm pretty sure I already have espoused the many virtues of to all of my friends on more than one occasion. In case you've been living under a rock, Zappos is a magical place where millions and millions of shoes live. You want orange high heel clogs in a size 10? You can find them quickly with Zappos "search" feature, and then they'll appear on your doorstep the very next day. Free (overnight) shipping, free returns; it seriously doesn't get any better, especially when you are trying to find the perfect pair. Not to mention the fact that you don't have to deal with some creepy mid-40s dude oh-so-delicately putting your foot into a shoe. Grossness.

When Zappos shoes don't make their way into a good home, they go to, where their prices are drastically reduced. The downside? No free shipping, and you are going to have to march your arse to the post office and mail them back on your own dime if they don't fit. And there is no real user-friendly search feature. You have to browse pages and pages and pages of shoes until you can find the right one, unless you already know the exact name of the style you are looking for. Part of me wonders why they just can't transport Zappos search feature onto, but then I can see why making it difficult for customers actually helps the bottom line. You see, while having to sift through pages of shoes looking for those orange clogs, you might come across a pair of purple heels that you didn't even know you needed. And then you have two pairs of shoes in your shopping cart instead of one. Sneaky, eh?

Anyway, I have actually found that comes in handy as a resource for "replacement" shoes. I recently was able to find a pair of Steven Persuade (a calf-hair leopard print flat --- see pic below) in my size for only $69 to replace the worn out pair that I bought over 2 years ago for $110. And I can't tell you how many pairs of shoes I was able to find on there that are already in my closet, at prices sometimes 75% less than I had originally paid. (Some of you are probably thinking, "Ew, her shoes must be so ugly, no one would buy them at full price." I say to you, this is a testament to my superior and unique style, which obviously no one else gets!!)

If you are a Nine West fan, there are literally thousands of styles available, most of them going for only 30 bucks. I even saw a pair of decent looking all-leather boots for $50. There are also several "occasion" shoes, so if you need something to go with that bridesmaid or holiday party dress, this would be a good place to look for that pair that you're only going to wear once.

Now get to discount shoe shoppin'! And you can thank me later.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Look for Less? Target vs. J.Crew

In case you didn't know, I love J. Crew. Love, love, LOVE! And while nothing is a substitute for the real thing, I couldn't help but noticing several familiar looking items as I browsed the women's clothing section at my local Target. J. Crew version is on top, followed by Target version below.
Lamé Tanks:

The one on the bottom is from Target and the one on the top is J. Crew's. Target's is $17.99, while J. Crew's is a whopping $98. Both are made from a cotton-lawn type of fabric, and the Tarjay version looks a lot more flowy in person. Since most of us probably don't incorporate lamé into our outfits on a regular basis, I'd say go with the Target version.

Pretty Floral Prints:

J. Crew's beautiful Watercolor Garden Lydia Blouse ($110) is beyond compare, and I can definitely see one of those making its way into my closet very soon. But if you like that floral print, Isaac Mizhrai has shrunken it down considerably and put it on a cardigan and the mini-sweaterdress ($39.99) above. The dress is actually very cute in person. Not sure if I can pull it off, though...

Abstract Floral Prints:

I couldn't help but notice how similar Richard Chai for Target's rose print (available in the above-pictured dress, as well as a tank and a button-down shirt) looked like J. Crew's Abstract Rose Print strapless dress ($165).

Tiered Dresses:

This look is certainly not for everyone (namely anyone who has the slightest bit of a rear-end), but if it IS your cup 'o tea, you can spend either $650 for J. Crew's Fontaine Dress (also available in a long, wedding-gown version) or a mere $39.99 for the Isaac Mizrahi version. I am struck by the similarity in the necklines of the two.

Long V-Neck Cotton Cardis:

I don't know how I feel about this trend yet; I'm not so sure that it will look good skimming the hips of a pear-shaped person such as myself. I haven't seen either version yet in person, but given my ambivalence, I think I'd opt for the Mossimo version at only $19.99 over the more expensive J. Crew version at $88.

Tie-Neck Tees:

J. Crew: Silky, pretty jersey; elbow-length sleeves; long and flowy; $58.00. Target (Merona): Ugh-looking cotton stretch fabric ; short sleeves; short and fitted; $9.99 (on sale). I think J. Crew wins this battle. I actually scored the J. Crew version in a pretty teal color in-store, on-sale for $39.99, plus an additional 40% off.

Contrasting Color Cardigans:

Okay, it's not really fair to Merona to compare their $19.99 cotton-blend sweater with J. Crew's luxurious wool-cashmere blend cardigan with FAB crystal buttons ($118). But if you like the contrast-trim and don't have the money for J.Crew, the Target version would be a good bet. Thank goodness I have enough credit left on my J.Crew card...


I have a problem. I really do. Last week when I was signing for my purchases at SuperTarget, I looked down and saw the above promo featuring the same adorable model that also makes regular appearances on the J. Crew website and in the catalog. Lord, help me.