Week 11 :: of ping pong balls, no regrets and Taylor Swift

I wasn’t supposed to buy it.

I walked around Ross with it.  I tried it out.   I walked around some more.  KS#1 and 2 both agreed it was cute but eventually convinced me that a dress of this nature was a one-time wear because of its distinctive color.  I put it back on the rack and walked away.  That was Sunday.

Yesterday, I came home from work and was met at the door by my son who informed me of his desperate need for ping pong balls in order to complete his science experiment.  I was hungry and tired but I obliged because that’s what good moms are supposed to do.  How convenient, then, that the sporting goods store is right next to Ross.

You pretty much know where this is going, don’t you?

I honestly only wanted to visit it.  In fact, I was half expecting it to be gone ‘coz that’s how things work at Ross.  It’s like the thrift store; if you don’t snatch it up the first time, there’s no guarantee it’ll be there tomorrow.  But there it was, on the last rack I looked.  And remember, I was tired and hungry; not the best combination when one is trying to be strong and virtuous.

I told myself I’d just buy it and try to style it at home.  After all, I could always return it if it didn’t work out.  But here it is.  Apparently working out.

Lace Tuesday

Now I can’t hold a candle to Taylor Swift’s beauty, but hers was the closest silhouette that matched my own when I Googled “blue lace dress”, so vanity be damned.  I do like how the color of my dress matches my newly painted nails perfectly (probably one of the main reasons I was so captivated by it in the first place), and I adore the darling bow belt that came with it.  Who knew black and Tiffany blue would work so well together?

I tore a page from Lisa at Respect the Shoes and wore a collared shirt under the dress.  It’s a strategy of hers which I’ve long admired but never had the proper pieces to replicate until now.  This dress needed it because the wide expanse of decolletage looked weird, even with a statement necklace (I tried) and the crew neck cardi I was planning on wearing with the top button buttoned completely hid the belt and no way was that gonna happen!  I tried multiple collared shirts and finally settled on this one because it provided a crisp contrast to the flowy-ness of the dress, what with the sharp collar, extra wide cuffs and pinstripes and all.

Lace Tuesday

I’ve got nothing much to say about the shoes except that my feet needed a break from last week’s excessive use of heels so I chose my most comfortable and sensible pair of black pumps.  I was planning on wearing these heels but I’m still debating whether or not I want to keep them.  At $29.99, I think it’s a steal, but I also have way too many shoes as it is.  Aly says it’s too expensive but KS#1 says it’s cute and she has a similar pair that she paid twice as much for.  I dunno; I’m still conflicted.

I’m also unsure about the cap sleeves on the dress.  Styled like this, I don’t mind it as much but when I wore it sans shirt, the sleeves looked like a flimsy afterthought.  What do you think – do I pay my lovely tailor to chop them off and remake the dress into a sleeveless number or do I leave them as is?

Lace Tuesday

Lace Tuesday

:: Just the facts, ma’am ::
Dress w/ belt – Ross
Shirt – New York and Co.
Shoes – Adrienne Vittadini
Earrings – eBay

Week 11 :: of heat, frustration and Dolores Umbridge

coco_chanel-1“I consider lace to be one of the prettiest imitations ever made of the fantasy of nature; lace always evokes for me those incomparable designs which the branches and leaves of trees embroider across the sky, and I do not think that any invention of the human spirit could have a more graceful or precise origin.”

Coco Chanel, April 29, 1939

Well, heck! If it was good enough for Le Grand Dame du Mode, then it’s good enough for me.

Happy Monday, my friends! For lack of a better intro, I resort to my tried-and-true college trope of starting an essay with a famous quote.

And thus, I welcome you to this week’s theme…

Lovely in Lace Week

Originally, because it’s supposed to be quite warm (we’re talking in the mid-80s), I was planning on doing Dress Week.  But after several fruitless minutes ransacking my closet with KS#1 and 2, we decided we just weren’t feeling the dress love.  By this time, KS#1 had resorted to playing Candy Crush, KS#2 was nursing, and I was hot and sweaty and just a bit out of sorts, certainly not in the mood to think of anything clever.

I wanted to call it quits and demand we head out to Target – my zen place – when KS#2 off-handedly suggested my doing a Lace Week.  I’m sure she had her ulterior motives, but I didn’t care.  I latched on to the idea like a drowning man to a life buoy, dove back into my closet and started flinging out all my lace pieces.  Twenty exceedingly warm and hectic minutes later, I had five working outfits for the week.

Today’s look is perhaps the most traditional of lace looks.  That is, at first glance, it’s prim and proper and girly – everything that comes to my mind when I think of lace.

Lace Monday

The dainty Peter Pan collar and the sheer pastel pinkness of the top is borderline twee for me;  I was feeling like a cross between the proverbial librarian and a defanged Dolores Umbridge.  I think that’s why I subconsciously styled it with a bodycon pencil skirt and snakeskin D’orsay pumps – to glam up the look and take it out of twee territory.

Lace Monday2

In hindsight, there is something even more egregious than potential saccharine overload with this ensemble:  I’m like the poster child for Forever 21.  Every piece of this look comes from the mecca that is F21 (minus the shoes but only because I never buy F21 shoes since they never come in half sizes).  I know I’m not their target demographic and all and they probably don’t need any more sponsorships, but boy, howdy!  It’s like they paid me to do this post, eh?

I really need to expand my sartorial spending patterns.

Lace Monday3

:: Just the facts, ma’am ::
Top – F21
Skirt – F21
Shoes – Marshall’s
Earrings – F21

HGB :: Orly bonder, Essie polish and Seche Vite

I am not a nails person.

Oh, sure, I enjoy me a good pedi day with BF, but I am not one to spend my time applying coat upon coat to my fingernails myself.  I just don’t have the patience or – let’s face it – the coordination to give myself a decent manicure.

But KS#1 is in town from Boston and she’s a bona fide nail expert and when she gets giddy at the thought of pampering my sadly neglected nubs (yes, I am a nervous nail biter), who am I to deny her the pleasure?

So I sat at the dining room table and watched with fascination as the process began.  And like the proverbial little kid with the infinite questions, I badgered her the whole way through.

Me:  What’s that?
KS#1:  Bonder.
Me:  What’s it for?
KS#1:  Base coat.
Me:  Oh. What’s that color?
KS#1:  Mint Candy Apple.
Me:  It’s kinda bright.
KS#2 (interjecting from the peanut gallery):  Wait till she puts the second coat.
Me:  Second coat?
KS#1:  Stop moving. And trust me. Gimme your other hand.
Me:  What’s that?
KS#1:  This is the best.
KS#2  (rolling her eyes in righteous agreement):  The best! It makes your mani so shiny! Look!
At this pont, I oooh and aaah over her candy apple red mani while KS#1 continues to swipe away.

KS#2 nails

Watermelon by Essie

KS#1:  There. Done.
Me:  Seriously?
KS#1:  Yeah. Don’t touch anything.
Me:  How long before it’s dry?
KS#1:  That’s what the Seche Vite is for. It won’t be long at all.  Don’t blow at it or wave your hands.  It’ll cause air bubbles.

And with that last remonstration, she sashayed away to stuff her face with cheese balls and I was left admiring her handiwork, which took all of ten minutes, if that.  I give total props to my sis, but I think a lot of it has to do with the products she used.

Now, as I said before, I’m no nail expert and so technically this shouldn’t even be an HGB feature, but I’m so impressed with the way my nails came out and the way the whole process was so effortless and quick that I simply had to share the love.

nails

I can’t speak about that Orly bonder but I can tell you that the Seche Vite truly does what it’s French moniker implies – it dried my nails so quickly, I was taking the cake out of the oven fearlessly in less time than it’s probably taking me to write this.  And the shine it leaves behind is glorious – it looks super professional and my thin fingernails feel stronger than they’ve ever felt before.

Of course, as with house renovations or new cars, it’s the color that takes center stage, not necessarily the behind-the-scenes foundational work.  And what a color this is!  Sure, it’s super bright and sure, I’ll probably have OCD about next week’s outfits coordinating with it, but I have to say that I’m mesmerized.

(And we are all going to ignore my shoddy cuticles while we admire the polish color. I said KS#1 painted my nails; I didn’t say she gave me a manicure.)

mint nails

It’s too early to tell, but if these nails are able to withstand the everyday wear and tear I put them through for at least a couple of weeks, then perhaps I might end up becoming a convert after all. And perhaps these three products will become true HGB items. Or perhaps it’s all just a nefarious plot on KS#1’s part to get me obsessed with polish like she did me and makeup so she has someone with whom to squee over new products.

Grrr. Argh.

What’s in my cart :: capsule wardrobes

So it’s official.  I’m going to Yale this summer.  For seven weeks.

Yes, I know I’ve mentioned this in passing, but now I’m calling it official because I’d finally screwed my courage to the sticking place and dropped the bomb on my kids’ laps this week.  And they were such little troopers because they took it quite well.

So the good news is that now I can openly talk about it and plan for it.

The bad news?  Did I mention seven weeks?!

How am I supposed to pack seven weeks’ worth of blog post outfits for a place I know nothing about?  My only foray into the East Coast had been last November for KS#1’s wedding and that was only for four days!

[insert hyperventilation here]

After I finished a mini-meltdown, I went to good ol’ Google to research wardrobe capsules.  Funny thing is that the first page of results sent me straight to people’s Pinterest boards.  Ah, Pinterest!  And so we come full circle, eh?

wardrobe capsule

Of course, I started a Yale board and began to pin. But this is only the tip of the iceberg, my friends. I need your help in culling through the pins and making an actual list of things to throw in my suitcase.  I suppose I should put it in context, so here goes:

  • The job is as a curriculum adviser for the renowned Explo program.  This means I won’t be teaching kids; I’ll be observing college kids teaching high school kids and mentoring said college kids with their lessons and instructional strategies.
  • I’ve been told I’m allowed to wear shorts and flip flops.
  • The offices are air conditioned and I’m assuming so are the classrooms but the dorms rooms where I’ll be staying are not.  o_o
  • I am expected to chaperone various weekend day trips, possibly into New York or Washington D.C., so I’ll be doing a fair amount of walking.
  • I hear it’s hot and humid in New Haven in the summer.
  • I only want to bring one 29″ suitcase with me to take advantage of JetBlue’s one free check-in program.

I’d like to look at this trip as a fashion adventure and continue blogging during those seven weeks.  But I also want to be comfortable and work appropriate.  And right now, those two things feel mutually exclusive and I’m overwhelmed.

So I’m asking for help from any and all readers who’ve either traveled, or who live in the East Coast, or who love minimalist approaches to clothing, or who know how to create spreadsheets/checklists, or who are simply willing to give me their $0.02 about what/how I should pack.

wardrobe capsule 2

I plan on revisiting this issue every other Saturday until D-day so as not to bore, but also so I can get as much feedback on this as possible.  I’ll start The List today and will be revising it as we go.  It’s a Google doc and as long as you have the link, you can view it and edit is as you see fit.

Feel free to play, my friends.  Type in suggestions for color or fabric or number – I give you carte blanche.  After all, I’m doing this for you!