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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WIWW: Black and Blues Without the Snooze

A great-fitting black v-neck t-shirt and a pair of faded jeans has to be one of my favorite combinations.  A definite go-to for my every day style, it's seasonless, timeless, ageless, and done right can be so flattering and subtly sexy, but done too often can be a bit of a snooze-fest.  So I wanted to see if I could achieve similar results by exploring some new but classic [and warm!] pairings of blues and blacks (plus some other neutrals, because there were a few items in my closet that desperately wanted me to wear them this week, even though they weren't black or blue.  You know how that goes, right?)

Simple Sparkle

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Sweater - Garnet Hill, thrifted (!)
Jeans - Lucky Brand
Lace-up Oxford booties - MIA
Belt - ? 
Sapphire bracelet - gifted from Al and the kids this Christmas


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I love the details on this Garnet Hill sweater.  
I also love that it cost $2.99 and still had its original tags.  Come to Mama!


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Upper left:  A close-up of the sapphire bracelet.  I almost took this back and exchanged it for something "more practical."  When I first opened the box on Christmas morning, after fainting dead away, I thought "Gorgeous!  But so fancy, I could only wear it on special occasions."  The longer I held onto it though, the more I thought it would be the perfect pop of sparkle for a very simple outfit like this, where it gets to be the star.  
I think it works, do you?

Right: Peabody wanted a kiss mid-photo-sesson.  Who am I to say No?  
Besides, I've learned that saying no to a Cobb man is futile.

Just above: And a close-up of the lace-up oxford bootie.  
(So toasty-warm and a bit less clunky than a boot can be.)

Preppy con Cozy


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Sweater - LOFT 
Striped shirt - Jones New York 
Jeans - Land's End 
Black Patent belt - Calvin Klein
Boots - Sorel 

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This "scarf" is just a swath of animal print fabric I had left over after making this DIY wooden bead necklace in the fall (scroll down to about mid-page to see the necklace.) 
 I just tied it into a loose ascot around the collar of the shirt.

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I switched to a black suede kitten-heel pump with a teeny bow on the toe (Kelly & Katie) after things dried up outside. 
Necklace - LOFT
 
Skirt?  Checks!


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Skirt - Ann Taylor 
Gingham shirt - Ralph Lauren (Boy's shirt. Got it for $10 at Ross!) 
Grey v-neck sweater - Eddie Bauer 
Tights - Target 
Shoes - Circa by Joan & David 
Necklace - LOFT, Bracelets - Target, Old Navy 



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I've always loved gingham.  So glad it's got a place in today's grown-up styles.  
Hoping to get Al to try a bit in his casual wardrobe soon.  He'd look positively dashing in it!

Corduroy Mère

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Corduroy blazer - Land's End via Ross (major score for $11.99) 
T-shirt - Gap 
Jeans - Lucky Brand 
Animal print pumps - Bandolino 
Braided leather belt - thrifted 
Necklace - Target, Bangles - Old Navy

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Yes, I still ended up in the black t-shirt and jeans I love, but just this one time, 
and I added the blazer and a fun shoe to give it extra warmth and a bit of sophistication.

Do you have a favorite combination that never fails to make you feel comfortable and cute?  Have you ever tried variations on that theme?  I had fun with this and found some outfits I loved and will wear again, for sure. 

Want to see my other style and What I Wore Wednesday posts?  


I'm linking this post to What I Wore Wednesday and Real Momma, Real Style.  If you are here from either, I would love to see your outfits as well.  Please post the URL from your current post in your comment (otherwise they usually don't work for me, for some reason) so I can stop by.

If you are a regular reader or a friend-in-real-life who clicked over from Facebook, I want to hear from you in the comments section below as well.  (It's not hard, and it gets even easier the more you do it, I promise.) There's no such thing as an outsider, an eves-dropper or an uninvited guest at FriedOkra.   I'm thrilled to have you, and I love to hear from and respond to everyone (with the obvious exclusion of creeps), no matter how you got here.








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Monday, January 23, 2012

Rightness

My desk, a normal Saturday afternoon, the warm office lit only with the glowing, clean sunlight reflected off snow along the double window's ledge. To my right, against the stripes of the blinds, in his favorite chair, reclines this man -- the one person on whom I look and no longer feel the end of me before I blur and blend into the beginning of him. Steam from his tea politely excuses itself across whiteness outside in iridescent wafts, and above it this smooth, familiar profile that always brings me back to love, to safety, to joy and oddly to myself again, again and again.

I pause to take him in.  A steady gaze at his face [always] makes me think.

This would be another life, and mine another heart, had I never taken the chance he offered nearly a decade ago - had I not finally just inhaled courage and walked with him up and over the raw jagged edges of my broken self and onto the canvas where he stroked our simple, solid future with a gentle but firm hand. In soft colors and shapes that pleased and only left my eyes wanting more, never jarring or tainting with too-bold, over-promising saturation or stark lines I felt could lock me in or shut me out, he showed me our together-way with his own humble, clean, proven confidence in himself.  And in the me I couldn't see or feel myself.

(He has always been the right one, the wise one, solidly sure but eternally patient as I've slowly caught up to hold his hand or look into his kind eyes and just know, with him. The only times I've been all-the-way right are the times I've disagreed but still somewhere known that he wasn't wrong.) 

 I said No a hundred times, a hundred ways, in a hundred moods. I gave a thousand reasons. Any other man would surely have let my torrent wash him away.

Yet he listened carefully and never shifted, and the tiny thing inside me always uttering faintly, Maybe found its way to the light, saw his thoughts, felt his heart's breath. Up spluttered the spark of the woman I was in his eyes. His faith fueled that spark to a fire of Yes, first to myself, and then to the future and then to us. And I have always felt the permeating warmth from the flames of that Yes, no matter how far from the original fire life has tried to take us.

He was right then, and even when doubts try to smother or dim, I know the woman he recognized and coaxed from inside me.  I focus on the image we've made real.  We hold his rightness in our joined hands.








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Friday, January 20, 2012

Style Crushes: My Shopping Cart Runneth Over

I'm enjoying talking about daily style so much lately. I love looking at style blogs and window shopping around the internet. (It's much warmer than actually leaving my home and scurrying from store to store, plus I can pile a bunch of stuff up in my "Shopping Cart" then dump it at the door before I click away empty handed, having talked myself out of everything I thought I wanted, without ticking off any salespeople. Not that I'd know anything at all about second thoughts or last minute cart dumping or ticked-off salespeople, you understand. That is totally not something I do. Ever.)

Here are a few things I'm pushing around in my cyber-cart right now. My cart's pretty full of stuff for spring and summer and there's a simple explanation for that. It's because I'm COLD.

You gotta know my first item's gonna be shoes. These are pretty practical in contrast to the ones I've bought lately though, so I'm thinking I should go ahead and get them for that reason alone.  A girl needs a practical shoe.   Right?

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These basic neutral pumps would work right now, in the very deeply dead, not-only-is-it-merely-dead-it's-really-quite-sincerely-dead winter, with black pants and a blazer or jacket, and then in spring, demurely peeking out the bottom of the pastel and jewel-toned jeans that are all over the place. And a neutral pump would really lend some "special occasion" class and style to simple and casual outfit you'd put on any day, like jeans and a cute striped top.

See what I mean? (And there are several different lovely iterations of this outfit to look at if you click on photo.)

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And then there's these jeans:

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Y'all, I'm determined to own and wear a white jean this summer. The ones pictured are J. Crew's matchstick jeans in white denim. Now I understand that a white jean can make an ample bottom look even ample-er, and that does give me a little trepidation, but I'm going to try some and see how it goes. And look, the model even has 'em on with neutral pumps!  J. Crew is obviously following my lead here.

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Look at all the pretty skinny belts. These are from Ann Taylor. I haven't actually had worn one on my own body yet, so I'm not 100% sure I'll love the look on me, but I sure do like it on skinny little models and fashion bloggers.  

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Speaking of Ann Taylor, I have my eye on this gorgeous leather tote. Wouldn't this be cute around town in May and June with the white jeans above and a simple button-up gingham or floral shirt with a pair of wedges or sandals? And it's roomy, and would last the rest of my life, I bet.  And if I buy now I can get it for 30% off.

 Listen to me talking myself into a $298 price tag. Clearly I've taken leave of my senses.

  Mmmm... but the smell of purse leather will do that to a girl.  Sigh.

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And lastly, this felted wool jacket from Land's End, which OHMYGRANNY! appears to be completely sold out.


F-f-f-f-fu-u-u-u-dge...

Now I'm totally kicking and I-told-you-so-ing myself. The minute I saw it in their most recent catalog, which was less than two weeks ago, I thought, That just is utterly adorable and everyone who sees it is going to have to have it! Self, you'd better order one now if you really want it, or you're gonna be flat out of luck.

And I didn't. And I was. Pooh!


But I will have one or two of these lovelies before the spring comes.

(Pay no attention to me!  I'm just going to wheel my cart over here re-e-e-eally close to the door, and try to decide which ones.)  

What are y'all drooling over for spring?


I'm linking this up at Fashion Friday. Have you written a fashion post this week? Go link yours up too!  





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Thursday, January 19, 2012

One Question, Revisited

I wrote this post a little less than a year ago, and haven't really thought of it in awhile. But I noticed via my stats page that someone landed on it yesterday and I thought.... One Question? What was the one question? I need to go look at that.

And so I did.

And I read the post. And the comments. They're among the most moving and meaningful comments I've gotten since I started writing here and I got all teary-eyed when I read them again. And it seems like January, a month when we're all resolving and starting fresh new ways of living and thinking, is the perfect month to revisit this question, and to recommit ourselves to making sure the answer to this One Question is simply I WOULD KEEP HER AND LOVE HER FOREVER.


If you had a friend who talked to you the way YOU talk to you, how long would you keep her around?

I could stop right there, couldn't I? Because your mental answer to this question, and the process you're going through to arrive at your answer brings you, and me, immediately to my point. It's pretty astonishing, isn't it? It's also one of the many brutally honest questions I've been asking myself for a year, since way back when I wrote this post and this post in response to my study of Beth Moore's So Long, Insecurity, You've Been A Bad Friend to Us.

The past 12 months have been enormously introspective ones for me (Oh hey, what else is new?) as I've tried to implement some new thinking Beth challenged me test out via the pages of her book. And I've come to the conclusion that probably the biggest hindrance to my being able to understand, embrace and live out my life as the uniquely gifted person God made me to be, is that my ears and my mind remain completely distracted by this constant barrage of negative self-talk.

Y'all know what I mean, right? Negative self-talk is that deflating voice inside your head that criticizes and nags at you about everything from what you fed the kids for breakfast (You're letting them eat THAT?) to the color of your smile as you brush your teeth before bed (You look like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas!)

I'll give you a fresh example of what I mean from my own life. Yesterday was Valentine's Day. As I wote, I had very laid-back expectations of the day, but I did want to have a nice, special dinner, the four of us together, to mark the occasion. So I spent the post-lunch afternoon straightening and vacuuming the main level of the house, browning and dicing and simmering up a pot of my homemade spaghetti sauce and then cleaning the kitchen. I got done with one minute to spare before it was time to pick Bean up at the bus stop.

So Bean gets off the bus and we go home, and within 45 seconds, we've got conversation hearts and Dora cards making a sparkly pink and red trail from the back doorstep to her bedroom. And then, fully-sugared up after snacking on all the Valentine candy, the kids proceed to get out every toy they own (given the criteria that it comes with a minimum of 25 teeny little accoutrements), and scatter them to the four corners of the earth. And it's only then that I realize, as I'm assessing the amazingly, breath-holdingly impressive and expeditious re-clutterification, that Bean has dance class in about an hour, so I've got to feed both children dinner, like NOW.

Two little kids, spaghetti, salad, milk, garlic toast. Plus Dora and all of her paper card friends, the entire Walgreen's candy aisle, 962 Matchbox cars, about a thousand marbles, My Little Stinkin' Pony and Her Entire Posse plus all of their brushes and bows and flowers and deely-bobbers. Equals?

Well, you do the math.

I fed the kids and got them all ready to go, coats, boots, scarves, ballet bag, shoved 'em in the car. And as I turned around and looked back over the destroyed kitchen and living room one last time before I walked out the door?

The negative self-talk started.

YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET YOUR KID HOME FROM SCHOOL AND FED AND TO HER DANCE CLASS WITHOUT THE WHOLE HOUSE LOOKING LIKE A BOMB EXPLODED IN IT. NOW AL'S GOING TO COME HOME ON VALENTINE'S DAY TO THIS DISASTER. WHY ARE YOU SO DISORGANIZED AND WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS RUNNING 5 MINUTES LATE AND YOU DIDN'T EVEN BRUSH YOUR TEETH AND MATTHEW HAS SPAGHETTI SAUCE ON HIS FACE AND OH LOOK! BEAN'S TIGHTS HAVE A HOLE IN THE KNEE AND HER TWO PINKS CLASH HIDEOUSLY AND YOU COMPLETELY, UNERRINGLY, UNAPOLOGETICALLY, SUCK.

YOU NEVER SEEM TO GET ANYTHING RIGHT. YOU'RE JUST NOT CUT OUT FOR THIS WIFE/MOTHERHOOD THING.

(Blink.)

Now. Can you imagine EVER saying that to a friend?

(OMG.)

Not a chance. Not to a friend, not even to a STRANGER! And if you did? She'd cut you off completely. Never speak to you again. Especially if you did it every chance you got. Am I right?

Here's what you and I would say to ANYONE ELSE: YOU DID YOUR BEST! STOP BEING SO HARD ON YOURSELF! YOU'RE A GREAT MOM AND A GREAT WIFE AND YOU REALLY TRIED AND THINGS DIDN'T WORK OUT. AL WILL UNDERSTAND AND YOUR KIDS WILL NEVER HOLD THIS AGAINST YOU. THIS KIND OF STUFF HAPPENS TO EVERYONE! YOU HAD THE BEST INTENTIONS! PLEASE DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP.

Isn't that what you were thinking while I was describing my afternoon? I know it's what my friends would think and say or they wouldn't be my friends.

Yet the tirade of negative self-talk above is just one example of what I do TO MYSELF. I bet you do it to yourself, don't you? Maybe on a different scale, and maybe not all the time, but I'll bet you do it. I almost KNOW you do it.

And my point is, why on earth don't we treat OURSELVES as well as we'd treat any other sweet, precious woman in our lives?

Why?

And how must we, by refusing to do so, be perpetuating our own insecurity and bruised, battered self-worth? How could we ever expect to learn to love someone who talks to us that way? And how, most importantly, are we going to shine light out into this world that so desperately needs it, if we are walking around with that kind of garbage going on in our heads?

Can we stop? I will try. Will you?

Stop yourself when you start going down that negative path, and mentally place yourself in the position of a FRIEND, and then choose, instead, to offer yourself empathy and an encouraging word. Look, you know your own true heart better than anyone else. And YOU? You're every bit as good as the best friend you've got.

Start treating yourself that way. You've got light to shine, lady.


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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WIWW: Mad for Plaid, Thrifty Finds and Shoe Martyrdom

It's Wednesday again, and that means it's time to share some of my outfits from the past week. This week I was all about plaid, and brighter colors popping amid wintery neutrals.

And some ridiculously impractical but seriously fierce shoes.

I love ridiculously impractical but seriously fierce shoes. When I go shoe-shopping, which I do way too often, I always go immediately to the Ridiculously Impractical but Seriously Fierce section, and I rarely make it past that section before I've spent or exceeded my entire shoe allowance for the day/week/month/year.

Which is why I end up wearing my slippers every where I go.

(I don't, really. I probably should, but I ascribe to the theory that comfort is secondary to beauty when it comes to footwear.)

(I'm a shoe martyr.) (My feet love me for that, don't you, feet?)

Make Your Own Sunshine

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Sweater - Talbot's (years ago)
Shirt - Old Navy (on sale now)
Cords, bracelet - White House Black Market
Braided belt - thrifted
Lace up heeled oxfords - TJ Maxx
Necklace - A kinda-sorta DIY. This is the White House Black Market necklace shown in the last outfit
here, with two strands of pearls woven around and fastened in the back.

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Racy Red with the Kids on a Sled

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Sweater - Woolrich, one of my recent thrift-store finds
Shirt - Old Navy (on sale now!)
Scarf, orange bracelet - Target
Leggings - Champion
Boots - Sorel
Aran scarf (pictured below) - Handmade by my Mom when I was about 8.
Seriously!
Keep your handmade stuff, people!

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Black Silk Why?

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Sweater - LOFT
Silk henley top - Victoria's Secret
(Loving this one right now, and it's still available in several colors, which I may have to buy. Why I wore it when I'd be dealing with two little children with the dirtiest hands in the world all day I do not know.)
Jeans - Land's End
Shoes (Ditto the above comment about the black silk top. WHY?) - Audrey Brooke
Necklace - Target
Bangles - Old Navy


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Thrifted Blossoms

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Sweater - Target
Shirt - J. Crew, thrifted
Jeans - Common Jeans (Love everything about these JCP jeans except that they have a permanent wrinkle around the bottom of each leg.)
Necklaces, bracelets - Diamond heart pendant, gifted from Al. Pearl and gold necklace, bracelets and ring, Charming Charlie
Spectacular orange shoes - Audrey Brooke (In truth when I actually left the house I put on my Uggs because as I mentioned, it was snowing horizontally yesterday! Keepin' it real, folks.)

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These shoes are CRAZY, aren't they? I wore them New Year's Eve with an all winter-white outfit. I wanted a pop of color with this outfit. Not very practical for a Tuesday, but I do love 'em.

As always, I'm linking this post up with What I Wore Wednesday and Real Momma, Real Style.


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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I'm Going to Cry When It's Over

Isn't it odd that snow flakes falling straight down, blanketing everything in gentle clouds of white, evoke a joyfully cozy and cheerful feeling, but snow blowing horizontally, alternately concealing and revealing patches of the landscape it crosses as if over weeks or months of time-lapse, seems to naturally create a bleak and lonely mood?

I'm home alone today, watching an endless billowing haze of snow and wind whip past my office window. Seems like it carries away with every gust a bit more of the warmth and joy of the past three days. And I don't mean to sound sad. I'm really not sad at all, only finding a new rhythm as the weather wipes away the noisy, busy, never-ending lines of three yesterdays - like a child's winding, stair-stepping doodle erased bit by bit from the face of an Etch-a-Sketch. Now it's time to draw four days of plan and structure, with sure shape and pre-known places to begin and then end again.

The patterns of a family's life are every kind of art. Drawn, painted, sculpted, danced, sung, played... expression and product, form and function, appreciation and criticism.

.....

I'm currently reading The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. It's a (fictional) exploration of relationships through beautiful food and soulful cooking and their inherent sensual connection to one another. A difficult idea to explain, yet as I read the very first paragraph, I was immediately inside the story looking out, feeling like the author and characters and I were the only few people in the world who understood anything at all. I try to explain it to Al, but you can't strip an idea like this of nuance and subtlety and deliver it in black and white, which is how he'd want it. Otherwise I do that thing where I get just so far into the explanation, begin to feel embarrassed by my own rambling earnestness and passion in the face of his patient waiting-for-the-pointness, and quietly un-speak the rest of it with a shrug and apologetic smile.

But to the book's point, I have always cooked with my heart, and feed my beloved people with more than ingredients. Whether I intend to or not, I pour my deepest feelings into sauces and soups and just all of it, these in equal parts with meat and grain and produce and seasoning. I watch and wait as they see and taste, and wonder what of parts of my offerings they'll recognize somehow and make part of themselves as they eat and enjoy.

Yes. That's it.

Anyway, if you are a food-lover and a reader and one who can think and talk on relationships and emotion for hours, you will devour this book with every part of yourself. I'm going to cry and long for more when it's over - this I already know.



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Sunday, January 15, 2012

An Extra Marshmallows Kind of Day

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At some point during this perfect day of deep blue sky, thrilled squeals and giggles, a million Let's-do-dat-'again!s and one-two-three-four grins-til-our-cheeks hurt, my heart exploded into a brilliant, sparkling cloud of hearts and flowers and kittens and puppies and honey and glitter, and I fell more deeply in love with these three people than I've ever been.

Bumping, curving, breathless rides down and down and down in pairs and threesomes; then Bean and Peabody waddled like ducklings back up the hill, time after time, in big fat coats and snow pants, and their cheeks rosied up just right.

And their hats? Magic hats, I think, that turned their kid-faces back to my babies' faces, just like that. On seeing them again, my happily-exploded heart melted back together, warm and soft and easy, made new by our bright, spirited today with a sprinkle of our soft, gentle yesterday.

And then we came home and cozied up to drink hot cocoa as the late afternoon sun filtered through the front windows.

And my cheeks still ache, and my smile just keeps fitting itself back into the curve it won't soon forget.

Hope you are having an amazing Sunday, y'all.


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Friday, January 13, 2012

What I Wore Friday: Hand Knit Sweater (Love in Yarn)

I have one delightful hand knit sweater -- one my very talented Grandmama Clover twirled off her needles for me back when I was 11 or 12. She built this natural wool cable classic so that it was very sturdy and amply roomy for me then, neither of which I understood or liked at the time, but OHMYGRANNY how thankful I am now for her foresight and insistence on those particular qualities in this sweater.

Because it means I still have this absolutely glorious treasure-in-wool, and am able to wear it very comfortably at 44, e'em though I'm quite actually twice the size I was then.

Wonders that never cease.

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So. It did, in fact, hit.

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And today I am wearing that same gorgeous cozy sweater. If you listen carefully, you'll hear that my Facebook is dinging away furiously with the fervert requests of my snow-deprived friends who crave pictures of our recent dumping-on of the white stuff. So I thought it would be fun to go outside and snap a quick few shots (a very few, because brrrr) to show y'all what I love to wear when Old Man winter comes to the prairie.

Taking these also gave me an opportunity to experiment with the brand new cordless remote I just got Wednesday for my Canon camera. Can you see it in my hand? It's soooo teeny and cute and plus, it works GREAT.

I wore this outfit under my enormous Land's End down jacket and snow pants to shovel the driveway this morning.

And later I wore it while cleaning all the poo off of Peabody after he went on a spelunking expedition in his poopy pull-up.

A sweater this fabulous deserves all the glamour I can muster up for it.

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Also pictured are the adorable and toasty warm snow boots that Sorel sent me a few years ago to review, which I did here. (They still totally rock.)

Have a wonderful, winterful weekend, no matter what your weather, y'all!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

And Then It Hit

The weather, it is a'comin.
My little prairie's about to get the weather spanking we all knew would come, in the end. But like I said, I'm ready for winter.

This morning I hopped out of the sack, stripped off the regular cotton sheets and threw on the brand new, freshly laundered flannel ones in preparation for All the Winter. One thing I can say about making a bed with flannel sheets: Girl, you betta get it right the first time!

I've got Peabody signed up to stay an extra hour or two at school today, and I'm going to spend four glorious laborious hours finally cleaning my now well-and-truly filthy house. While I'm cleaning, I'm going to lay a fire in the fireplace and enjoy watching the snow stack up outside all the windows. By tonight, we'll be all clean and cozy, and ready to climb into our beds, snuggle into our flannel sheets. And possibly literally never get out again. Not because we don't want to - because we CAIN'T!

I'm thrifty and I KNOW it.
After the discovery yesterday that my favorite outfit from the past week was a completely thrifted outfit, I was inspired to head out thrifting again and guess what? I found more amazing name brand things IN FANTASTIC CONDITION for oh, pretty much nothing. (I can't wait to show you some of it in upcoming WIWW posts!)

And Peabody found this. The minute we walked through the front door, he spotted The Clock (Although Peabody does not actually say clock; he says something unprintable. But since I knew he wasn't likely to be getting this worked up over a rooster, I surmised that he was referring to a time-piece), and his eyes lit up as if he'd caught his first heart-stopping glimpse of a shining, precious ruby amidst a tumble of forgettable stones on a riverbed. For once, he wasn't all scream-y and cry-ee about it. (If you scream and cry, Mama does not buy.) He was just ... earnest. Like he had connected with The Clock[sic] on a spiritual level. He remained calm and steadfast about wanting The Clock[sic] for about 45 minutes while I shopped.

So when I finished combing and scouring and trying on, we went up to the cash register, behind which The Clock[sic] sat shining brightly on the windowsill, and we earnestly asked the clerk if Dat Clock[sic] (don't worry, we were sure to point so there was no confusion] was for sale, and she said yes with a smile, and we made happy haste to claim it for our own and take it home with us.

The child woke us up TWICE in the night asking, Mama, where's my cloooooock[sic]?

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What's your Thursday lookin' like?

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WIWW: Colors and Patterns and Textures, Oh My!

Do you read these two personal style blogs?

I've been really inspired by a couple AMAZING personal style blogs lately (I read a handful of them daily now and I am always looking for more, so let me know if you have one of your own or some favorites I could take a peek at!) I'd been keeping up with Kendi of Kendi Everyday for several months, and then sometime over the Christmas holidays I stumbled across I Am Khatu and pretty much died on the spot. I wanted to "pin" her whole blog (on Pinterest) then and there. Both of these ladies do unexpected and fabulous things with colors and textures and patterns. They also combine classic pieces with pops of trendy styles so that they each look beautifully elegant and put together, but also very current and chic.

If I had to define my own personal style, or my own personal style GOAL (it's important to have goals!), that's what I'd say I want to accomplish in my own wardrobe, though admittedly my looks tend to be more casual than theirs, as casual's where it's at in my line of work. And please note -- though I've described Kendi and Khatu both in the same ways, their two individual styles are each unique and fresh and so, so surprising with every new post I see. Please go check them out if you've never looked at their blogs. They are both so lovely!

With all that said, I've been inspired to infuse my outfits with more imaginative combinations of color and texture and patterns, all with an eye toward marrying a classic style with a smidge of trendiness.

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Striped shirt, Old Navy (New arrival!)
Cargo pants, Target
Sweater, Target
Boots, Audrey Brooke
Arm Party (red bracelets), Target sale rack (Amazing deals on jewelry right now!)
Necklace - Something I've had fun experimenting with lately, a simple silver chain slung through a single gold bangle, viola!
Bag - Tommy Hilfiger

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Leopard print blouse and navy cable sweater, Old Navy
Grey jeggings, Calvin Klein
Black suede booties, Impo
Necklace, Lia Sophia

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Blush blouse, Old Navy
Sweater, Banana Republic, thrifted
(I am totally in love with the asymmetry of this sweater and how it lies when it's not buttoned all the way up. So different. Next time I wear it, I want to weave a satin ribbon through the diamond pattern and give it a hint of an empire waistline, with the bow of the ribbon placed in line with the buttons.)
Skinnies, Land's End
Sparkly ruffled flats, Chinese Laundry
Necklace & bracelet, White House Black Market

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Wow, cool! Now that I look at it, this whole outfit is thrifted, except accessories and shoes!
Grey chevron tweed jacket, Ralph Lauren (in amazing condition and fits like it was made for me!), thrifted
Striped oxford shirt, Jones New York, thrifted
Grey wool vest, The Limited, thrifted
Red corduroys, LOFT, thrifted
Sparkle flats, Chinese Laundry
Bag, Brooks Bros.
Bracelet, New York & Co.


I think this last one is my favorite, actually. See any you liked?

I'll be linking this post up with What I Wore Wednesday and Real Momma, Real Style.

Happy Wednesday!


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