Thursday, May 30, 2013

Love at First Sight. Twice.

Sometimes you fall in love, right on the spot.  You look across the room and BAM!  There is your one true love.  This happened to me last week.  Not just once.  It happened twice.  Maybe that means I am fickle, but I doubt it.  I think it just means I am lucky.  Actually, I was lucky not just once.  It happened twice.  It was then that I realized that Cupid has amazing style.

freshlaundry So last week, there I was, minding my own business at work….well, more like I was playing dress up with fun people at work….when out of our basement appeared a flash of yellow deliciousness (which happens to be Littlest’s favorite color).  It was a new tank from Fresh Laundry.  I was in love.  I couldn’t wait to slip it on.  The tank was soft and flowy.  It gave me a shape without giving away the farm.  Ok, it was oversized, so it gave away the farm a little bit until I threw a navy tank on underneath it.  Since I had decided I could not live without this tank (and I had Hot Mama rewards to use up….), I immediately called Hubby to get him to release some emergency shopping funds.  Imagine my surprise when he said yes!!  Being the nice wife I am, I actually waited a couple of days (until payday!) to purchase my new love.  Being the fashionista I am, I naturally planned on wearing it the day I bought it. 

On payday (double meaning to that word, if you didn’t catch it!), I was sporting my new Fresh Laundry tank.  Suddenly,  out of nowhere, new shipment Charlotte Tarantola (one of my favorite designers) showed up.  Sigh.  Here we go again.  I was done when I saw the first cardigan.  It had lace.  It had polka dots.  It had sparkly buttons.  Seriously?  SERIOUSLY?????  Randomly I threw it on over the outfit I was wearing, which included my new tank.

I wonder if I can convince Hubby to give me more money……

love1love2love4 love3

via Hot Mama:

Tank:  Fresh Laundry Striped Back Swing Tank

Sweater:  Charlotte Tarantola Lace Polka Dot Cardy

Jeans: AG Legging Ankle

Necklace:  Linden Hills Circle and Stone Pendant

Bracelet:  Mia Berkley Leather Wrap Bracelet

Bracelet:  Zad Braided Single Bracelet

via DSW:

Shoes:  Audrey Brooke Haleen Wedge Sandal

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Blogger vs. Blogger: The Reluctant Fashionista

In this corner:  Amber of Me, My Shelf, and IAmber

And in this corner:  Heidi of Skinny Jeans & Yoga Pants



SJ&YP Intro:  As many of you know, I have quite a few friends who are moms and fellow bloggers.  One of them is Amber, the mastermind behind the book blog, Me, My Shelf and I.  I met her when my bestie and I crashed her 30th birthday party a few years ago.  We share quite a few passions, like love of YA novels, Supernatural, and Doctor Who.  We do not share a passion for fashion.  Amber has been instrumental in helping me get started as a blogger.  In return, I have been trying to be instrumental in reworking her wardrobe.  This battle has been raging on for years now.  The following guest post is the story of our shopping adventure from yesterday.  We hope you enjoy!

My name is Amber, and I am a reluctant fashionista.

OMG. I’m so glad I got that out in the open. Did you see the weight lift off my chest? Well, maybe you missed it – it looked a lot like a top from the juniors section.

Here’s the deal, I’m small. Or, well small-ish. I have believed for the past fifteen years that if I could still fit into the clothes in the juniors section, I was in fact still a junior. This has been my way with coping with the inevitability of being an adult. I would turn my nose up at the woman’s section as I passed, waving my size 7 juniors jeans like a club flag as I passed for the check out lane. Sometimes laughing maniacally. (SJ&YP Note:  Dude.  That is just wrong.)

I had this misconception that the Woman’s department was filled with ugly patterns, elastic waist mom jeans that rise to my chest and frumpy moo-moos. I’m here to tell you, even as it pains me – I was wrong (SJ&YP Note:  We got this in writing!!!). The reason this pains me, is because now that I know there is far more to be found there, I can no longer avoid the woman’s section.

Yesterday, I found myself in a bit of a fashion emergency. After two solid hours of shopping alone for some new clothes for my upcoming trip to New York, I was downhearted and frustrated.

“This is cute, but how do I accessorize it?”

“Okay this is literally see through, what do I put under it and not look stupid?”

“These jeans are ok, but I look like a plumber when a squat down”

“How the frack am I suppose to zip this dress with no one with me to help?”

It was time to call in reinforcements. I imagine the text message Heidi received must have been a little like what happens when you find out you’ve been humiliation nominated for a Grammy. Some happy jumping, a little screaming, and some running around in victory. (SJ&YP Note:  That might have happened……)

She all but appeared out of thin air at my side, ready to do what she has been dying to do to me since the day we met, fix my wardrobe. (okay the day after we met, the day we met I was dress as Bella from Twilight for a party and as she was dressed as Carlisle, she couldn’t really cast any stones…) (SJ&YP Note:  Um, that was a costume party.  ONE of us doesn’t dress like that everyday.  Since I rarely dress like a sparkly vampire doctor, you can guess which one of us does. Also, I can’t believe I posted this picture…)

Now, you’re probably thinking she’s your friend, she didn’t think you were that bad (SJ&YP Note:  Yes, I did). She once threatened to call What Not To Wear on me if I didn’t ditch the hoodies with every outfit (SJ&YP Note:  Yes, I did.). No lie. When she’s at my house I have to keep her from my room because I see her spidey senses tingling when she’s that close to that much non-fashion.

amberskinny Heidi and I started at a cute little store called Francesca’s Collection. It’s the kind of place I look at and think: This is cute stuff I probably can’t afford. I was wrong, again. I found the most adorable top and white jeans. Yes I bought white jeans. I even have decided that I will go back to this store, over and over. Now, while not everything Heidi handed me to try on was “me”, I obliged and let her dress me up. Had you been there, you might have heard this from me:

“Oh hell no.”

“Is this a fishing net?”

“I wouldn’t put my toddler in that”

“You’re kidding me, right? Right!”

“I look like I’m going to be in an Austin Powers Movie”

“I hate you.”

“I hate this.”

Heidi’s default response to all these, and more comments = stern look with eye roll while thrusting the clothing into my arms. (SJ&YP Note:  Along with the following retorts:  Try dressing like a grownup, Trust me, I hate you too, and an evil grin thrown in for good measure.)

After I successfully made a purchase of an outfit I loved and she approved of (that’s a first!) we went across the street to Hot Mama. Yes, the very same company that Heidi works for (SJ&YP Note: A store I was told she would NEVER shop at). If being asked to help dress me like a grown up was a Grammy-nomination like moment for her, getting me across the threshold into a Hot Mama store and secured in a dressing room was probably like a stylist’s orgasm for her. (SJ&YP Note:  Little bit!)

Here’s the truth about Hot Mama. Some things can be a bit expensive, but they do have well priced items that are affordable and adorable as well. This store just does not carry “ugly”. I always avoided Hot Mama because I know me. I know me pretty damn well, in fact. And if I went into Hot Mama to buy a $28 shirt, I would see a $68 shirt or $189 pair of jeans I wanted more, and then be horribly depressed as it was out of my price range. Why would I set myself up for that kind of disappointment?

Lucky for you, you need not go through what I did. You can skip that bit of worry and jump right into the store because I’ve developed a fool proof way for you to shop at Hot Mama on a budget (if you’re like me and are easily distracted by what you shouldn’t be buying…this will work even better):

  1. Go to the store (this part is key…)
  2. When one of the fab stylists approaches you. Tell her what you need and what your budget is.
  3. Lock yourself in the dressing room and don’t leave, let them bring you clothes.

teanroseIf you can be strong, and avoid what you can’t afford on that day – you can skip the 3rd item on the list. Though I suggest using a dressing room at least for trying on the clothes…just saying. (SJ&YP Note:  ALWAYS try on the clothes.) 

The gals at Hot Mama are not snobby brats like in Pretty Woman (SJ&YP Note:  Wow.  I really hope she didn’t think we were really like that before…). The stylists actually just want you in their clothes so much because they believe in the lines they carry and they truly want you to look and feel good. They don’t care if you spend $30 or $300. They will not grab you a $200 pair of jeans and toss them into the dressing room, when you’ve said you don’t need jeans and you only have $100 to spend that day. They won’t. They won’t lie to you about how you look (SJ&YP Note:  Nope.  That is not how we roll.  But we are very nice about it). And if you do try on pants expect to have the area around your butt grabbed to see if they fit ok. It’s ok, I promise. (SJ&YP Note:  I am laughing to hard to respond to this.)

I left Hot Mama with the freaking cutest top and tank top to layer under it. I made my first Hot Mama purchase (SJ&YP Note:   YAY!!!!!!!). Heidi photographed the momentous occasion; I think I even saw her wipe away a tear. firsttimer

In the end, between what I got before I met up with Heidi and what I got after – I have 2 fully interchangeable, outfits made of pieces I can wear over and over with nearly everything I already own. Well, that Heidi approves of any way. I even popped into Sephora to pick up some foundation and found out – I LIKE RED LIPSTICK! Right? It was a big day for me. (SJ&YP Note:  Well, she had to meet my cousin.  Everybody should.  Now Amber won’t stop talking about the red lipstick!) sephora

I can’t say I won’t still peruse the sale racks in the Juniors departments – sometimes they have cute tops I like and I am a graphic T-shirt addict after all. I’m not trading in my beloved trademark Converse for heels, not entirely. And I’m not ditching all my hoodies. I just know now that there’s a time and a place for each of those things, and with the right outfits (with the exception of my hoodies really…) I can still be a grown up and wear them out in public!


SJ&YP:  A huge thank you to Amber for including me in her shopping adventure.  She was a trooper, trying on almost anything I would hand to her.  Naturally, she looked amazing in so many things, it was lots of fun (ok, probably mostly for me). Amber helped me accomplish one of my goals, to invade her closet.  Now if only I can help her achieve one of her newest goals, to get Tom Hiddleston to kiss me (Um, yeah.  That is seriously a goal of hers, not just mine.  She told me.).  Amber, please know I will always do my best to help you succeed.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Trip to the Spa.

Ok, so it wasn’t really a trip to the spa.  I just went and got my haircut and colored.  Sounds simple, right?  Of course not.  Otherwise, what would be the point of writing a blog post?  Moms never just get an easy trip to the salon. salon

First of all, big thanks to my stylist, Tracy for squeezing me in this week.  As usual, I did not bother to book in advance.  Instead I opted to send Tracy a desperate message on Facebook, begging for help.  After several messages back and forth, Tracy graciously said she could fit me in on Tuesday at 5:00 pm, double booking her own schedule to do so.  Hmm….Hubby’s fishing league night and I would have the kids.  Maybe I could find a sitter?  Nope. No such luck.  Hey, here is an idea:  take the kids with me.  Yup, that sounds super fun.  It will be just like a mother-daughter(-daughter) trip to the salon in the 1950’s, where we will walk out skipping, holding hands and perfectly coiffed.

So armed with a couple of Happy Meals, an iPad, and my iPhone, me and the kidlets descended on the salon.  I must admit, the girls were pretty good overall.  They chatted up a nice older lady waiting for her nails to finish drying.  I can’t say I was overly surprised when mid-conversation with the nice lady, Littlest looked at her and asked, “Why are you so old?”  Um….whoops.  Sorry about that ma’am.  Thankfully, the nice, older lady was also hard of hearing.

The girls were amazingly good while I was getting my color put on (no this is not my natural color, in case you were wondering).    There was a moment where my stylist walked in on a conversation in which Littlest asked me “Do they have a cup for me to pee in?”  Yup.  My kidlets are full of one-liners.  I then got to explain the entire conversation which actually revolved around an old trip to the doctors office.

During my processing time, it was fairly uneventful, although I got to wipe a poopie tushie (nope, not mine), and Littlest decided the perfect time to have a conversation with me is while I was under the noisy dryer.  The rest of the visit was filled with minor arguments about who was sitting in what chair and who got to play on the iPad or the iPhone (oddly enough they both wanted the phone which is smaller and has less games.  Go figure.).  I am pretty sure we amused the hell out of my stylist.

I learned today to plan ahead or get a babysitter.  It is not relaxing to take two little girls to the salon with you.  Thankfully, I got done what I needed done and nobody got hurt.


(Yup, that is a selfie of me, chilling on my couch in my bathrobe. Not my best photo, but oh well.)

Monday, May 20, 2013

My Heart is Full.

For the past few weeks I have been plagued with writer’s block.  There seemed to be an epidemic of sadness surrounding me and my family and friends.  We have been through multiple fires, loss of family members, loss of pets, you name it.  For some reason, everything seemed to be happening at once.  I kept trying to sit down and blog but was uninspired. Because everything around me has been so down, I was having a hard time to write anything uplifting.  Then last week that changed.  We had a party at work.winniethepooh

hfc4Parties at Hot Mama are not uncommon, we do them fairly frequently for girls night out or fundraising.  This particular party was a fundraiser for the Highland Friendship Club, a nonprofit organization in the St. Paul Highland Park neighborhood providing a wide array of social, recreational and therapeutic opportunities of our teens and young adults with disabilities.  About 16 girls, plus family and friends, showed up to be styled and pampered.  This was the first time we have partnered with the organization and I think both sides were slightly apprehensive about how the night would go.  All I can say is WOW.  What an fantastic night we had.

These stylists at Hot Mama treated the Friendship Club like any other group of shoppers, creating connections with them, and styling from head to toe.  That night the store had some of the best energy I have ever seen.  There was excitement, laughter, and happiness in the air.  The girls were confident and even posing for pictures with a confidence that most of us do not possess. It is safe to say, we could all take a lesson in self confidence from these girls.  They seemed to have a handle on inner and outer beauty like no one else.  hfc7

By the end of the night, my cheeks hurt from smiling. Sure, I had just worked an 11 hour day at the store, but I was so energized!  When I finally left to go home, it was hard for me to wind myself down.  I was bursting with ideas, energy, and happiness.  When I got home, I had to talk Hubby’s ears off about my night. 

I owe a huge thank you to the people at Highland Friendship Club.  My heart was feeling empty and uninspired.  I needed something to fill it up again and was struggling to figure out what it was that could do it. Spending the night with your organization was just what this fashionista needed.  I only hope we were able to fill your hearts in return.






Photos courtesy of Highland Friendship Club

SJ&YP Note:  Another huge thank you to the stylists who gave the partygoers such an amazing experience, Ashley, Som, Sarah, Jen, and Eva.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

My Secret Identity.

Recently at work, I think people have uncovered the truth.  I have a secret identity.  Sure, most people think I am a mild mannered yet more or less stylish mom blogger.  But at work I am a super hero, sometimes known as Super Sparkle!  I imagine it may be hard to recognize me in either form so here are a few ways to figure out which identity I am rocking:



Also known as:  Skinny Jeans & Yoga Pants

alterego Can be found:

Watching nerdy shows in the SyFy channel

Trying to convince her kids to play Crazy 8s or other card games with her

Surfing Pinterest to avoid doing any real work or blogging

Can be identified by:

The glass of wine in her hand

Two little girls who clearly dressed themselves attached at her hip

The yoga pants, sequined slippers, and a lack of makeup except mascara



Also known as:  Super Sparkle

supersparkle Can be found: 

Fighting the evil of blingy and ill-fitting denim

Making other moms look and feel hot

Accessorizing outfits with a single  scarf…or necklaces….earrings…bracelets….

Can be identified by:

Sparkly accessories, makeup, tank tops, basically anything shiny

Skinny jeans and a wedge or heel of some sort.

Her ability to get herself and two squirrely little girls ready for a big event in an hour or less



Maxi Dress by Lily (similar here)

Denim jacket by Gap (similar here)

Sparkle scarf from Hot Mama 

Earrings by Stella & Dot (similar here)

Bracelets from Sundar Imports

Shoes by Me Too (similar here)


Why yes, I am a huge geek.  Wait until I start posting about Comic Con in July….