Monday, November 20, 2017

Meadowlands

 I've had this top since May, but haven't had a chance to blog about it until now. I dislike waiting that long, because I always try to include links to shop if you are interested. This is a "dupe" of the Free People Meadowlands tunic (pictured below for comparison) that retailed for $128. It is now sold out and is hard to come by on the secondhand markets (eBay, Poshmark, etc....).
Mine is from Steinmart, and the brand is Cha Cha Vente. Both the Free People and dupe came in several colors. On sale and with coupons I think I paid a little over $20 for mine. Steinmart is similar to a TJ Maxx and it's one of my Mom's favorite stores. When they opened one in Ann Arbor, I knew my Mom would want to check it out the next time she visited. During a visit in May, I actually took a day off of work so that we could go shopping with no time limits, no interruptions. It was a great day!!! I hadn't been in a Steinmart in quite some time, so I was surprised to see how many "look-a-likes" they had (case in point, my recent embroidered moto jacket post). They do also sell true Free People items and other well known brands for less.
This hi-lo top is unique in that it goes diagonal too. The eyelet trim is a fun detail too. This was an easy and comfy look for my recent weekend in Chicago..... and the tunic served double duty as a swimsuit cover up at the hotel! (I always forget something to go over my swimsuit to walk from our room to the pool.)
Cha Cha Vente Tunic : Steinmart
Mossimo High Rise Skinny Jeans : Target
Beaded Peacock Feather Necklace : made by me



Thursday, November 9, 2017

DIY : Patch Jacket

Patches have been showing up on clothing and accessories for some time now. While some pieces can be categorized as "trendy", patches have been around for a long time and, if done right, can have lasting qualities. Just think about Mike's excitement finding a vintage car club jacket on American Pickers, instead of disposable fashion from Forever 21. That is the thought process I took when I wanted to put together a patched jacket for myself. This project has been in the works for quite some time, and it will continue to be a labor of love as I add to it over the years. When I first started this, I thought I could find a jacket I liked with some patches already on it (since I knew I wanted a mix of just pretty patches I liked as well as memories from places I'd been) and then just add to it. After a while of nothing jumping out at me, I decided to start from scratch. Since I have several olive green jackets, and several denim jackets, I decided to go with a khaki one. I found this Sonoma Twill Utility Jacket at Kohl's and knew it would be perfect! And it did have a little bit of detailing above the pocket and cuffs which was a bonus.
So let me start taking you through the patches I have sewn on so far. On my left arm, I have the Chicago flag as a memory of my 40th birthday trip there (gift shop on Michigan Avenue). That trip aside, I go to Chicago at least twice a year and just love that city! The three white stripes represent the North, West, and South sides. The top blue stripe represents Lake Michigan and the North Branch of the Chicago River. The bottom blue stripe represents the South Branch of the river and the canal. The four six-pointed red stars represent major historical events: Fort Dearborn, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, and the Century of Progress Exposition of 1933–34.
On my right arm, I firmly believe in showing respect for our country so I have an American flag. And, a peacock of course (purchased at Joann Fabrics). This is probably the best view too, of the Girl Scout 75th Anniversary circle on my bottom right. Yes, I pulled out my Girl Scout sash so that I could enjoy the patches again! Their 75th Anniversary was in 1986-1987 so that would have put me in about 4th grade. I plan to add more of my Girl Scout patches, and I should also note that Richard is doing Boy Scouts for the first time this year! I think a lot of my inspiration to finally get going on this project was getting his uniform shirt and now sewing things on as he earns them. I couldn't look closely at the huge section of patches at the scout store when we went, but I am excited to go back someday and look forward to this journey for Richard! I have such fond memories of Girl Scouts!
Above the right upper pocket, there is a navy circle with a rose that says "Live the life you love". I just really liked the look and saying of that one. On the lower left pocket, a souvenir from Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek which we visit several times a year. I happen to get the patch while chaperoning Richard's Kindergarten field trip back in June. On the upper pocket, there is a Waterloo Junior Ranger circle and a few butterflies. I will explain Waterloo in a bit, and the butterflies (from Joann Fabrics) are just to add some feminine details.
On the back is a monarch butterfly (from Walmart) for fun. The Sinner! patch I bought at the Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween show in Chelsea, which my friends Jennie and Joe put on. The booth I bought it from was there promoting Theatre Bizarre in Detroit which is a huge multi-weekend show in October for Halloween at the Masonic Temple. While I have not been to Theatre Bizarre, I have been to the Masonic Temple and it is a gorgeous building! The patch will not only remind me of the special time in Chelsea that time each year as Halloween kicks off, but it is also a nod to my Catholic upbringing where everything was so focused on "sins". The Tawas Point Lighthouse is from our week long vacation near there in June. Such fun memories from that trip! The huge Michigan's Living Resources patch ties back to Waterloo Recreation Area (which is right up the road from us), more specifically the Eddy Discovery Center. With Richard in scouts, we are now looking at different activities to fulfill his requirements. I am really thankful this has giving us new things to do as a family! A few weeks ago, we set out to explore/hike from Eddy's. While visiting the little gift shop, I was excited to see a board of patches! It was tough to choose just one, but I figured it would be a good plan to look forward to getting one every time we visited (as I figured we'd be back). When I was telling the gal about my patch jacket project, she pulled out the Waterloo Junior Ranger patch I referenced earlier as a freebie! Later that night, I started researching the Living Resources Patches. The DNR started issuing them in 1975 as a way to raise awareness and funds for work on threatened and endangered species and nongame animals. Over the years, patches have depicted a variety of species and one system (wetlands) as important to Michigan's natural heritage. The gift shop has the most recent ones, but I thought it would be fun to take a look on eBay..... some of the vintage ones go for big bucks! So yeah, my Saturday nights might consist of researching DNR patches - I am a complete nerd and proud of it!
If you're still with me at this point... thanks! As you can tell, this project is very fun for me. Not just the "making" but also the "researching". I can't wait to keep adding to this jacket! I will say I can only manage to sew a few patches on at a time because it is hard on the hands (I don't have a sewing machine nor do I have the desire to learn how to use one). I am now thinking back to all the places we have been over the past few years where I could have gotten a patch. But I know they are places we will visit again. My poor family will now be subject to Mom always scouring the gift shops for patches! I will still seek out fun/pretty ones too...... have you heard of the adult merit badges (or demerit badges)? They are pretty funny. I wonder how "full" my jacket will get..... some of the ones I have seen are completely covered! If you want to do a patch jacket search for inspiration, I would suggest Pinterest or Polyvore.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Get the Look for Less : Embroidered Moto Jacket

The "It" jacket of 2017 seemed to be the Blank NYC "As You Wish" floral embroidered moto jacket. That is, if you are like me and follow several bloggers, Pinterest, etc..... This jacket continues to sell out wherever it is carried, and stays at a steady $168 price point. I didn't have a moto jacket, even though they've been on trend for several years now. I guess I was waiting for a special one like this that also ties in the ever popular embroidery trend. Even though I said "trend" twice now, I personally think this piece is unique enough to withstand many years. I was almost, ALMOST, going to treat myself to the real deal at Younkers, where my reference photo comes from. But the Blank NYC brand runs very, very small and their largest size is a Large. Shame. So I consoled myself that I saved a bunch of money when it didn't fit. Besides Younkers, my quick search brought the jacket up at Bloomingdales, Urban Outfitters, and Zappos just to name a few if you are looking for the original. I had pretty much forgotten about it until I was recently at Kohl's and found a dupe in the Juniors section! The Candie's Floral Faux-Leather Moto Jacket is $35.19 with the additional 20% off code. Again, because it is Junior sizing it runs on the small size. I was thrilled to pick this bad boy up, and am glad the studded detail is more subtle in this version. It fits my "40 year old Mom" persona much better!
And because I LOVE sharing my deals/finds, I've also linked up 3 other places you can get this jacket for less! You're welcome. As you can see, what makes this recognizable is the shape, color, and placement of the embroidery. I am not sure what exact flower these are, but they are purple and pink and with a trailing type greenery. First up is Baccini from Steinmart for $39.99. The jacket style differs a bit, but most important about Steinmart is they also carry this jacket in plus sizes!!! Next is the version from Shein for $44. I have never ordered from this site so I can't give personal experience, but I like that there are a lot of promising reviews. Lastly is Francesca's for $58. If you're not seeing your size online, keep checking back for returns and don't be afraid to reach out to the stores themselves - most will be more than willing to track down something for you as they can search inventory in all their locations. My hope is to have an outfit post soon with the one I bought.... of course it looks great in these stock photos with jeans and a tank, but I am excited to try it over a plain maxi dress too!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Something Old, Something New

 Something Old: almost three years ago, Talbots had this pretty peacock feather sweater that I missed out on. I was thrilled to recently find it on eBay. Also old-ish are my flare jeans (a.n.a.) and field jacket (St. Johns Bay), both from JC Penney.
Something New: I picked up these olive green booties from Kohl's...... real suede for a little over $30?!?!?! My black and brown booties are my everyday staples during the Fall/Winter, so I wanted to add another neutral color to the mix. Olive green seemed to be the best choice for me, but these come in 6 other colors! Sonoma "Sonya" Women's Ankle Boots







Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Replacements

Sandal season ran late this year (I was sporting open toes just 2 weeks ago)! This Summer was the third year that I've been wearing my all time favorite Payless sandals (pictured below) and sadly they are on their last legs (no pun intended). They might not look so bad from afar, but the soles are all cracked and falling apart. I wish I would have bought more than one pair, but I didn't know I would love them so much. They are the Dexflex brand, "Val" style name. I keep scouring sites like eBay and Poshmark, but until I find them I've found some pretty close replacements below.
Pictured from left to right, first row to second row, are:
1. Soda "Heylie" purchased at Younkers
2. Fioni "Princess" purchased at Payless
3. Naturalizer "Adele" purchased at Famous Footwear
4. Rampage "Tera" purchased at Meijer

First up is Soda "Heylie". The color of these is probably the closest to my Payless ones. What is it about that warm brown that seems to go with everything? Notice how the addition of the ankle strap changes the look. The style and placement of everything on the Payless ones always seemed to elongate my legs.......
Second, I was exited to see Payless carrying pretty much the same style this year - this Fioni "Princess". Oh man, they are almost the same!!! Good brown color, but the straps are thinner and they are not as comfy.
Even though the Naturalizer "Adele" didn't come in my beloved brown color, I thought the taupe would go with a lot. I like them, but they just don't come close enough.
I don't have a picture of them on, and I couldn't find a stock photo of the brown that I got, but the Rampage "Tera" sandals were only $10 at Meijer! How could I pass that up? The heel is open in these though, where as you can see the others are covered. Suddenly, I am not a fan of my heels being seen - isn't that weird how we focus on odd body parts that others might not notice?
 
Overall, I think all these options were under $30. I guess I have the long cold Winter now to continue my search!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Life in Containers


Since I've been talking so much about routines lately, I thought I would share some food items that help keep us organized that I may have mentioned in those posts. First up is the Bentgo lunchbox that both boys have. I bought the first one when Richard started pre-school and had to start bringing his lunch. Now that he is in 1st grade, it's going strong on it's third year. Since we got to "test drive" it with Richard, I ended up getting one for Carson too when he started bringing his lunch. The tray is removable for easy washing. We have a total of 4 trays and 2 boxes, which means if I am feeling lazy one evening and they didn't have really messy food, I can get away with just changing out the tray for the next day. I usually hand wash both the trays and the boxes, but if the dishwasher is ready to go and has room, I have popped them in there. They are holding up great - the rubberized seal part on the inside of the lid is the only thing that is showing any wear. It's fun (and makes life easier) to find things to fit in each compartment. For instance, the largest space is perfect for half a sandwich. The long space fits a granola bar. A homemade lunchable is easy to recreate. I happen to love adult versions of these too (like the protein box at Starbucks) and have been known to make some up with other similar containers we have.
 Have a picky eater on your hands? Make meals more fun and interesting with Dinner Winner plates! Both boys went through this phase (Carson is still in it). I saw these plates online but was thrilled to find them at Meijer about a year ago! There are different designs and you put food in each section. The kids follow it like a board game and get a "treat" at the end. I hand wash these so the images don't get worn like they would in the dishwasher.
 


I mentioned that I purchased the 21 Day Fix program. These are the containers to use each day for your meal planning. Based upon your body/goals, you will find out how many of these to eat each day (for instance 5 containers of veggies). When I had the time and motivation to use this meal plan, I did really enjoy it. I never felt hungry, had more energy, and could notice some weight loss (remember, I didn't do the workouts which would have helped more). I really want to get back into this routine. I hand washed these containers.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!!!

It's unusual for me to post in the morning, but I have a rare day where I have some time to kill before volunteering at Richard's class Halloween party. I am sitting at my local coffee shop enjoying a bagel and mocha before the chaos of almost 100 first graders (4 classrooms in which the kids will be rotating through). I cannot even begin to tell you how much I daydream about sitting at a coffee shop and blogging.... this is certainly Mama's Halloween "treat"! OMG, and Chris Stapleton just came on - swoon!
This has maybe been the most fun Fall season we've had. We've enjoyed a lot of nice weather and did a lot of activities. I'm looking forward to the school party and trick-or-treating tonight. I have to admit I am always a little bummed when Halloween is over because it is my favorite holiday!
This outfit screams Fall to me.... I had to return something to The Loft and ended up coming home with this sweater and jeans. See, sometimes returns can be dangerous! I can't resist a good owl sweater, and for some reason I can't resist wide leg released hem jeans. Seriously, I don't know what is wrong with me. I think this will make 4 pairs now. These are probably my longest pair though - the others are more cropped - so I rationalized it that way. Also, when I put them on they were sooooooo comfy! I'm always a bit stumped with what cold weather footwear to pair with them. Summer is easy with some chunky/strappy sandals. Even if I follow inspiration I see online (mostly ankle boots, clogs, slides) I feel like it doesn't look the same on me. I guess I will keep experimenting. I don't totally hate these brown boots with them though.
Owl Sweater : Loft