Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Clutch Experiment

On Saturday night, I found myself going out on a rare date with my husband to celebrate his birthday. I thought I would take the opportunity to take my new(ish) clutch out for a night on the town as well. You see, whenever I (we) go out without the kids, I end up lugging around my purse/diaper bag anyway. I am usually too rushed getting out the door or I forget that I can use something else.

Of course I fell for the kaleidoscope peacock feather print (not shown on the link anymore) but then when I saw the price I was like...... WHAT!??!?!
Yes, four-hundred-and-forty-eight-dollars.
Now, I appreciate designers, artists, quality materials. But I am just baffled sometimes at how they come up with these prices. I would love to talk to the person who would shell out that much money for something like this. Anyway, I got it for the sale price of $49.95 plus it was during one of the extra 25% off deals making it around $38.

The front is a canvas like material with the print on it. The back is a nice, soft black leather. I threw my wallet, lipstick, and phone in it and went out the door. Now here is where the experiment part comes in. So often I see bloggers sporting their clutches on a daily basis. I've always wondered how practical this type of handbag is for every day. Are they really using it or is it just a prop?

Let me tell you, it's not practical! I had a hard time with it just for one evening out!

Sure, I had my essentials with me, but you have to either hold this or tuck it under your arm making it hard to do things with 2 hands. At dinner, we sat at a tiny table. Romantic? Yes. Room for your clutch? No. And I couldn't just hang it off the back of my chair. So I put it on the floor. Yes, a valued at $450 accessory on the floor. Later, I paused in the bathroom stall thinking about where to put it and finally decided to carefully balance it on the toilet paper holder. Lastly, at the movies it was too slim to stay in the seat next to me like my normal bag would have so I had to awkwardly hold it on my lap the whole time.

All kidding aside, this is still a beautiful piece I will get use out of. Since I do carry a larger daily bag, I have a similar pouch of the same size inside that holds small things so they don't get lost in the mix. I can totally see this clutch taking its place to make things a little more exciting. I'd rather use something every day instead of just for special occasions. And seriously ladies, if you truly are using those clutches you have pictured, hats off to you!

Friday, September 18, 2015


 There always seems to be "stories" behind my clothes, so here goes.....

The Dress: I got this dress on clearance at Meijer for $7!!! I also got one in Navy. For that price, you can't go wrong. I already had a black knit maxi dress, but after years of wearing it, it was getting pilly and worn. This one is sleeveless, making it perfect for layering. It has an elastic, fitted top and empire waist before the flowy skirt starts. I bought the dresses last month and have already worn them a ton! Being solid basics, there are so many ways to change up the look. I had several people at work say that they liked them and my reply always is, "THANKS, I GOT IT AT MEIJER FOR $7!!!!!" Yeah, all caps lock and shouty. You see, I am just so excited to share my deals, which is why I write this blog. I am sure my co-workers think I am crazy.

The Jacket: When I pulled this jacket out, I thought about how long I have owned it. 13 years. Yep, I remember buying it right after we were married. We lived in the sleepy little town of Pontiac, IL for about 6 months and Bloomington was the closest city to shop in. At that time in my life, I mainly shopped at the Express. Isn't it funny how true it is that the stores you shop at change throughout your life? I can't find a darn thing in there for me now. Anyway, I found this Express jean jacket at TJ Maxx and it excited me to find it there just as I now am excited about finding Anthropologie items there. It's a deep purple color with black and blue accents. It has patterns painted on it in gold and some bead work on the back. Wearing a jean jacket over a dress is a favorite look for me (so easy and comfy) but with this jacket not being the "norm" blue, it changes things up a bit.

The Shoes: Y'all might remember my posts on trying to find the "perfect" black replacement sandals. Don't worry, if you don't I'll be posting an update soon (I know the anticipation is killing you). I had been contemplating these Catherine Malandrino Yakov ones for a while on Zulily. They were originally $120 marked down to $28.29. Seriously, how do you come up with a retail price like that for shoes that aren't even leather??? Anyway, when I saw these Coach look-a-likes for $235, that sealed the deal for me and I popped over to Zulily to place my order. You see, there's no reason you can't look like a million bucks without spending that much!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Armory

I hadn't been to the Armory in Jackson yet..... but it is a popular place for photos as well as other things. It's been turned into a tourist attraction, complete with housing for artists and their studios. How cool! I am lucky enough to work with one of my best friends again (since both of us left Battle Creek) so we had an adventure during our lunch hour.

Kristen had been to the Armory several times already. She had her engagement pictures taken there, and recently took engagement pictures for her nephew there. It was so nice to have a live person behind the camera instead of my tripod/timer. She has been such a wonderful photographer for me and my family over the years! I am totally in love with this place now and would love to have some new family photos taken here. And you can bet plenty of more blog pictures!

Sooooo, onto the outfit details. This dress is another great score from a local boutique. As many times as I have shopped the charming downtown Chelsea area, I had never been into Vogel & Foster's. We were there last month for the town's last Thursday night music fests that run all summer long. The sidewalk sale racks lured me into the store where I found this Desigual Macarena dress. Retailing for $119, it was marked half price to $59.50. Then, the store had a $10 coupon for the event so that brought it down to $49.50. Not bad. I was so impressed by the variety of cute items in this store and their amazing customer service, I will definitely be back! So often we get into the mindset of only shopping big retailers who offer non-stop sales and coupons. Now, $50 still may seem like a lot to some people for a dress but I always think of it this way:

1. Is it a designer brand that I wouldn't be able to afford at full price?
2. Is it unique enough that I won't see everyone else walking around in it?
3. Is the quality better, thus making it fit better and last longer?
4. Am I supporting a local business?

Since this is a halter dress, I wore a black t-shirt over the top of it. I also wore a butterfly necklace I made that was published in the Spring 2013 Jewelry Affaire magazine. 
Linking up with Fashion Should Be Fun!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Second Time Around

If you're someone who follows fashion, you probably know how quickly things become outdated. For instance, designers may choose a print/pattern to use on several pieces of their line but then after that season is over they are discarded by people who can afford those high end brands in the first place. This is especially true if the print is bold enough to remember and is publicized to death seen on celebrities or popular bloggers.
I don't view my closet in that way, so it's not a problem for me. I am someone who likes to wear unique prints and if I still like it, I am still wearing it even if it is "last year".
So I was really super excited when I saw that Corey Lynn Calter was using this gorgeous floral again this Fall. She had first used it 2 years ago and at the time I was contemplating buying something. The dress that Anthropologie carried at the time was only in Petities I think, and it was more of a sheath/pencil style that I usually don't go for. I remember there were pants and a blouse too (on other sites) and I was eyeing up the blouse. I never ended up getting it. But that is okay because this dress so so much more ME.
Anthro is carrying 2 dresses in this print right now:
This is the Tallulah Dress
And then there is the Paeonia Dress
I haven't checked any other sites to see if she has any other pieces this time around.
Let's start with the print first. It has a very vintage feel to it. For some reason, I am picturing a couch in similar colors and florals that my Great Uncle Joe's longtime girlfriend Evelyn had in her house. I just can't pinpoint it exactly though. The "peacock" colors (without being a peacock print) gives me endless options to mix the look with different accessories I already have. I cannot wait to see how many different necklaces, sweaters/jackets, tights, shoes, etc.... I can wear with this (of course I will show all the options here). Other details I love about this dress: the flowy bottom, uneven hem, and thick band of different print.
What I'm wearing with it today (all pieces I've had for years):
Covington Shrug Sweater - Sears
Apt 9 Belt - Kohl's
Necklace - Coldwater Creek
Seychelles Sandals - Anthropologie
This is the 3rd piece of Ms. Calter's I now own, the other two being peacock feather prints.
Dress here (oh how I wish I could fit into this right now) and blouse here. The blouse was in the same Fall 2013 collection as the first round of this floral, but it wasn't until after the new year that I scored it on sale. Ms. Calter's garments are definitely worth waiting for but I was not missing out on this print again! Thank goodness it's my birthday discount month at Anthro!

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy

Monday, September 7, 2015

Latest Labor

It would be safe to say I am addicted to letters, monograms, whatever you want to call them. It seems you can't walk into any store lately and not see a selection of these. So what's a girl to do when she already has a few "T's" for her last name (here and here), her kid's initials here, and a similar double shelf setup she just did for the dogs (will blog soon)?

Well, we were looking for something long to go across the wall opposite of our fireplace. Thank goodness Mr. Trudeau has been so willing to go for my ideas lately. I wanted to create a word with mismatched letters. We of course brainstormed the obvious..... "Family"..... "Gather"........ etc.... but knew we wanted something different. We came up with "Harvest". It's the name of the road we live on, and more in tune with our "style" of decorating now. Lot's of antiques and weathered items, "rusty gold" objects, plus we live in the middle of farm fields. It was perfect.

So, I set out on the task of finding the letters. Trying to get proportions and colors right (and without carrying them all around with me all of the time, this was tougher than I thought)! After we had them all together, instead of hanging them on the wall I suggested a shelf (I am kinda addicted to ledge shelves too). Jon was more than happy to put one together after I showed him some ideas on Pinterest. He used pallet wood, and we got pipes to support/hang it! We both love how it turned out, and more importantly, it was inexpensive and has that touch of handmade. Here's an idea of what a similar shelf would cost if you were to buy it. 
 Detail of the brackets. And, on the left side is a basket I've had forever with some dried flowers my Mom shared with me.
 The "H" is from Hobby Lobby.....
 The "A" is from TJ Maxx..........
 The grapevine "R" is from Joann Fabrics, and we attached it to some leftover pallet wood. The pussy willow stem is from a flower arrangement from my Grandpa's funeral service.......
 The "V" we made from a yard stick we found when we moved into the house......
 The "E" is from Joann Fabrics.......
 The "S" is from Michaels, however I didn't like the pattern that was on it. So I took the metal embellishment off and recovered it with some scrapbook paper I had, then reattached the scroll.......
 The paper mache "T" is from Joann Fabrics, but I covered it with burlap.
 Detail shot below.... I love the different colors and textures of the wood! On the right hand side, there is a basket from some flowers my friend Kristen brought us when we were in the hospital with Carson. It is filled with pine cones and dried eucalyptus from my Grandpa's funeral service. I love that were were able to use things that were meaningful to us to decorate around the letters. I might still put some small things up there, but not too much as I do not want to take away from the impact.

You might also notice some burlap in the close ups of the letters. When Jon built the shelf, we wanted it to be thick, but of course not too heavy. So he just made sort of a "shell" with the wood which created quite a "lip" all the way around. I didn't want things sitting down in there with part of them hidden, so I got some foam which I covered in burlap to bring everything level.
 And here's a shot further back. Next up? Updating the family photo collage to include Carson. Ahhh, always something to do around here. At least it's all fun for the most part!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Obsessed With: Oil Painted Florals

There are so many times when I recognize trends in what I am buying which then soon turn into what I consider a "collection". I really love oil painted florals, or what would be called "still life" paintings. I just love the depth and texture that is captured, so when I see that replicated in a fabric print (or even painted onto the fabric) I am drawn to it. I've also noticed they are usually dark, moody colors. Here's what I've pulled together in my closet thus far:

#1, #4, #6: interesting that these three pieces all came from Target! The two tops are Merona and the dress is Xhileration. Another coincidence is #4 and #6 both came from consignment shops.... with the tags still on!

#2: Nice Things "The Art of it All" dress/tunic. Modcloth via eBay

#3: Mi.iM Red Kola Slip-On Shoes via Zulily. This is the first pair of shoes in this style that I've owned so they are a little out of my element. I haven't worn them yet, but I am sure they will be in heavy rotation once the weather starts cooling.

#5: handmade necklace from the Art Center of Battle Creek gift shop

#7: an oil painting Jon bought at an estate sale, and then he made the frame out of a pallet. We both LOVE this piece!

#8: Motherhood Maternity tee - early in my pregnancy with Carson

#9: my beloved tote that looks like it is made from old canvases sewn together. Swarm via Anthropologie.
AND, what I don't have but am inspired by:

#1: HD in Paris "Emerald Isle" Skirt via Anthropologie. I missed out on this one, but there's always eBay...

#2 & #3: Pilcro Rosegarden Jeans via Anthropologie

#4: Pilcro Rosegarden Jacket via Anthropologie. Both the jeans and jacket look like a possible DIY project???

#5: Trina Turk Dress via Anthropologie. You can find this brand at lots of other retailers, so you can bet I will be watching for the best sale price when the time comes! A closer look reveals the brushstroke feel!