Friday, March 25, 2016

Skinny jeans

I'm going to be honest, for a long time those 2 words made me cringe.  Until very recently, I have not been a fan of the skinny jean craze.  I always thought that only the super skinny girls with no curves should wear skinny jeans.  I found fashion expert after fashion expert telling me that if I'm short with curves I should stay away from them.  And so I did.  I actually had given them a try a few different times and did not like them so I stuck to what I knew worked.  That is until I accidentally grabbed a pair and took them to the dressing room with the recommended bootcut jeans that I was supposed to be wearing.  I think I heard angels sing when I put them on.  Ok, I'm exaggerating a little bit.  But once I found ones that were the right fit I was sold!  Fit is key!  Well, a good pair of heels doesn't hurt
either :)

Ok, side bar here.  I'm going to use the term "skinny jeans" to mean any type of skinny/tight fitting pants.  Could be dress pants, could be colored pants, could be jeans.  I do NOT mean leggings.  In my opinion, true leggings should only be worn if your bum is covered up.  Just my opinion.

Even now as I write this post I can go online and find mixed opinions for what style I should wear.  Some experts say to stay away from tight fitting pants.  Others say that's the way to go.  Even fashion's experts can't decide which looks best.  What's a girl to do? Well, try for yourself and then take pictures of course!

First up is the Barely Bootcut Editor Pant from Express.  At first I loved these.  They weren't tight, but they weren't so loose that I was swimming in them.  They flare slightly at the knee to allow for a more straight line.  This is supposed to create a longer leg line--helping out the short-girls. 

Next is the Soho Jeans High-Waist Legging from New York and Company.  I know the name says legging, but these are more of a soft jeans material.  They are amazing!  They are substantial enough that you don't see every imperfection but they are soft and stretchy enough that it feels like leggings.  I would wear these every day!

SO, what do you think?  I think the jegging actually slims me more than the bootcut pants do.  Even though there is no hiding anything, they also don't imply that you are bigger than you actually are. 

I think part of gravitating towards a slim fit is coming to accept who I am.  Am I a super model that is 5'11" with 0% body fat?  Nope, not even close.  I am 5'2" with ?% body fat--and I'm perfectly fine with that!  I've learned to be comfortable in my own skin and that is the key to looking and feeling good!

I'd love to hear your thoughts.  What do you think of the skinny jean craze?  What style of pants do you prefer to wear?  Comment below with a pic and share your thoughts.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Winter Blah

Its almost the end of March and our weather here is still on the cold side.  Actually, today its supposed to be 70*, but tomorrow night its supposed to snow!  That's Midwest weather for ya.  Its not uncommon to go to work in the morning with the heat on and come home at night with the windows down or even the A/C on :)  But, with all the split-personality weather that we get here, we also have 4 discernible seasons.  We never get bored with the weather that's for sure!

Even with the wonderful change of seasons we have here, I still get antsy for spring to come and winter to end.... every. year.  I prefer the warm weather to the winter.  I feel so much better when the sun it out and its warm enough to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.  This time of year its not always possible to get outside and I start to get in a funky mood. 

I've learned to use fashion to try and counteract that feeling.  I start pulling out the bright colors and fun prints.  Its amazing how much this little thing can help.  Its so easy to stick to our "winter wardrobe" of black, grey or navy.  Dark colors just bring down my spirit. 

I generally like bright colors.  I lived in Florida for a while after college and LOVED that people dressed in "summer colors" all year long.  I also learned to love the "Florida" prints I saw everywhere.  I worked at a small boutique that sold Lilly Pulitzer and fell in love with her designs.  I initially got a job there because I didn't think I would spend my paycheck on the clothes.  After working with them every day and looking at each piece individually I slowly started buying pieces.  Eventually I liked everything in the store.  Now that I'm back in Iowa I don't have a Lilly Pulitzer store anywhere near so I'm forced to order everything online.  I still have some vintage Lilly pieces and I keep sprinkling in new items.  These clothes definitely help get rid of the winter blah feeling.

Here is a vintage Lilly scarf I got while I was in Florida.  This was a Breast Cancer Awareness scarf from 2004.

My latest Lilly purchase from this month.  3 shirts.  1 long sleeve, 1 3/4 sleeve, and 1 short sleeve.

If you're a little scared of the wild print you can go with a solid bright top.  Pair it with your traditional dark colored pants, you can even throw on a cardigan or blazer and just have the pop of color peaking through.  This may help you ease into the full-on bright colors.

If you're feeling the itch for spring like me, let me know what you do.  Do you change up your wardrobe?  Do you wear bright prints and colors or stick to the safe side?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Time to Cut?

Let's talk about hair.  Primarily the length of hair.  At what age do you think you should cut your hair and go for a shorter style?  Or do you think long hair is always the way to go?  Or are there other factors that come in to play?  Your career?  Your social life?  Maybe how much time you have to spend getting ready every day?  My hair style is like a roller coaster.  I spend months, sometimes years, growing it out only to get a glimpse of a cute cut and then I chop it.  I generally keep it short for a cut or two and then I start growing it out again.  And so the cycle continues.  I think I'm coming close to the top of that roller coaster hill right now.  I've been growing my hair for several years, with the normal trim to keep it looking neat.  Lately I've been itching to cut it.  Here are a few reasons why. 
1.  I recently went back to work full-time in an office.  This requires me to get up very early and actually get ready every morning.  The amount of time I want to spend on my hair is getting shorter and shorter. 
2.  I have really thick hair.  This can be a good thing or a bad thing.  It takes me a long time to dry and style it.  On the flip side, it holds a style pretty good so I generally can stretch out my washes. 
3.  With working and trying to keep a full schedule with the kids, I'm on the go a lot more now.  I find myself fighting to keep my hair out of my face.
4.  The "it" style right now appears to be about shoulder-length hair.  Its everywhere right now!  And I for one am loving it.  I like it worn straight and curly just the same.

Reading this list makes me want to skip out and go get a cut right now!  Then I quickly start thinking about the negative to having short hair.  Here are few that come to mind:
1.  Its not as easy to pull it up when you are in a rush.
2.  The different ways to wear you hair is more limited.
3.  It sometimes can require just as much, if not more, work to make it look good.
4.  I'll see someone with long hair and wish for mine back :(

So there's my dilemma.  Do I make the jump and go for a new style?  Stick to the long hair and fight through the urge?  What is your current hair situation?  Do you also suffer from hair-envy?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Dress for your shape

Dressing for your body shape is not a new concept but it has been picking up a lot of steam over the last several years.  If you're like me, you've read the brief articles in fashion magazines and picked one of the options given.  You've read the short 4-5 sentence blurb about what you should be wearing.  You've agreed with the commentary and thought "I need to do that."  You close the magazine and forget everything you've read.  A few months go buy and you see another article or something on Pinterest about dressing for your body.  You once again think it's a good idea but don't act on it.  I can't tell you how many times I've done this....  That is until recently.

I have been spending a lot of time on Pinterest looking into this.  I always felt like I couldn't fit into just one category so I got kind of lost.  Finally I thought "why can't I be a combo?"  So I've come up with my combo name and what that means for me.  

I am the Petite Hourglass Pear.  I have curvy hips, a defined waist and a defined bust which lend to the hourglass shape.  However, I also have narrow shoulders and overall I am smaller on top which lends to the Pear shape.  I am only 5'2" so that's how I fit into the Petite category.  That's how I came up with the Petite Hourglass Pear :)  I find that I can wear a mixture of clothes from each category and look pretty good.  Through trial and error I have a pretty good idea of what looks best for my body.  It took me many years to figure this out and along the way I've come up with a few guidelines to hopefully making shopping easier.  

First, accentuate your curves.  You've heard the old saying-If you've got 'em, flaunt 'em.  Just do it with taste.  You should hi-light and show off your best assets.  Depending on my audience and occasion I may do this differently.  If I'm looking for a skirt an A-line or a pencil skirt are best.  I keep the length right at the knee or just slightly above.  If I'm looking for pants, a slim bootcut or straight leg are best.  I have hips and not-so-skinny calves ok, so skinny jeans don't look the best on me.  This whole skinny jean thing can be a separate post itself.  There are so many differing opinions on this so I'll just leave that for another day.  A monochromatic bottom will also help create a streamline and make my lower half look all around better :) A pattern or busy top will draw the eye up and take the attention away from my hips.  I know I said I have a defined bust, but its not overly large so I can still get away with this.  If I had a large chest I would need to rethink this option.  

There are so many more tips out there you can grab on to.  Regardless of what you wear the most important thing is the fit.  If the clothes don't fit properly nothing will look good.  

This is the point where I would love to show some pictures of outfits that work and ones that don't, but looking back over my pictures I don't have much to share.  Both of the pictures I'm sharing are a slim bootcut pant and a pattern shirt with a little extra ruffle.  One is more fitted than the other and you can see that it hugs my body better and makes me look a little slimmer.  

I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Do you subscribe to the dressing your body type theory?  What tips can you offer?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Balancing Act

If you are a working mom you know what I'm talking about.  There is a constant battle of trying to balance working, spending time with your family, and doing fun things.  That doesn't even taking into account doing the necessary house things--cleaning, cooking, doing laundry...Oh MY! 

I recently started back to work full time outside of the house and I'm really struggling with this.  I get home at night and I'm so tired I have no energy to clean.  I spend a little time with my family, eat dinner and before I know its time to get the kids in bed.  Once they are all asleep I just want to collapse onto the bed and not move.  For the last 2 weeks I've done just that.  As you can imagine my house looks like a tornado hit it.  I have piles of laundry that need folded and put away.  My dirty basket is overflowing.  You may laugh and think I'm kidding, but look for yourself.

My kids are starting to complain that they are out of clothes--which I find hard to believe.  It has made me realize that I need to suck it up and do some work though.   I'm going to need to create a schedule of some kind to keep track of what I've done and what still needs done.  I've been waiting until Saturday to try and get all the housework done-but obviously that isn't working too well!

The question I have is where do you find the time?  For those moms out there who do this every day, what is your secret?  Do you have a routine you follow?  Do you just survive on no sleep?!  Please do tell, I can take all the help I can get at this point!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The great hair debate

To wear it curly or straight?  That is my debate.  Ok, ok, enough with my poor rapping skills!  But seriously, hair is a big deal for me.

I have super thick hair and with each pregnancy it has gotten thicker and more curly/wavy.  I used to be able to just wash and wear and it was super straight.  As I aged it started to get this little annoying kink in the back.  It wasn't really enough to wear curly, but too much to just wash and wear.  I decided most of the time to go straight but it required a lot of work and a lot of product.

After the birth of my son I noticed a bit more curl.  To the point that if I tried really hard I could make it look wavy in the back.  They sides however, were stick straight.  So I did what every other girl wanting curly hair would do--pull the sides up or course!  I found creative ways to pull back the sides so that you didn't notice how straight they were.  I loved having wavy hair, but still most days I spent the time straightening it.  Ugh, what a pain.

Along came baby #2 and again I noticed more wave.  Not yet enough to go full-on curl, but a little more.  I had such hair envy for people who had that nice big curl.  I tried perms and sometimes they would work and sometimes they wouldn't.  They would last for a couple of months and then I'd go back to wearing it straight.

Finally after baby #3 I thought I had hit the turning point.  I would load my hair with curl product, scrunch, and diffuse.  Some days were better than others.  The back would curl up nicely and sometimes the sides would be wavy.  I tried a perm yet again and it went all wrong.  Did I mention I have really thick hair?  Try perming that and you can imagine it was like a birds nest.  So back to straight I went.

Now I have 3 kids under 7 so taking the hour to do my hair isn't happening.  I've tried several different routines and finally settled on something like this.  Shower and wash my hair at night so it can air dry over night.  Wake up to crazy wavy hair sticking up everywhere.  Apply product and pull out the straightener.  Have I mentioned before that I have a little OCD?  So this straightening thing was a bit more work than it should've been.  I went over and over it trying to make sure every piece was straight.  Crazy I know.

Then this summer along came the "beach wave" craze.  THANK YOU!!!!  Basically if I put product in my hair and scrunch and diffuse I can get this beach wave.

So that's where I'm at.  Most days I wear it curly, but I still do like it straight once in a while.

Which do you prefer?  Are you able to wear your hair different ways?  Comment below and let me know, I'd love to hear what others have to say.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Budget time

Budget--doesn't that word just make you cringe?  It sure does me.  Of course I know that a budget is crucial to keeping a happy home in check, especially when you have 2 people who like to spend.  Every couple of months I go back to feeling like I need to set one up.  I'll dwell on it for a month or so and then go back to my non-budget way of living.  I'll keep living and spending like no bid deal for a few months and then the cycle starts over again.  With the upcoming home building process about to start I'm thinking a budget is something we MUST start living by.  Now to decide on a plan.

Have you ever searched for ways to set up a budget?  There are so many out there it can be overwhelming to look at.  I've been talking about this lately with a friend and we've decided to team up on the budget task.  That should make things a bit easier.  I've found that a buddy systems makes doing things you generally don't want to a lot easier.  We've decided to try the envelope method.

I'm sure you've heard of this in one form or another.  The general idea goes something like this.  First, you take envelopes at the beginning of the month and put cash in them and that's all you can spend for the month.  You can have an envelope for groceries, one for clothes, one for maintenance, one for entertainment, and one for household expenses.  You get to choose which envelopes you're going to have, but the key is you don't spend more than you have in your envelope.  Then you keep track of all your expenses on each envelope, or keep the receipt and put it in the envelope.  If you have extra money at the end of the month you can do a couple of things.  Put it into a savings account, invest it, carry it over to the next month, etc.  You decide what you do.  Don't like the idea of carrying around a  load of cash?  I get it, I don't either.  Or maybe you use credit cards because you get points and then you pay them off at the end of the month?  Just put fake money in each envelope and take it out when you spend from that category.  Or you could even just keep a running total per envelope of what you've spent and what you have left.

The first month or two may be a bit of a learning curve.  We're going to look over the previous month expenses to try and get an idea of how much to budget for each category.  At the end of the month we'll reevaluate and make any necessary changes.  We'll also talk to each other about how we did.  This will be key for keeping me on track!

How do you budget?  What method do you follow?  Or maybe you have been thinking of starting a budget but something has been holding you back.  Are you looking for a buddy to keep you in check?Let's all join in and do this budget thing together.  The more the merrier!