Pretty, Polished, Perfect.: June 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

KC Social: Saks Off 5th Event

Saks Off 5th can be a great store, and can sometimes be hit or miss.  Sometimes I can't get enough of the shoe selection, the spring and summer dresses can be phenomenal (but my size is almost always sold out!) and the denim never fails me, ever.  Right now they have racks of denim on clearance, with an additional 50% off !  I just bought a pair of wide-leg Joe's jeans for $45 - a well-fitting pair in a classic shape.  

That being said, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th graciously hosted a night of food, music and shopping for the local Kansas City bloggers.  

A special apology to the ladies on the end who were cut off.  Lesson learned: Always bring a user-friendly lens to an event where someone else might be taking the picture.

I also realized that the single most difficult thing to do at an event like this is to eat, talk, meet new people, instagram and shop all at the same time.  But I did manage to find an amazing dress that I am impatiently waiting to have sent over from another store, a white Calvin Klein dress on clearance and a multi-strand pearl necklace (shocking, I know - I may or may not have an addiction.)  I even managed to snap a few bloggers' outfits:

Meet Louise LeMans, pinup extraordinaire.  I first met her at the KCFW Spring Shows.

Terri, of Rags Against the Machine.  The professor in college we all loved, counted as a friend and maybe even considered a mentor.  I was so excited to finally meet her in person!

She had this necklace that perfectly complimented her dress (and her style) and now I am officially on the hunt for one just like it....

A few of the bloggers I've gotten to know well over the past few months, thanks to the KC Blogger group.

Shea of Bon Chic Bon Gastronimique, Kristine of Simply Bold Blog, Me, Sandy of Sandy A la Mode, Lisa of Peridot Skys and Ngan of eNVe Designs.

Had such a fun time with these girls!  If you are a KC Blogger, we would love to meet you! (I promise we don't bite, lol!)

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Triple P FLASH Giveaway: Plum District

Plum District is currently running a deal for Two Chic Blvd, located in Kansas City; the offer is $25 for $50 worth of merchandise, PLUS you can get 20% off your Plum District order (the $25) by using the code SUMMER20 AND then you can use your $10 off code!  That's $10 for $50 worth of merchandise (brands such as Rock Revival, Miss Me, Big Star, Free People, Vintage Havanna, Volatile, Anoname, Grazi and more!)

Don't worry, you can use your code for any of the other deals that are available, but the code will expire on Saturday, June 30th.

Complete the mandatory Rafflecopter entries, and we will randomly select four winners!  Codes will be emailed no later than 10:00pm CST this evening (Wednesday the 27!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway Good Luck!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Sack Dress, Cuter Than A Bathrobe

This is the type of outfit I wouldn't normally blog about.  It's essentially a t-shirt, only long enough that I don't have to wear pants with it.  It's essentially a sack, a few steps up from a garbage bag (see the saggy diaper butt after a day of wearing it??)  But it's a cute garbage bag.  It's cool and easy - perfect for a poolside cover-up, quick enough for oversleeping or last minute errands first thing in the morning, and cuter than your bathrobe.

Dress: Banana Republic Factory (got it on sale for $21, although it retails for $49.99) (similar here)

Scarf: Forever21 (similar here)
Bracelets: Banana Republic Factory and JCrew (similar here and here)
Sandals: Candies (similar here)
Clutch: Coach (similar here)
Sunglasses: Nordstrom

So why am I letting you see this dress?  Believe it or not, I have received more compliments on this dress than anything else in my closet this summer.  One evening, the Mr and I were lounging on the couch watching   the television (somewhat aimlessly) when he turned to me and said, "Hey, I wanted to tell you something."  Like a bunny, my ears perked up, alert to the sound of an impending, ominous conversation.

"I really like you in that dress."


"I don't know, maybe it's the way I can grab your butt......"

My head still hurts from what may very well be the world's most exaggerated eye roll.

And I thought, "Out of all the things I wear, this is what you like??"

p.s. I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy and Transatlantic Blonde for WIWW.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Are Diamonds Really A Girls Best Friend?

Diamonds take years to form, have to be polished and cut by a professional, and can last forever.  Considered one of the toughest natural gemstones, they come in different shapes, sizes and levels of perfection.  They cost a lot, but are worth it.  If you lose them, it will be upsetting, and they though are replaceable - there are no two clones of the same diamond.  Sounds like a best friend to me.....

A few months ago I was vacationing with a good friend, and we found ourselves perusing the cheap jewelry at Forever21.  I asked her opinion on a few pairs of earrings and she pointed out that she only wears the diamond studs her Mr gave her years ago.  I find myself doing that with pearl earrings - they are my classic staple, an easy choice when I can't seem to make up my mind or when I don't have the perfect earring.

Shortly after that vacation, I received an email from Anjolee about reviewing an item from their online store.  Honestly, how could I refuse diamond jewelry?
I first considered a pair of diamond hoop earrings, but they don't really seem to be my style. Instead, I chose a pair of (big surprise, right?) diamond studs.  Normally I would have opted for a four or six prong, but I find that this three-prong setting is starting to grow on me.  
If you've ever owned precious jewelry and costume jewelry, you know the difference between the two is huge.  Precious jewelry feels solid; costume jewelry (unless it's of great quality for what it is) tends to feel flimsy or fragile. A real diamond tennis bracelet will last a lifetime (or two) but those elasticized Forever21 bracelets?  Maybe a day (or two.) 

Do you know what the traditional Wedding Anniversary gifts are?

1  -  Paper
2  -  Cotton
3  -  Leather (oh, kinky)
4  -  Fruit or Flowers
5  -  Wood
6  -  Candy or Iron
7  -  Wool or Copper
8  -  Bronze
9  -  Pottery
10 - Tin or Aluminum (modern lists say diamonds.....)
11 - Steel
12 - Silk
13 - Lace
14 - Ivory
15 - Crystal
20 - China (not the country)
25 - Silver
30 - Pearl
35 - Coral
40 - Ruby
45 - Sapphire (my birthstone)
50 - Gold
55 - Emerald
60 - Diamond (heck, if you've made it to 60 years, you deserve two diamonds!)
65 - Blue Sapphire
70 - Platinum
75 - Diamonds (notice the plural.....)

The Mr and I have been married for 10+ years, and I'm ready for him to start investing in the classic pieces that will one day go to the daughters I never had my sons, and to their daughters.......

*Thank you again to for sponsoring my post. I was not compensated for this post; I was provided a sample for review but the content is all my own.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Comtemporary, Retro, or Classic?

I don't have to tell you it's summer because, well.....I would be stating the obvious.  However, it is summer, and as much as I love to put together outfits that look better than sweatsuits, that becomes increasingly more difficult.  Mornings are spent in gym clothes at the gym, afternoons are spent in swimwear and cover-ups and the evenings we just try to stay as cool as possible (in as little as possible!)

Though my pre-baby body says yes! to this:
Old Navy swim 2Swimsuit and hat: Old Navy.

My post-baby body says thank you! to this:

Pool Outfit 1

Swimsuit, sunglasses, sandals, and swim trunks: Old Navy
Bag: Forever21
*aren't those little trunks cute.....matching swimsuits make it a lot easier to find them in the endless sea of children (pun completely intended.)

My sons and I are planning a trip in July, to the East Coast for some well-deserved beach time.  The beach is my favorite spot to vacation (but I have to give a shout-out to the Mountains, which come in at a very very close second.)  There is something about the air (literally, the air you breathe,) the atmosphere, and the sound of waves crashing to the shore.  It's as if it changes us.  Whining all the way to beach, my children are suddenly subdued, happy to calmly play in the surf or build sand castles.  It's the one time they are near water that I can just sit there and watch them play, getting in my own much-needed relaxation time.  As excited as I am for them to be self-entertained, I'm also excited about the kaftans that are trending right now (wait.....when are kaftans not trending??)  Kaftans - like an ethnic bathrobe, really!

Kaftan: DVF

Buy inexpensive swimsuit and splurge on the cover-up?  I think so.

Ah, to sit by the beach in a comfortable kaftan while the boys play in the ocean surf.....

Thank you again to Old Navy for sponsoring my post. I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all my own.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How I Passed My Calculus Class

Have you ever met someone who never really followed the rules?  Or maybe they just made up their own?

I know the challenge for Bloggers Do It Better was Coral + Mint. You might say that I have a very loose definition of "coral".  And an equally loose definition of "mint".
Technically speaking, there are so many different shades and tones of both colors, that simply staying in the orange, pink, green and blue spectrums count.....

Right?  The sun was setting and I wanted to play around with The Mr's photography skills and tah-dah!  I think I see  various shades of coral in this photograph........

And here is my pale-pink, blush coral necklace.  Wrinkles courtesy of the latest little-league baseball game.

Shirt: Old Navy
Necklace: H&M
Shorts: Old Navy
Shoes: Candies

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ode To Super-Man or Happy Father's Day

I wrote an essay in High School that I aptly named My Super-Man.  It was, you guessed it, about my father. 

My father was always present in my life - growing up, he joined us for breakfast, kissed my mother goodbye and slaved away all day to provide for us.  It was always his goal to make it home for dinner, just as it was always my fother's goal to have dinner ready for him.  We would finish dinner and start our evening rituals of homework during the school year and abandoning him to the neighborhood friends during the summer.  I always looked up to and admired my father.  Every day, my young mind slowly but surely processed his behavior and who he was; these were the qualities that I would come to look for and expect from all the men in my life.  My father was and still is a gentleman.  He will open your door, offer his elbow and cover the puddle your are about to step in with his coat.  I like him best in his black suit and tie - he looks on the outside, just like the man he is on the inside.  I still remember the year my teenage sisters decided to update his wardrobe.  It was the late 80s.  He looked......spiffy.  Let's just leave it at that.

What made me title the essay ?  He sounds like a regular dad right?  He is a regular dad, but there are all the memories I have of him from all those years ago that have knit themselves into a cape and given him super-powers (sans tights.)  Super-powers: only my father could successfully remove splinters, painlessly, or butterfly bandage our "open" wounds.  To this day, whenever I get a splinter, my first thought is, "I wonder if Dad can come over and get this out....."  Every time I need a bandage, I question if  a butterfly would be better......

My favorite gift to give my father was cinnamon gummy bears.  I think my mother told me they were his favorite candy (and what child doesn't want to give candy as a gift??) and I held on to that
like a security blanket.  Looking back, I realize that my perspective might have been that of, well, a child.  He would open the bag immediately (most likely at our urging,) share and eat one or two before putting the bag away (hiding it, I now realize, just as much to save for later as to keep his kids from a sugar high and our mouths from catching fire!)  My father was always so patient, kind and wise.  One of the more frustrating (but equally important) memories of the relationship between my mother and father was the decision making.  While I'm sure my father was making lots of important decisions that I was never aware of, there were the really, REALLY important decisions that he always left to my mother.  If I asked my mother if I could spend the night at a friends house, she might say, "Go ask Dad."  Sigh.  Guess what my Dad's response always was?  "Go ask your mother."  Exasperated, we would reply with, "but Mom said to ask you!"  "Then the answer is no."  I think I finally gave up on that routine after twelve long years, lol!  I never doubted that my father had my mother's back, and vice-versa.  As a teenager, I resented the fact that my father wasn't easily manipulated.  As an adult, I am beyond grateful for his consistency and what his integrity taught me about my own self. 

Times have changed.  I remove my own splinters (when I can) and I forget to add a bag of cinnamon bears to all of his gifts; partly out of fear that he might inform me that he doesn't actually like them.  Why do I have this fear?  When I was a teenager, I distinctly remember my mother being upset after dinner one evening.  She had just found out, after twenty years of marriage, that my father did not like mushrooms, when in fact, she had been going out of her way to make meals that included mushrooms because she thought he loved them!  That was my father.  Eating the mushrooms even though he didn't prefer them.  Because that was what you do when life gives you mushrooms (and someone else has made your dinner,) you eat them without complaining (or grimacing!)  My father has taken on a different role in some aspects; he is now the grandfather of my children, and I look to him to continue to be yet another great example of all that I think a man should be.  He brings me apple pie in the fall, jars of freshly baked pumpkin in the winter, zucchini bread in the spring and summer.  I call him every time I have a question worthy of a "handy-man."  One thing remains constant: I still force my dad to silently, patiently listen to my tales of woe..........and he simply, kindly, wisely helps me find my own solutions to my problems.

Happy Father's Day to the man who always taught me that all my problems were my own fault, and that I had to solve them.  He might not have flown around the globe (in tights no less,) kryptonite doesn't exist, but he's my hero.  My Super-Man.
Love you, Dad!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Get Your Neon On - EBEW Edition

Let me be blunt.  I didn't vote for neon.  I personally think neon is over (then again, I thought it was over when I was nine years old.......or it might be that I get a bit defensive because trends take awhile to trickle down to to us country folk - use your best country accent and then roll your eyes for me, thanks.)

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be a snob.  There are just some trends that I can't wait to get rid of and neon is one of them.  Nothing screams 80's quite like neon.  With so many trends and choices out there, I feel okay with letting go of this one.  

That being said, this shirt gets as close to neon as I am willing (with direct sunlight):

Details in the shade (yes, my photography skills + lighting are a work in progress.....):

Top: Polo Ralph Lauren
Necklace: H&M
Bracelets: Derng, Banana Republic Factory
Skirt: JCrew Factory 
Shoes: Converse

Just to prove that I'm not too cool to have skipped this trend, let's recap:

Linking up with this fab group today:

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kansas City Social: Madewell Shopping Event

First - I wanted to let you know that Madewell is hosting a shopping night on Thursday, June 7th from 7-9 so you can shop the new summer styles. We're expecting some amazing summer dresses-perfect for summer getaways or staycations!  Stop by, say hi, and have a few snacks and sips while you shop the new items. They will also have stylists on hand to help put together awesome looks you will love.

A few of my fellow KC bloggers and I attended the last styling event they had:
The Madewell store, with its bright entrance, scarves (Heaven), color, polka dot flats (yes, please), antique spools, piles of denim in every color, a great striped skirt, cute deconstructed chevron cardigan and myself, Lisa from Peridot Skys, Ali from A Dash of Details, Sandy of Sandy A la Mode

(Back to) Second - My big test for Madewell?  Their denim.  I keep reading about how they started out as a denim manufacturer in 1937.  Nearly a century later, their denim must be good, right?  I also tested Stylist McKenzie's skills.  I told here I was looking for a pair of jeans, following up with my usual, "but I've got larger thighs, so skinny-skinny jeans aren't going to work."  She didn't even bat an eyelash; she accepted my requirements and raced off to grab their Rail Straight style denim.  She knew what I was talking about.  Not only did my thighs (snugly) fit into them, but they were the darker (more slimming) color I prefer:

Jeans: Madewell
Top: Gap Factory (similar here)
Necklace: H&M
Shoes: Converse

Bracelets: (top to bottom) Thrifted, Derng, Thrifted, and Target bangle

That was my Little League Baseball outfit.  Here are the jeans on a date with The Mr:

Jacket: Old Navy
Shoes: Enzo Angiolini (the pair I want to update this look with)

Linking up with these lovely ladies today:

             spicy link up button pleated poppy

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

1000 Place To See Before You Die + A Triple P Giveaway

Have you ever used a guidebook?  I remember borrowing a few from the library when The Mr and I were planning our honeymoon.  We knew where we were going, I just wanted to make sure we got to see everything worth seeing and stopped by the places a foreigner like myself wouldn't know to look for.  While there was lots of useful information, I ended up using the guide books more for the maps than for anything else.  When The Mr and I finally stepped off the train in Rome, we ventured out, explored, and generally made our own guide book.  That's what I like about Patricia Shultz’s bestselling 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.  It has enough information to get you hooked, but not so much information that you are a) overwhelmed or b) bored.  With each description (including a brief - and I mean brief - history) no more than a page long, this book is almost like a trivia book.  It's perfect for spending a few minutes reading up on an exotic locale, flipping through the pages until you find an amazing photograph depicting fascinating landscapes........

Not a reader?

Could I possibly interest you in a chance to win one of three copies of Patricia Shultz’s bestselling 1,000 Places to See Before You Die?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is part of Fashionista Events, coordinated by The Chief Blonde of Still Blonde After All These Years and Katy Rose of ModlyChic. 

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Friday, June 1, 2012

InstaLife + Giveaway Winner

Life as I know it:
We waited all winter for Pool Season, and Kansas gives us a cold front with temperatures in the 60s.  Thanks Kansas.  I mean that from the bottom of my heart....eye roll.

Park play and Baseball Games.  Another Summer pastime.  And my new stripe t-shirt dress from Banana Republic Factory (Memorial Day score!)
A few more Memorial Day Sale scores - Stuart Weitzman pumps for $120 and JCrew Factory's Rainy Day Flats for $14.99!
 The morning I got caught off-guard by the doorbell ringing before any of us had woken up......The guy actually said, "It will take us a few minutes to get set up, so why don't you go get dressed and then move your car."  I'm pretty sure I'm older than he was, but I probably deserved that.
 The week I ate cheese everyday, and subsequently cycled my butt off (literally, I hope.)
Note to self: Never, ever leave a cooling cake unattended.  At least, not with a three year old on the loose, haha!

And lastly (drumroll please):
The winner of the eShakti Dress Giveaway is:

Shelley Zurek!!

p.s.  Don't forget to enter my current Triple P Giveaway here!

p.p.s. This post is linked up with:

life rearranged

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