sequins and chambray

j. crew

before i met DANI and TABITHA, i was what you call crewless.
i really knew nothing about j. crew.

but these two elegant ladies know j. crew like the back of their hands.
their wardrobes are simply stunning, so i began looking around j. crew's website to see if i could find any ideas i could steal for a couple of festive events that are planned for the holiday season.
that's when i found the above outfit.
sequins and chambray got my attention.

i just so happen to have a leopard-print sequined dress from 1986.
what can i say, dynasty was the #1 show in america.
it was made by lillie rubin, the fancy resortwear company that was founded in 1946.

here it is in all its 1986 glory

and here it is tied at the waist with a chambray shirt

and here i am imitating a disco ball.

so what do you think?
with or without chambray shirt.
i'm leaning towards with.
don't hold back.


an ivy league mom - the entryway

the entry before

karen's number one complaint about her house was that she felt it was schizophrenic.  she loved the east coast/cape cod look but was overwhelmed when it came time to make decisions for her own home.  the first time i walked into karen's house and saw this sweeping staircase, i knew exactly what to do.  it is really beautiful and as many of you have noted, the house had a great start.  hardwood floors, beautiful light and gorgeous views.  like a lot of people do (me included) when decorating their home, she got side-tracked because she likes a  lot of different looks.  i helped her define the look she wanted and set out to create it as best i could on a small budget.  i basically just organized and reused what she had and introduced a few small touches here and there.  this entryway table is a good example.  it is a pretty table but had been faux-painted with olive branches and seemed out of place to me.  the accessories were nice but i thought the space could easily be improved upon.  so i painted the table black and brought in a few accessories.

this is the entryway today. 
the table is now black and with the addition of a pottery barn lantern, a large silver tray, a seashell and a vase filled with beach grasses i think it looks so classic and simple.

this may well be my favorite part of the house. 
the photo wall which tells the story of her son's lives and culminates with their framed acceptance letters to yale and princeton.
how cool is that?

wishing you all a gentle, peaceful thanksgiving.


sweaters and football

today we are watching football with friends so i have to get dressed. 
i think this is perfect and cozy for such a day.
someone is going to have to pry these boots off me when i die b/c i wear them everywhere with everything. 
 it's ridiculous.

some people have a problem with wearing second hand shoes and i understand that.

when i get a new pair of old shoes i wipe the insides with rubbing alcohol and let them dry.
and if the footbed is just awful, then i buy a new comfy one.
dr. scholls makes them and target sells really nice ones.
they run about $5-7 which is usually more than i paid for the shoes.

also, if the shoes are a little too tight, you can generously spray the insides with hairspray and quickly put on a thick pair of socks and squeeze your foot in and walk around for a bit.
the shoes will stretch out and conform perfectly to your foot.

and while i'm here why don't i answer all the questions about karen's house?

1.  the sconces are from pottery barn

2.  the sofa is an ektorp from ikea, the slipcover is sold separately.
i think they are perfect for rooms that don't get tons of use, like karen's living room.

3.  i am not going into the decorating business b/c i'm not a decorator but i would love to do organizing b/c i am an organizer.


this, that & the other thing

well yes, where have i been?  busy that's where.  busy is something i usually don't do but lately i have been helping a friend organize and simplify her house on a teeny tiny budget.  it has been a great deal of fun for me but b/c we are on a tight budget, it does take a lot of time looking for deals and losing my hardrive has made it worse because i lost all the pictures i had taken of her house.  luckily i had downloaded most of the befores onto blogger so they were saved.

also, i will not be cooking this thanksgiving so i thought i'd give you this definitive list of things for creating a compassionate thanksgiving in your home.  or here is my menu from last year.  and if you are overwhelmed by the idea of a complicated table setting, don't be, you can see mine from last year, right here.  and if the stress of the holidays is mounting, you can read this and know you are not alone.

so here is a peek inside karen's living room and also a peek at one of the outfits i'm putting together for the holiday season.

enjoy your weekend, you know i will.  have a happy, peaceful thanksgiving and lets all do the next right thing, shall we?


karens living room before


karen has 2 sons and one just graduated from princeton and the other from yale.
i know.

sequins and chambray
i know.

dear sunday

photo from last fall

dear sunday,

i love everything about you.
 from your perfect timing
to way you help ease me into a new week.
what would i do without you?
leisurely lunches
guiltless naps
not to mention...

bottle the above...

and i swear it could make men lay down their guns and stop wars.


mens style

so far my hardrive has not been recoverd.
this picture was taken with larry's camera last weekend and we just remembered that we had it.
yay, one picture!  don't ask about the date stamp on it, we're old but not that old.

anyway i thought i'd use it to talk a little about men style.
is there anyone else out there who has trouble getting their spouse to wear something besides levi's?
larry could care less about fashion. 
if you want to talk skis or ice axes then he's your man.
he doesn't own a suit or even a sportscoat.
i've been working on a sportscoat for about 10 yrs now and i may as well give up.
everytime we are in a store and he tries one on he adopts an english accent and starts calling me lovey.  

so the plan was to get him to look as good as possible in a pair of levi's.
getting him to switch from 501's to a slimmer fit was sneaky but it worked.

he's wearing...

american apparel vintage green t shirt
american apparel black thermal
levi 514's
clarks desert boots

see i had one photo, cropped it and now i have 2.  i'm a genius.

so have a lovely weekend all you gorgeous people.
and go talk your man into some slim jeans. 


$10 challenge #5

workshirt - $5 (thriftshop)
skinny jeans - $3 (salvation army)
pedro garcia brogues - free
belt - .25

total - $8.25

last night  i lost the hardrive on my computer. 
i  live with a computer programmer and yet i never backed up my files.
this means that i lost every single picture that was stored on my computer.
every single picture i took of my soon to be 5 year old grandaughter stella.  gone.
2 years of taking pictures for my blog.
everything is gone.  and i don't know if you noticed, but i was on a roll.
i'm on larry's computer right now.
i'm pretty much freaking out right now.
but  while  i'm here and i no longer have any pictures to post i'd like to take a moment to
thank you.

thank you so much for all your sweet,  kind comments, over 9000!   thank you for all your suggestions and compliments.
thank you for always coming back to read the nonsense i write.
thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such an amazing group of people that read this blog.
i never in a million years ever thought anyone would read what i had to say and i cannot fully express my gratitude to you all for supporting me.
this blog would be nothing without you.
 thanks again and i hope to be back soon.


bamboo curtain rods

we have a lot of bamboo growing around here.  normally i say it is the bane of my existence. it's the invasive kind and if we turn our back on it for more than a minute there is a good chance it would take over the house, it grows that fast.  but last year while thinning it out, i noticed that there was a small amount of black bamboo growing amongst all the green.  larry cut a few stalks of it and we set it aside and forgot about it.  this past week i was inspired by JOAN'S curtain rods in her bedroom of her amazing house in new hampshire.  her beautiful home was recently featured in renovation style magazine.  joan is the kind of woman that exudes style and grace and it comes through in her decorating.   so i thought...if it's good enough for joanie then it's good enough for me.   so we measured, cut and stained it.  i used the existing hardware and just laid the bamboo (which is hard as a rock) right into the brackets.  this is the result.  it wasn't easy to get good photographs of the curtain rods b/c of the lanterns and space.  but i tried my best.  the photos really are awful but i hope you get the idea.  it really isn't the kind of thing that hits you over the head when you walk in the room.  i'd say it's a subtle detail.  i'm still wondering what to do about finials, if anything.

despite these awful photos i'm linking to nita's

have a great week you guys.



$10 challenge #4 or the little black dress

and just like that...the sun came out.
yesterday, the weather was spectacular!

this dress - probably one of my favorite finds ever.
when i found this dress, it had never been worn before.  it had the original sales tag from weinstocks department store (i believe a dept store in northern california) on it with the price snipped off like it had been a gift.
it must have been hanging in someones closet for at least 20 years.  it hurt me to cut the tag off.
sleeveless, lightweight wool gabardine, made in the usa.

little black dress - $4 (assistance league thriftshop)
hue tights - $1 (marshalls)
bandolino kitten heels - $3 (thriftshop)
sunglasses - .99 - (.99 store)

total - $8.99

i think you get the idea that these kinds of posts could go on forever,
so i'll stop now.

 but here is my advice for buying second-hand...

no matter what it is you are needing/looking for - with a little time, you will find it for just a dollar or two.  patience is key.

i used to shop at yardsales and thriftshops for junk for the house and would always bypass the clothing, big mistake.  there is a veritble ocean of gorgeous, high-end clothing out there.

don't rule out clothing that doesn't fit perfectly, almost everything can be tailored, esp if it is high quality.  so that means, do not rule out the mens section.  i have found so many great things hidden in there.  belts, vests, jackets, shirts, sweaters. 
and of course if you are a man - omg, lucky you.  the mens section is brimming with great things.
not long ago alex bought a filson jacket in mint condition.  he paid $4 for it and it is currently on their website for over $300.

shop off-season.  right now at my goodwill, all sleeveless tops are 1/2 off.
that means about $1.50 a top.  think next season, think classic looks.

go often. 
people are always cleaning out their closets and decluttering (i am.)
people get rid of things for so many reasons like weight gain or loss.
that's why there is often current, awesome things there.
i find things all the time that are in stores now.

shopping second-hand is right up there with being vegan.
it is so good for the earth and for people too.
the goodwill, salvation army and many independent thriftshops help so many people get back on their feet.  last year around this time, alex and i were shopping in the salvation army when a man who was down on his luck came in looking for warm clothing.  the store employee's sprang into action and got him a warm coat and sweaters and a hot lunch.  they got him foods easy to eat and carry in his backpack.  alex and i stood in awe as they helped this gentleman.
he was so thankful.
i don't know about you but nothing like this ever happened when i shopped at nordstrom.



$10 challenge #3

california finally got the message that summer is over and it rained yesterday.  
larry took these pictures just before it started.
it was cold and gray out.
just like my hair!
omg - it is looking so gray.
it's freaking me out.

my grandaughter stella calls her pj's comfys.  i felt like i was in my comfys all day.

ralph lauren-like made in usa skirt - $2  (salvation army)
black long sleeve t shirt boys section - $2 (salvation army)
pedro garcia brogues - free
scarf - borrowed from larry

total - $4



$10 challenge #2

when i saw this ralph lauren blue label, made in the usa, houndstooth skirt in the assistance league thriftshop...
i almost fainted...for reals.
$4 - for reals

ralph lauren skirt - $4
boys thermal, ripped so i cut the sleeves off - .25 (yardsale)
hue tights - $1 (marshalls)
pedro garcia brogues - free (story here)
old belt - .25 (estate sale)

total - $5.50


$10 challenge #1

while reading a favorite blog of mine, vintage vixen, one of vix's readers challenged her to post an entire outfit for under 5 pounds and she did so w/o hesitation.  you can see vix's outfit HERE.   there is so much to love about vix.  besides being a vegetarian, her inspiring personal style and committment to it is a joy to read about.  she lives a very frugal but very full and fun life in jolly old england.  i am so jealous of her seamstress skills because she can whip up an outfit out of an old curtain panel in a couple of hours.  you must go visit her and say hello.  it will make your day - i promise.

so on to my challenge.  i decided to see if i could put an outfit together for under $10 and i was quite surprised that i had quite a few options.  so for the next few days that's what i'll be doing, posting my cheapest of cheapest outfits!  aren't you excited? 

up first is an outfit that proves that you can find really great classic clothing at yardsales and thriftshops. 

details of outfit

ann taylor silk blouse - .25 (yardsale)
banana republic camel, wool, fully lined skirt - .25 (yardsale)
hue tights - $1 (marshalls)
bandolino kitten heels - $3 (thriftshop)
old bag (not me!) - $3 (rose bowl)
necklace - .50 (yardsale)

total - $8


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