Tag Archives: fashion

Thinking spring fashion.

What better day than a snow day to daydream of sun dresses?  While Stella’s outside doing what she does best (snow + wind), I’m inside attempting to keep the babes entertained  + looking forward to spring’s return.

I had a chance to visit The Paper Store‘s headquarters west of Boston earlier this year (on the eve of our last big snowstorm), along with some of my favorite blogging pals, to get a preview of spring fashion trends from their lovely buyers.  We were treated to Champagne, Sugarfina treats, macarons and a peek at several racks full of beautiful spring dresses and tops.  

Those of you in the Northeast are likely familiar with The Paper Store (it’s my go-to for cards, gifts and Alex + Ani jewelry).  They have a really great fashion section as well, and many of their items (including their new private fashion and jewelry line, Mia & Tess) are available online.

spring fashion The Paper Store

Here are a few of the spring fashion tips The Paper Store buyers shared with us:

  • Off the shoulder tops and dresses continue to be on trend this year (and are universally flattering!)
  • Look for delicate chokers that can be worn alone or layered
  • Floral prints are updated in pale, dusty pinks, bold mints, china blues and pair perfectly with denim
  • Speaking of which, you’ll find denim dresses, footwear, scarves, hats, jackets and tops in store
  • Layer a longer lace or crochet trimmed tank under sweaters and tops to add some visual interest and update an old favorite

I visited the Legacy Place store after the event and picked up this adorable canvas sleeveless dress with the gift card we were given (in our adorable Scout swag bags!). 

I’ve been wearing the dress with with leggings and a cardigan (and snow pants and a parka and two scarves and giant mittens) for now, but I can see it being a spring and summer staple.

A few of my other favorites:

You can view their full spring fashion catalog here… much more fun than shoveling.

I received complimentary product from The Paper Store, but as always, thoughts + opinions are my own.

Also On Tap for Today:

Who’s ready to break out the sundresses?

Today: Maternity style with Bella Gravida.

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Bella Gravida. I received a complimentary subscription and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

As I shared earlier this fall, I had a chance to try the new Bella Gravida maternity “wardrobe rental” service.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I knew I didn’t want to spend a fortune on maternity clothes… and… that I kind of needed to wear something other than my husband’s sweatpants when leaving the house.

I am expecting my second delivery from Bella Gravida this week, but my experience with the first delivery was largely positive.  I received a maxi skirt, a maxi dress and a long-sleeved top.  The skirt did not fit well, but I really, really liked both the dress and top.

What I loved

  • Returning items is extremely easy.  Bella Gravida includes a postage-paid envelope with each delivery.  Once I was ready to return my items, all I had to do was drop the envelope at the Post Office.
  • Laundering is included in the monthly fee — no need to worry about washing or dry cleaning items before you send them back.
  • You have the option to buy styles you love, rather than sending them back and this, too, is very easy.
  • There is no deadline to return a particular item — you can keep it as long as you like.
  • Unlimited exchanges during the month — you can send back items to be replaced with new items as many times as you’d like.

This top by Everly Grey was my favorite item — I held onto it for weeks and loved that I could dress it up or down.

Changes I’d love to see

  • Website improvements: The website is not especially user-friendly.  I toyed with buying one of the items sent with me, but it was not appearing in my “closet.”  I contacted customer service by email, though, and received a prompt response and the issue was resolved that same day.
  • The company’s slogan (“We’re not a subscription box.  We’re a subscription wardrobe.”) might not be entirely accurate.  I was provided with two month’s of Three Styles at a Time, which retails for $79/month.  If you ask me, three articles of clothing do not a wardrobe make… and $79 is not chump change.  Also, I was hoping for a great pair or two of maternity jeans or black skinnies, but alas… there are currently no pants available.  I feel like pants are sort of critical to one’s wardrobe.
  • More information about individual styles: I’d love to see more information about both material and fit for each style.  This would make filling my personal closet a lot easier.  Being allergic to wool, I hesitated to add most sweaters and tops to my closet, which left me with limited choices.

The bottom line:

We had several weddings and special events to attend this fall and between the acrobatic feat that is climbing into maternity nylons (Whyyyyyyyy?) and lack of in-store options to try on, I could have used some help finding a great dress.  I think special occasions (rather than attempting to build an every day wardrobe) are the perfect reason to use a service like Bella Gravida.  

They have a large (and beautiful) selection of dresses available, which I am sure will be attractive to other expecting mothers as we head into the holiday season, and so I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend women check out Bella Gravida for this purpose.  With family get togethers, office parties, and special holiday events, I can see a real benefit to having great looking maternity dresses shipped directly to you (and styles may be en route to you as quickly as 48 hours after adding them to your personal closet).

Even in the short amount of time that I’ve been familiar with Bella Gravida, I’ve noticed improvements being made (and more and more styles being added)… which leads me to believe the service will keep getting better.

Current promotions:

  • Bella Gravida is offering one free month to new users.  Simply sign up for a membership at BellaGravida.com.
  • By Thanksgiving, Bella Gravida will be launching their ‘Give The Gift of Style’ feature.  If there are expecting mothers on your gift list for the holiday season, consider giving them a Bella Gravida subscription.  

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your holiday wish list?

Today: February Foodie Penpals and other things that require stamps.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]The closer we get to the end of February, the closer we get to the beginning of March.  That’s fairly evident.  The very beginning of March, though, is when I turn 30, shoot (environmentally friendly) confetti cannons from my car’s tailpipe and do a handstand on our glass table.  I can’t wait.  But thanks to stupid Leap Day, I must wait.  In the meantime, the end of the month also marks another foodie penpal reveal.  This month, Lisa sent me a lovely package all the way from Oklahoma.

I love Luna bars, but have never tried the s’mores nor the chocolate raspberry flavors.  Isn’t it fun when someone else shops for you?  Into my gym bag they go!  Lisa recommended trying the Snapea Crisps over a salad; I can’t wait to give this a try.  Same goes for the tabouli mix, which includes bulgar and various dehydrated veggies and herbs.  According to her sweet note, this is a staple at Lisa’s family gatherings.  Looks great… unlike the silver horse head that looked lovely in the store, but when posed with Lisa’s treats, that thing just looks… scary.   Back on topic:  If you’re interested in joining in the Foodie Penpal fun, or you’d like to see what everyone else sent and received, head over to Lindsay’s blog, The Lean Green Bean. She will announce new matches on March 5th, so don’t delay.  Act now, as they say.

In addition to those tasty goodies, a giant box of sequins arrive the same day.  It’s a miracle FedEx hasn’t issued a restraining order against me.  I stalk my orders like a woman possessed.  Especially when those packages are wedding-related.  I clicked refresh until “out for delivery” became “delivered.”  I clicked for proof of delivery.  I wondered whose name that was (the intrigue of living in a big building).  I breathed a sigh of relief.  The dress had arrived. Well, not the dress (that one will remain a secret until I walk down the aisle, obvi), but close.

[Photo source]

After a bit of browsing and pinning, I happened upon this beauty.  Just the thing for a November wedding.  Not too bridesmaid-ish.  More Champagne than gold.  Not too short, but not that awkward in-between length either.  I rushed over to my (newly engaged!) sister’s apartment so that she could model it.  It was perfect.  I kind of want to order one for myself.  And a matching bow tie for Clark.  I am overtired.

The only thing better than receiving mail is receiving more mail sending mail.  Me and my tote full of chia are off to the post office.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • I found a new doctor (just in the nick of time!)
  • My heart breaks for those affected by the shooting in Chardon, Ohio
  • Heading home to see my parents

Have you been a bridesmaid or groomsman?  Best/worst attire?

 

Today: Second time around.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]The first time I went to a clothing swap, I left empty-handed.  And terrified.  I should have worn some sort of helmet.  Or mouth guard.  People grabbed items from other people’s hands, pushed and elbowed their way through the crowd, and didn’t bat an eyelash when an entire table collapsed.  In fact, people went right on digging through the pile (at that point, on the floor) that occupied the table.  Between my allergy to wool, and general aversion to poor manners, I felt itchy enough to leave after a few minutes.

But first I took a picture of my equally terrified sister.

This is what an overwhelmed person looks like.

Somethings, outfits and life experiences included, are better the second time around.  On Sunday, this proved true, as I showed up a full hour early (Sorry!  I am such a boob!) for Tina‘s clothing swap.  Once the other guests arrived (on time… note to self: always re-check invitations), we organized everyone’s offerings by category and size.  This gave us a chance to do some scoping out– I had my eye on a pair of cute yellow kitten heels from the get go.  Tina and her friends were experts at organizing the swap; it was fun to see that a number of items were being re-swapped from previous, um, swaps.  Swap is a strange word.  After picking numbers, we each took a few turns trying on items and eventually a very controlled, polite free-for-all broke out.

In addition to chowing down on spinach and artichoke dip, veggies and Tina’s dessert paninis, I came thiiiis close to needed to swap for a larger pair of pants.  Alas, there were no elastic waistbands to be found.  Instead, I left with two cute tops, and black sweater vest, and that adorable pair of kitten heels I had been coveting.

Perrrrfect. Just my size.

Swapping just may be the new shopping.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Can’t say I’m surprised the baseball Red Sox season is over
  • These are the only pumpkins I intend to eat this fall
  • Meetings, meetings and more meetings

Have you swapped before?  Score anything good?

Today: Will tweet for jeans.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Tuesdays are usually my night to hit the boxing gym (and subsequently get hit by other people, in the head) and then hit the hay.  I change out of my “real” clothes the second my condo door closes behind me.  Yoga pants were made for 6pm.  This Tuesday, however, I held off on the elastic waistbands and heavy bag to meet Tina and Bridget for Champagne cocktails, tweeting and shopping at the Nordstrom Rack opening event in Burlington.

This event was designed for someone so much cooler than me; it’s a miracle they let me in the front door.  Truly.  The store opens to the public today, but we were given the chance to check out the Rack’s goods a few days early, while tweeting up a storm (#rackopening).  All the while, a DJ played some pretty awesome music, drinks and appetizers made the rounds, and a security team guarded the door.  We each received a gift card, which I put toward a great pair of jeans (Joe’s Jeans are perfect for shorties like me, no hemming needed).  I imagine this what shopping with Britney Spears (before she shaved her head and used her umbrella to poke holes in a car door) was like.  I’ll take shopping with Tina and Bridget over that hot mess any day of the week (yes, especially Tuesdays).

I first discovered the danger magic of Nordstrom Rack a few years ago, when Nick was in Portland, Oregon for business (that sounds so mysterious).  I flew out to visit him for the weekend, arriving in the middle of the work day.  What’s the first thing you should do in a strange city?  Take a tourist map and venture out into unknown neighborhoods!  Flash your cash and jewelry!  Act nervous and distracted!  Duck into the first doorway that isn’t blocked by a man wielding some sort of sword!

That first doorway happened to lead to Portland’s Nordstrom Rack.  I felt like I died and gone to fashion heaven.  If I wasn’t traveling with a strict carry-on only policy, I would have done some major damage.  (For the record, Portland isn’t that scary.  Me on no sleep navigating a new city, however, is very scary.  And yes, there really was a sword.)  If you’re looking to score designer jeans, fun watches and costume jewelry, a special occasion dress or killer handbag, I highly recommend a Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday… really any day trip to the Rack.

You may have to supply your own Champagne, music and security detail though.  Can’t win ’em all.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you prefer shopping solo or with friends?

Today: Brighten up.

When I was a sprightly, more youthful twenty-something (I am officially over the hill when it comes to the twenties), I worked in a little state by the name of Rhode Island.  It’s not actually an island, and I wouldn’t exactly qualify the state’s leadership as Rhodes Scholars.

In fact, there are a lot of things about Massachusetts’ neighbor to the south that continue to baffle me.  But that’s a dramatic story– of RI Troopers and speeding tickets, and regional meetings in a state the size of my largest Michael Kors bag– for another day.  If you’re lucky, that day will not be in the foreseeable future.

From Colt State Park

I did a lot of things down there, including occasionally driving the speed limit.  I got to work with a lot of great people.  And I learned a lot.  My first few years out of the Eagles Nest were not easy, but they were certainly formative.  One of the most lasting lessons I learned was from a fourth grader.

“Are you a sad person, Miss Elizabeth?” the little human asked after we finished up a lesson on local architecture.  Considering that just hours prior, I had moved my car to find that yet another feral cat had chosen the underbelly of my Focus as its final resting place, this was perhaps the wrong day to ask such a question.  Was I a sad person?  Possibly.  Was I a pathetic person? Highly likely.

The boy’s question was a loaded question, and on top of that, a personal question.  In other words, a question not to be answered truthfully.  “Nope, I’m as happy as a Lisa Frank rainbow,” I said.  Except I probably didn’t reference only the greatest Trapper Keeper designer of all time.

“Then why do you wear all black, Miss Elizabeth?”  Oh.  So thaaat’s where we’re going with this.  His question had nothing to do with dead (likely diseased) cats, or my (lack of) salary, or my two hour commute.  It was about my gloomy wardrobe.

The boy’s great-grandmother was recently widowed and, following the customs she brought with her from the Azores, she had taken to wearing all black as she mourned her late husband.  She would, in fact, wear all black until she passed away.  I can’t imagine her great-grandson thought I was a widow– that would have required someone being willing to marry me in the first place– but he certainly thought my outfit could stand to be brightened up.  “If you wear pink,” he said, “it tells people that you’re happy and funny.”

Happy and funny (sometimes even intentionally).  That’s me to a tee.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have a daily uniform?  Are you an all-black dresser, or are you bright and bold?

Today: High heels and the Hall of Fame.

Inspiration often comes from surprising places.  Take these shoes, for example.  You call them ugly, I call them… unexpected.

Photo source: thisnext.com

They’re half a size too big, but they were on sale for under $40.00 (that’s less than $20 a shoe!…) and in a sea of black pumps, they called out to me.  I paid the adoption fee, and took them home to their new closet.  Where they sat for six months, alongside a pair of equally neglected leopard pattern pony hair heels.

I had a big meeting to attend yesterday and hemmed and hawed over what to wear.  Hmm, which black on black combination will I break out today?  My work wardrobe is nothing if not uninspired during these hazy, hot, and humid days of summer.  And then I saw these babies peeking out from the recesses of my look-in (it’s like a walk-in, but different) and heard their Siren song once more.  They brightened up my outfit and my attitude.  Double whammy!

I marched to my meeting with confidence.  And I tried to play it cool when, inevitably, one of the heels became lodged between two cobblestones.  I can always count on Boston sidewalks to keep my ego in check.

Speaking of egos, the 2010 class was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame on Saturday night.  Nick was watching for Emmit Smith, and I was half-paying attention, half-reading Marie Claire.  When Floyd Little took the stage, however, I became captivated.  This was a man destined to stand before a microphone.  I was delighted to find the full text of his speech online, as his words were truly inspiring.

Here is an excerpt:

There’s no words to describe the joy of experiencing this final sports chapter in my life. This is obviously the highest honor any football player can garner. I stand here today celebrating my athletic life journey, and I understand significant. Everything else pales in comparison. Every player wakes up wishing to have this honor. I encourage you all to continue to dream for this moment. I have been favored by God and by those who have had a say in what happens to me.

But the road was not always so easy and clear. I remember being a strong but angry young man in school. I used my strength in ways that became my weakness. After being kicked out of school, I had reached an impasse in my life. Everything was done. My hopes were shattered and done. And then I had a vision from my late father that came to me and said, Floyd, I’ve chosen you to take my place, to do what I could not do, and to finish what I could not finish.

I came to myself. With the help of those who saw the good in me, I was re-enrolled back in school with determination. Not only did I become the president of my class, but I started my journey as a leader in everything that I did, and I never looked back.

Because of those that encouraged me in those early years, I am here today. So I want to encourage you, every student, every athlete, every person who will hear my voice, don’t listen to the naysayer. I had plenty of those. Don’t listen to those that will judge you for your rough edges. Don’t focus on your weakness so you won’t become a victim. Find the goodness in you that says, Yes, I can be a good student. Yes, I can be a good son and daughter. Yes, I can be a positive role model. Yes, I can, because the good in you is better than the worst in most. The choice is yours. Be the best that you can be.

I truly believe that none of us is anything until the least of us is something.
The great writer James Baldwin said, Naked I came into this world and naked I shall leave. We are bound to leave everything we accomplished in this lifetime behind, passing it on. So leave a legacy that you and your family can be proud.

I’ve given you the best that I’ve got. And I’m a better person for it. Thank you for being here with me and for me. I thank God for His favor today, and may God bless us all. Thank you so much.

Amazing, right?  Admit it, you kind of like the shoes, too.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s inspiring you these days?

Today: Make it work.

I had a brush with greatness last night.  Two of us were chosen by StyleBoston for a “be styled by Tim Gunn event.”  Unfortunately the contest did not pan out as planned (I’m still not really sure what happened), but the team from kate spade stepped in and treated me and my new friend Dawn (hi, Dawn!) to an unbelievable evening.  Even as I type this, I can’t believe how lucky we were.

Before the kate spade new york fashion show began, we were invited backstage one at a time to meet the incomparable Tim Gunn.  And yes, he is just as lovely (if not lovelier) in person.  We chatted about curriculum development (of all things), how charming Boston is, and then I rambled about what an honor it was to meet him.  It really, really was.  I am glad I had the wherewithal to wear one of Mr. Gunn’s 10 essential items for women: the trench.  He said I looked chic.  I nearly fainted.

The mini-runway show was a great deal of fun.  The kate spade new york spring line, available at Bloomingdale’s, is adorable, and feels very wearable.  Here are a few highlights:

Following the show, we were invited to skip to the front of the line (my apologies to those who lined up) for a photograph and a last chance to thank Mr. Gunn and the kate spade team for taking such good care of us.  Though it would have been nice to be on TV as promised, the evening played out far better than I could have ever hoped.  The lesson: take more risks.  You can’t win contests you don’t enter, and even if one of those contests fall apart at the seams (get it?), if something’s meant to be, it’ll be.  Oh, and being polite goes a long way towards making it work. 😉

And now it’s back to the life of a commoner.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are your style rules?  Are you able to comport yourself reasonably among the famous?

Today: Detoxify

BrittI have quit Diet Coke.  Again.  I know what you’re thinking, Heard that before.  It’s true, I’ve given up the DC for six or seven Lents, several summers, and a week last October.

This time, I mean business.  While I love a good caffeine buzz as much as the next young professional, I’m not so certain all those chemical sweeteners aren’t mutating my insides.  I’m not so certain they are either, but I don’t think I’m willing to take the risk.

With so much press and noise about getting back to basics, living authentically and going green, it’s hard to know what’s sound advice… and what’s a big pile of organic crap.

Now I know Kathy Griffin’s reality show on Bravo is probably not the best, or even second best, place to take medical advice, but Suzanne Sommers had me thinking.  She admonished KG so strongly for imbibing the Diet Coke that I wondered… was the Thigh Master on to something?

The morning after Kathy’s season finale, I spent five minutes on the Yahoo and found five million reasons (sixteen were evidence-based) to quit.  So I did.  That was three days ago.  My survival (to date) has motivated me to consider detoxifying other aspects of my life.  For example:

  • You’re a bad friend and you do nothing but complain.  Actually, we’re not really friends.  We’re facebook friends.  Until today!  Bam!  Un-friended.
  • This dress is cute, but it was made from the same fabric as Lt. Dan’s new legs.  Looking bitchin’ is not worth all that itchin’.  See you in the St. Vincent De Paul donation box, with the hopes that someone less fortunate than me has less sensitive skin.  Making them more fortunate.  I kid.  Also I didn’t mean to say bitchin’… but it rhymed and I couldn’t stop myself.
  • My virtual inbox is overflowing in a very real way.  Delete, delete, forward to ten people so I don’t cast a plague upon my loved ones, delete.  Purge.  Much better.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Watch as many Damon Waver videos as possible.  This eleven-year-old journalist will melt your heart, cold Bostonians!
  • Find a “This book  belongs to” stamp.  I used to dream of being a librarian.  Until I dreamed of making money.

What’s toxic your life (besides Britney Spears’ hit single)?  How do you keep your mind, body, soul and gym locker clean?