Thursday, March 28, 2013

Unexpected Combo

Why do people have to say such mean things via the Internet? I don't get a lot of mean comments and I know I put myself out there and am exposed and vulnerable. I don't know the people that comment, just like I don't know you, but I've developed a sense of who some of you are and I enjoy our short conversations through my blog. However, the following comment via Pinterest about this outfit just unnerved me today.
"That looks like fashion at 60..... I am 42 and i would not wear grandma clothes like that."

I don't pretend to think that every outfit I feature is a "hit." Far from it. I feature real clothes that people can afford and I try to think a little outside the box to come up with some unusual combinations. And I've explained this before. I'm a small-time blogger just showing you what I wear to work each day. And I like to change up my hair!

And that's what I did with this outfit. I used my Closet app the other night and it featured white pants with this blouse that I've worn with red, black, and denim. I never would have thought to pair this blouse with white. It's a different combination. I'm not crazy about the flare of the pants (and they are a size too big), but the point is to give you a sense of possibilities. You might say, "Hey, I like the leopard and stripes and I think I might try that next." Clothes are supposed to be fun. It's one thing you can change on a daily basis with little commitment.

{Coat: Zara | Blouse: Asos | Pants: Gap | Necklace: J. Crew | Shoes: Vince Camuto}

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Moon Denim

I'm being followed by a moon shadow, moon shadow, moon shadow.

Wow! Really dating myself there! But my jeans just look like there's little moons on them. And they are soooo comfortable. Got them for $14 at The Gap in the clearance section. I thought this would be a perfect outfit to showcase how to break out of your comfort zone and do a little pattern mixing. So the denim leggings have a dark blue base color. The stripes in the shirt are the same color. The dots on the jeans are metallic silver and are relatively small. Because they are metallic, they look almost white.

So give this a try - find a bottom with small dots, be it a skirt or pants. Use the base color of the skirt as the stripe color in your shirt. Keep proportion in mind,   keep within the same color spectrum, and no more than two or three colors.  I've got navy, white, and silver going on in this outfit. And I wasn't going to add a jacket but it's unseasonably cold this week.  I've had this denim jacket since I lived in CT and really thought it would go with a lot more, but then I get self conscious and back out of wearing it for fear of looking like I'm back in high school.

{Jeans: Gap | Tee: St. James for J. Crew | Necklace: Kate Spade | Jacket: Ralph Lauren | Shoes: J. Crew}

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekend in Review

Hope you all had a nice weekend. Ours was muggy and we'll be getting some cold weather again this week. However, husband and I had a nice day out on Saturday. We started off at an art festival in Tampa, then explored some neighborhoods in South Tampa to get a feel of where we would like to buy our next house (our CT house - yep - still on the market). We then headed to Total Wine, which is like a field trip for us as we tend to stock up on beer and wine (two dozen bottles of red is about what we walk out with). We then picked up Pei Wei and called it an evening.

On Sunday I made a return at Macy's and wandered the mall. Found some cute nautical critter-like pants at Old Navy that I'll hold off on showcasing until we have warm weather again. I am also obsessed with eyelet this season. And it's everywhere. However, it's been hard to find the large-hole eyelet that I like. Luckily on two separate shopping trips, I found two pieces. Can't wait to show you the dress. Just beautiful!

Joe Fresh finally opened in my JCP and it's disappointing. Think Lands End at Sears. Just a little corner of the store with a few racks of clothing that most teenagers will like. So much different than the huge layout in Manhattan. I tried on a few things and left the store empty handed and disappointed. Maybe it's just the spring line or maybe it's just missing NYC a bit.

I also spent Sunday evening making cookies. I bought the rather expensive sugar cookie mix from Williams Sonoma this weekend. But they are very yummy. I've been doing something I never did before with cookie mixes. I prepare the mixes as directed and then I roll them in logs in Saran Wrap and then in wax paper and pop in my freezer. I know that a lot of women do this and I just never have. However, it's worked really well for me for the last few months when husband says, 'I want something for dessert' and I'm able to slice a few cookies off the log for immediate gratification.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Polka Dance

Are the bows on the shoes a bit overkill? Oh probably. But who cares? They are fun! They actually came with a pair of Dr. Martens I own and am currently selling on eBay (along with other stuff) as I find them uncomfortable. No flexibility at all. So I'm selling the shoes sans bows cause I can hook the bows on other pairs of shoes for a completely different look (I also have black bows that are going to look fab with my hot pink Nine West heels). And I hooked them to my shoes with bobby pins. Genius!

Been really busy at work this past week to meet a deadline tomorrow. Putting in a lot of hours and I'm exhausted. So I'm going to keep this short and sweet. Looking forward to going to the Hyde Park art festival on Saturday in Tampa with my husband. Hopefully we'll grab some tapas afterward. So until next week, have a good one everyone.

{Tunic: J. Crew | Pants: Gap (Broken-in Straight) | Shoes: Michael Kors | Cardigan: J. Crew | Necklace: Forever 21 (I love this necklace!)}

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Deep Condition

I decided to deep condition my hair last night. I try to do this at least once a week now that I am completely bleached. I slather on a combination of high end/low end conditioners, comb it through, and place a towel over my pillow to sleep in the conditioner. In the morning, I simply rinse well and style as usual. I have found that my hair responds best to my favorite shampoo and conditioner. I've been using this combo for years: Kerastase Oleo Relax Shampoo and Mask. Expensive? Very. Worth the money? Without a doubt. And I have a new product. I now use one product on my wet hair. It's new from TIGI. It's from the Reborn collection and my stylist turned me on to it. I don't know what kind of magic it has in it, but it's fabulous. Silky, silky hair. And if I can say that with being a bleached blonde, you know the product is good. I would never talk well about a product I didn't firmly believe in. That's just wrong and why I can't be a salesperson. "This is junk. Don't buy it." "Uh, Niki, we're gonna have to let you go. You never make any of your quotas."

So the product is the
Resurfacing Lusterizer and I just can't say enough positive things about it. I use about a quarter size (yeah, I have a lot of hair) in wet hair before I blow dry. Once I'm done with flat ironing, my hair feels like a baby's bottom. I still use my Flat Iron Shine Spray, but those are the only two styling products I use now.

Okay enough hair talk. Feels like that's all I mention lately. On to the clothes.

Was feeling a little edgy classic today. I saw this skirt on a few bloggers last fall but just couldn't decide which combo to go with.  Sometimes I'll hang some clothes aside while I think about combinations. I had my Philip Lim knockoff sweatshirt hanging along with this skirt and just decided to keep the combo neutral and simple. And I thought I wouldn't need a necklace since the collar of the sweatshirt is jeweled, but I'm just all breasts without something.But I think this is a nice, simple everyday work outfit.

{Skirt: JC Penney | Button down and Necklace: Ann Taylor | Sweatshirt: Loft | Shoes: Michael Kors}


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Monday, March 18, 2013

$10 Dress

How do you make a $10 H&M dress (or any fast fashion) look polished and sophisticated? Invest in statement accessories. A lot of J. Crew necklaces can cost a pretty penny. And the designs seem to be more elaborate each season (no complaints here). However, if you wait for a sale and then apply a typical 20-40% discount code every couple of months, you can get a pretty nice piece of jewelry for half off the retail price. I even spotted a replica of this Lulu Frost necklace in TJ Maxx over the weekend. It wasn't as sparkly, but the exact same design for $30. I had a J. Crew rewards card that I applied to this necklace in addition to the extra percentage off, so I came out pretty well in price.

Another place I shop for statement necklaces is Forever 21. Not a huge fan of a lot of their cheap frocks but their necklaces have held up extremely well for me. Look online as you can find a lot more selection than in the stores.

I have heard some complaints of the quality of Bauble Bar necklaces, but personally, I've never had a problem with the few pieces I have from them. And remember that you can get $10 off your first purchase just by signing up with an email address. I have, however, had Asos jewelry (bracelets) tarnish on me rather quickly.

I'm also finding that the blonder I go (yeah, got the roots done this weekend along with a co-wash of bleach and shampoo to the rest as we are gradually getting to the platinum stage without frying my hair), the more daring I seem to become in the necklace department. It's so weird being this white blonde. It's like I'm a member of a very small club of women, rather than lost in a sea of highlights. I now notice other platinum blondes. I find myself looking at the texture of their hair and how healthy/unhealthy it looks. I find myself doing double-takes in the mirror because I'm still getting used to the color. And I am very pleased that it does not at all feel like straw. Super pleased with how it's processed in the salon and the respect and care my stylist is taking in getting me to my final goal. My husband loves it and I do, too. It's not for everyone and I realize some of you don't care for it. That's okay.  I hope you come back to my site for more than my hair or what I'm wearing today. Cause when you get down to it, it's still a $10 H&M dress.

What's interesting with any fashion blogger is how that blogger can take a base piece and build upon it. Do they keep it minimalistic? Do they add a special touch with accessories? Does their makeup stand out? Did they buck the system and choose something obscure that just seems to work? Do they have the vision to take something outside of the standard every day sea of boring clothes and make it something special and unique?

{Dress: H&M | Necklace: Lulu Frost for J. Crew | Shoes: Nine West | Lipstick: MAC Rebel}

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Pleather Leggings Done Right

I've had these pleather leggings for a few months now. I've seen them, and other variations, on other blogs. I've seen them done right and I've seen some not-so-good combinations. Here's my take on it.

IF you are a plus size woman and want to wear leather or pleather leggings, do not show your thighs. Period. These type of leggings, just like light colored jeans or pants, show every dimple and imperfection. Why? They are meant to be worn fairly close to your skin. I have big thighs. I have cellulite. I'm not a size 4 - not even close, never will be. I wouldn't dream of wearing these leggings under anything but a dress or tunic that extends to my knees. Otherwise, as my sister puts it, and I paraphrase, "You're borderline hooker."

{Dress: Bar III | Leggings: DKNY | Jacket: Target | Necklace: Bubblebar | Shoes: Nine West Andriana}

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

So after spending five days in my PJs in my bedroom plastic bubble, I layed out an edgy outfit for the next day. I then woke up and said, "What am I thinking? I've been sick for a week. I can't go in looking like a rock star. Scratch that!" So this was my attempt at casual sick girl. Rock star tomorrow.

Not sure how I feel about this shirt. I think I was expecting the thickness associated with Stylemint's shirts (they are pretty thick) but then I get this thin-mint tee in the mail. Glad it was 40% off. I'm wearing a tank top under it, it's that thin. Honestly, after a few washings, I'm expecting to see the usual tiny pin holes all J. Crew tissue tees get. At least I'm managing my own expectations. I just want the perfect boatneck tee with the right proportion of stripes, fairly thick, with sleeves that hit right at or below my elbows. Know of any good ones? And the blue striped St. James one I ordered isn't much better.

{Shirt: J. Crew. Buy it here. | Pants: Gap | Vans: Juicy Couture (old) | Necklace: J. Crew}

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Killing Time

So what do you do when you are too sick to go to work, can't get anything other than soup or ice cream down your sore throat, and coughing attacks rob you of your precious sleep? Uh, four years of catching up with Breaking Bad, that's what. I'm hooked on the show. Streaming all 48 episodes on Netflix (I'm halfway through them).

I took this picture (the others didn't turn out well) on Friday before I came home and worked the rest of the day from home. Since then I've been in PJs, hair you don't even want to imagine, no makeup, and tissues and cough drops galore surrounding my bedside. But I think I've just about got this thing under control and ready to return to work tomorrow. I borrowed this look from one of my newest and probably my most favorite blogger, Seersucker and Saddles. What an adorable woman Beth is with such great style and not too far off from my own style. Gotta love another native Floridian blogger.

{Jacket: Zara | Shirt: The Limited | Jeans: Sears | Shoes and Bag: Zara}


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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sick, Again

Wasn't I just here six weeks ago? Yep. Ever work with someone who is perpetually sick and refuses to stay home and take the time to recover properly? That has become my reality at work. I'm so flippin' mad at my co-worker. It started on Monday when Ms. Hacker asked me to look over her work and proceeded to cough up a lung right then and there. The next day, three of us were feeling scratchy throats.

I now sit here on a Sunday morning barely able to get down any food or drink without severe pain in my throat. According to the Dr. (aka Nurse Practioner) at the CVS Minute Clinic yesterday, "We've seen this weird virus going around. 40 cases/day in January. It's "highly contagious." Hubby took me just so he can translate as I haven't been able to talk in 3 days. So off with antibiotics, Mucinex, and Saline Spray I went. I missed work on Thursday (thank goodness my 6 months is up and I now get PTO - but heck, this is no way to spend the 10 days I get), worked from home on Friday, and have a note to be out until Wednesday.

So until I get better...
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Thursday, March 7, 2013


Ugh. I think these pants will have to be rotated out of my wardrobe. Shame. They are fine through the thigh area, butt, and hips but they have the extended flap in the front that you have to stretch across the belly to attach to two hooks. That was long winded. They hook, rather than button. I used a safety pin for comfort and they are sitting below my stomach pooch like a redneck with a beer gut. So attractive.

Although we're not getting pummeled with snow like our mid-west relatives, we are seeing low temps for this time of year. And some crazy winds. Aren't palm trees just supposed to glisten in the sun? Or sway violently during hurricanes? And since I can't grow any flowers at the apartment or grow the types I used to up north (although daisies will grow here - yay!), I've been buying tulips and daffodils in potted containers. There are two types of shrubs/bushes/flowers I will miss and I'm so glad I took lots of pictures last year in front of my forsythia and hydrangeas. Hydrangeas are the first plant I put in our garden when we moved to CT. I've wanted to grow them since taking a small pot of them home from a business trip to Boston years ago. People thought I was nuts and were a little annoyed as I was in the middle seat with this potted plant sitting on my lap like a small, purple child. Of course, it didn't survive long in my air conditioned house. Had I tried to put it out in the yard, the sun would have burned it up like a vampire. We had one year where the temps in CT stayed at 90 degrees for several weeks and my hydrangea burned up for the summer. They came back the next year but no amount of watering was bringing those suckers back from the dead.

And jury duty yesterday? Well I didn't get picked. Didn't even have to go up and sit in front of the judge. I personally think the whole justice system is retarded in this country. You pluck someone off the street who has no background in law and expect them to understand everything the judge/attorneys are saying and make a decision on someone else's life? That's just not right. Watch the Paradise Lost videos on the West Memphis Three and you'll see where I'm coming from.

{Sweatshirt: J. Crew | Tee and Pants: Gap | Shoes: Tahari | Necklace: Thrifted}


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Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Two men enter, one man leaves.

Did I wear this fabulous Tina Turner vest to work today? You bet your ass I did! I've been waiting for an opportunity to wear it and 47 degrees seemed fitting. This was the outfit I was going to wear to the swanky lounge for dinner on my birthday. But two weeks with a sinus infection derailed that plan. Oh and it was 80 degrees on my birthday back in January.

This week's weather is unusual for this time of year. A late cold snap times 2. 30s and 40s are not normal for this time of year in Florida. But I'm not complaining. I know we'll never see snow here. I know it's about to be brutally hot and humid soon, so I'm relishing every last good hair and makeup day (yes, last weekend at the St. Pete Saturday Morning Market, my winged eye traveled so far up my lid that I looked like a drag queen and didn't realize it until after I ran into an old friend and then got into my car and looked in the review mirror - nice!).

I had one of those weekends where I go, go, go all day on Saturday (market, brunch with sister, Italian market, etc.) that on Sunday, I stayed in my PJs until about 4pm. And I finally found a fish market about 2 miles away from my apartment that had the most delicious scallops. Scallops aren't big down here, shrimp are.

So I did some research and made a list of fish markets I wanted to try. IC Sharks (isn't the name adorable?) is a small fish market on the bay that flies in fresh diver scallops from Maine every day. And boy could we taste the difference. They were so flavorful and tender. As my husband said (in a non-Jewish voice), "Like butter." Seriously, if you can find diver or dry scallops that haven't been injected with preservatives, the taste is outstanding. I also up'd the ante with my preparation after watching a short video on our new Roku boxes (streaming video is da bomb!).

I went in search for high heat safflower oil and ended up buying a variation of it at The Fresh Market. I bought an Asian Stir Fry safflower oil. I also invested in a better quality black truffle oil (rather than the crap one I got for $3 at TJ Maxx). You can smell the difference. And while I was out on Saturday, I picked up some black truffle salt that I used before cooking the scallops to help form a nice crust. All this combined with cooking in a cast iron skillet produced a lovely, and rather healthy dinner. I've been sticking to my 1500 calorie diet plan pretty well over the last week and it's paying off. I'm down 2lbs. 10 more to go. Has it been hard? Sort of. I now realize that I had become complacent and lazy. Even though I thought I was eating the correct portion sizes, I quickly realized that I was taking in about 2,000 calories/day. I haven't started back up on the exercise wagon yet but will when the weather warms up.

And I swear I'm not wearing blue and black all the time on purpose. I just adore this new necklace and I'm trying to find combos with it.

No post tomorrow. Jury Duty. I ain't dressing up for that! Hoping if I look like a hobo, I won't get picked.

{Vest: Skaist-Taylor for Target/Neiman Marcus | Pants: Asos | Tee: Gap | Necklace: Forever 21 | Shoes: Nine West Andriana}

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Red Lace

So forget blue theme week, I've switched over to red. And apparently, it's garnering quite the attention. A woman with crazy eyes told me she really likes red on me. Hmm. Maybe I should switch back to blue. And I swore I would never wear this MAC Prince Noir lipstick to work again, but it's really working with the lighter hair. I don't feel so goth. Just feels like a dark red.

These pants are a bit weird. I got them from Dorothy Perkins for $12. They are awesome to look at - looks like real lace over red pants (the back is just black). But they feel like a plastic/cloth picnic tablecloth. Remember those? The ones that grandma would put on her kitchen table and wipe down with a sponge after goulash? Oh my grandma's goulash was the best - for a kid. If you promise not to share the recipe with anyone, I'll give it to you. Ready? Elbow noodles, ground hamburger, ketchup (or catsup). Yep. That was Sunday dinner at grandma's when I was young and would stay with my dad for the weekends. Ahhh. memories.

The pants are comfortable but the waist is huge. I have a big gap in the back. Nothing a blazer won't fix! So now when someone asks you the best fashion advice you've ever received, you can say, 'Niki says a blazer fixes everything." Bam! Instant trend setter.

{Blazer: The Limited | Pants: Dorothy Perkins | Tee: Gap | Necklace: Forever 21 | Shoes: Zara}

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