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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Katy?

This outfit kind of looks like yesterday's, doesn't it? Although yesterday's was really Thursday....eh details. I absolutely love, love, love this blue and red color combination and want to make it a goal to add more of it to my closet. When I saw Carrie Bradshaw in this color combination years ago, I thought Patricia Field was off her rocker. Well, she probably is, but she definitely chose some great color combinations on the show. Although at the time, I was just boring 'ol Florida girl with no style.

Speaking of style, I've been nicknamed Katy Perry at work. I said, "I don't have dark hair, I wasn't married to Russell Brand, and I don't have clothes that light up like a Christmas tree." So I really don't see it. They say it's my style - that I'm always stylish. Of course I haven't told anyone I'm a fashion blogger. Was really hoping for a Gwen Stefani comparison (c'mon hair, grow!), but no such luck. So Katy's cute and I'll take the compliment.


{Tank: Talbots Outlet | Sweater: J. Crew | Skirt: eBay | Shoes: Zara | Lippies: Nars Dragon Girl}
 
 

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Lemon Zest

The past weekend was a pretty subdued one. Just waiting for the lunch hour today so I can wire a large sum of money to my attorney to close the deal on the house in Connecticut.  Really glad it is coming to an end and hubby and I can move on with our plans for the future.

I've limited myself to a few luxuries, such as pedicures every few weeks. My sister found a new place that she recommended to me. She understands my needs and knows that I'm after someone who isn't afraid to give me a "good digging." I know that sounds gross but I get ingrown toenails that are painful and really need someone who will spend the time to get at them. I think sister hit the jackpot on our new salon. I also have a weird toenail that doesn't show up in pictures (thank goodness). When I was 34, my pinkie toe decided to sprout croissant layers and become hard as a diamond. I'm just thankful I didn't inherit my grandma's hammer toes. Blech!

My childhood friend, who moved back to FL from Wisconsin about a year before I did, invited my sister and I on a cruise in November. To where you might ask? Uh, nowhere. It circles the Gulf of Mexico. As she put it, we're going to eat and drink ourselves silly. Just a girl's fun weekend. This will be my first cruise. I was hoping it would be with hubby but as hubby said, "We'll go on a first cruise to somewhere."

 
{Shirt: Urban Outfitters | Skirt: J. Crew | Shoes: Ann Taylor}

I've been in a baking mode lately. Maybe I'm just nesting as I'm in flux between two states and it's coming to an end. My latest creation is from Pinterest - Lemon Zucchini Bread. I don't care for zucchini, unless it's fried in a tempura batter. But oh my goodness, this bread is amazing. I baked two loaves (well one loaf in two pans) and plan to take one to work.





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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Please Pass the Mustard

Remixing scheemixing... it's like leftovers. After awhile you just get tired of eating leftover Easter ham. So no remixing today. It's all new! And we have about 4 days until we close on the sale of our house (fingers crossed).  I'm so ready for that phase of our life to be over with. And I'm totally digging my new job. They love me, I love them. It's all good.

So let's talk about these one-size too big mustard pants (although if I don't go back to the gym soon, I'll have to retire the majority of my wardrobe). I forget why I was in the mall this past weekend. I think I was just bored and roaming. I came in through Sears and quickly bypassed the skin-tastic-Kardashian collection. No, Bruce, your step-daughters really don't have any talent. But they make for good mindless TV when I'm binge eating. I have been searching for over a year for mustard colored pants. And these were 70% off the clearance price. I paid under $10 for them. I took them home, washed them, and threw them in the dryer on high in hopes of a little shrinkage. And a little is what I got. Oh well. A belt helps. And I guess I could always get them altered. But I know I won't.

But the dilemma today was how to take fall colors and make them appropriate for summer. Shoes and accessories! I truly believe you can do this with any fall/winter colors. Throw on sandals, add a bright lip, and throw in some spring jewelry.

And let's talk about the dress code at work. Some of you were asking about it yesterday. Okay, here's the deal. Jeans are allowed but only when worn with a company shirt. The first shirt is free and the next are 1/2 off. So there's a bunch of little clones walking around in a sea of schlubness. As Daryl Hall says, "I can't go for that. Noo--oooooo. No can do." Not digging the Kenny Rogers look, Daryl. And one of my co-workers asked me yesterday, "You do know about the dress code, right?" I replied, "Yes, but I have a lot of nice business clothes in my closet so I'll keep jeans to Friday's only." Seriously. I'm not going back to that way of dressing. I dressed that way for way too long and it got me fat, lazy, and fuggly. No thank you.


{Shirt and Necklace: J. Crew | Pants: Land's End | Shoes: Pour la Victoire | Lippies: Revlon Fire & Ice}
 
 






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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Remixing Not Good

Ugh. So not digging this combo. It looked much better on the hanger. These pants were giving me major crotch circulation issues today. Some days these pants fit just fine - others, not so much. Can't possibly be attributable to the Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuit mix sold exclusively at Sam's Club. Nahhhh.

And I'm retiring this shirt. Who wants it? Here's my hard sell: luxurious faux leather front, sheer panel back, shirt bunches up in the front under blazers/jackets and could easily be mistaken for a teenager's midriff. Mmmmm now that's one hell of a shirt!

Sad retail news. Saks Fifth Avenue is closing at Tampa's Westshore Mall in less than two weeks. The closest one is in Sarasota, about a 50-60 mile ride away. And what's going to replace Saks? Wait for it... Dick's Sporting Goods. Yeah, my excitement cup runneth over on that one. However, there is a new mall coming next year in Sarasota that I will be happily making the trip to. Who's coming with? Mark your calendars for a lovely trip down to FL in October 2014.



 
 
{Shirt: Bluefly | Pants: Target | Jacket: J. Crew | Necklace: Forever 21 | Shoes: Zara | Lippies: Nars Dragon Girl}
 
 
 
 
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Monday, April 22, 2013

First Day

Hi Y'all! I got home about an hour ago from my first day on the new job. It's fantastic! Small company with very helpful and friendly people. I have a flexible work schedule and I don't have to keep a time sheet or keep time on anything I work on since I'm working on things that are deadline driven. I'm starting from the ground level on the types of documents I'm working on but that's okay with me. I'm the sole technical writer and I like it that way. I don't have to work with existing material, I can be the creator. And when a company doesn't have much to start with, it gives me an opportunity to show what I can do for them. This job is a very nice change of pace compared to the micromanaging I went through for the last seven months. I actually came home smiling tonight.

No remixing today, I got me a special back-to-school dress.


 
{Dress: The Limited | Jacket: Forever 21 | Shoes: Nine West | Necklace: Kate Spade | Lippies: MAC Girl About Town}

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New Beginnings

Can you see the wave of relief on my face? Today was the last day at my job. While I'll miss a few coworkers that I've become close to, I'm really excited to start writing for a new company. A company that called me today to go over what to expect on my first day and to schedule my first business trip in the next few weeks...wait for it...to Connecticut.

So after handing over my badge to HR and saying my goodbyes, I came home a little early and headed to the pool to soak in some sun and relax. I'm going to spend the next few days enjoying some time off and preparing for my new adventure. I feel very lucky and fulfilled lately and very pleased with our decision to come back home.

Hubby and I are off to another art festival this weekend. A perfect opportunity for some summertime pictures that I'll have for you soon. And I have a very special dress planned for my first day on Monday. Until then, have a great rest of the week and weekend!


{Blouse and Necklace: Ann Taylor | Cords: Old Navy | Shoes: Vera Wang (the real deal, not Kohl's) | Lippies: MAC Girl About Town}
 
 


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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Red, Platinum, and Blue

Last week at the old job. One day down, two more to go. Then I'll have a four-day weekend before starting the new job next Monday. And I know I'm remixing, but I've had this shirt from Tarjay hanging in the closet for months now. So technically, it's not new (in the sense of buying new stuff during our closing month). But frankly, I'm a bit bored with fashion lately. I go through phases where it seems so trivial to me. Part of the reason I put this outfit together was out of pure laziness. There's nothing special about it. Cotton pants, button down, Keds. Yet, I'm featuring it on my blog. Why? Sometimes I feel my blog should only showcase outfits that I feel really great in. But then you'd get bored and wander because that's only going to be a few times/month.
So then I show you the okay outfits, which are the majority, and then the eh outfits - like this one. These shoes are a no-no at work. You can't wear flip-flops or sneakers. Well, I don't consider these sneakers. They're close-toed flats with laces. And you know how I feel about another silly rule being thrown in my face at work. Because I surely can't be productive based on my footwear choices. Two more days, Niki. Two more days. And then - normalcy.

Had the roots touched up over the weekend. My one splurge I'm allowing myself this month. I also had my hair thinned out, but instructed my stylist not to take off length. We're figuring four months before I have any real length. And she didn't want to thin out too much as bleached hair is fragile and tends to break. She also tapped my shoulder and said, "You've got an awkward growing phase to go through." Eh, it won't be so bad. I've done it before. A little round brush in the back along the nape of my neck keeps the flipping out to a minimum.

I'm holding off on the pedicures this month. We're resorting to Groupons, coupons, and cooking at home until this house sale is complete. We went to The Fresh Market on Sunday (their meats are much better than grocery store cuts) where I bought the filet mignon "tail" cause it was cheaper. $10 for two filets - sold. Guy behind the meat counter even said, "Some people say it's even better tasting [than the $18/lb filet]." Since we're in the apartment until next March and don't have a grill, I've researched how to cook a steak using my cast iron skillet. Throw a little compound butter on top and it's pretty good. Before we moved out of CT, I made one last trip to Wegmans and bought their Garlic and Cheese Finishing Butter (froze them and kept them on ice during move down). When I run out, I'll simply improvise and mix up my own concoction from the list of ingredients on the back of the container. Or I might just have to fly to Boston, visit Lissy, and take home some Wegmans' butter to last me a couple more years.


*I wrote this before the explosions in Boston. My sympathies to those that were affected.

 
{Shirt: Target | Pants: Old Navy | Shoes: Keds | Lippies: Nars Dragon Girl}




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Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Classics

So I'm on a movie kick. Would you believe that I have never seen an Audrey Hepburn movie? Or anything with Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, and so on. I've seen some classics, such as Love Story, Where the Boys Are, and some dark classics, such as Waiting for Godot. But most classics, meh. Just never had the desire in my younger years. So I'm giving it a go.

Which classic did I start with? Why Breakfast at Tiffany's, of course. And wow, wow, wow! Audrey's clothes are to die for, as is she. What a gorgeous woman she was. What style and grace she had. I now get why she was a timeless beauty and how that style endured for decades. LBDs, statement necklaces, ballet flats. Hello, pre Sex and the City!  And the Givenchy dress in the opening scene? What a stunning look. I want the dress, pearls, oh heck, throw in the tiara as well.

*This is my favorite scene from The Big Bang Theory. My husband says I act just like this when I get excited about something (he's right). I think it's hilarious!



And what did I think of the movie? Meh. Not my style. Too much Moon River (seriously overplayed). It seemed superficial with a predicable plot. I'm not crazy about the whole damsel in distress that needs to be rescued. And I guess that was the time.  Not a lot of strong, independent women in movies 50-60 years ago. Unless I just haven't found the right movie. Hubby said I should give Katharine Hepburn and Lauren Bacall a try. My friend Charlotte suggested Hitchcock might be more my speed. And although it was shot in 1980, I still consider Raging Bull a classic. I loved Cathy Moriarty in that movie. The pre-Gwen Stefani.

However, the next movie I want to watch is The Way We Were. But that's not something I can stream on Netflix with my subscription.

So to honor the beautiful Audrey, here's my modern take (in a much, much curvier way).
 


 
{Shirt: St James for J. Crew | Pants: Asos | Shoes: J. Crew | Lippies: Nars Dragon Girl}
 
 


 
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Remix 2

"Niki doesn't count anymore." Yep, that's what IT said in front of everyone when upgrading a program on my coworkers' machines and not mine. Husband says I'm being too sensitive and am the lucky one to be leaving my current company. I know he's right, but a comment like that is...well, I guess expected from this place.

And is it legal to tell one co-worker not to talk to another former co-worker (on their own time) that was abruptly fired last week? I'm thinking 'No,' but maybe I'm wrong. One more (long) week, Niki. One more week. Then all these new, weekly made-up rules will be a faint, ugly memory. I won't have to feel stifled, annoyed, frustrated, and irritated anymore.

And while we are in the poor house for the month of April, Subway has come to our rescue! All month long - B1G1 free. I've gone twice now and loaded up on sandwiches (breakfast and lunch). Two breakfast sammies and four 6" subs = $10. I wouldn't even be able to make lunches and breakfasts for both of us for $10 (unless it's peanut butter sammies). I wasn't a fan of Subway and am still pretty picky with what I order from there, however, Subway was founded in Connecticut and there was one of every corner. Grocery stores (except Big Y, which was not near our house) didn't make sub sammies like they do down here at Publix. So a lack of choice and the introduction of $5 footlongs was the initial appeal. Not to mention the subs are typically calorie friendly, a big deal on Weight Watchers. The appeal now is cheap sandwiches during a month when we are holding on to as much cash as we can. It ain't pretty but it's what we have to do for the next three weeks. Inspection is done, appraisal happens tomorrow.

As I was looking through Pinterest last night, I came across an outfit where the girl had on black pants, gray shirt, black blazer, and a mint green necklace. Unfortunately, my black pants are at the cleaners, so I opted for a skirt. And since my Alice and Olivia doesn't get enough love, I broke it out of closet jail. The belt happened to come with a pair of plaid pants I bought a couple months ago from Tarjay. So day two of remixing and this is what I came up with. I'll keep up with this theme through the end of the month. Maybe I wore something at one time that caught your eye and you'd like to see it remixed. Let me know.


 
{Blazer: Alice & Olivia | Skirt and Tee: Gap | Shoes: Nine West | Necklace: Bauble Bar | Belt: Target (from other pants) | Lippies: Hourglass Fever}




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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Remixing

I have this wave of calm over me right now that is interrupted by extreme stress. I don't think I've been this calm before starting a new job, while at the same time I'm stressed over not knowing everything that is going on with the sale of our house. When you live 1400 miles away and aren't kept in the loop, it's very frustrating. I was able to confirm some numbers with the paralegal yesterday, who was very gracious in answering my gazillion questions. I also found out that it doesn't matter when we close on your house (i.e., what day), that we are responsible for all 30 days of per diem interest. So even if we closed tomorrow, we'd still be on the hook for 30 days of interest. And it's absolutely true, buying and selling a house is the most frustrating, stressful experience. Going house hunting is great. Getting down to the nitty gritty isn't.

I was going to wear a different outfit this morning but the pants are a wee bit tight. I haven't been going to the gym as I've had other things preoccupying my time so I'm getting a little thick around the middle. And since there's no shopping in my future for at least a month, I'm going to get creative with what I do own. Maybe even some repeats but changing out accessories.

I am looking forward, however, to having a little bit of disposable income for some investment pieces. I've been buying trendy, throw-aways for the last year. And that's just it, they become throw-aways after a few washings or are cast off to the weekend wear pile. As I look in my closet, I see a sea of Zara and J. Crew with just a sprinkling of Vince, Alice & Olivia, and a few Gucci/Kate Spade/Louis bags. Sadly, I sold a lot of my investment pieces on eBay over the years (Prada, Fendi, and Gucci handbags/shoes). Sometimes life gets in the way and you have to part with certain items. I have regrets. Especially over some of the beautiful pieces I picked up in Italy. I do still have my Gucci fanny pack (similar to the one Carrie Bradshaw used while dating Aiden) that I bought in Italy. And of course there's my beautiful denim Louis that hubby, then boyfriend, surprised me with for our lavish first Christmas together.

And even though I want to invest in a few great pieces that will last me throughout the years, I'm starting to realize that having some money in the bank is more important. I have 20+ good working years left and I need to make the most of that time before I start having any medical issues or slow down. I need to make sure that I can retire and live a comfortable life that doesn't include eating cat food. Luckily the new job has a nice match on 401K that I will be taking full advantage of to build back up funds I had to use for our CT house. I'm not getting any younger and there's no rich relative in my future who will bestow their millions onto me. As has always been, it's up to me (and hubby) to make things happen to secure our future.


Now on to what was referred to as my Ikea outfit. Thanks. Love when perfect strangers speak their minds with insults.



{Shirt: Zara | Pants: Talbots | Shoes: Rock & Republic for Kohl's | Necklace: Forever 21 | Lippies: Nars Dragon Girl}



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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Stuff and Such

So let's talk about some good fortune that has come our way. In one week's time, we managed to get an offer on our house and I got a new job! Yay! The Connecticut house is under contract with a proposed closing date of April 30th. Please keep your fingers crossed! We had the inspection last week and appraisal is next.

Although we suffered a bit on the purchase price and have to bring funds to closing, it's the other things (some unavoidable) that make it quite an expensive sale. Commission is unavoidable unless you sell the house yourself through FSBO. We took the traditional route. We also gave the buyer a little bit of credit at closing. But the biggest shock was having to pay the buyer, via a transfer tax, to take our house off our hands! What?! It's call Conveyance Tax or Conveyance Transfer Fee and is paid to both the state and county. For us, 1.25% of the selling price. Ouch! Stupid Connecticut and their laws. I was feeling a bit sad letting our cute house go. Not anymore. Can't wait to get that financial burden off our backs. 

And I'm ready for a bit of a break in house buying/selling. It is a stressful, expensive experience. So we'll hang in our apartment for the next year while we recover and build back up our finances. The next few weeks will be rough but we'll get through it and then we'll be able to enjoy some fun times again (going out to eat, concerts, vacations) that we haven't been able to do for the last seven months.


 
So on to the job news. Had an interview a week ago Thursday after work for a technical writer position. The following Monday, I accepted a very nice offer.

I've been job searching/interviewing for a few months now. If you've been following my blog, you know how my current company is just not a good fit for my skill set and personality. Couldn't ever adapt to the whole billable situation and comp time only being given within the same week as you take it. Also couldn't handle the shift schedules. And to learn the rules and regulations within my department weren't company-wide, made me realize it's really time to go and find a more relaxing, yet rewarding company to work for. And I believe I've found it. I hit it off immediately with my new boss. Very easy, relaxed person to talk to. I'm really excited to start this new opportunity on April 22 and they are equally excited for me to start. I'll have a couple of days off before starting the new job to distress. But I have to tell you, I'm feeling really relieved. At my current company, my stomach is in knots most of the day as I'm constantly tracking time, thinking about my time for the next week and where that time will be allocated, and having to account for every minute of my day. Being so cognizant of time prohibits my productivity. I actually clock watch less when I'm free to work on something for a particular time period (and am left alone). I don't think anyone responds well to micromanaging. If you hire the right talent and give them guidance, you can empower and trust your employees to do their job well.

It's too bad I can't get out of my head and stop questioning why good things are happening for us and just enjoy this time that we are probably due for. 


And on to a little bit of "I'm getting old" news. I took a personal day on Friday to take care of any last minute doctor visits before I lose my current insurance as I won't have any health/dental/vision insurance until June. I was three months overdue on my teeth cleaning and seven years on my vision. I have pretty good vision (or so I thought) and was 20/20 most of my life. I have glasses for distance driving but it's such a small prescription that most times I don't bother to wear them. If I'm sitting in the back of a conference room, I'll use them for a bit of clarity. But lately, I've been having trouble with my iPhone. Been tilting my head back and adjusting my arm length to read text messages and articles. Turns out, I need BIFOCALS! I blame the phone for ruining my vision. Yeah, that's how I'll justify it. My distance vision also is slightly worse. Ugh. Age. And I know so many people wear glasses and have for years. It's just the word association of "bifocals" and "old age" that I'm having trouble with. But with no lines, hopefully no one will know I'm wearing them. And I got a pretty chic pair of frames. I really wanted clear Wayfarer frames and found these Guess frames. Saved a lot of money using insurance. Unfortunately, they were out of my lenses so I have to wait until April 16th to pick them up.
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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Santigold

Sometimes my camera cooperates perfectly, click, click, click. And other times? Click...wait 10 seconds, click...waiting for Godot, click...I just turned 53, click...it's 2075. On those days, like today, I get frustrated and capture 30 shots (normally it's double or triple that amount) and then give up, hoping for the best.

Yikes! I just saw a picture of Mary Tyler Moore on ET. Oh my.

And we're back. I'm trying to decide if it's worth it to get Depeche Mode tickets. While I had a great time with my friends in 1990, just a day or two before we graduated high school, I also feel like that synthesizer ship has sailed. Now don't get me wrong. Me likey the synthesizers. I grew up on it. But I recently saw a picture of Martin Gore and he isn't quite what I remember. I know we all age, but dem drugs have taken a toll. And if they are affecting their looks, you know that their voices will also be affected. It's gonna happen anyway because of age, but when you Break Bad, it can't be good long term. And after Violator, their songs just didn't pique my interest.

Feeling a little simple black and gold today. Hair is growing and flipping out weird in the back. Getting ready for a little summer ponytail.

Tomorrow I must awake early and go get a test. Busy, crazy day tomorrow so no post.


{Tank: Talbots | Pants: Zara | Cardigan: J. Crew | Necklace: eBay | Shoes: Simply Vera Wang}

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Some good things are on the horizon in the near future. Once all the kinks are worked out, I'll explain more. Hope everyone had a nice weekend. We had a nice Easter. It's all about the food for me (what holiday isn't?) rather than sacrificing baby lambs at the St. Pete Morning Market. Okay, there were baby lambs or probably goats (I can't tell the difference, I'm a city girl) but they were caged and cute. I cooked ham, green bean casserole, veggie casserole, and mashed taters. I'm southern. Casserole is king. Don't forget the Sister Shubert's rolls!

We're also having warmer weather and I'm taking advantage of it as I sit by candle light on the back patio overlooking our pond and the lovely pool area. I also got to ride Pretty this weekend (that's what I call my beautiful bike).

Onto today's uniform. I bought this lightweight jacket at Zara during my trip to FL last summer when I was interviewing and coming down here for my nephew's second birthday. I reorganized my closet this weekend and wondered why I never put this outfit together before. Oh, yeah, probably cause I couldn't see any of my crap. I'm now officially Type A as everything is categorized by clothing type and color. That's how I roll, chickies!
 
G*d d*mn! Those little mosquitos are eating me alive. So much for being one with nature.


{Skirt: J. Crew (can't wait to wear the dress!) | Blazer and Tank: Zara | Shoes: Nine West | Lipstick: Nars Schiap | Nail Polish: Essie Blanc}




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