A poor substitute for the post I wrote last night that vanished DAMMIT TYPEPAD

Last night I wrote this huuuge post about a bit of shopping I've done lately, replete with pictures and links and actual opinions and all that. And somehow I messed up and it didn't post and POOF. Last night I was just angry, this morning I am taking it as a sign that I am not to even pretend to be a fashion blogger. 

But I did provide you with a little write up of the new home section at JCPenney and it seems that this is the section I am most bummed I didn't get to share with you. Interesting! I think it's because I've finally found my dream dining room table - at PENNEY'S. I know. And it's $1300 which means I will not be purchasing it, maybe ever, on account of buying a deck instead. 



Okay, fine, you can barely see it. This is because it's a shiny white LACQUERED table and I am IN LOVE. It's from the Jonathan Adler collection and it's too expensive and it doesn't seat enough people and it doesn't come with an extension and I don't care because IT'S SO PRETTY. I may have to re-envision my entire future dining room around a white laquered table.

Anyway. Here is what I thought about the new JCPenney Home department, which you have definitely heard about if you a) watch/read financial news or b) see a commercial on HGTV. It's awesome. I know! Much like their dress department, where I am finding 99% of the dresses I like lately, the home department is my kind of stuff. A lot of it (and not just the uber-bright Jonathan Adler stuff) is the modern that isn't SO modern it looks uncomfortable, but with clean lines, interesting shapes, shiny, mixed materials. I have to compare it to Home Goods, where I went over the weekend in search of couch pillows. I like a lot of the stuff in Home Goods, but I'm thinking I'm not... I can't think of a good word. Like I'm not so much into chalkboard paint. I love their rugs and their lamps, but I think I'm not enough into the vintagey style. Anyway, the JCP stuff isn't cheap and not where I'd go in search of some wall art or a bathmat, but if I was seriously looking for something substantial? I'd totally check them out. 

And now we need to talk about couch pillows. Why so expensive, couch pillows?! The few I liked at Home Goods were $25 each and at JCP they were between $20 and $40. I have a ginormous couch and there's no way I could buy enough pillows at that price point. Such a bummer. I may have to go to JoAnn's and pick out fabric and con my mother into sewing them for me. 

The other stuff I bought, just some dresses. I'm on the hunt for maxi dresses that skim over my lumpy parts and also a pair of sloppy khaki pants. I cannot find a pair of loose, easy, lightweight khaki pants ANYWHERE. I don't want skinny or cropped or stretchy or work-like or nice material or fitted or God forbid LINEN. Ugh. Basically what I want is a pair of Phillip's worn out Friday casual work pants in my size. Something to wear with t-shirts and tanks and sandals. That doesn't make me feel muffin toppy. That doesn't lower my self esteem like jeans. That isn't out of season like leggings or heavy yoga pants. That's messy but MEANT to be messy. Where are these pants?! I used to have a pair, pre-children, and I wore them ALL THE TIME. WANT. 


In which I grudgingly accept that belts are not the devil

I'm taking a break from the Oscars and the fact that I'm doing so is TRULY a bummer. I love the Oscars! I love self-aggrandizing award shows with sparkles and tuxes! How disappointing. Actually, what's disappointing is that Seth Macfarlane looks like THAT, you know, Epitome Of Classy, but opens with one of the most cringe-worthy unfunny monologues ever. Or maybe I have the wrong sense of humor? Or NO sense of humor? That's probably it. (No. He's terrible. It's not me.)

But all these gowns are bringing to mind the lesson I learned this weekend about FASHION. (You: HAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!) But whatever, I am going to tell you about it anyway. 

You know how everyone is belting everything? Or maybe they were six months ago and that's over now and I just haven't figured it out? I'm not sure. Either way, belts look terrible on me. Until this year I owned one single belt, one that looks somewhat like a car seatbelt, and I've had it since college and it's entire purpose in life is to keep my jeans from sagging. It's not for show, it's not cute. I did, last year sometime, buy a fabric belt off Etsy because I thought that on the few occasions my shirt rides up and my belt is exposed, I should have a cute one. 

But then people started wearing belts as, you know, ACCESSORIES. Belting dresses, belting cardigans, belting absolutely everything and I was STYMIED. Completely. I thought the problem was that I didn't have a PROPER belt, so one day I spent a few bucks on a skinny-ish leopard print belt. One that is totally meant to be seen and isn't terribly effective at keeping up one's pants. But nooooo! It did NOT look good! I tried belting a too-big shift dress, a long cardigan, a dress with a cinched waist that I never wore BECAUSE it had a cinched waist - all terrible. Belts just HIGHLIGHTED my no waistedness. Made it OBVIOUS. The best I got that belt to look was over a fitted sweater dress, and maybe an inch or two above my natural waist. Not that I ever wore that out of the house, because 1) I was entirely too self-conscious and 2) when you wear a belt an inch or two above your natural waist it naturally sinks down and you spend all your time anxious about whether your belt is in the right place. BAH.

Friday, though, I was feeling sort of lame about myself. I've lost a few pounds on Weight Watchers and I feel like I'm on my way, but I haven't lost enough to look different. Still, I thought I'd do some retail therapy because that almost ALWAYS makes me feel better about ANYTHING and WHY NOT. I deserve to look cute! So before I went out I typed "RECTANGLE BODY SHAPE" into Google and Pinterest to get some ideas. 

AAAAAAAND, 99% of those ideas were BELTED ideas. WHAT?

I have a Rectangle Body Shape. I have a pretty ill-defined waist. I am narrowest right at the bottom of my rib cage, but I'm not hour glassy and belts have ALWAYS made me look like I just tied a string around the middle of a sausage - busting out at both ends. I looked like this even at my thinnest. I think I looked BETTER, but dresses with cinched waists still looked terrible on me. But all the recommendations for this shape were to DEFINE THE WAIST! usually with a BELT! and NOOOOO. 

Except, maybe I've been doing it wrong? So I went out Friday morning, baby in tow, and decided to pull a bunch of cinched waist and belted things off a rack and try them on and FIGURE IT OUT. I will now tell you what I learned. 

Belts TOTALLY work for me IF: 

  • the garment is fitted and trim. If something is a little too big or meant to look blousy or voluminous, then NO. NO WAY. I look like a box on top of another box. Same goes for those shirts with banded bottoms. 
  • the waist is high enough. I realized that nearly all the cinched waists on all the cinched waist dresses fall too low. I don't need it so high that it's an empire waist, but almost everything I tried on hit me at my THICKEST point and that does nothing for me. 
  • a belt is INCLUDED. Things that don't include belts seem to require the belt hit the least flattering latitude on my body, while, say, fitted dresses that come WITH a belt have it fastened at a better spot. 

I've always thought I look half decent in sheath dresses, which is weird because I HAVE NO WAIST. But after my shopping trip I realized that the dresses I own are CUT VERY WELL (for me, anyway) and make me look like I have a waist (or maybe they're cut to make me look a little curvier?) I don't know how it works. But two or three of those dresses have ties or belts and I look downright SKINNY in those. I came home with a close fitting jersey shirt dress (ANOTHER style I've never thought looks good on me, but again: CLOSE FITTING) with a tie belt and dudes, I look hot. I'm just saying. Retail therapy definitely worked for me on Friday. 

The Rectangle Shape recommendations also say that peplum tops work for me, but I was not brave enough to try on one of THOSE. (And where would I wear my peplum top anyway? To Safeway?)

Other things I think I might accrue: 

  • Jackets. I'm not really a blazer sort of person, but I ordered this ponte knit black jacket thing, with buttons and a mandarin collar, and THAT makes me look like I have a waist. I should probably buy more fitted jackets than a millionth long shapeless cardigan 
  • Button down shirts that FIT. If they FIT they look SO GOOD. Unfortch they're usually super giant and saggy or fit everywhere except across the boobs where the button keeps popping open. I don't like the ones that look super work shirty, but I like the more feminine ones, or with more detail. IF THEY FIT.
  • Empire waisted maxi dresses. I have one that I love, and this isn't so much the "definining the waist" factor as "accentuating what you've got" plus a maxi dress plus wedges makes me look TALL. 
  • BETTER BRAS. Dear God, someone please drag me to the Nordstrom fitting room lady already. 


Shopping spree

When Phillip is away, my online window shopping often becomes actual shopping. 

Today I bought:

Shirt Collar Blouse Dress from Loft


I don't know. I'm curious. I thought it might be cute belted, now that I know how to belt things, and over leggings or my various pairs of thick stretchy pants that I believe are called ponte knit pants. Basically they are the pants that all the middle aged ladies in Italy wear and no, I cannot believe I own the same kind of pants my cuckoo Italian teacher wore every single day.  

I also bought this necklace:


I almost never buy jewelry and I have NEVER bought jewelry online. Oh wait, except for Etsy. Which seems different? Anyway, I like the yellow and silver and thought maybe it would dress up my In Case I Can't Find Anything Else Blathering Dress, pictured here:


The dress is navy blue and if the necklace looks right, maybe some super tall mustard yellow heels? 

That's all the budget can handle this month, and I'll probably end up returning that pajama-shirt-disguised-as-a-dress anyway. But here are the other items on my shopping list. 

Leopard print flats.


Some wear-with-jeans-in-the-rain-to-kindergarten-drop-off mary janes

I look for stupid mary janes EVERY SINGLE FALL and I never buy any. I have this sneaking feeling that they are desperately uncool (these, for example, are a brand called Orthaheel), but they are 1) easy to put on while carrying a baby without being 2) sneakers or boots or other shoes I might wear in the rain. Obvs these will get my cute socks wet right on the instep, but we're mostly talking shoes that won't get upset if you step in a little puddle, unlike those leopard print flats. I have a pair of Danskos that I hate. They MUST be replaced this year. 

Some long shirts and/or sweaters and/or dresses to wear over the aforementioned leggings/Italian lady pants because DUDES one year post-Emma and I am still anti-real pants. 

Pajama shirt barely passing as a dress from Athleta.


Maternity shirt posing as a non-maternity dress from Boden


Apparently I want to wear maternity clothes without having to be pregnant to justify wearing maternity clothes.

Gosh, I like REALLY BORING CLOTHES, eh? OH WELL. I believe it's called Comfortable Pacific Northwesty Rain Repellent-Ish. I own a very cute raincoat, if you must know.

I am sloooooowly purging the closet of stuff I never wear. This category includes: 

  • too-big clothes I kept to wear after having babies
  • dresses I only wore once five years ago
  • too-small clothes that didn't look good on me even when they fit
  • too-small clothes that looked great on me when they fit, but will probably never fit again, and depress the everloving snot out of me whenever I visit the closet so why keep them around
  • clothes that fit, but look terrible, seriously, why did I buy these things?

Emma turns one on Sunday, people. SUNDAY. I am still three pounds away from my goal. Pretty sure I need to make peace with those three pounds and start dressing this only-three-pounds-heavier but differently shaped body. It's been one entire year of not liking what I'm wearing and I'm ready for that to change. 


All right, Internet. Basically all I want to know is if it's okay to leave my house looking like this: 

Photo (2)

What we have here is a several years' old Target t-shirt, a brand new $12.99 Target skirt, and Old Navy capri leggings I wore through my entire EJ pregnancy. The only thing I can really say for this outfit is at least those are not MATERNITY leggings. I know that this is not AWESOME, I just don't want to wear pants to Safeway and it's too cold to wear a dress. (DAMMIT SEATTLE.)

It seems like all my favorite internetters have taken up fashion blogging lately and while I have no claim or ambition to fashion blogging (AS IF YOU COULDN'T TELL) I occasionally have QUESTIONS. I would usually never act on these questions. I mean, there've been several times when I can't decide what to wear to this or that function, but honestly, I'd rather die than post myself in each outfit and put it up to an internet vote. It's not that I don't trust you, Internet, it's that I admire and trust your judgment so MUCH that I am terrified of your criticism. I mean, what if you hated everything? What if you thought I also had a terrible haircut and ugly shoes and even the background is a disaster? 

(In this picture I 1) already KNOW I have a terrible haircut and 2) am not WEARING any shoes and 3) am standing in front of the only square foot of my house that is NOT a disaster. SO THERE.)

But I love it when YOU post pictures. So it can't be that terrible, right? And I really do want to know about Leggings. I mean, I am almost 33 years old. I have three children. I've already been through a leggings craze in my life. Should I burn these and promise to never speak of them again? 

My case for the leggings is: 

  1. I NEVER wear them as pants. Promise.
  2. I love dresses and skirts, but I live in Seattle, where today, June 25, it is something like 55 degrees and raining. 
  3. Even though I am a mere 5 pounds away from my Lose The Baby Weight Goal, I am not a fan of pants. I may never be a fan of pants again. My middle, which was pudgy to begin with, is only MORE pudgy and lumpy and love handley and generally unattractive. This type of shape is not conducive to pants. 

All this fashion blogging of late has made me think about MY style, you know? I don't necessarily want to throw out everything in my closet, but before I've bought anything new I've tried to think harder about what I like, what I wear a lot, and what looks decent on me. And woe, I still don't really know. 

I want to look just like the Boden girls. 

Source: bodenusa.com via Maggie on Pinterest



(Also blond and skinny, please.)

When I dress up I want to be sparkly.



I love shift dresses.


Source: madewell.com via Maggie on Pinterest


Source: gap.com via Maggie on Pinterest


And for the summer I am REALLY in love with just about everything in the Athleta catalog. 




So... I like sporty casual stuff? With a bit of sparkle thrown in for special occasions? I DON'T KNOW. 

Things I don't like: 

  • ruffles
  • spaghetti straps (I feel too old for these now. Weird?)
  • drawstring waists (these ALWAYS hit me at the worst spot)
  • shorts

Hmm. I'm remembering that I said "just tell me if leggings are okay"... and somehow I spun it into this. But give me a break, Internet! My one sick child has multiplied into two sick children and the routine went out the window and I am NOTHING WITHOUT MY ROUTINE. I moved through today in a state of confused shruggery. That's a new word, by the way, that I just made up. "Shruggery" is sort of the physical manifestation of the word "huh". 

I just looked through all these pictures again. It appears my style is: anything that looks good on people with long skinny legs. (Which is the opposite of me, btw. Oops.)

All right, Internet. If you haven't deleted me from your reader, stay tuned for a similar post focusing on hair. OH YES. IT WILL HAPPEN. 


Things I Have Bought And Things I Might Have Bought If I Had A Money Tree In My Backyard Instead Of An Enormous and Terrible Lavender Bush

I did some shopping today. I picked up a few things.

These shoes:


Target sandals (also in blue and orange), $20. This was definitely a case of going to Target for formula and diapers and coming home with shoes and notecards and brownie mix. But I will definitely wear these. I wanted blue, but 1) they didn't have blue in my size and 2) I HAVE blue sandals already and 3) perhaps I should Branch Out. 

Note: I attempted branching out in Yellow, having purchased two suitable bridesmaid dresses from J.Crew. My favorite was this one: 

J.Crew Ramona dress in bright lemon, on sale for $180. 

But I tried it on for my mom and she liked the dress but hated the color and also how much I paid and I was all BUT THIS IS THE DRESS and she was all OKAY FINE and then a few days later I got a voicemail saying that she and my sister decided I should return it and just wear the green dress I bought back before I knew it was supposed to be a LIME green dress. It looks like this:


Calvin Klein square neck pleated dress, clearly not in green, $99.99 on the website but $40 at TJ Maxx where I found mine, in emerald green.

Actually, I KNEW emerald green was probably not the right green, but it was only $40 and I loved it and decided it would be my Goal Dress. That was 5 pounds ago and I could stand to lose another 5, so, GOAL: lose at least 5 more pounds by my sister's wedding in July! MUST FIT INTO DRESS!

Also, I really like those shoes the model is wearing, except I want mine in hot pink. Green dress, hot pink shoes. YES.

When I returned my yellow dresses today I finally saw that bubble statement necklace that people keep Twittering about. 

J.Crew bubble necklace in turquoise, one hundred fifty dolla omg

Now. I thought this necklace, when I saw it in links online, was super cute, terribly overpriced, but no matter, it's cheap on eBay! EXCEPT. Then I saw it in person and HOLY HECK that thing is monstrous. It hangs down WELL into one's cleavage and you guys, I have spent my whole life attempting to DETRACT attention from that area. So. No bubble necklace for me. Sheesh. 

I ended up buying a black dress on final sale from Banana Republic, nowhere to be found online. I'm not sure where or when I'll wear it, but it's a conservative and modest yet stylish LBD, with cap sleeves and a belt and pleating on the bodice and it was only $24 and it just seemed like the type of thing you should have in your closet. I was worried that it made me look like a flight attendant, but my friend scoffed at the idea and also, $24. Done. 

I wanted to buy fancy hair stuff at Aveda and fancy face stuff at Kiehl's, but... SIGH. 

I took a picture of shoes I liked, with every intention of finding them cheaper online:

And I did. But I haven't bought them. Maybe later. Miz Mooz Dulce mary janes in blue (again with the blue!) $99.95 at Zappos. 

I hated everything at H&M. If you must know. 

Now if you'll excuse me I have some brownies to make for delivery to the FPC tomorrow morning. (I used to be SUPER SNOBBY about making my own brownies from scratch, but then I tasted a Ghirardelli brownie and then I found out it was from a BOX and I do not make brownies from scratch anymore. Let us all bow down before Ghirardelli.)


In which getting dressed is a depressive episode

I spent the greater part of my morning in an Oh God I Am Never Going To Lose The Baby Weight Depressive Episode. I made the rookie mistake of hopping on the scale before weigh in day and saw that I was up one pound and that's when the fits of despair kicked in. OH THE DESPAIR.

The fact that Emma woke up seventy-four times last night and the fact that I was unable to go back to sleep between each wake up surely had something to do with my mood, don't you think? I am hoping, because I can't keep emotionally throwing myself off bridges over this weight loss thing. 

I whined over IM to Elizabeth, who, you may already know, is having some sort of Wardrobe Renaissance and after five minutes unloading on Elizabeth my choice was clear: get thee to the mall, purchase the most affordable, cutest thing that FITS. It doesn't matter if it's not the "right" size. Buy something you feel good in. Stop feeling bad about yourself. Find something that makes you look nice. Because LIFE IS TOO SHORT. ETC. And the internet is tired of hearing about it FTLOG!

I've been inspired (and intimidated) by Elizabeth's uniform plan. I like the IDEA, but I don't know if I could make it WORK. I haven't really bought any clothes since Emma was born, besides a few necessary size XXL t-shirts at Target. I haven't wanted to buy new clothes AT ALL, since I've been hoping to lose the baby weight and fit into my pre-Emma summer wardrobe, all of which I still really like. (I tried most of it on the other day and IT ALMOST FITS. Skirts are so much more forgiving than jeans. LE SIGH.)

But anyway, I am unhappy NOW and needing a pick me up NOW and also not wanting to look like a yoga pantsed slob NOW. 

Pants make me depressed. I own five million cardigans and nothing to go under them. Putting two separate elements of an outfit together is clearly too hard for me. Also I've been wearing the same two or three jersey dresses ALL YEAR with leggings underneath. Now, I do not want to know if leggings are no longer okay, or if they weren't ever okay. I don't want to know because a dress with leggings underneath is basically the most comfortable thing I've ever worn and if it's wrong I don't want to be right. I am honestly afraid to ask. If I promise not to wear them as pants (EASIEST PROMISE EVER) can I keep them??? 

But thankfully we're gearing up on weather where I might not have to WEAR leggings (though this is Seattle - wishful thinking) so today I decided to expand my dress repertoire. Because if I'm going to commit to a uniform, I want it to be a dress. Preferably the sort of dress that is really a long t-shirt in disguise. I also want to go through my entire closet and throw stuff out/pack stuff up etc., a'la the brilliant Elizabeth, but lately I'm feeling like I barely have time to wash a load of desperately needed kid underpants and socks so the Closet Clean Out is going to have to wait. 

In the meantime, I went to the mall and tried on nine thousand dresses and they were all terrible. Terrible! The only good part in all of that was the terribleness was not my fault. These dresses were either cheap or cut funny or weird material or looked awesome except for the puffy sleeves or were super basic cotton dresses that made me look six months pregnant and cost $50 (ANN TAYLOR LOFT I AM LOOKING AT YOU.) 

I did come home with a pair of $10 jeans from Eddie Bauer. They are not TOTALLY perfect, but what pair of jeans IS totally perfect and also the TEN DOLLARS sort of makes up for it. 

But then I went straight to Athleta.com and bought two dresses. 

This one


I am suspicious of the seam around the bust, but people gave it rave reviews.

Also this one:

The link for this dress doesn't work which makes me think I bought the very last one. ???

Anyway. I am not sure where Athleta ranks in terms of Awesome, but I got their catalog for some reason the other day and I loved aaaaallll the dresses. I don't know. The sporty vibe speaks to me. The $98 price tags do not, but some of the sale stuff wasn't too bad. Maybe I just like the IDEA of being one of the sporty girl models in the catalog. That is totally a possibility. 

So now I will sit here in my yoga pants and Phillip t-shirt and too-small hoodie and wait for my dresses. HO HUM.