Thursday, May 31, 2012


Crap, I knew this was coming. The Pom-Pom Confetti Top just popped up on J.Crew w/ today's new arrivals. I saw it on AJC's post here and it needs to get in a little box and show up at my door, like, yesterday. My mom has the original version and I've coveted it for years - I would have stolen it at some point if it wasn't too small for me, but I think I'll like this updated version even better because the neckline is slightly more open and that's better for my figure (mom doesn't have the same issues with her bustline that I do - the boobs and broad shoulders come from dad's side of the family).

Actually, I think I'll exchange the white linen Tessa Top for the Pom-Pom top since I'm already in love with it and I know I'll wear it all the time. Yay :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

J.Crew Reviews: No. 2 Pencil Skirt in Raj Paisley, Tessa Top, T-Shirt Dress in Ikat Print

After a month of being very good and not buying ANY clothes at all, I broke down and ordered a few things from J.Crew's recent 30% off Spring Sale promo. I also picked up two full-priced items that I've had my eye on as ride-alongs so that I could get the $175+ free shipping discount. It sucks having to play the shipping game, but I haven't been able to get to a B&M in weeks. Blergh.

No. 2 Pencil Skirt in Raj Paisley

I liked this skirt a ton when I first saw it on AJC here (more reviews here and here), and then my mom randomly sent me a text message of herself wearing the skirt with the caption "Have you seen this on J.Crew? You would love it." I immediately added it to my online shopping cart, but decided to wait it out for a bit in case of a stray promo. My patience was rewarded (for once) and I managed to get the skirt at sale plus 30% off, which ended up being $68.60. Mom was right (as usual) and I LOVE this skirt. The colors are beautiful, the design is interesting without being loud, and the quality is very, very nice. It is strong and lightweight - a four-season piece here in the south. I'm also totally fascinated by the fabric of this skirt (this is the part where I geek out on you...feel free to scroll down if textile construction is not relevant to your interests).

Here in this image, starting at the top, we have the red cotton lining of the skirt, followed by the reverse side of the fabric, a strip of hem tape, and the face of the fabric itself. At first glance, I thought that the skirt was a crinkly cotton plisse, but then I noticed the little extra warp threads running up and down the fabric so I turned it inside out to find that it is actually a sort of double-weave matelasse. A double-woven fabric is one that has two or more sets of warp threads (north/south) and/or weft threads (east/west) that are woven together to create intricate patterns or designs. A true "double cloth" fabric can be separated into two independent fabrics by cutting the warp or weft yarns that bind them, while your double-woven brocades, damasks, and matelasses cannot. In the case of the Raj Paisley skirt, we have a plain weave fabric on top, backed with clusters of weft threads, joined together by little tracks of warp threads. This is most similar to the construction of matelasse, which gives the appearance of being a filled, quilted fabric even though it isn't. NEAT-O!

Don't ask me about seersucker...we'll be here all day.

If I worked at a more creative/casual office, I would probably try to pair this skirt with fun tops like the gingham and striped ones shown above...

...but I work at the corporate headquarters for a financial company, so I will be wearing the skirt with solid-colored tops. Sad trombone.

Fits TTS. I wore the Raj Paisley skirt today with this blue 3/4 Sleeve Perfect Shirt that is, like, 10 years old. Old J.Crew really does wear like iron compared to new J.Crew. I keep having to mend the worn-out seams under the armpits and I'll probably cry when I have to throw it away. Funny enough, mom also wore her Raj skirt today, and we had a nice little mother/daughter "Haha, OMG!" moment 850 miles apart.

Mom is also wearing the Lace Stripe Shell in White :)

Tessa Top in White

I really like this top - doesn't it make you want to plan a beach vacay? It's 100% linen, not itchy, and not see-through even in white. Other JCA's have reviewed it in other colors here, here, and here.

I couldn't quite tell from previous reviews whether it ran TTS or not, so I bought my usual shirt size 8...and I think it's too big. That is a LOT of extra fabric, even over the bust where I usually have problems with the fit.

Side view. It really blouses out all over. Kinda reminds me of those one-size-fits-all smocks that you have to wear in art class, without the mildew smell.

Shown here with DiY jean shorts like on the model. Even casually tucked in, it's still too big and I think I'm going to have to exchange it for a 6 simply to see if I like the top enough to keep it. Bummer. I wanted to wear this top to a thing this weekend, but I'm not driving all the way to ATL after work.

T-Shirt Dress in Ikat Print

I don't feel like I even need to post an irl pic of this dress since it looks pretty much exactly like you see it on the model, just add boobs and about 3" of length to the hem. I bought a Medium, and I was actually really pleased at how much longer the skirt is on me than it is on the model. This way I can belt the dress and not worry about it being too short. It's a great dress for hot weather - feels like you're wearing nothing at all. Just make sure that you wear your nude undies because the fabric is pretty thin. $68.00 FP is pretty steep for a T-Shirt dress, but I like the print and I have someplace to wear it this weekend, so I'm keeping it. Plus, I was already patient about waiting for the Raj Paisley Pencil to go on sale, and I can't be expected to be patient all the freaking time.

Reviews of a sale skirt and sale sandals coming up soon....

Did you take advantage of the recent 30% off sale? Did you buy the Raj Paisley Pencil skirt? Have you tried on the Tessa top? Please share!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Trailer for Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby

The first full-length trailer for Baz Luhrmann's movie version of The Great Gatsby was just released yesterday. I have thoughts. Click on the link below to watch - I'll wait for you right here.

The Great Gatsby 2012 Trailer

As a fan of the original novel, and as someone who has been following the news about this movie since the casting search began, I have probably watched the trailer about 20 times already, and I'm still trying to decide how I feel about it and what it says about the movie itself.

The Luhrmann Treatment
I mean, you can see from the first frame that the movie has been "Baz'd" pretty hard: Exaggeration! Dancing! Champagne! GLITTERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! This isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'm a big fan of Luhrmann's body of work - I even liked Australia (I maintain that it wasn't a hit due to a) how long it was and b) the disconcerting fact that Nicole Kidman can no longer move the muscles in her face), but it took me a few viewings to warm up to Moulin Rouge and I'm pretty sure that Gatsby will be the same way for me. Why is that? Because I don't like it when period pieces are modernized to appeal to Katy Perry fans. I like my history straight-up. I don't need anyone to treat classic literature like it's a plate of broccoli with the "here comes the airplane, open up the hangar" game to get me to eat it. That broccoli is delicious on its own! However, as the BF pointed out: "The studios aren't trying to appeal to people like you who love the novel already - they know you'll see the movie. They're trying to get the kids who only know The Great Gatsby as some boring old book that they were forced to read in 9th grade to spend their money to see it." *sigh* He is wise. Cinematically, though, I have no complaints - it looks like it will be stunningly beautiful.

The Cast
Leo has proven his talent 10 times over by now, and Tobey Maguire will be suitably earnest and conflicted enough to play Nick. I think that the biggest question regarding who would play Daisy was perfectly answered with the casting of Carey Mulligan. Girlfriend can act. Go watch An Education if you're not familiar with her (and then go watch Drive because GOSLING) - she is terrific. Blake Lively also tested for Daisy, and she really might have almost pulled it off since she is very pretty and appears to have the emotional depth of a mud puddle following a brief Spring rain, but I'm sure that her tendency to mumble her way through her lines made ol' Baz lean in Mulligan's direction. Blake's voice is not "full of money" by any stretch of the imagination. The only actor that I'm iffy about is Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan, because Edgerton looks "crafty mean" as opposed to "stupid mean". I always thought that Tom and Daisy Buchanan were so well-suited to one another because they were both so dumb, but it appears that Baz is going to make Tom much more villainous in his movie adaptation from what I can see in the trailer.

The Chemistry
You should be able to pair two gorgeous people onscreen and the chemistry should just naturally be palpable, but it often doesn't work out that way. The lack of chemistry between Robert Redford and Mia Farrow is what caused the 1974 film version to fall flat, and you would think that merely standing next to Robert Redford could cause anyone to burst into flames of desire onscreen. Leo looks amazing in character as the golden Gatsby - he's only gotten better looking with age (as men tend to do, damn their hides). Carey Mulligan looks blonde and delicate and stunning in her flapper gear as Daisy. So far, though, the only hint of chemistry that I'm getting from the two of them together is the scene where they are both staring at one-another, breathless, framed by bouquets of white orchids. I need more than that! I need to see the yearning, I need to know why James Gatz felt like he needed to re-invent himself and his entire life in order to win back the love of a vapid little fool like Daisy. I'm sure they'll do another trailer that showcases the more romantic tones of the movie, though, so I'm content to withhold my judgement until then.

The 3D Issue
I don't understand why Luhrmann wanted to film Gatsby in 3D, other than $$$$. It's totally unnecessary. It's gimmicky. It makes it impossible for me to enjoy the movie I'm watching because it gives me a massive headache. I can see the motivation for 3D filming in the case of movies like Tron or Avatar since the point is to showcase all of today's new CGI technology, but all I can think of when I see "The Great Gatsby: in 3D" is watching poor old Myrtle's body flying at me from the hood of Jay's yellow Rolls. I don't need that experience.

What do you think of the trailer? Are you excited for the movie? Please share your thoughts!

Images from

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Roommates Have I Loved, But Some Have I Hated.

Roommates are often a necessity if you are single, live in an expensive city, and are either in college or have a job that doesn't pay very much. This was my life story for about a decade. For the heck of it, I made a list of all of the people with whom I have lived from the time I left home until I moved in with the BF, and the total came to 25 different people - 26 if you collectively count all of the boyfriends who would often stay for days and use up the hot water and eat the food without chipping in. I decided to write down a few of my roommate recollections...the good, the bad, and the awesome.

Pence Hall, 1997: I was 16, and we shared a dorm room for three weeks during WV Governor’s School for the Arts. I was there for Visual Arts and you were an amazing pianist in the Musical Performance program. You had the most beautiful curtain of shining dark hair I’ve ever seen. During the last week of the program, you convinced a boy in town to bring a case of beer onto campus, and we hatched a plan to sneak it into the dorm to share with the other kids. When I got to the drop-off point, the beer was gone. You had been caught by the RA’s, and you told them that you were the only person involved in the alcohol smuggling plot. The RA’s let you go without informing the program directors, but they kept the beer for themselves.

Arnold Hall, 1999: The first night of Freshman year, I came back to our room and you were having sex with some guy from down the hall, so I sat outside until you were done. The next day, I took a nap between classes and when I woke up, you were having sex again, about ten feet away from me in your twin bed. You slept all day, chatted online all night, and kept bags full of trash on your bed when you weren’t there. I spent most of the rest of the semester sleeping on the beanbag chair in our suite-mates’ room. You found out that you were pregnant at the end of the year and dropped out of school.

Falling Run Road, 2000: You had freckles and pale blue eyes, and you loved to run all over campus. Your boyfriend used to stay at our apartment on the weekends, and he only ever wore boxer briefs inside. He was beautiful. One night you came downstairs at midnight and found me in the kitchen, sitting on the floor with a glass of orange juice, crying because I hated all of my Poli-Sci and Econ classes and I didn’t know what to do because that was my major. You said, “If it makes you miserable, maybe you should change your major.” That honestly hadn’t occurred to me until then.

Walnut Street, 2002: We used to sit on the living room floor and get into arguments over whether Joey should end up with Dawson or Pacey, and you knew all the lines to every episode of Friends. You got your hair cut really short, and asshole guys told you that you looked butch but I thought you looked adorable. I would always yell at you to wear a jacket when it got chilly outside, but you hated jackets and only wore hoodies. You got engaged to a guy that you knew from your hometown, who had once dated our other roommate, and she moved out of our house and never spoke to you again.

Walnut Street, 2003: I knew you from High School, and you were the only male roommate I’ve ever had. I had been madly in love with your older brother when I was in 8th grade. You lived in the basement room, and when you got depressed you would listen to Dave Matthews Band and pretend to play the drums along with the music. When you realized that none of the other three girls in the house were going to make dinner for you at night, you bought peanut butter, Saltines, and ramen noodles in bulk from Sam’s Club and ate them every day until you moved out.

Bedford Place, 2004: You had the most fantastic tiny figure and you ate like a teenage boy and never gained an ounce. We had become good friends in school and I was so glad that you decided to study abroad with me and be my roommate for the semester. During our third week in London, you met an English guy who looked like Matt Damon, chain-smoked, and drove C-list celebrities around town in his Land Rover for a living. He was charming and polite and absolutely adored you. You moved into his flat a few weeks later and I missed you. He took us to his family’s home in Bristol one weekend and I was jealous of you for getting to live in the British Rom-Com movie that I’d always dreamed of. About a year after the two of you got married, he cheated on you with another girl and got her pregnant, and you divorced him.

Sherwood Crossing, 2006: I was supposed to have had a different roommate, but her mother got very sick and you moved in with me instead. You were so easy to live with, neat as a pin, and a great cook. You had the best hairstyles and accessories, and I have never, to this day, met anyone with whom I had a better time getting ready to go out with. You were the best dancer on the floor at clubs and at weddings, and you wanted to be a wife and a mother more than anything else in the world. We watched Gray’s Anatomy every Thursday night, drank champagne, and ate Oreos with chopsticks.

The Blairs, 2007: I admired you so much in college. You were always so talented, so optimistic, and sure of yourself and your work in a way that I never was. You were the closest thing to a bohemian California surfer girl that ever came out of Sewickley, PA, and you made even the lowliest thrift store dress look incredibly chic. We had a tv with rabbit ears on top since we couldn’t afford cable, and it only worked sometimes and only picked up 5 channels. You and the man you loved had been together since high school, and you married him in a beachside ceremony two weeks after you moved out of our apartment. All of the guests wore white.

Corsica Drive, 2008: You were a Jewish-Italian girl from New Jersey, and you became almost as close to me as my own little sister. You were never, ever afraid to say what was on your mind, and we could talk about vegetarian food and boys and celebrity gossip for hours. One night in November, I was in my room and I heard you screaming for help outside. A mugger had robbed you at gunpoint on our front porch, and he beat you in the head with his gun when you wouldn’t let go of your purse. I opened the door and pulled you inside of the house, and you were covered in blood from the gash on your head. We rode together in the ambulance to the hospital, and you got three staples to close the wound. I was so frightened that I called a guy I’d been dating to see if he could come and spend the night at our place. He never answered, and when I saw him a week later he said that he got my message, but had been too tired to call back. I didn’t see him again after that.

Corsica Drive, 2009: You were ridiculously beautiful, tragically stupid, and talked like a linebacker who had just won the Superbowl. One night at a house party you told me that you didn’t really like your boyfriend, but you hoped that he got you pregnant soon because you wanted to have a baby before you turned thirty. When I said that I wasn’t comfortable using the fireplace until we had it checked out by a professional chimney sweep, you said that it was no problem because your boyfriend was a “total pyro”…like that was supposed to make me feel better. You had screaming fights with your boyfriend at 2am and I finally stormed out of my room threatening that I would call the cops and have him arrested for domestic disturbance just so I could get some sleep.

That was when I decided that I was done living with roommates.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mad Men: How to Eat Your Feelings

I’m thankful that I have everything I want — and that no one else has anything better.

Oh Betty Hofstadt Draper Francis, don't ever change. You're far too entertaining just as you are.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

J.Crew Pencil Skirts on Sale: How I've Been Wearing Them

It can be pretty maddening when J.Crew rolls out a brand new selection of clothing only to send it to the sale section 10 days later. Sometimes it feels like purchasing at full price is a waste of money...but I still do it when I think that something might sell out in my size or my preferred color. However, with a little patience (and a lot of jungle panther-like stalking), you can get great deals on some of J.Crew's classic pieces like Jackie Sweaters, Cashmere Long-Sleeve Tees, and No.2 Pencil Skirts. There have been a lot of pencil skirts on sale recently, and I've taken full advantage since they have become real work-wardrobe workhorses for me. In case you've picked up some of these skirts as well and are looking for new ways to wear them, here are a few examples of how I've been wearing mine.

FYI: All of the following personal images were taken in the Executive bathroom at my office, hence the snazzy bathroom decor.

No. 2 Pencil Skirt in Medallion Paisley

This skirt is currently sold out online, but keep watching the sale section and I'm sure it will pop back.

The Medallion Paisley Pencil was a really great buy - I've probably worn it once a week since I purchased it. The material is a strong but lightweight cotton twill, almost like denim, but the simple pattern and shape make it appropriate for the office. I bought it in a size 6 and it's fairly loose. I probably should have sized down to a 4, but it's more comfortable in the larger size when I'm sitting at my desk all day.

Late March and early April brought cooler temperatures to Georgia, so I was able to pair this skirt with some of my beloved cashmere sweaters for work. The purple and white print of the skirt compliments many solid-colored tops like gold, tangerine, and blush.

Here I've paired the skirt with two of my most favorite wardrobe staples: the Schoolboy Blazer in Navy and the Selvedge Chambray shirt. The shoes are Calvin Klein - about as basic as a navy work pump can get, but they are comfortable and polished.

No. 2 Pencil Skirt in Basket-Weave Tweed, Marine Blue

I reviewed this skirt in a previous blog post HERE.

I've worn this skirt with navy sweaters and button-downs, but here I decided to go a little bolder and pair it with my Talitha Blouse in Vintage Berry. I can't get away with wearing very much jewelry at work, but J.Crew's navy Sunflower bracelet adds a fun little pop of color.

I might be one of the few people who really liked the heavy, stretchy knit of the Jackie Pullovers, but I bought 4 of them and they've been in heavy rotation ever since. This simple combination of skirt and sweater is dressed up a bit with an old J.Crew golden chain necklace, double looped at the throat, and a leather and gold bracelet that I purchased at Monkees in Southern Pines, NC. The shoes are my trusty Nine West Austin pumps. They're comfy, cheap, and come in about a dozen work-appropriate colors.

No. 2 Pencil Skirt in Gardenshade Floral

Also currently sold out, also certain to pop back.

As far as sizing goes, this skirt is comparable to all of J.Crew's other pencil skirts. The quality is great - it's fully lined and the silky, slightly stretchy cotton barely shows wrinkles at all by the end of the day. I honestly wasn't too sure of this skirt when I pulled it out of the shipping box since the colors were so much more..."muddy" in real life than they appeared on the website. However, I started pairing it with tops in my closet and discovered that it looked great with my Jackie Cardigans and Perfect Shirts in various shades of pink and blue.

Worn here with a Pale Coral Jackie Cardigan, random TJ Maxx tee, and an old gold J.Crew skinny leather belt. It also looks great with blush and navy Stretch Perfect Shirts.

No. 2 Pencil Skirt in Ultra Eyelet

I bought this skirt at full price in the Chili red color when it first rolled out, and I'm glad that I did because it's now sold out in that color. The Navy version is now on sale.

Maybe it's just me, but there's something about wearing a red skirt that makes you smile when you look in the mirror. I LOVE this skirt. I was reluctant to buy it at first because of the nature of eyelet (it catches easily on things) combined with the nature of me (a.k.a. Mayor of Klutzville). But the cotton is smooth and stretchy, and there is plenty of give to the fabric. A lot of reviews mentioned the "shadow effect" at the inner thigh area that occurs beneath the lining and shows through the eyelet layer, but it doesn't bother me. It comes off more as visually interesting than "Hey, here's my crotch."

The Chili Eyelet skirt looks great with blue, white, and camel, and I also like pairing it with gray. Here I've gone for more of a retro ladylike look by combining the skirt with the shell portion of a gray Jackie twinset and a white cotton blouse with short puffed sleeves. The shoes are gray leather skimmers that I got at Target ages ago (I knew I would be running around a lot that day), and the necklace is from Madewell.

This is one of my best popback scores: the Scoopneck Blouse in Seine Stripe. I was afraid that the striped top paired with the red skirt would have me singing a certain Lee Greenwood song all day, but the fact that the lighter colored stripes are taupe instead of white or cream ensure that the outfit is not too "theme-y". I'm wearing the same gold chain necklace as in the second Basket-Weave Pencil Skirt image above, but not looped this time.

Have you purchased any of these pencil skirts on sale? How are you wearing them? Please share - I love to hear your ideas!