Sunday, July 31, 2011

My favorite dress

I bought this coral colored Calvin Klein dress last year and it's still my favorite dress. I lost weight a year ago and this was the first dress I bought in the size I wear now. I love the color and the retro flapper style and the fact that I bought it for quite a bit less than retail price.

The bracelet and one of the necklaces are from Premier Designs jewelry.
My friend hosted a party and these were on the clearance table. The bracelet has animal print beads and the necklace is glass beads in the same color tones. Because the bracelet has two layers, I wanted two layers in my necklace. So I added a wooden bead necklace. (This was my Grandmother's and it's from the Holy Land. I've had it since I was 16--I used to wear it with a Yellowstone National Park t-shirt.)

My shoes have a sort of snake-print pattern of brown and black. They are Aerosoles, so they are oh-so-comfortable, and they were at Ross for about $10.

Do you have a favorite article of clothing? Something that cheers you up and makes you feel fabulous every time you wear it?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fantasy Friday: Boden

Yesterday the Boden catalog arrived. Boden carries expensive clothing for a lifestyle I do not live. Their clothes are suitable for a windy walk near the lighthouse,

hanging out in the pasture,

a stroll down cobbled streets

or a rest on a park bench on a misty day.

The catalog is full of brightly patterned cardigans (it will be too warm to wear anything like this in the desert until November) and tall boots (again, too warm, and far out of my budget).

So I use the catalog as a lovely bit of fantasy to glimpse a life on a different continent (Europe), a life in which I would probably be chilly, but "chilly" sounds delightful on a July day in Las Vegas.

Even fantasy is useful though, because I saw two things in the catalog that I put on my fall wardrobe plan. I'm going to watch for a dark denim skirt

and a tweed skirt.

And these two photos tell me I might want a pair of gray tights too.

As I visit Ross and Marshall's and Penney's, I'll keep these in mind. It helps to have a plan, because without a plan I buy very pretty things that don't go with each other or anything else in my wardrobe, and that gets expensive because then I need more clothes to go with the new can see how important a plan is when you're on a budget.

Do you have a favorite catalog that you enjoy without ever placing an order?

Fragrant Shampoo

What? You think shampoo isn't colorful? Well, no, not really. Maybe you can think of fragrance as a sort of color that only your nose appreciates. Or something like that.

I was at Walgreen's today and I bought some huge bottles of Suave shampoo and conditioner. The shampoo is labelled "rosemary mint" but the fragrance is more like an entire herb garden. It was the only Suave I could find that didn't list sodium laureth sulfate in the ingredients. (SLS bothers our eczema.)

It didn't have the sharpness I expected from a rosemary fragrance--it was just very pleasant. As a mom of young children, my shower is a sort of mini escape, and fragrance enhances that.

Unfortunately I follwed the wonderful shampoo with "humectant" conditioner

which had a sort of industrial coconut fragrance. I am not a fan.

I found these photos at, and you can order 12 ounce bottles from there, but Walgreens has 32 ounce bottles for about the same price.

What do you look for in a shampoo?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

More about Mixing Prints

The latest copy of Everyday with Rachael Ray arrived today, and it's not all about yummy food--there are a few style pages too!

One of the style articles was on the trend of mixing prints. Here's a page:

My personal opinion is that the leopard print shoes are a little too much, but I like the way the floral belt and the bracelet have colors in common, while the patterned shirt is completely different. The belt (or scarf worn as belt?) is not big enough to overpower the shirt; imagine a skirt in the belt pattern--that would just tooooo much.

I don't wear belts. They just don't work for my shape. If I had these pieces, I would wear the scarf as a scarf rather than a belt, and I'd choose earrings that matched it more obviously. I'd probably choose green as my main color (surprise!) for the skirt, bracelet, scarf and earrings. I like the way the blouse is a completely different, but neutral color.

A calmer option would be to carry a floral bag that went with the earrings and bracelet, and skip the scarf/belt.

The article, written by Gretta Monahan, says that floral prints in fall colors or navy will be popular this autumn, and suggests blending them with "microstripes." It also talks about zigzag prints, which I don't think I'm brave enough to pair with other patterns. Tribal patterns are in too (I've noticed this--I'm watching for just the right blouse at Ross), and the stylist advises us to wear one tribal-patterned article of clothing and one bold piece of tribal patterned jewelry, and keep everything else solid.

What do you think? Could you take pieces like this and blend them?

By the way, this issue of Everyday is full of fabulous recipes and a menu plan that looks a bit like Once a Month cooking. You'll want a copy of this.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mixing prints

For months now, I've been reading about mixing prints. Instyle magazine posted this photo:

I really like the outfit on the right with the animal print and the green skirt. The outfit on the left is interesting too: variations on the same print.

Here's another photo:

Imagine it without a coat, and it's just different patterns in soft gray. You could do this in browns or blacks. I'd like to try this in browns with an orange blouse under the vest. Or gray with a green blouse.

And a summery look:

I have only put this into practice in small ways, like wearing a green cheetah print scarf and carrying a zebra print bag. I would like to do an autumn-colored variation on this with this scarf:

and this bag:

My daughter mixes her prints in a far bolder fashion, and I think it works well for her:

What do you think? Is this trend just too wild or too tricky to do in real life?

Browse current fashions at Chicisimo

Have you discovered Chicisimo yet? This website's tagline is "Real Fashion on Real People" and that's exactly what it is. Women (and a few men) all over the world post photos of what they're wearing. These are not models--these are real people. It's interesting to see the different elements people put together. Some of them live in exotic locations and it's fun to see the backgrounds of the photos.

You can join Chicisimo and post your own outfits. Please do. They need a few more members with small budgets who shop at Penney's and Walmart and Ross!

If you join, you can vote for your favorite looks and leave comments on the looks you like.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

a colorful DIY project

I keep seeing photos of colorful jumbled layer necklaces in the fashion magazines.

As I gasped at the price of one of these in People Style Watch today, I thought, "I wonder if I could make something like that." Now, I'm not very crafty, but I went looking online. And I found this: DIY a Fenton necklace. Fenton is one of the jewelers who makes these in a price range far above mine.

Look back at the layers of different colors and textures in the photos. The possibilities for assembling your own are endless. This one at Etsy has some floral elements that could be brooches. Check your jewelry box for things you never wear; they might find a fresh life in a necklace.

I think it would be lots of fun to go to Michael's and Walmart and choose pieces to make one of these, but it would be even more fun to invite friends over and have a necklace-making party. If we all brought a little more than we needed, we could share a bit, and it would be fantastic to see everyone design something different.

Who wants to join me?

Fair Trade Jewelry

Because I bought a dress on ebay yesterday, my clothing budget is at zero right now. So I will blog about this beautiful jewelry instead of purchasing it! describes their mission this way:

WorldCrafts develops sustainable, fair-trade businesses among impoverished people around the world. Our vision is to offer an income with dignity and the hope of everlasting life to every person on earth.

Established in 1996, WorldCrafts began with just one artisan group, Thai Country Trim, in Bangkla, Thailand. Today we work with dozens of artisans groups to import and sell hundreds of fine, handcrafted items from more than 30 countries around the globe. And we still work with Thai Country Trim, helping them employ more and more women at risk of abuse and exploitation. That's who we are. Committed. Holistic. Fair trade.

We are committed to the in-country partners and artisan groups with whom we work. By investing in product development, maintaining certain levels of products orders, and encouraging sustainable production practices, we help create viable employment for women and men in poverty. Women no longer need to turn to prostitution for their next meal. Parents can provide education and nutrition to their children. Men can use their artisanal skills to earn a fair and reliable income without leaving their families.

Here are two items that would be great additions to summer and fall wardrobes.

The Ugandan Jewelry Set

Aren't the colors fabulous? And the price is excellent! I don't think you can specify a color when you order. That adds an element of surprise, and of course if you receive green and it's not your color...let me know. Just sayin.'

This bracelet from India would quietly add orange tones to your wardrobe:

Have fun browsing the World Crafts website. It's not just jewelry: there are purses and journals and stationery sets. I ordered a Thai purse a couple years ago; it's beautiful.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Product Review: Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure

Sally Hansen's "complete salon manicure" does everything it promises. I truly do not need the top coat I usually apply over other polishes. This polish lasts almost a week, and if I do chip it a little, it layers very well, so the chips are easy to fix.

The shade pictured here is "Commander in Chic." It looked gray at but is actually plum. I like to wear it when I wear a brown blouse; I think it adds a touch of femininity without being foofy. It's a good summer color, but it will be perfect for fall too--with all the greens and rusts and peaches I'll wear. With the right accessories I think it would really pop with teal clothing also.

This shade is very similar to the purpley side of CoverGirl's Smoky Shadow Blast in Silver Sky.
If you're taking advantage of the sale on those Smoky Shadows, you might add Commander in Chic to your basket too. offers free shipping on a $25 order, so add some things from your shopping list(razor refills or paper towels or children's vitamins) and save yourself the shipping charge.

The silver side of the eyeliner is supposed to be an eye shadow, but as I said the other day, I find that it creases almost instantly. However, it makes a fun eyeliner. If I apply it early in the morning, it disappears by midafternoon, but it's easy to reapply. It's sparkly without being glittery, so it's very wearable every day--you don't have to save this for a night out.

Returning to the Complete Salon Manicure products, I did find that the brighter or more intense colors look smoother. The nude color I tried (Peachy Kean) was a little gloppy. My favorite shade is "Grass Slippers." It's a lime green I often wear on my toes.

The ring I'm wearing in the photo is my touch of green for the day. It's connemara marble and you can buy it at QVC. Or you can do what I did and watch ebay (use the "favorite searches" feature so you don't miss any new listings) and save half the price.

What's your favorite nail polish brand? What shade are you wearing this summer?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Denim and Pearls

My friend Jenni at InnerBeauty Girlz mentioned pairing pearls with denim in a comment here yesterday. I thought that was a great idea!

So I took two very basic items--a cream colored shirt and a denim skirt--and spiced them up a little with pearl and coral beads and gold shoes.

I bought the sleeveless shirt during a clearance sale at Penney's last year. I purchased the skirt at Walmart eight years and two children ago. It spent a lot of that time in a box in my closet. There were several years when it seemed that only homeschool moms were wearing denim skirts. (I am a homeschool mom but I try not to wear the stereotypical wardrobe.) When denim skirts started showing up in the fashion magazines again I watched the shapes and styles to be sure that this skirt would work. I like the ruffle--it gives the skirt an interesting detail without being too Farmwifey. (Farmwifey style looks great on a farm, but I live in a stucco house in Las Vegas.)

I added necklaces.

My husband is a bargain shopper with excellent taste. He bought the coral necklace at Marshall's or Ross, and the pearl bead necklace at Cost Plus World Market. I love the summery combination of colors.

I'm seeing lots of stretchy bracelets in the fashion magazines this year, and they're always worn in multiples.

The smaller bead bracelets came with the bead necklace, and I bought the larger brown bracelet at a jewelry booth at Mt. Charleston Inn when I was speaking at a retreat there. I love jewelry that holds memories! The green bracelet is part of a set of three that I bought at RiteAid for $5 four years ago. This was a fabulous investment--I wear at least one of those bracelets every week. Green is my favorite color, and I try to wear a little bit of green every day. It's my signature style detail.

These are probably the most expensive item of my apparel today. I bought them on vacation a few weeks ago in St. George, Utah. I don't usually spend more than $15 on earrings and these were $25. But I knew that I would wear them constantly. Big earrings are such a great way to add a pop of style to a simple outfit. I love the almost-paisley shape of these, and the blend of silver and copper. I thought the copper shapes echoed the color and shape of the coral in my necklace and also the color of my hair.

Gold shoes! They seemed like a fun unexpected choice with denim. They're a Ross deal. Yes, my pedicure is imperfect.

And last of all my purse. This is something I learned from Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad: choose a purse that echoes your hair color.
I watched this purse at Penney's, waiting for it to move to the clearance shelf and waiting for a discount on clearance.

I mentioned that I wear a little green every day. Do you have a trademark style item?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Best Wardrobe Assistance Ever

Last year I bought a new dress for Easter. I loved it. It had a big paisley pattern in peach and cream and black, an empire waist and a bit of an A-line skirt. We had family photos taken and when I saw the photos I gave the dress away. It was extremely unflattering!

A few months later I read Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad, by Shari Braendel. I learned about my body shape. And then I learned that big prints overwhelm me and straight skirts are more flattering than A-line. I also discovered that the belted tunic look is not my friend. I removed the belt from my favorite shirt and, according to the mirror, lost ten pounds.

Your body shape might be quite different from mine, and this book will give you all the information you need to figure that out. Maybe A-Line skirts and belted tunics are perfect for you! This will help you find your most flattering colors too!

The author is a Christian woman who encourages us to be modest (but not boring) and to be comfortable with our bodies the way God created them. She also includes tips for teaching our daughters about fashion from a Christian viewpoint. Focusing on inner beauty doesn't mean we have to be sloppy on the outside.

When I lost weight a year ago, I needed a whole new wardrobe. This book was so helpful as I chose colors and styles. It reminded me to buy basics--I am attracted to the bright colors and patterns and I forget that I need a white shirt or black slacks. This book saved me a lot of money because I was able to see what I really needed in my new wardrobe, and it also saved me time in the dressing room because I had a clear idea of what I needed.

Shari writes in an encouraging tone, and she includes Bible verses and her own testimony. I highly recommend this book for stay-at-home moms who don't want to look frumpy as well as career women who desire a polished wardrobe. If you've lost weight or gained weight and you're not sure what styles will work for you now, this book will help.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dashes of Orange

People tell me my wardrobe is well-coordinated. Actually, I just have a very simple color scheme: orange and green. I buy accessories in these colors, and most of my clothing is one color or the other. When I don't have accessories in quite the same shade as a green shirt, I wear orange with it instead. When I wear orange, I add green accessories. (I enjoy being an echo of the Irish flag.)

But recently I've extended my wardrobe to include items in basic colors: brown, blue and cream. I add the accessories I've been collecting to spice up those basics.

I have a photo of my outfit today, but it's foggy and the long ribbons on my bathroom mirror sneaked into the photo near my hair, and it just didn't work. So here's a shirt like mine:

I love it, but it's boring! I added color with a necklace from Penney's (which includes green and brown and white tones also--my shorts are green and my sandals were brown so it tied everything together), my orange watch (from the $10 store at the airport) and butterfly earrings from Dandy Apple.

By the way, Dandy Apple has fun hair clips too.

This necklace has similar tones to mine. In fact it's more fun than mine, but mine was on the clearance rack at Penney's for about four dollars so it gets points for affordability. A long necklace is important for this shirt's neckline. My necklace is only a few inches shorter than the shirt.

To really pull this outfit together, I should have worn my orange shoes:

but because it is over 100 degrees outside, I wore sandals instead, brown sandals to reflect the color in my necklace.

What's your spice-it-up color?

Product Review: CoverGirl Smoky Shadow Blast

I have several colors of Cover Girl's Smoky Shadow Blast Shadow Stick. It's a double-ended makeup stick, with a smoky eyeliner on one side and an eye shadow on the other. I love the eyeliners. They make a thick but smoky line, a fast way to get a smudged-on-purpose effect. I don't like the eye shadows as shadows though...they crease within an hour! I've tried wearing an eye primer but that didn't help. Some of the shadows can be worn as subtle eye liners, so they are still very useable. I grab one of these when I'm in a hurry and want an eyeliner that looks great without eye shadow. has a sale on these right now; buy one get one half off. I am not sure they would survive the trip in the mail in our desert heat at this time of year, but if it's not 105 in your location, this is a good deal. also sells Rosebud Lip Salve, which is the best lip balm ever, Mrs. Meyers cleaning products (the lemon verbena scent is fabulous!) and just about everything you find at your local drustore.

Have you tried these shadows? What did you think of them? Do you have a favorite eyeliner?

Thursday, July 21, 2011


InStyle magazine recommends Tangerine as a color to add to your summer wardrobe this year. I feel ahead of the game--my closet already holds quite a bit of orange in various shades! It's a far friendlier color than many people realize. (Coral is a good starter color if you're easing into orange.)

Try an orange scarf loosely knotted around your neck, or as a stylish headwrap.
This is at Etsy Seller Textile Monster's shop.

Too warm for even a light scarf? How about a necklace? This is from my favorite Etsy jeweler: MomPotter at Ocean Breeze.

Feeling a little shy? Not quite ready for a big burst of orange? Try earrings. These are wonderful with green clothing. They're also at Mom Potter's shop.

JCPenney has a great sale this weekend. This blouse is on my wishlist. Here's a tiny closeup of its fabric.

I've been wearing this color for a week, and I love it: OPI Atomic Orange. I borrowed this photo from Amazon.

This was my favorite dress last year and I still love it.(Yes, I wore this year's hot color last year. I feel like such a trendsetter!) It's Calvin Klein, purchased for an affordable price at Burlington Coat Factory. (I was ecstatic to find the same dress in turquoise at Ross this year!)

Last year I wore it with lime green accessories. This year I've worn darker green or brown with it.

How do you feel about orange? What's your favorite summer color?