Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Fashion Buffet, part 2 of Fall 2011

This peek into Lilly Pulitzer Fall 2011 is from a few weeks ago, but I have been a busy little housewife as of late! You may or may not know that I am VERY involved in the DAR, and September is time to scramble around and get everything ready for fall. The only time of year that seems to be even busier for DAR is June, when I go to Continental Congress and take part in the committee that orders around the pages. It's awesome. And you can't appreciate this if you've never paged, but I get to SIT at this job. The committee I serve on is composed of several truly amazing women, and we have such fun together. It's always very sad when CC ends- although also kind of a relief.

So I've been busy with DAR, all while wearing Lilly. Later on I'll have to do a DAR-Lilly post, because I wear Lilly to DAR meetings and events at least half the time, and lately, almost all of the time. The only thing Lilly can't do is the banquets and evenings meetings, because Lilly does not make evening gowns. Maybe soon?

But anyway, part 2 of my fashion buffet. I went back to E.A. Davis and tried on more fall clothes. I bought not a single thing for myself, sadly, my trip was purely for research. This time I tried on things that eeeeeveryone's raving about. I agree with some of the raves.... but not all.

The Joanie
in Bright Navy Behind the Rope

This dress is VERY cute. It's now on my list of "possibly buy". The cut looks kind of blah on the hanger, but it fits will once it's on. I'm in a L, and I found it fit perfectly. It's a heavier knit, so it'd do well going into late fall, maybe even winter with boots? Although I'm not great at pairing shoes. The only thing I didn't like is that it's pretty low-cut... although in this picture it doesn't look it.

(looking at this picture, I'm thinking I really need to buy this!)

The Adalie Wrap Dress
in Skye Blue Thrill of the Chaise

I used to be so anti-wrap dresses, but then mom's friend Liz found a size L at TJM and got it for me. I couldn't really say no, right? Well, I adore it. Seriously, I'm surprised this thing is still holding up, that's how much I've worn it. I think the Adalie would be the same. I'm not in love with this print, but the color is perfect. This is also a knit, but a lighter knit than the Joanie. This dress was a more appropriate dress to try on that day, when I was wearing cropped jeans and a t shirt, the Joanie was *very* warm. I think Adalie runs a hair small, at least compared to the Joanie above. Here I'm also in a L, but it's a little tight. But that's the beauty of the wrap dress, right? Easy to loosen. I'd just need a safety pin for the top if it were looser, though. :-/

Everyone loves, but I don't:
The Cassie
in Navy Dress Rehearsal (it's hard for me to avoid this print, I love it so)

Everyone loves this dress. People go nuts for it. They have several. I don't get it. It's a t shirt dress, it's shapeless and blah. Ok, obviously I don't have the body type for it, but that many people do?! I feel like I'm wearing a night gown. The only saving grace of this dress is the fabulous prints it comes in (like this one... but on it's also in Cameo White Thrill of the Chaise, and I've seen it in other prints too, as well as in solid colors) and the reasonable price. But... really? I couldn't wait to take it off.

This is also a L, so it runs maybe a hair roomy.

Love, adore, totally going to buy:
The Cassie top
$58 for solids, $64 for prints

I just wish I'd grabbed something other than navy to show off with my indigo jeans. Sorry! I'm wearing a L, same size as the dress, but I like the fit of this better, it's a bit smaller so doesn't hang like the other. I like the neckline: not low, but not a chokingly-high, unflattering (if you have my shoulders) crew neck. I do so love a boatneck.

I wish I'd bought this top, because a week or so after this research shopping trip, I got a pair of Kristen palm beach fit cropped pants from ebay (NWT, $12, yay!) and they just scream for a navy top. Do I have a navy top already in my wardrobe? Of course not. I'd never have something so versatile and useful. Sigh. I think I'll get this in navy and in a print... you know it'll be Dress Rehearsal. ;)

As you read this, I am on my way to Disney World, so while I'll get one last hurrah with my summer clothes (and blog about favorites so we can stow away ideas for next summer), it'll probably be a while before I get back to E.A. Davis. However... I know about one secret little Lilly shop that I plan to visit at least once, and possibly make a purchase- because I know about an even more secret discount. ;)

ps. in case you're wondering, the dress behind me in all the pictures is the Memsie in turquoise kissue. LOVE this one, I wish I'd given it a chance earlier. The only size they had was just a hair too small- it zipped, but didn't look good. I also tried on the Kiki, which I'd previously hated but that day changed my mind about... and again, not available in my size. ugh! Oh and the medium blue you see is the Conrad top. haha I hated this one so much I couldn't even bear to photograph it. It's another one people love!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Interview Outfit

I hate choosing interview outfits. For an academic position, a suit is way too much- half the time, the person interviewing you will be in jeans. But you still need to look nice. For yesterday's interview, I was going to go with pants, a brightly colored top, and a navy jacket. But then it ended up being nearly 80 out so I'd have to go with summer pants. And I wasn't excited about my choices.

So Bird stepped in and said I should wear the Jonah. Unfortunately, I canceled my order for the Jonah during the ESS so that wasn't an option. I had a great apple green with small white flower print silk jersey wrap dress, but.... wrap dresses are often a little low-cut in front. Not appropriate for an interview!

In the end I went with the Ring Pop Evie. It was a little too dressy for an interview, but paired with my trusty navy jacket, it looked more suit-like- but a suit with a little pizzazz. Perfectly appropriate.

I wore my bronze kitten heels with giant bows on front- a surprising find from a little boutique in my dad's home town in South Dakota last summer. $20!

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of me in the interview outfit: the interview didn't go all that well (and it's SO complicated, that's what really bugs me), and when I got back I was 15 minutes late for a meeting so I had to run.

This Evie comes in S-M-L sizes, and strangely enough, I found it a better fit than the other Evie that comes in number sizes. Weird, right? Normally I'm between M and L, but in this one I was a perfect L, and in the other Evie I'm between a 10 and 12. The new fall sizes run small, of course- not great for a girl's self esteem! Thanks a lot, Lilly. Ring Pop is a heavy knit fabric, lined in the bodice but not the skirt, and it's maybe a hair short on my 5'6 frame, but not overly short. The shape of the dress hits me at all the right spots, so it's comfortable and flattering. I appreciate the higher neckline. And it has pockets! Boy, I love a dress with pockets. I ended up doing a little shopping (mostly browsing) because I was early for my interview, and this dress worked great for that- especially after putting my car keys in my pocket and not having to fuss around in my giant Kate Spade purse while walking to my car.

I actually bought this Evie brand new on ebay. I think I may have bought it from someone who robbed a delivery truck, because a month after this dress was released, the seller sold it for $68. It was called "overstock of retail"... I'm not so sure I believe that. But I couldn't resist. I did wear this with some apprehension.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wear it or sell it

I have this dress that's been sitting in the back of my closet for years. I don't even know how long it's been in there. I'm pretty sure I lived in NH when I got it.

It's the Beacon colorblock navy dress. I got it from TJMaxx, back when we were juuuuust starting to see Lilly at TJM. Mom's friend Liz called her up one day and said "Carla!!! There's Lilly at the TJMaxx in Granby! I got a bunch of things for J and K [her high school aged daughters] and I put some stuff in Catherine's size on hold!!" Luckily I was coming home the next day, so mom and I ran over.

I got the Brielle and the Beacon, both were $59.99. They also had the Beacon in tan and cream (I do not wear tan, however- only as pants) in my size and I think they had some other, more interesting dress in a size I had no hope of fitting into.

Of course, I was still recovering from mono at this time, so I a very different size than I am now. We took both the Brielle and the Beacon. I did not love either, but I liked the sequins and neckline on the Brielle. And of course, mom's mantra: buy it if it's cheap, no matter what! Le sigh.

The Beacon was a size smaller than the Brielle (and technically the Beacon was my size and the Brielle one size up), but the Beacon was very roomy, while the Brielle was just kind of baggy. Eventually (last year), when I bought a dress on Rue La La that was too big and I needed it taken in, we took Brielle to Andrea, my most beloved seamstress. (small plug for her: she just opened a storefront on LaSalle Rd in West Hartford, CT. She's funny and kind of, as my mom would say, fresh, and she does lovely work. She's not cheap, but your expensive clothes deserve quality tailoring). Brielle does not actually nip in at the waist the way the picture above would have you believe, but thanks to Andrea, now mine does (a little). I love this as a winter dress- yes, it's sleeveless, but it's a rather heavy knit. I never, ever wear black dresses, but I wear this one, so conclude what you want from that.

But the Beacon? As I said, the Beacon was actually my size, and I had the Brielle taken in. Even so, the Beacon was just huge. It looked like maternity dresses from the 60s- you know, those big baggy muumuu-like things.
(side note: really? Is that what woman were really confined to while pregnant back then? Were Victorian mentalities, when women had to go into confinement lest they reveal anything that could hint at having had marital relations? I have a lot of complaints about maternity wear these days, but at least women don't have to hide the fact that they're growing a person)

Anyway. The Beacon fit me like the above picture. Needless to say, I did not wear the Beacon.

Until this summer, when I was looking through my closet for things to sell (both to make some extra money, and to make sure the hanging bar in my closet doesn't snap from the weight- this is a legitimate worry). I found the Beach, squished between a bunch of pants that don't fit and some skirts that would better suit a 22-year-old.

Do I sell it or keep it? It's hard for me to sell Lilly, especially Lilly that I could actually wear. Selling something I wore while skeletal in 2005 is easy because I know I'll never be that weight again (and if something happens and I am, hopefully my doctors will be a little more helpful and diagnose and fix me). But something I could actually wear? So I wore it.

Um yeah, I weigh more than I did when I bought it: it actually fits now. It's baggy, but it has a better silhouette now that I have more to fill it out. It's not the most flattering dress ever, but it's easy to wear- few dresses in my closet are easy to wear.

Now I just need to figure out what shoes other than McKims to pair with this dress to take me into fall. Like the Brielle, the Beacon is a very heavy knit, so the only thing to hold it back from colder weather would be that large cream-colored stripe. What do you all think, how late into fall will that work?

Also, I do love these solid and colorblock dresses that lend themselves rather well to a brightly colored printed murfee.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Results of the Endless Summer Sale

I told you all about shopping the sale, but not the results!

In the end, I received a murfee, a tablecloth, the Finn in navy, the Jillie in sea blue, 2 shirts for Clint, and a white Caroline cardigan.

But in the end of the end, the only dress I got was the Jillie. The Finn runs VERY large. Like, wow. Lately in everything I'm a solid large (with the exception of some shirts). So of course I was rather certain I should purchase the Finn in large. Alas, no! It was enormous. You can imagine my incredulousness and disappointment. However, I was able to find a new home for it, and the buyer received it in time to wear for a work presentation and said it was absolutely perfect for that, so that makes me feel much, much better. I may keep my eyes peeled for a size medium in navy, or I may just let it go...

Now, the Jillie. While the Finn runs big, the Jillie runs small. What's up with that, Lilly? Unfortunately Lilly has this tendency, which means it's nearly necessary to go to stores and try things on in person. I ordered a 14 in the Jillie, thinking because of it's style and the incredible price ($39), that it could make an awesome formal maternity dress with only minor alterations (namely, the lining- easy peasy!). I ordered a 14 because everyone says you just get bigger up top during pregnancy. And when it came? It's just a hair big. Roomy, I'd say. However, I thought it'd look horrendous on non-pregnant me, and it actually looks kind of cute. The kind of cute you'd pair a pretty cardigan or shawl with, though, the silhouette is still pretty terrible on the average girl.

Clint's stuff? The Jeff half zip fits nicely, but the gulf stream polo is huge. They're the SAME SIZE. I'm so frustrated.

But even so, I still love my Lilly. I got the Caroline cardigan using the $25 credit they gave people with canceled orders (my mom got one too, she lost out on the tie she'd ordered Dad- Dad may be relieved that this happened) and I've already worn it twice (see previous post!). I mostly got it because I got the Cormick dress in white and I want more shoulder coverage for DAR events.

As for mom, she bought practically every single murfee they had (not really, but almost!), as well as McKims and Shelly Jellies. She likes the Shellys and the way she talked about the McKims, I think they'll grow on her. Of course she has to take 2 sizes smaller than me (UGH I got Dad's feet) so she can't just pass them on to me if she changes her mind. :( She has taken some of my shoes though, the ones I wore in middle school when I was one size smaller than I am now, haha.

And fortunately, Lilly at discount stores (that I go nuts for and by everything I find in my size) is slowing down- my credit card needs a break!

A Little Starstruck...

Tonight we went to a They Might Be Giants concert. It was my first, Clint's 4th, and Ryan's 1000th (ok not really, but almost). After the concert (thoroughly enjoyable, despite the cold and damp of the outdoor venue), we stopped in at the Norwich Inn Pub for a beer. I had the Light Humor, a classic Belgian style witbier, which was quite good! I guess I'm finally turning into a beer drinker after all.

So we're chatting, we're laughing, and John Flansburgh from TMBG comes in the bar with his suitcase.... !!!! And asks if they have wifi and has a short conversation with the bartender. The bartender comes over to us (since we'd already told him we'd been to the TMBG concert and had chatted with owner about the concert) and says,

"That might be a giant, right?"

We (mostly one of us) decided we'd hang out and see if he came back. It took a while... but then the other owner came in and said one of the bandmembers wanted a manhattan charged to room XX and he'd be right down. !!

So waiting paid off. Mr Flansburgh is an excellent conversationalist with lots of interesting info about the music industry we'd never even thought of. And we got pictures :)
Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to tell him how much I enjoyed seeing the knitting sock puppets during the show.

What I wore to the concert:
It was an outdoor concert, but a early-fall-warm to start, so I layered. I wore my cedar knit tank (purchased from Smart Bargains, came without the belt, but I wouldn't wear the belt anyway so I don't mind). I really like this top, it's stylish without being fussy, and it's cut to flare a bit so it's great if you're having a fat day (not that I was this particular time!). It's made of a silk blend jersey, so the only downside is you have to hand wash. I'm starting to mind that less and less. Also my Caroline cardigan (purchased from the Endless Summer Sale). I love the enamel buttons on this cardigan, which you can't see in this photo. This is a good, classic cardigan, very easy to wear. My only complaint is the sleeves are massively long.
Not shown was my Lilly fleece from last year's sale. I should get a new one, I wear that thing All The Time. I bought it on a whim, mostly because it was a really good price, but it's definitely one of my most useful purchases. I love things like that!
On my feet were my rose gold McKims, but man I wish I'd worn proper shoes, my feet were freezing by the time we got back to the hotel!
My cropped jeans were not Lilly jeans- I can never find any in my size!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Anniversary Dinner!

Today we celebrated our 2nd anniversary. How times flies, etc etc. We're following the traditional anniversary gifts, so this year was cotton.

Unfortunately, our anniversary fell on a work day (for Clint) and I had choir rehearsal, so we ended up having our nice dinner yesterday. But I did sew all day- with 100% cotton fabric and cotton/poly thread, so that totally counts, right?

So what does the little housewife make for her darling husband on their anniversary? Burgers.

Not just any burgers, no, no. These were burgers we saw on Bobby Flay and were completely captivated by. These are the burger to end all burger. Also, they're lamb. That's kind of celebratory, special-occasion, right?

Greek Patty Melts
Recipe from Bobby Flay's friend Miriam Garron

Muhammara sauce
Pizza crust
Cheese (we used gouda and chevre, Miriam said kasseri- fat chance I could find that)
Caramelized onions

For the pizza crust, use your own favorite recipe. Bobby and Miriam say to grill it, but I just baked it at 425F for the appropriate amount of time, stopping about 4min before it was done to top half with cheese.

Muhammara Sauce
1lb red bell peppers (3 peppers), charred under the broiler for 10 min, flipped, and another 10 min, then placed in a covered bowl to cool before peeling the charred skin off.
1-2 small hot red peppers, treated the same way (I omitted and added 1/2t chipotle powder)
1 cup walnuts, toasted
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1t cumin
salt to taste
1T maple syrup
1T pomegranate sherry vinegar
1T lemon juice
2t lemon zest

Miriam actually called for 1T pomegranate molasses and 1T sherry vinegar, but I don't have pomegranate molasses. I have tons of maple syrup, and I happened to have pomegranate sherry vinegar, thanks to a gift card to Whole Foods, when I just went and bought interesting things I wouldn't normally splurge on.

Place everything but lemon zest in a food processor and process. Stir in the lemon zest by hand. Salt to taste. Set aside. Easy peasy!

1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/3cup Greek yogurt (I used fat free sour cream)
2 clove garlic, minced
2t coriander
1/2t salt
1/2 paprika
1/4t allspice
1 and 1/4lb ground lamb (we used bison- Big Y had no lamb!)
Olive oil

Mix everything but the olive oil together with your hands (ewww) and form 4 large, flat patties. Brush both sides with olive oil. Grill over medium-high heat, a few minutes per side, until done.

Now, we very unfortunately forgot the caramelized onions part. These are easy, they just take time. Slice 3 large onions (I like vidalia) into medium-thin slices and cook with a little olive oil over medium heat until they caramelize. These cook low and slow but it's worth it!

Cut the pizza crust into pieces slightly larger than the patties. Each burger gets one side with cheese and one without. Top the burger with the muhammara sauce and a big spoonful of caramelized onions. Enjoy!