Friday link love

Some serious, most not . . . .

I’m coming across news articles and little tidbits I want to discuss with you, but I never remember them. . . . Until now.  I really hope these links work.  Let me know if they don’t work.

1. This article is about a young woman who was diagnosed with autism at age 21. **The Wall Street Journal link isn’t working–here’s another article about the same person**   Because she was “high functioning,” it took until college for someone to figure out what was going on.  She describes feeling relieved at the diagnosis, because she no longer feels a need to strain to be normal.  . . . It’s a tricky thing because of course a parent does want his kid to have autism, but you want your kid to have all the resources she can. . . . AT the same time, with 1 in 68 people having autism, is it really a disorder?  Or, at higher-functioning levels is it more a personality type?  And does that distinction matter?

2.. Ann Taylor is being bought out by the company that owns DressBarn.  Weird.  I like reading the Wall Street Journal business section from time to time because it’s fun to learn what’s going on behind the scenes at stores where I shop.  (The full text of the WSJ article isn’t available online, so I’m linking to a different article.)

3. The percentage of African-Americans in law enforcement has remained flat since 2007.  With this and all the related news about the Baltimore riots, etc. etc. . . . it’s so frustrating . . . It’s like no one cares about black men until they get shot by the police.   So many black young people–males especially–are on a life course that’s fundamentally at odds with the law.  And it happens in childhood and many barely have a choice.   And all the hiring quotas and body cameras and police training and whatnot in the world isn’t going to change that.  There’s going to be a tension between young black men and the law so long as so many of them have no real lawful options in life.  Could someone out there talk about this please?

4. On a lighter note, I’m thinking a lot about moving soon and what I’ll do differently.  When I arrange and set up and decorate whatever our next house is, I’m focusing on furniture and window coverings, then rugs and wall hangings, and only after that all the knickknacks.  With the current house, I’ve constantly moved mantle decorations and pictures around, never getting the result I wanted because my curtains and furniture sucked.  . ..  Anyway, I was thinking about all this and then later that day I read a post from The Nester on the exact same point.  . . .This stuff doesn’t come naturally to me but I’m learning! . . . Still, the Nester decorates with a lot more knickknacks than I prefer.  Her pictures make me feel a little crowded.

5. A year or two ago I polled you guys about flesh-toned pantyhose.  Guess what?  They’re officially “back.” Ellen called it: Princess Kate can do no sartorial wrong.

6. I am loving, loving the Bossa Nova station on Pandora.  It’s soothing and at the same time it makes me feel like I’m in an Audrey Hepburn movie.

7. Click over to Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.  Happy weekend!

P.S.  Girl 1 just informed me, “When I grow up I’m going to have five twins!  . . . Their names are going to be Carlos, Carlos, Peg, and Meg!”

What We Wore Sunday

Plus thoughts on the Latin Mass and Lilly Pulitzer:

The past two Sundays, we’ve taken very seriously the idea of Sunday as a day of rest.  One parent gets up with the girls while the other sleeps in, then when the sleeper-in parent awakes, the other parent goes back to bed for a nap.  When we’re both up, we all take our time eating lunch and getting ready for the afternoon Spanish mass.  It feels more pious to get up and go to Mass early, but I tell you what–the past two Sundays have been very restorative.   (So much so that I’m up on  monday morning typing this before 7 a.m.)

I don’t love going to Mass in Spanish, but our parish is funny.  If you don’t make it to Mass by 8:30 a.m., your choices are two Latin masses and the Spanish mass.

We never make it to 8:30.

Latin is the universal language of the Church, etc. etc. but if my kids go to any other Catholic church anywhere in the country, there’s a 99% chance Mass is going to be in English, and they’re not going to know the responses.  still don’t know all the new translation responses by heart.  It’s embarrassing.  . . . Well, maybe there’s a 90% chance Mass at any other parish will be in English, and 9% chance it will be in Spanish.  So going to the Spanish mass has its advantages, I guess.  Anyway, as long as 1:30-3:30 a.m. remain the waking/witching/bitching hours in our house, early Mass is not an option.

So anyway, here’s what I wore—a dress I got in my first Stitch Fix.


Here’s what the girls wore:  

     I’ve watched with some interest the Target/Lilly Pulitzer collection, and the response thereto.  (I may even have grabbed a few items left on Target’s racks for resale on an inflated price on eBay.  Maybe.  I’ll never tell.)

I’ve had a mild fascination with Lilly P. for a long time.  Ever since I heard about it from a fellow law student during a summer internship.  She was from a totally different social echelon than I and she did not hide the fact.  We were discussing this hoity toity party we’d both been to and she was like, “I was surprised there weren’t more Lilly Pulitzers.”  I–and another intern of humble lineage–were like “What’s Lilly Pulitzer?”

And she was like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe you haven’t heard of Lilly Pulitzer!”

So Lilly P. seemed to me to represent this whole other type of life–it does–that I don’t really aspire to (I really don’t) but it still fascinates me.  It’s very “other,” as my Mom would say.

And now I dress my girls in it.  Ironically.  From Goodwill and Ebay.  That’s totally normal and healthy.  Right.  But anyway they like it.

I’m linking up with Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday (finally!  It’s been so long!).  Have a lovely week!

Important Princess Kate news, blogging faves & childish obscenities

This Thursday night, I’m linking up with Kelly for Seven Quick Takes (or I will tomorrow, anyway).

Big news in the world of fashion and style: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (nee Kate Middleton), recently made a public appearance wearing a navy blue dress with black stockings and shoes.

Shortly after she appeared wearing a brown dress with black stockings and black shoes.

I don’t think this got nearly the press it should have.  I love navy blue, but it’s always a pain figuring out what shoes to wear with it.  I usually go with brown boots and tights.  Another option is nude pantyhose with nude heels (so much nudity!  I’m blushing!).  But, even though Princess Kate wears nude ‘hose, I’m still inclined to take the majority view that–while okay when necessary–they’re not a great look.

But navy and black I can get behind.

2.  Bonnie over at A Knotted Life hosts this awesome event called the Sheenazing Awards.  In honor of Ven. Fulton Sheen, it’s a way for people to nominated and vote for their favorite Catholic blogs in a variety of categories (there’s also a category for best non-papist blog).

You should check out and vote on the list of nominees and check out some new-to-you blogs while you’re at it.  You can vote for me in the “best under-appreciated blog” category–thank you, all of you (I know there were at least three!) who nominated me!

I feel kind of funny about that category.  Do I think I’m underappreciated?  I want to say, “oh no, I don’t feel underappreciated.”  But maybe I do?  If I do I don’t want to admit it.  I’ll admit that I could stand more appreciation if it were to come my way.  Let’s leave it at that.

3. Most of the bloggers I nominated made it to the list of nominees or honorable mentions, but some didn’t.  That’s likely because I didn’t enter in the blog name and URL correctly on the nomination form.  So, I’d like to give a shout-out to

Jill of Dulce Donum, whom I tried to nominate for Most Inspiring Blog,

Lisa of Joie de Vivre, whom I tried to nominate for Miss Congeniality, and

John Janaro of Never Give Up, whom I tried to nominate for Best Blog by a Man (funny category but it makes sense given blogging is such a female-dominated thing).

4. Bonnie somehow neglected my very favorite genre, that of Catholic Lawyer Mommy Bloggers, which includes these ladies (roughly in the order of how well I know them),

Martha of Shiny Happy Catholics,

Theresa of The Brez Blog (soon to go private, I think?)

The mysterious, anonymous, soul-searchingly honest Law In Mom :-),

Liz of The Gupdate,

Annabelle at Written by the Finger of God,

Renee at Cappedocia in Lowell.

Am I missing anyone?  I hope I’m not missing anyone.

5. I followed The Nester’s advice and “quieted” my living room after removing the Christmas decorations.  I can’t wait to continue redecorating, but for now I’m enjoying the breathing space that all those bare walls give.  I struggle to figure out how much to hang on the walls.  I love clean, minimalist decorating, but I usually feel like we need more decorative stuff to counterbalance all the ugly, everyday junk that accumulates.

I’m looking at you, Mr. Purple-Ed.

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I’m thinking those lamps should be lower, or perhaps moved altogether. The blue couch is for sale on Craigslist anyway.

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Anybody want my impulse-buy Swiss cheese lamp?

Anybody want my impulse-buy Swiss cheese floor lamp?

 

6. A certain auntie is about to get the best thank you card of her life.

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This is what happens when your six-year-old is great at phonics but still can’t distinguish between the “F” and “TH” sounds.

7. Back to you, Kelly.  Happy weekend all!

What I’m Into (a look back on May)

Veggies, VHS tapes, trouble at the Episcopal church rummage sale, and more . . .

Vegetables:  I haven’t cooked much at all lately (that’s another post for another day).  But I signed up for a CSA months ago.  We’re now getting our weekly shares, and right now it’s greens greens and more greens.  Kale, spinach, chard, lettuce, bok choy, and more kale.  I don’t like it because I have to cook it all before it goes bad.  I like it because I’m forced to cook it all before it goes bad.

 

Dinners on the grill: Pat grills burgers and chicken.  I cook up some CSA veggies in the quickest way possible. We open a bottle of wine.  We sit down and eat.  . . . .  We’ve had two meals in a row like this and I’m hoping for many, many more. . . . No special meal prep for the girls (sweet, blessed, relief).  Girl 1 will eat her grilled chicken (with ketchup) and (certain) veggies if bribed with dessert.

The What I’m Into linkup on Leigh Kramer’s blog, which I first learned about from Modern Mrs. Darcy.  I’m new to Leigh’s blog and the link up.  I might not be doing it right, but I really like the idea.

Professor Linda PrzybyszewskiI look forward to reading her new book,  The Lost Art of Dress.

From her recent Tumblr post:

Since time out of mind, fashion illustrations and store mannequins have exaggerated the female shape into something so long and tenuous one wonders why they didn’t snap in half.  . . .   [A]djust your eyes to the shocking sight of a dress on a young woman with full cheeks and curves.

Times sure have changed, haven’t they?

Buying VHS tapes at the thrift store for $0.33–cheaper than renting!  When I’m done I throw them away or give them back to Goodwill.  So far I’ve watched.

  • 28 Days (Sandra Bullock)
  • Green Card (Andie MacDowell, lovely, why can’t they make rom coms like this anymore?)

I’ve bought the girls more VHS tapes than I can count, some favorites being:

  • Cinderella
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Peter Pan
  • Robin Hood (all the classic, Disney animated versions)

Pat has found a way to digitize VHS tapes, so the girls watch their movies on our Roku box with software called Plex.  With that in mind, I picked up VHS tapes of some old favorites that are worth digitizing, saving, and watching over and over:

VHS tapes left to watch (but probably not to save):

  • Fargo (I like a lot of Coen brother’s movies but somehow haven’t watched this yet)
  •  Spanglish
  • Now and Then
  •  The Net (interested to see a movie about internet ID theft from ~ 15 years ago)
  • Little Black Book (okay, I might regret this, bu I guess it caught my eye since its star, Brittany Murphy, died so unexpectedly)

Prints of Delarue paintings of Paris, found at the Episcopal church rummage sale for $2 apiece, paired up with frames I found at the same sale for $1 a piece, spruced up with some black spray paint and matting from Michaels.

 

Lucien Delarue

 

 

More Delarue prints.  I’m hoping to make some moolah off these on eBay (it worked with the blazer I [fortunately/unfortunately] bought at the same church’s previous rummage sale).

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Losing my keys at the Episcopal church rummage sale, and being locked out of my minivan.  Well, I’m not into this but it happened.

Living in a small town such that I was able to (a) snag a ride home from a second cousin-in-law who just happened to be at the sale and then (b) have my keys delivered to me the next day from a friend from church who also just happened to be at the sale.

Having a two-year old who stuck a popcorn kernel up her nose.  Again, not so much into it, but it was into her.  Yuk yuk.  We can add this to the many stories of children in the family sticking things up their noses: peas, beans, crayons, pebbles, Baby Jesus figurines . . . the normal stuff.

Hoping for a less-sluggish, uneventful June filled with more beautiful weather!

 

Thank you Leigh!

The Rosie Project, Settling for Mr. Good Enough, and Peter Pan

1.  Click over to Atelier if that blog title piques your interest.  (Hint: it’s a book review.)

2.  In other news . . . Girl 1 is obsessed with mermaids.

 

Mermaids from Peter Pan

Her favorite movie right now is Peter Pan, the Disney cartoon version.  I overhear her saying “Hello Peter, hello Peter, Hello peter!,” mimicking the mermaids’ flirtatious voice exactly.  It’s cute and funny and extremely disturbing.

3.  Here’s a two minute clip of the scene.

4.  She also calls Girl 2, “you blithering baby.”  She hasn’tyet called anyone a blithering idiot, but I know that’s coming.

5. It took re-watching that movie as an adult to realize that the entire movie is about female jealousy.  Make that female jealousy and competition for the attention of a narcissistic man-boy who won’t group up.  Greeeeaaat.  (Ladies, Peter Pan will never be Mr. Right, or even Mr. Good Enough.)

6. Did anyone else out there enjoy the daily coverage of Duchess Catherine fashion during the Australia/ New Zealand royal tour?  Any favorites?  It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, but up there are the Tory Burch black and white:

the Diane Von Furstenberg ikat wrap dress,

and her casual navy blazer outfits paired with a checkered button down

and with a striped shirt (I do love me some stripes).

 

Oh, and that white lacy peplum number was awesome.

 

 

My least favorite was the red coat dress she wore while first arriving in New Zealand.

Not only was the skirt way too floaty for the wind (near wardrobe malfunction), the high heels were scary. She was gingerly teetering down the steps on four-inch stilettos, holding onto the future King of England with one arm and grasping the hand rail with the other.  Wouldn’t it be the worst thing ever if she dropped the baby there, for all the world to see?  I keep thinking about that.  Step up to the plate, William, and hold the kid so your wife can hold down her skirt.

I’m glad that’s off my chest.

Have a great weekend!

I’m linking up with Jen for 7 Quick Takes.

Boden Spring 2014 Review

And other retail therapy hits and misses . . . .

It’s a funny thing, online shopping.  You see the picture of the model, and it gets you all optimistic.

Casual Weekend Dress

Then you try it on and try to convince yourself that you look at least like a more-fit version of yourself:

Boden casual weekend dress

Boden casual weekend dress

But then you look reality squarely in the face:

Boden casual weekend dress

Bleh.

Again, fantasy:

Reality:

Boden jersey dress

Boden jersey dress

Fantasy:

Amelie dress

Reality:

Boden Amelie dress 2014

Cut it out Laura

size 10 UK

This is turning into one of those I-hate-my-body rants, and that’s really not what I mean to do.

I guess my points here are (a) online shopping is a tricky mind game and (b) it’s best done with free shipping and returns and (c) none of these dresses was really flattering to me.

By the way, the dresses were all US size 10 Long, which matched my measurements on Boden’s size chart, so they run pretty true to size.

Fortunately, there are lots of polka-dotted shirts in the world (currently $15 at Ann Taylor, only size M left; I got a L.):

 

And stripes (Boden’s short sleeve Breton; with my wide shoulders I found this top most comfortable in a US 12, tho according to the size chart I’m a [perfect?] 10):

 

Because I clearly needed more dots and stripes:

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And I think I’ll catch the tail end of the puffer vest trend, before it’s gone.  Lands’ End has down vests for $20 — $15 right now, with a promo code that ends 2/26/14.  

Lands End Core Down Vest

As the number of my long-sleeved shirts recently has expanded from 2 to 6, I think I feel my late winter/ early spring uniform taking shape.

But for now I need to get out of my pajamas.  😉

How about you?  Any retail therapy hits or misses?

7 Quick Takes About Fingernails (Again), Valentine’s Day, Clothes and Shoes

1.  I wrote a quick little review of Kisses for Katie, over at Mary’s blog, Atelier.  If you’ve read the book, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

2.  I followed Mary’s advice for a Valentine’s night in, almost to the letter, and it was really nice.

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Valentine’s date night in: raspberry Belgian ale, flourless chocolate cake, and pina colada sherbet!

We watched Romantic’s Anonymous on Netflix, which both (!) Pat and I found entertaining.  I would have changed the ending though. (And does it bug anyone else that so many movies feature a male romantic lead so much older than the female romantic lead?) . . . Actually, never mind.  I just looked it up and the lead actress is only 7 years younger than the lead actor.  But man, she looks a lot younger.  Anyway . . .

It made me want to watch more French films.  It’s one thing to read about the Frenchwoman mystique, and quite another to watch it.  I get it a bit more now.

3. My first attempt to rejoin the world of fingernail painters was a bust.  I used Sally Hansen Hard As Wraps for a base coat (accidentally ordered the top coat instead of base coat), an old bottle of red Sally Hansen Hard as Nails, and the Vinylux top coat recently of Camp Patton fame.  It was chipping before 24 hours was up, and by the end of the second day it looked like this.

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I never gave much thought to my cuticles, but they don’t look so hot close up, do they?

But a bottle a OPI Sweet Innocence, per Nichole’s advice, is on its way to me.

4. Amazon sends me an email every day, apologizing profusely for a shipping delay with the aforementioned nail polish.  It’s okay, Amazon, really, it’s okay.  Whole lotta snow out there.  I understand.

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5. Pat was really sweet in how he ordered a Valentine’s Day gift for me.  He went to my web browsing history and specifically looked for what I had viewed on Boden’s website.  And he ordered me a dress.  Unfortunately, I already had ordered myself the same dress and returned it, because it didn’t look good on me.  But it was a really thoughtful idea.

6. I know I‘m not the only one excited by the newest Boden catalog.  I’m finding that a lot of their stuff doesn’t look as good on me as it does on the models (surprise surprise).  I’m hopeful to get at least a couple of winners for my summer momiform, though.

7. I finally replaced my old Sperry’s with a pair of pink Minnetonka Kilty mocs, for my requisite pair of casual-flats-with-which-I-can-wear-socks.  They would look better without socks, but I just really really need socks.  But anyway, I found them at our local general store for $7 less than Zappos!  I hesitate to jump on the “buy local” bandwagon.  When I see a “Do You Know Your Farmer” bumper sticker it just seems so smug and self-righteous to me.  And plenty of virtuous people don’t have the time or money to buy local but feel guilty about it.  And I hate that.

But every now and then you find just what you want locally for a good price, and it feels really good.

The end.  Click over to Jen’s for more quick takes.  Happy weekend!

De-frumpifying the Third Trimester With Affordable, Stylish Staples

I am so happy to share a guest post today from Mary Boctor, who offers some guidance on adding a little style to that most uncomfortable and awkward stage of pregnancy (and of life?): the third trimester.  Mary is currently expecting her fourth baby, and she’s a trained personal stylist.   She blogs at Atelier about living and dressing with style.

Third Trimester Staples

Today I want to share with you some of my third trimester staples (though most of these items are great to have even earlier). I’m thirty-three weeks along in my fourth pregnancy, so I’ve had some time to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Of course, every pregnancy is different – different weather, different circumstances, different emotions, but there are a few things that are always a good idea. I’ll start at the beginning:

Third trimester staples

Third trimester staples

Tunic (similar) // Assets Shorts //  Grey Tee //  Jeans  // Occasion Dress // Flats //  Casual Dress

Undergarments… that fit! It can be so tempting, especially when on a tight budget, to ignore what can’t be seen. But then more than your budget will be tight, and that means panty lines, straps that pinch, and cups that overflow. That being said, undergarments that are maternity specific can be pricey, and aren’t an absolute must.  I have been really satisfied with this microfiber number, because they sit comfortably below the belly and deliver on their “no panty line” promise.  And the price is definitely right.  For bras, it doesn’t fit if it doesn’t contain you and/or it’s too tight.  Size up at that point!

Assets Marvelous Mama Maternity Shorts. Okay, maybe these aren’t absolutely necessary, but they are great for under dresses and skirts. They keep the look smooth without being too constrictive. The third trimester can be an uncomfortable time in more ways than one; twenty bucks isn’t too much for a little bit of extra confidence on big occasions.

Full Panel Jeans. I find that these are the most comfortable option once the belly is full blown. The band on the demi-panels that I love just seems too tight by the third trimester, and it irritates my pregnancy sciatica. If you are on a budget, try H&M, asos, and Old Navy. I also just discovered that even Wal-Mart online has some super inexpensive options. Who knew?! Whatever the brand, look for a pair that is uniform in color (i.e. doesn’t have “feathering” or other embellishment on the hips or rear) to avoid drawing the eye to any one area, such as the widest point of your thigh. Dark washes are especially flattering, as dark colors recede and thus give the appearance of decreased size.

Long Tees and Tanks, depending on the season. Too-short shirts are unflattering and uncomfortable. Look for fabrics that are thick enough that they can be worn alone, if you choose. Such shirts make up the bulk of my maternity wardrobe. I pair them with shorts, jeans, linen pants, alone or under a blazer.

Stylish flats. I don’t forego heels just because I’m pregnant, but for everyday wear, flats are the way to go. Depending on the weather, tall boots, booties, or ballet flats complete an outfit without sacrificing style or comfort.

Non-Yoga Pants Comfort Wear. There comes a point in every pregnancy (for me, at least) when I don’t even want to bother with the constriction level of jeans. And I have nothing against yoga pants, it’s just that when I get out of them in the morning I feel more productive and ready to meet the day’s challenges. In summer, this isn’t a big issue because there are lots of light weight dress options that are cool, comfortable, and pulled together. In winter, it’s a little more difficult but tights with a tunic top works great, or even a casual dress if I know I’m sticking around home.

A Special Dress. I spend the majority of my time home with my kids, or out and about in casual settings, running errands, playdates, that sort of thing. Yet, I find it absolutely necessary to have at least one dress that is special occasion appropriate. Target has some really cute options for $40 and under. Topshop is a nice midrange retailer,  [editor’s note: Topshop’s maternity line is Duchess-of-Cambridge approved!] and if you’re looking for something that will last many a pregnancy, Isabella Oliver has lots of beautiful items.

Thanks so much for the pointers, Mary!