Five Consumer Favorites

We are living in a material world, and I (apparently), am a material girl, because I really like . . .

1. Consumer Reports magazine:  I’ve been reading this since I was a kid.  Before each of our car purchases as a married couple, I made Pat join me on a research trip to the library, to scour all the Consumer Reports used car guides.  (Short version: go with Honda or Toyota.)  I also scoured CR before purchasing our home (a foreclosure, sans appliances).  CR failed me on its dishwasher and washing machine recommendations.  Still, I can’t resist seeking out their advice before any major purchase! . . . Yet I’m too cheap to ever buy a subscription!  That really makes no sense, because I read this
stuff for fun.

2. Simcha’s post about why skirts and dresses are just not so cool and comfortable for those of us on the voluptuous side. (Simcha says meaty; I say voluptuous.)  I think this issue was a subconscious reason I postponed jumping on the maxi dress trend for so long.  And I preferred skorts to regular skirts.  But just today I found these (only $12 at Target), and things are looking up.  Or at least, looking, uh, less friction-filled.

3. Speaking of lingerie found at Target, I like this Maidenform slimmer. I wouldn’t mind a bit more compression in the tummy area, but it smoothes all over like a dream (“suddenly skinny!” is promising a bit much though).  I haven’t tried another brand, so I can’t compare, but it’s cheaper than even the Target line of Spanx.  It’s not exactly comfortable enough for all-day wear, but for an evening, it’s fine.  And the gusset works.

4. Stitch Fix people: Thank you Debbie R., Jaime M., Nicola W. and Laura T. (are you the Laura T. who is my cousin-in-law?), all of whom have ordered Stitch Fixes through my referral link, leading to a nice sum of credit in my SF account.  I really hope your SF works for you!  I see now why SF is so popular on blogs.  My blog is fairly small potatoes, but after just one post on the subject, I got four people who ordered through my link (and several more who have signed up but not yet ordered).  I’m guessing much more popular bloggers like, say, Anne Bogel or Emily Freeman get enough SF credit that they never have to pay for clothes!

5. Floradix: On a totally unrelated note–Floradix makes your hair grow!  It did mine, anyway.  A year or so ago, I was losing a postpartum-like quantity of hair, even though my baby was two.  I did some Googling and saw that iron might help.  I’ve always been slightly anemic, but I haven’t been vigilant about taking iron except during pregnancy.  Well, I started taking Floradix on the reg (the equivalent of 10-20 mg of iron a day), and the scary hair loss stopped almost instantly.  I now have annoying little hairs sticking up around my hairline, but that’s new hair, and I’ll take it. Probably any iron supplement would work but Floradix is the only one that doesn’t . . . um . . . clog up my innards.

How many embarrassing things have I discussed so far?  I don’t want to count.  Click over to Rachel‘s blog for much nicer Five Favorite posts.


or you could just take a nap.

Old Navy Spring 2014 In Review

Plus a bit o’ Lands’ End and Athleta.

Girl 1 and I made a trip to Old Navy not long ago.  Here are some highlights.

The fit and flare jersey dress (first spotted on Ain’t No Mom Jeans):

Old Navy fit and flare dress

I think this will be my go-to summer day dress (the kind I was hoping to find at Boden).  Unfortunately, it is not very forgiving of the cortisol baby I’m carrying around in my midsection.  (The picture doesn’t show it, b/c I’m sucking in my gut with all my might. )  So I went up a size (XL), and found it more flattering in the midsection but too big in the top and armholes.


So, I bought the XL and plan to have it taken in up top.  It’s counterintuitive to bother getting alterations on a cheap, Old Navy dress.  But I wouldn’t think twice about getting alterations for a pricey special occasion dress I’d only wear once, so why not drop $20 on something I probably will wear dozens of times?  That’s my thinking.

The black and white is cute, also, but washes me out, I think.


This dress on the other hand:


Hospital gown chic.  No thanks!

 These cotton sweaters are similar to the polka-dotted one I got from Old Navy over a year ago, which I’ve worn and worn and worn again.  So I have high hopes.  I went with the anchor print.



I ordered a tall just for kicks, and wow, it’s tall.  Never mind.


This sweater was blah and not flattering.  (Surprise!  It’s even blah and unflattering on the model.)

Old Navy v neck cable knit sweater, women's

A silky, drapey top paired with skinny jeans is a good look, generally, I think.  But I just wasn’t feeling it with this top:

Old Navy women's printed crepe top

This top is pretty.  I might have gotten it in white, but the back is very sheer (“slub knit” is always the tip-off, isn’t it?).

Old navy lace front slub knit top

I ordered this skirt online and I love it.  The stretchy panel on top is flattering.  The fabric is very lightweight, so I wouldn’t wear it without a slip or a shaper.  Still, it doesn’t cling the way I was expecting it to.  I might get wild and crazy and order it in a color other than dark blue.  That’s right; I just might!  (I also tried this similar skirt from Lands’ End, and the ON skirt won out.)

Old Navy fold over jersey knit skirt

Girl 1 found a dress she likes.  She’s worn it almost every day, usually along with this cardigan (unbuttoned and tied in front, ’cause that’s the way we roll).  I wouldn’t mind a bit more material up top on the dress.  She’d prefer wearing a strapless ball gown to preschool.  This is an acceptable compromise.

Old Navy girls' floral print maxi sun dress

Real quick, I love this cardigan from Lands’ End.  I had looked for something similar in cut to my old pink cardigan that I’m wearing to shreds.  I ordered the cardigan in a M.  It’s held up in the wash so far, ‘though I’ve laid it flat to dry.

Lands End womens cable knit v neck cardigan

I also am loving my puffer vest.  I’m tempted to buy more colors.  (You’re a minimalist, Laura, remember?  You’re a minimalist.  Come on.)  But, it’s back up to $35 after being on sale for under $20.  So maybe I’m not as tempted.

Lands End core down puffer vest

Aaaaand, I think this will be my skort for the summer (in a Tall).  The ones I wore last summer were just a bit too flowy for my tastes.  I’m hoping to recoup some $$ on eBay.

Okay, I hope you were edified . . .  or something . . . by all that.  Thanks for reading!

A Classic, Feminine Maternity SAHM Wardrobe From Lauren

I’m happy to have a guest post today from Lauren, who shares her SAHM style, maternity edition.   Lauren is the mother of a little girl and a little boy, with Baby #3 coming in January.  She blogs at The O’Briens.

I love the topic of SAHM style because honestly there was almost nothing out there to guide me when I started staying at home 3 years ago.  I kind of figured out my personal style through trial & error and thinking about what in my closet made me feel classic, feminine & put-together – and then slowly buying more of those types of clothes.  Now I have a pretty good mix & match wardrobe of sweaters + skirts, with boots or leggings & ballet flats.  Mainly if I go out with the kids it is to the library, the park, Target/Costco/Grocery store, or church for preschool coop/daily mass.


My favorite accessory is a scarf … I’m not big into jewelry because I feel like the kids just grab it off.  Scarfs / cardigans are easy (washable) ways to add color.  Also I intentionally avoid clothes that need to be ironed, washed in a special way (dry clean only), or can’t be dried. 

Since I am 7 months pregnant right now, most of this stuff is Motherhood Maternity (pink dress), or Ross Maternity (yellow top, navy blue top).  Both scarves are pashminas from Italy & Spain when I traveled abroad years ago.  Boots are from Italy (hand-me-downs from my sister), and the silver ballet flats are from Marshalls.  Everything else is either a thrift store find, or 4 years old from Gap / Ann Taylor Loft / etc.

Fall maternity SAHM style

Here I mixed up some of the styles above for different outfits (& my oldest, Grace jumped in some pictures :-).  The green sweater is from Kmart, beige sweater from Motherhood Maternity outlet (and here I am wearing it last pregnancy during Christmas time).  The teal top and jean skirts are all thrift store finds.  The gray sweater with rhinestones is from Burlington Coat Factory’s maternity section – which I just discovered & love.

So I hope this helps other SAHMs who are trying to find that perfect mix of comfortable clothes for running after kids, while still looking nice & feeling good about how you’re dressed every day!

 Thank you, Lauren!  I  like how you incorporate several different colors that look especially good with your hair and skin tone.  Beautiful!


Weekend Badness and Goodness {WIWS}


Breaking Bad (season 1)

^^ Now that it’s received a Jenprimatur, Pat and I started watching Breaking Bad on Netflix.  I’m only two episodes in but OMG, it’s kind of like Flannery O’Connor wrote a television script and got the Coen Brothers to direct and produce it.  Mom, if you’re reading this: I think you’d love it.  Dad, not so much.  Similarly, Pat was not so into it.  Too much darkness, he says.  But I liked it.  That bathtub thing in the second episode?  I was like, “Yes!  That is AWEsome!”

More badness:

morning glories

^^ Damned deer, ate my morning glories  . . .


^^and got into our trash.  I think they’re frustrated that they can’t use our backyard as a daycare anymore like they did before we finished our fence.  The fawns can’t jump over it.


Check out the Jack O'Lantern crocs!

Check out the Jack O’Lantern crocs!

^^ Girl 2 is getting to be almost as opinionated as Big Sis re: her clothes:


^^ and her shoes. Especially the shoes.  This was the view from over my shoulder in the minivan this evening.

More goodness:


^^ Storytime with Uncle Nick


^^ Healthy, paleo-ish chocolate tart (stay tuned for the recipe, coming later this week).


^^ Sisters “sharing” not-quite-so-healthy frozen custard

Shirt, shoes, skirt and necklace are from LOFT (old)

Shirt from Target, shoes here; skirt and necklace are from LOFT (old)

^^ What I wore to Mass on Sunday.

Thanks to the ladies at FL&P for hosting today’s link up and to Mary for her Weekend Diaries link up!

Blue on Blue on Blue {What I Wore Sunday}

Happy Sunday everyone!

Today I wore this to Mass:

full skirt, belt, Target tee shirt,

Catholic arm candy

Catholic arm candy

Thrift store shopping definitely is an art that I have not mastered entirely.  This skirt, however, was a winner.  Here are some other ways I’ve worn it:

IMG_2591 IMG_2470 IMG_2313

Chambray & White {What I Wore Sunday}

Happy Sunday everyone!

Today I wore this to Mass:



The skirt is from LOFT (old); shirt from Old Navy (old); shoes from Lands’ End (now on sale); necklace from NY&Co. Here are a few other ways I’ve worn these pieces:



IMG_1508 IMG_2748

Long Live Polka Dots! {What I Wore Sunday}

Don’t you just love Kendra’s and Mary’s points in this post?   There is no shame in wearing the same thing frequently, nor in posting about it.  This attitude is one of the many reasons I love What I Wore Sunday over all other what-I-wore blog link-ups. (**Update: I also love Audrey’s One Piece Many Ways link up! **)  😉

Today I wore this:


This skirt  was thrifted and altered to fit, and I’ve worn it over and over again.

IMG_2052 IMG_1457 IMG_1105

Mandatory Looking Down photo.

I say: tell the fast fashion industry to take a hike!  They really must think women are idiots: they manufacture crappy merchandise that falls apart almost immediately because they know they can convince us to buy new stuff every season.

That being said, my shirt is from Target.  :-S

Linking up with Audrey at Putting Me Together:

And On A Lighter Note: What I Wore Sunday

Two posts in one day are a bit much, but it seemed disrespectful to blather on about my outfit in my prior post.  So I’ll blather on about my outfit in a separate post.  Here it is:


I keep forgetting about that annoying glare in the picture behind me.  But it was impetus to download a cool app that blurs the background.

My outfit inspiration, not for the first or last time, was Martha:

All I really need to know about style I learned from my little sister.

Pat and I tag-teamed because the girls are still a bit sick.  Someone was not happy about being left behind:

She got over it.

Thanks to the ladies at FL&P for hosting today’s link up!

What I Wore Sunday (Not Enough)

Here’s what I wore to Mass today:


Shoes and shirt from Lands’ End.  Skirt is thrifted *nannynannybooboo*

Girl 1 brushed my skirt up somewhere in the course of getting her sweater off and on and off and then on again, and . . . I’m pretty sure the folks behind us got a glimpse of What Panties I Wore Sunday (no pictures, you’re welcome).   I had intended to put on a certain undergarment that would have prevented my exposure being quite so . . . complete . . . but I forget in our rush to get out the door.  Clearly some of the time I spent making up my face would have been better spent, uh, elsewhere.

But anyway, I was thrilled when I found this skirt at Goodwill because I could use it to imitate this look,  which I found on Pinterest a while ago:

and also this:

Thanks to the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple for hosting the WIWS link up!


Mother’s Day Weekend {WIWS}

Happy Feast of the Ascension and happy Mother’s Day!

Here’s what I wore to Mass today:



This is the silk, sequined tank top that used to mock me every time I tried to find something decent to wear to the grocery store.  But it subdued its attitude, so I let it come out now and then.

Here are some snapshots from yesterday:

Morning cup o' tea.

Morning cup o’ tea.

They always amuse themselves contentedly like this.  Always.  Heh heh.

They always amuse themselves contentedly like this. Always. . . Heh heh.

IMG_2449 IMG_2444

Husband hard at work leveling the swingset

Husband hard at work leveling the swingset

A well-deserved, delicious lunch afterward.

A well-deserved lunch afterward.

And check out what I saw yesterday, folks:


First time I can remember seeing a rainbow that actually bowed, all across the sky.  Beautiful.

Here’s my Mother’s Day treat after Mass:

Word to the Wise: not a good pre-workout snack.  :-S

Word to the Wise: not a good pre-workout snack. :-S

And here’s what I’m enjoying now:





That was the sound of silence.  Pat has taken Girl 1 to the store, Girl 2 is napping and I have some peace and quiet!  Woo hoo!  What every mom wants (and needs!).  Soon we’re off to dinner with Pat’s family, but I’m posting now while I’ve got time.

Thanks to the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple for hosting the WIWS link up and Mary for her Weekend Diaries link up on Monday!