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!

Everything I ever needed to know about style I learned from my kindergartener.

Before having kids, I swore to myself I would not let my daughters dress themselves.  My mother did, and I cringe when I look back at photos and see my clothing choices from my youth.  (“How could you let us go out like that?” is a frequent refrain when my siblings and parents and I look at photo albums together.)  Then I met my firstborn, who has had a mind of her own ever since she popped out. . . . Read more at The Mirror.

Guess who?


Some Sunday outfits of late

Happy Mother’s Day!

In case you’re interested, here are some Sunday outfits I’ve worn lately.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a nap to take and brunch to digest. 😉



Pinspiration from MK of Outfit Posts:

Past weeks (why do I tilt my head for photos?  I’m self conscious about this now):







Linking up with Fine Linen & Purple for WIWS.

A New Outfit: 20,000 Pinners Can’t Be Wrong

I saw a similar ensemble on Outfit Posts blog and pinned it on a Pinterest board.  Since then, it’s been re-pinned over four thousand times.  I figure at least four other people have had the same experience, so that’s . . . 20,000 people who like this outfit.

It’s an odd accomplishment to have one of one’s Pinterest pins re-pinned over 4,000 times.  It was exciting for the first 1,000 times or so until I realized — this is a picture of someone else, on someone else’s blog.  I get the glory . . . how?

Oh, I know how!  By recreating the outfit myself and blogging about it.  That’s better.

Denim jacket, leopard scarf, LOFT curvy skinny jeans, brown boots


I’m linking up for the first time with What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy.  Thanks Lindsey!
pleated poppy

Dressing Up A Whole Month of Sundays






Plus an example of how a camera is more honest than a mirror.

This is what I wore today:


Let’s just skip the week before, but the week before that I started out with this:


It looked okay in the mirror.  But taking a picture (before Mass, which is unusual), made it clear that the belt wasn’t working.  It kept slipping down on the slippery material.

So then I tried this (a bit school marmish, that is to say, more so than usual):


This is what I settled on:


And the week before:


I haven’t had much fun dressing for Mass lately.  I’ve put on what Heather calls a “winter layer.”  Anyone else put on a winter layer?  Never do I feel those extra five pounds so much as when I put on a pencil skirt.  Ugh.

It just now occurred to me: Lent comes at a good time, doesn’t it?  Right at the end of winter, when it’s time to shed our winter layers and get outside and move and stop drowning our wintertime blues in chocolate and chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. . . . Oh, that’s just me?  Ahem.  Anyway.

Here’s to Spring!

And to Fine Linen & Purple!


What I Wore Sunday + Sunday Pet Peeves

This is what I wore today:


Shirt from Conversation Pieces (gift from my husband); sadly not recommended; already pilling after one washing.  😦

And what I wore last week:


Sweater from Kohls (now sold out).  I had some Christmas Kohls credit and couldn’t resist this sweater.  Not my color + hand wash only + sheds on everything < very soft + polka dots!

And here’s my pet peeve of the week: pew end squatters.*

People who get to church early and stake out a spot at the end of the pew.  Would it really kill you to scoot over to the middle?  Do you really enjoy having me and my young children stepping back and forth across your lap and over your toes, multiple times throughout the hour?  Seriously.

I get that some people are elderly and/or have limited mobility, and they have a right to the end of the pew.

It doesn’t help that, in our parish, we have many pious people who kneel and pray after Mass for a long time.  That’s fine and dandy, but please ~ look around you~ to see if you’re blocking in your neighbor as you close your eyes and have visions and levitate and whatever you want to do for the next fifteen minutes.  Otherwise you encourage the pew-end squatters.

Regardless, if a family with young children approaches the pew, just scoot over.  Offer it up.  Otherwise, the most charitable thought I can muster is to assume you have irritable bowel syndrome.

The end.

Linking up with FL&P today.

*I should add that today we sat next to a very gracious lady who was not a pew end squatter.  And I’m very grateful to her.

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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!

In Which My Four Year Old Wants A Bikini

and I Contemplate My Impending Demise

— 1 —

First off, I wrote a guest post for Erika over at Stethoscopes, Style, and Grace (thanks Erika!).  It’s about my supposed minimalism and how I fared against Target.

— 2 —

Girl 1 has taken to drawing little tableaux on her MagnaDoodle every day.  It’s her way to unwind after school.  She likes to draw beach scenes of her and her friends swimming.


Recently Pat and I overheard the following:

Girl1 (to herself): And here’s me and C in our swim bras and swim underpants.

Pat and I exchange deer-in-the-headlights looks.

A few minutes later:

Girl1: Mommy and Daddy, can you get me a swim bra and swim underpants?

Me: Who wears a swim bra and swim underpants?  (Wondering if she got the idea from Barbie or elsewhere)

Girl 1: Oh . . . a ten-year old girl.

Me: Hmm.

A few minutes later,

Girl 1: Mommy, what do you call a swim bra and swim underpants?

Me: Um, a two-piece bathing suit.

Girl 1: Oh, can you get me a two-piece bathing suit?

Me [bracing for the storm]: Uh . . .  you see, Girl 1 . . . Daddy and I think it’s better for girls to cover their tummies.

Girl 1: Oh . . . How about a swim shirt with straps, with swim underpants [i.e., a tankini].

Me: Sure, yeah, that would be okay, if it covers your tummy.

Girl 1: Okay.  I want a pink one.  And Girl 2 can have a purple one.


Please don’t think she ever ever gives up that easily at any other time.

— 3 —

I think I’m coming down with strep throat.  I’m trying to fight it off with a home remedy:

strep throat

Garlic and cayenne pepper by the spoonful.  1/2 tsp every half hour.  Yowzers.  It’s potent.  But I already feel better after less than a day.  Also my saintly husband and his saintly mother have taken care of the girls a lot so I can sleep more.  That helps!

I’ve been on antibiotics four times in the past two years or so, including twice for a strep throat that just wouldn’t go away.  That’s why I want to avoid them this go-around.

— 4 —

I was thinking back on all the various ailments I’ve had in the past five years: strep throat, bad back, periodontal disease (not for lack of flossing, mind you; I’m very defensive about this), UTIs, yeast infections, sinus infection . . . . I kind of feel like:

“I’m melting!”

Back during college and law school, I don’t think I ever was sick enough to warrant going to the doctor.(I went a few times for more routine or preventative things, but not for actually being sick.)  Then it occurred to me:

Nature is telling me I’m no longer needed.

Think about it: I’ve reproduced.  Pat and I have replaced ourselves.  From an evolutionary standpoint, we’re extraneous.

If I had had kids at a more biologically appropriate time, say at 16 and 18, instead of 26 and 28, and if I had a few more of them, it would be even clearer.  They’d be big enough to gather their own nuts and berries and run away from predators.  Absolutely no need for me to stick around.

But, thanks to the marvels of modern medicine (and/or garlic), I’ll probably stick around decades and decades more.  And it’s all going to be one long . . . slow . . . process of decay.

— 5 —

Speaking of decay . . .  I’m pondering what kind of shoes to get to replace my worn-out, smelly, three-year old Sperrys.  Boots aren’t really comfortable for around the house.  Sometimes I just want some to wear my long-neglected cross-trainers (b/c, as you know, I don’t work out), but I’m trying to avoid that style deathtrap.

And they have to be something I can wear with socks.  I neeeeeed socks.  Especially in the winter.  Megan wrote a whole post (back in the glory days when she was still blogging), with shoe guidance for sweaty sock-dependent schmucks like me.   I don’t know if I have enough edge to wear Converse, though.


SONY DSC converse 2

I keep coming back to the idea of chukkas.

Are they a shoe?  Are they a boot?  What makes a chukka a chukka?  I don’t know.  (Doesn’t matter, because I have no money left in my clothing/shoe budget.)  Why do I have chukkas on the brain?

Oh yeah . . . .

— 6 —


Snow White runs away

Actually, Walter White dresses a lot like my dad. It’s pretty funny.  Something about that khaki pants, button-down shirt look is so familiar.  Except that my dad wears pants.  And not chukkas.

— 7 —

Speaking of style icons (were we? Yes, we were), Suzette and I had an interesting conversation about the shortfalls of looking to Marilyn Monroe for fashion inspiration.

I suggested  poor Norma Jeane’s early years for more workable outfit ideas:

Marilyn Monroe Norma Jeane striped shirt blue jeans

Cute right?

But it struck me how absurd it is for me to be dispensing any sort of style advice or what have you.  But I live to serve, so if the demands continue, I shall to go into business.  I plan to call it:

Matthew 15:14 Style Consultancy!

.  .  .  .  .  .

Thanks, Jennifer for hosting the Quick Takes link-up over at Conversion Diary!

Looking Happy [Style & the SAHM]

While assembling my summer SAHM uniform, I did a little research and found this blog post (turned Salon article). The author recounts ordering a skort from Athleta after seeing another mom wearing one at the playground:

Last spring I noticed another mother at the park wearing a lightweight, gray, A-line skirt that hit just above her knee. She had my build — 13-year-old boy from the waist up, prodigiously gifted in the hip department — but she looked happy. At ease. Must be the skirt, I thought.

The author orders the skort but has second thoughts:

The skort had delivered on its promise. It had spayed me. It had communicated to the world that I am a mother, that the body part under my skort . . . has accomplished the signature biological act of my species, and that now, I’d prefer that no one look at me.

Apparently, what the author misses is not so much people looking at her.  She actually seems to miss people trying to look up her skirt:*

Think back to Marilyn Monroe, the white dress and the subway grate. The skirt appeals because it’s dangerous. At any moment, it might fly up.

We take pains so that it doesn’t. We sit just so. We cross our ankles. We hold it down when the wind blows. But we’re aware, just like the fellas, that it wouldn’t take much to flip the sucker up. And, dude, that is hot.

white dress Marilyn Monroe

(Photo credit: Sara Gambarelli)

. . . . Um, that’s called EX-HI-BI-TION-ISM. Like . . . creepy guys in trench coats. Not hot. You may be more attractive than they, but the sentiment is the same.

. . . .

I mulled this over and then thought back to the skort-wearer described at the park:

“She looked happy.”


I think that’s what I’m going for.

I want to look happy.

Not like I’ve stopped caring about myself.

But not like I’m wrapped up in myself, either.

Not drowning in a potato sack.

But not squeezed into clothes that leave little to the imagination, either.

Just happy.

Athleta wherever skort sahm style fashion minimal capsule what-to-wear


*Maybe the author is being tongue-in-cheek?  I can’t tell.

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