If you just happen to still be around, I am coming back! I am getting a complete makeover. New header, new layout, and just maybe... a new name! Hang around... it won't be very long now.
If this is your first time, please subscribe via email and you will know when I unveil my new look.
The "new" blog will feature recipes, decorating, DIY's, Pinterest pins that I accomplish and more. My wonderful husband gave me the most AMAZING DLSR camera for Christmas and as it gets warmer, I will ATTEMPT some photography projects (as well as just learning how to work this marvelous contraption).
I will continue to share my love of my family, my precious Belle, the beach, boats & more.
I hope to get the changes finished tonight. However, if I don't. it will probably be like this for a few weeks.
I am asking for prayers please. Tomorrow (Tues Jan 17) at 8:30 am, I will be undergoing major surgery. The plan right now is for me to stay 3 days/ 2 nights but that is subject to change if the need arises. I KNOW everything will be just fine and I have no worries. I am actually looking forward to this. Even though I have no worries, I still am asking for prayers. Prayers never hurt anyone!
1. Pray for my daughter. She is away at school and she worries about me and my medical mess so much. I know she will be a basket case. If you know who she is, please send her a word of encouragement in a message on Facebook. Also, pray for her friends to surround her to try and keep her mind occupied with as much other things as possible.
2. Pray for my parents and my husband as they will be at the hospital with me tomorrow. And pray an additional prayer for my husband as I will take frustration (with nursing staff mostly) out of him. It is the medical knowledge in me! Also for my husband and dad who have a hard time sitting around in a hospital!
3. Pray for my doctors and the surgical team, their hands, and their minds during the procedure. My surgeon is a Christian and I am very blessed that even as a physician, he puts faith above science if you know what I mean.
4. Is finally for me. Not for the surgery itself, I will be asleep! LOL But for after. I need as easy a recovery as possible because it is going to be a long one. I quote, "You are going to have it rough and hard for the first 2 weeks, you will feel like crud for up to 6 weeks, and then it will get better at 8-10 weeks. That is a long time!
So if those of you that pray, will please say specific prayers for the above 4 requests, I would be most appreciative. I hope to be back blogging as soon as possible as I started back with a bang and then had to drop it without a word. However, I will do my best to at least keep up my obsession with Pinterest! ;-)
Now going out partying with your girlfriends gives way to punch it up! Nothing like a great night out dancing! If this is your choice for letting loose and taking a much needed break with your girlfriends, do I have some fun choices for you.
Gotta do it girls, the first item up on the runway is actually a fun black dress. But it is FUN!
How cute is this? Do you notice the bow tied on the back?
It is the Jessica Simpson Slit Sleeve Blouson Jersey.
How much more fun can it be than to add these wild things?
These feathery finery for you feet are by Enzo Angiolini and are calle "Torrez".
Both dress and shoes are found at Nordstom.
You could also add these fun strappy platforms from Belk that are on sale for 70% off!!!
These are Nine West "Arm Candy" in Satin Gold.
Now lets go BOLD on the dance floor!
This dress is also by Jessica Simpson and is the One Shoulder Blousen Jersey in Enamel Blue...
or holiday it up in thes Jessica Simpson Flutter Sleeve Charmeuse Dress in Tango Red...
This dress is beautiful in person... pictures do not do this dress justice. My daughter owns this dress in a more coral color and has worn it to weddings and clubbing. I will try to find her picture.
There is only one pair of shoes that I can even picture with the last 2 dresses...
The Nine West "Arm Candy" is Silver. Almost any color dress can be picked out from all that glittery sparkle on the platform. Very par-tay!
Again from Belk and on sale at %70 off!
You will definitely be kicking up your feet on the dance floor in any of these three shoes.
Tomorrow is our last night of Holiday Fashion week and we will definitely be winding down. Join me tomorrow for some more great fashions to wrap it up! (pun intended!)
(All 3 dresses are from Nordstrom, however we did purchase my daughter's dress at Belk)
Here is my Miss Brooke at our cousin's wedding this past May:
Here she is with our cousin, Robert and his new bride, Jaimee.
Excuse the shininess and the red eyes as everyone had been dancing for quite some time.
Her dress looks orange but it is not as orange in person. If you can see her necklace, it has orange, gold, coral, and pink.
And to show this is a wonderful dress to dance in, Miss Brooke is dancing the shag with her Papa (my daddy). She sure knows how to rock those platforms!
OK girls, you have been shopping your hearts out, attending galas and cocktail parties, or you are just plain tired of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, including all the baking (yum yum) and gift wrapping. If you have kids, the holiday season always winds them up and you just need to get away! Time for a Girl's Night Out with your best girlfriends.
Maybe you just want a relaxing night out (that can sometimes change as the night goes on and the drinks continue) for dinner. I happen to LOVE sweater dresses. There are so many to choose from this year. Since this is a relaxing night out, you make think my color choices are on the mundane side, but sarcastically she states, this is my blog and these are what I choose to showcase.
First outfit I would not change one bit. I like it just as it is:
Lovely charcoal gray (yes, charcoal gray can be lovely) with black opaque hose or tights, and black, to-the-knee boots! Take it easy on the accessories as this dress is cable knit so you have plenty of texture and design. But take it up a notch with a great pair of colorful dangling earrings OR a long necklace, NOT BOTH. Or with the gray, some great silver options. Maybe simple, but larger, silver hoops, and a silver statement piece on the wrist. Perfect for those 3/4 length with a slight ruffle sleeves. I can not identify the boots. The dress is a Tahari by Arthur S Levine and is on sale on the Nordstom website for 33% off.
My second outifit is a Calvin Klein Cable Knit faux wrap. Wrap dresses look good on almost everyone! If you don't have a shape, or maybe a little larger woman, the wrap defines a waist line well. I love this color!
Does this not make your back side look fabulous??? I would definitely be adding the Spanxx! I think this dress leans towards an equestrian look, so I personally would probably do the tights again in dark brown and dark brown "riding boots".
The reason I choose such dark brown is because of such a hard to match brown on the sweater. The dark brown adds a contrast and complements the faux wrap attachment. These are by Sofft and are the "Claremont" boot. I found these at Nordstrom.
My second favorite designer is Ralph Lauren. I am very much classic when it comes to clothing styles and Lauren by RL is just that, classic.
I love "Winter White". A warm white, not the bright whites we see in summer and can most definitely be worn year round. This dress just knocks me off my feet. It is a Lauren by Ralph Lauren. It too is cable knit but with a wonderful banded (but not tight) bottom, almost to the wrist sleeves, and a wonderful bateau neckline.
I found this dress at Belks where it is currently on sale! The belt gives it that signature western/equestian RL look. I would definitely put a boot like this with this dress.
I am in love with the two-tone riding boots. These are "Corso Como Richmond", which I again found at Belk's. They come in dark brown, black, and my favorite, the two-tone. You can find this style in many, many brands at many price points. Unfortunately, I do not own a pair of two-tones myself, but a pair will end up in my closet at some point
Though I said yesterday that I am not really adding jewelry to my outfits of choice. However, with this piece, I would probably just go with some thick gold hoops. Enough said.
Finally a dress-me-up or dress-me down sweater dress. It too is by Ralph Lauren. It is a long sleeve, boatneck, sweater dress. The sleeves are slightly puffed and the cuffs have a single button.
Oh there is so much you could do with this dress. For a casual look, tie or loop a brightly colored scarf. You could go as bright as the Murfee scarves by Lilly Pulitzer, solid color ruffle scarves, or even better for the holidays, a tartain plaid scarf. The choices are limitless with this style dress.
Since this is a wool sweater dress, I would throw on a poncho. My choice, though not as colorful, would be...
a herringbone poncho! Your shoe choices are extremely varied. Again, a flat, black leather boot is a good choice, or there are many wonderful black leather or suede flats. I think I would probably go with these and some black opaque tights...
These are the "Ilona bootie" by Naturalizer. These were found at Nordstrom. And though I haven't been saying much about purses, how about this one?
The pop of red is fantastic. This purse is the Lauren by RL Newbury Barrel Satchel. I personally love satchels and that is mostly what I carry. With the poncho, I would not want a long strap or straps. This strap is removable to be the perfect satchel.
As I said before, this can be a dress-me-up dress as well. If I was dressing it up, I would either wear a black leather boot with a heel such as...
The Cole Haan Air Jalissa.
I found these at Belks but the are also carried by Cole Haan stores as well as other department stores. If you have never tried any of Cole Haan's Air shoes, you really need to do so. Cole Haan has partnered with Nike for their "Air" technology. This technology makes for a very comfortable shoe or boot.
Or I would go a little more dressier with this pair...
Very similar but with a little higher and more stiletto type heel. These are the Lauren by RL Jennison boots. These also were found at Belk.
If you choose not to go the boot route, and try something different. How about one of these?
The lower wedge Cole Haan Air Lainey...
Love very much, especially with the gold accent, but this southern belle can't get past the
patent leather. Beautiful and comfortable.
or the Eterna Wedge by Nina...
Love the wedge, the "cut out" sides and the flat bow on top. Great pair to choose.
Or go very traditional with the Michael Kors Pressley...
Strange angle I know. Love the polished leather (not patent) and a very classic black pump that can go with almost anything and should be a staple in your shoe wardrobe. I think I would end up choosing these especially with how I plan to accessorize this wonderful dress.
(The final three pair of shoes are found at Belk.)
To go from all black, I would either tie a silk scarf around the neck, preferably tartan for the holiday spirit or a great animal print.
If you do not care for scarves around the neck, especially with a bateau neckline, choose a gold statement necklace.
If you do choose to wear a scarf, a classic "treat" is to pull a color out of the scarf for your purse and tie the scarf around the strap or handle. That will definitely step it up a notch.
Me, I would combine the two options. I would choose this...
the Lauren by RL Gansevort Convertible Leather clutch. I would leave the chain strap as to carry it on my shoulder and a silk square scarf around the strap where it meets the clutch and probably add a bold chain necklace. (RL makes those as well!)
I have given you plenty for a dinner or dinner and a movie GNO! I hope you have found some new items and new ways to style your items.
Come back tomorrow for part two of GNO! It will be PAR-TAY time!
Although you always have the chance to meet up for drinks after work, these little events tend to multiply during the holiday season. It could be a small company function with just drinks and
hors d'oeuvres immediately after the work day is done, or colleagues getting away from the office, or friends just meeting up to take a break and allow time to spend together when you may not have the chance during your busy calendar.
Most women would don the LBD (little back dress) for this as you could wear it through the work day by itself depending on the dress or by adding a blazer for an even more professional look. This way, all you have to do is remove the blazer, change out the jewelry and shoes and you are good to go. However, this is the holiday season after all and I would prefer to step it up a notch.
I choose the Lilly Pulitzer Julianna Dress. The pattern is so creatively called, "Cameo White Lace You There Placed." Don't you just love the Lilly pattern names? I know I do!
I love this dress! Lilly states that this dress is a one-of-a-kind! The print is absolutely breathtaking!
And I think it is appropriate for any cocktail affair. So why did I not use this dress yesterday for Cocktails, Anyone? Yesterday, I chose to go with a much more festive, party mood, type of address.
Once again, I am not going with the shoes shown on the model. They are Lilly and I absolutely adore them. Gold, strappy shoes should be a staple in your shoe wardrobe. But I see something else. I see this dress a little more elegant and a need for a different style. I immediately noticed the bow on the waist, so I wanted that to carry down to my shoe selection. I chose these lovelies...
Though these may appear white, (and us old fashioned summer fashion rules still ring true and the only time you wear white shoes after Labor day is under your wedding dress and tennis shoes) these are actually ivory and do match the dress. However, they also come in black...
I chose these because of not only the bow affect but the flat pleating on the sides. For myself, I would have to buy both pair, bring them on home and try them on with the dress. Then return the ones that I choose not to wear. Why you ask? I love the ivory because it is the same color as the bottom of the dress. And even though they may be very much lighter than your skin tone, it will still help elongate the look. But the black would definitely work as black satin is indeed a little dressier and it is all in the details. The bow being black on the dress and the black shoes with a black bow just coordinates too easily.
Once again, not to differ with the wonderful design team and stylists at Lilly, I do not like this evening clutch with the dress. I would go for a simple black satin clutch, which most of us do have in our wardrobes, or a lovely black satin with a simple bow.
Many of you may have noticed that I am only showcasing the dresses (or upcoming outfits) without jewelry because you don't always need to purchase new jewelry. As for our Gala attire, you may be breaking out your sapphires, rubies or emeralds, or more elaborate pearls. For other outfits shown or still to come, you may just happen to have the perfect piece or pieces to go with the outfits. I am leaving the jewelry up to you. I will say for me, the only jewelry I would wear with this dress, other than my wedding set, is simple pearl studs. The dress speaks for itself.
You may have noticed that this is also the first time I have mentioned a purse. For our first two installments of fashion week, you may not necessarily need one. Although they do add the finishing touch. If you have an escort to the first two events, the gentleman should always be willing to carry for you what you need. However, if you do choose to carry something, it should be nothing larger than an evening clutch. Nothing bigger than to carry a compact, lipstick, your i.d., some cash or card in case of a dire emergency, and the most important of all, your breath mints!
As you can tell, I love Lilly, especially for dresses, and if you check out the Lilly Pulitzer website, you will find many wonderful dresses for cocktail parties like yesterday and for the simple, out the door after 5 drinks (and maybe dinner) look.
I am sure you have also noticed that yesterday and today have only featured one dress each. Don't worry, tomorrow is "Girl's Night Out" and I have many outfits to feature. Make sure to stop back by tomorrow and check out my opinions of what to wear this Holiday Fashion Season!
I hope you have enjoyed not only today's installment, but Holiday Fashion week as well.
I think that one of the most important attributes a person can have is excellent interpersonal skills. During the holidays, many sales people become very frustrated as they are forced to use a certain greeting to be, so called, politically correct. They have to face angry customers, just plain rude customers, the hustle and bustle of the crowds, and the most awful work schedules!
Now is the time they should be stepping up and putting their best foot forward.
I do not tolerate poor customer service, ANYWHERE! I will try to discuss whatever the matter may be with the sales person or customer service, and if a resolution is not found or an attitude doesn't change, I go to the manager. Or I will just walk out without purchasing a thing. For those on commission, some have lost pretty big sales by the way I am and have been treated. If I am not waited on promptly, if a sales rep is chit-chatting it up with a friend instead of waiting on me or the next person in line, that is a problem. I have actually quit shopping at a favorite store,shop, or boutique, or if it is a department store, I will actually go to another mall, even if it is in another city.
Now I can be grouchy and I can get very frustrated, and many times, especially during the holidays, I go into a store on a mission. However, I try to be as nice and cheerful as I can be. I love when I can get to know certain sales people well and they get to know me. Having that type of relationship is wonderful. How else can you find out about sales and special events ahead of schedule??
However, what if you do much of your shopping online?? I know I shopped 3 online stores on Cyber Monday. One was actually on Tuesday because of server issues from to much activity and the CM sale was carried over throughout the day on Tuesday. I know #2 and #3 have excellent customer service as I have shopped with them online before.
The first store I shopped is a store I found online through the blogging world (they have a blog and an online store) and I signed up for updates via email. I received their email regarding Cyber Monday and knew that 2 things I needed I could get from this vendor. I will say that before I made my purchase I checked some other places both online and in stores before going with this vendor.
I am so glad I choose this vendor!
When shopping from online boutiques (and even ebay), I pay attention to every little detail. How easy the purchase process is, shipping and handling, ability to return the item and how to do so before I ever make that first purchase. If needed, how easily it is to contact customer service. Lastly, when my purchase arrives, how was it packaged. I know how much it costs to ship packages (you can put in the to and from destinations and approximate weight on the website - USPS, UPS, FedEx - and it will tell you the actual cost just to ship. I also know know that many times, vendors overcharge for their handling fees, especially when all they do is use a box from the shipping service, throw your purchase in there and cram some brown packing paper in the box.
Let me receive a package shipped the way the package I received yesterday (and it was through the USPS) and I will forever be a customer. They way it was actually packaged is well worth the handling fees, and because it was CM, shipping and handling was free in addition to the sale price!
I know you are dying to know who the vendor is...
My wonderful vendor is The Preppy Princess!
The box was delivered intact thanks to both Preppy Princess and the USPS. The merchandise was safely secured with the good ole kraft shipping paper. But the merchandise was packaged so lovely. Though hard to tell, there are 2 items there, each individually wrapped in tissue. (I did not indicate that this may or may not be gifts so that made it even better!) Then the 2 individual items were tied together with pink and green ribbon to go with the adorable pink and green tissue. A wonderful thank you note was slipped under the ribbon. I would have been tickled receiving it just as it was at this point. Preppy Princess took it a step further. That bundled package was insered into a plastic "bag" and tied closed with another pink ribbon!! Superior handling and what a wonderful way to see a purchase when removing from the generic shipping boxes provided from whatever service you choose! Now I am not sure if I am going to give either of these as gifts or if I am going to keep them for myself as I could use both items. But if I chose to gift them, I can give as it or just slip into a colored gift bag.
Yesterday, it was overcast when my package arrived but when I opened it and found the above, it became a sunny Monday for me!
(on a side note to the customer service reps and sales people out there, in these economic times, with plenty of people looking for jobs, if you don't straighten up and provide better, friendlier service, you will lose your job, and someone really needing a job will get yours!)
Usually the next event that starts filling up on your holiday schedule is cocktail parties. Many office parties require cocktail attire and of course there is cocktail parties at many homes and your country clubs.
I am only showing one dress to day, and depending on how many parties you have to attend, and the others that you are attending you can possibly get away with having only one or using previous dresses .
From the moment I saw the following Lilly dress, I knew if I had an cocktail party to attend, this would be MY dress. It is the new Lilly Eryn.
The Eryn is fun and the style would is flattering on almost anyone! I think this print is very festive! But I don't particular like her shoes with this dress. As you know I am all about the shoes. And with this little lovely being short, you don't need to worry about where embellishments are on the shoes.
This first one is a very nice heel, not to high, not to low. This second one would be perfect as well. If you like the extra heighth, this pair does the trick and adds a little sexy spice with the ankle strap.
Both pair are by Nina and can be found at Belks and Nordstoms as well as other locations.
So, now what about those cocktails? Here are some perfect for the holiday season. At most cocktail parties there may be a signature drink, an open bar, or a cash bar depending on what the occasion is. I am going to share some Holiday Themed Cocktails with you.
The Ginger Snap
1 oz. ginger beer
1 tsp. ginger juice
1 1/2 oz. dark rum
1 tsp. cinnamon schnapps
Pinch of ground cloves
1 egg white
Crystallized ginger square
Finely ground gingerbread cookie
Pour enough ginger beer into a saucer to cover and dip a martini glass into the saucer to coat the rim. Dip into a saucer with ground cookie. Scoop ice into shaker. Pour ginger juice, rum and cinnamon schnapps into a shaker. Add a pinch of ground cloves. Separate an egg and add egg white to shaker. Shake vigorously for at least 20 seconds until drink is frothy and foamy. The longer you shake, the foamier the drink. Add ginger beer and stir slightly. Pour into glass.
Garnish with a cinnamon stick and crystallized ginger square, and sprinkle the top with finely ground gingerbread cookie.
You can substitute brown sugar or cinnamon sugar to rim glass.
The Candy Cane Cooler
Ingredients For Infusion:
2 cups fresh mint leaves, de-stemmed
1 bottle quality vodka
Thoroughly wash mint leaves and place in a decanter or jar. Empty vodka into container and muddle slightly to release the essential oils. Store in a cool, dark place for at least 3 days - longer if you want a stronger taste.
1 tbs. crushed candy cane or peppermint candy
1 1/2 oz. mint-infused vodka
1/2 oz. B&B (Benedictine and brandy)
1/2 oz. half-and-half
Mint sprig for garnish
Place crushed candy cane bits into pint glass. Muddle the candy cane slightly, breaking up the bigger pieces. Do not over-muddle into a powder. Add vodka, brandy and half-and-half and stir. Pour into a shaker with ice. Shake lightly to chill and strain into old-fashioned glass full of ice. Add a peppermint stick and stir. Garnish with a mint sprig.
Cocktail started with vodka already infused.
The Cranberry Punch Pizzazz
8 cardamom pods
4 4-inch cinnamon sticks, broken
12 whole cloves
1 can (about 11.5 ounces) frozen cranberry juice concentrate
4 cups merlot or other red wine
1/3 cup honey
Cranberries and orange slices, for garnish
Cut a 6-inch square from a double thickness of cotton cheesecloth to make a spice bag. Pinch the cardamom pods to break. Center the cardamom, cinnamon and cloves on the cheesecloth, bring up the corners and tie closed with clean kitchen string.
In a 3 1/2-to-6-quart slow cooker, mix the cranberry juice concentrate with water according to the directions on the can. Stir in the wine and honey; add the spice bag. Cover and cook on low 4 to 6 hours or on high 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes. Remove and discard the spice bag. Ladle the punch into glasses and garnish with cranberries and orange slices.
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup Champagne
1/2 cup cranberry juice
2 strips orange zest, each about 1/4-inch wide and 2 inches long
Combine the vodka, Champagne and juice in a large-stemmed red wine glass. Add crushed ice and stir until the mixture is well chilled. Twist the orange strips over the glass, drop them in, and serve.
Candy Cane Cocktail
1 shot vanilla rum
1 shot white chocolate liqueur (recommended: Godiva)
1 shot peppermint schnapps
Candy cane, garnish
Add all liquid ingredients to cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into martini glass. Garnish with candy cane.
If you are hosting a cocktail party, why not choose one of the above as your signature cocktail?
Optional garnish: 1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) pomegranate seeds
Special equipment: a 6 to 8 cup capacity punch bowl
Place the ice in a punch bowl. Add the simple syrup, pomegranate juice, and cranberry juice. Stir well. Slowly pour in the sparkling water. Garnish with lime slices, mint sprigs and pomegranate seeds, if using, and serve.
Serving Suggestion: As an alternative to serving from a punch bowl, make the bellini mixture in a 6 to 8 cup capacity pitcher. Divide the pomegranate seeds between 12 champagne flutes. Add 1 slice of lime and 1 sprig of mint to each glass.
Pour the bellini mixture into the prepared glasses and serve.
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
In a saucepan, combine water and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and allow the syrup to cool.
All cocktails courtesy of the Food Network.
This Holiday Fashion week is my personal choices. Unfortunately, I don't have any of the events this week to attend myself other than the last day of Fashion Week.. Between recent illnesses and wonderful husband's overly demanding schedule, we just don't have anything to attend. Maybe next year. I think I will make that one of my Holiday 2012 goals!
This week is holiday fashion week, featuring attire for different events each day.
If you have been invited to a holiday black tie affair or gala calling for an evening gown, it has probably been on your calendar for weeks! There are so many gorgeous gowns, especially in beautiful jewel tones, this holiday season. However, I am going to save our colorful apparel for some other days this week.
I am going to share 2 always elegant gowns but I am going to give to give them "a little kick."
The first is a true black dress. It is Halston with a beautiful draping.
As beautiful as this gown is, you may find it a little boring, shall we say? Since this gown does have a slit, let's move the party to our feet...
Add some holiday sparkle in these Kate Spade's OR kick it up another notch with these Louboutins. (very little difference so they are their for your picking)
Now, as much as I love that Halston, I prefer something a little softer.
I personally would choose this Notte by Marchesa...
I put great thought in my shoes and how they work with my outfit. With long gowns, I do want my shoes to be seen but I don't want my gown catching on any adornment. To go with this beautiful gown, I thing I need something more than a black pump. These satin slippers do the trick. Well they aren't really slippers...
They have a beautiful satin bow that doesn't extend wider than the back of the shoe.
Simple and elegant.
Do you have a gala or affair calling for a full length gown on your calendar this season? If so, please share what you are attending and what you will be wearing.