Saturday, March 20, 2010

Argyle in style...

Going with an outfit I wore a few times past season... I love the cute girl design on this t-shirt and the silver embelishments add a nice touch. The jacket is knit with a zipper. I am including a photo of the hoodie part as it is lined with tulle. Love all the little details of this jacket and it is very comfy. I also like the touch of green in it. Wanted to compliment the girl's bow with my black satin bow headband. I wear this ring quite often. It is a chanel look alike. My mom got one in white. I kept accumulating these silver bracelets over the years as gifts from my husband and best friends. First I was thinking they are all very similar when am I going to wear each one of them? Then I figured out I can wear them all together for a very cool effect. So, I am kind of going against my own advice today where the majority of the outfit is from Forever 21. But, at least paired with expansive jewelry and shoes. :)

Skinny Jeans - Forever 21 - $20
T-shirt  - Forever 21 - $12
Knit Hoodie - Forever 21 - $25
Satin bow headband - H&M - $6
Rose ring - Closet - $5
Various Silver Charm bracelets - Tiffany's & Red Envelope - $90-$150 each
Suede and leather ballerina flats - Cole Haan - $200 (over 8 years old)

Today's Activities: Taking son to dance class, then meeting hubby and daughter at the park for some playtime before naps and lunch. Left the kids with hubby to volunteer for the 'Princess Project' dress giveaway event all afternoon. Then met the family and my dad for dinner at soup plantation. After kids go to met, watched 'new moon' with best friend at home.

Want to start a new series on how to come up with outfit ideas...
Today's tip is on coming up with outfit ideas when actually buying a new piece of clothing. As we discussed yesterday it is a good practice to think what it will go with in your closet before you buy anyway. So you might have already thought of a few possiblilites. When you get home after the kids go to bed, try the new item on with some pieces from your closet. If you don't think you will remember these later, write them down. For example: flare jeans, gap blue blouse, navy vest, brown belt, brown boots (etc...) That way when you are in a rush you can quickly reference your list and pull out an already figured out outfit.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Purple in bloom

Very excited to be wearing this dress for the first time. I came up with 4-5 different ways I can wear it so have been dying to start trying them. It is made out of this nylon like material and when not belted the length comes all the way down to my knees. The material was great with kids today. You can clean any stain with a baby wipe and any liquid dries off instantly. Of course I was a little cold in the morning once again so wore my purple sweater over it (which looks navy in the photo for some reason). The belt is from my college days, it is just one of those classic pant belts but love the deep brown color and the brass buckle. I didn't touch the belt when taking my sweater on and off so it was pretty easy. My jean sandals again proved how comfy they are especially on a sandy park surface. I even found out while holding my daughter in one hand and a diaper bag in the other, I can put them on with no hand when the zippers are open. I just zip them up later. They are actually more practical than flip flops because they do not come off your feet easily. And this style looks so dressy. I was also lazy today and left my hair natural which is curly. To somewhat control the big hair wore my flowery headband. Since the sandals have enough embelishment on them and the whole outfit is a bit too dressy looking already I went with no additional accessories.

Dress - Jean Paul Gaultier for Target - Target - $39

Sweater - Gap - $14 on sale
Leather belt - Limited - super old, don't remember the price
Jean sandals - Steve Madden - $89
Cream silk headband - Anthropologie - $19

Today's Activities:
Mission bay park with the kids in the AM. Running errands and grocery shopping in the afternoon. Had dad over for dinner and playtime with the kids in the PM.
Tip of the Day: Last tip of the Shopping series...
Yesterday talked about wearibility (is that a word?) in terms of material and your lifestyle (me: busy mom with kids)... Today lets talk about wearibility in terms of how often will you really wear this item? Can you come up with a few different combinations of outfits you can pair the item with from your own closet or do you need to now buy things that go with it to make an outfit? For example if you are shopping for a special occasion dress, instead of buying something you will probably only wear once or twice, why not look for a dress you can turn more casual with sweaters or utlity jackets and flats etc... I absolutely love finding items that will go with things I already own and I can create many outfits from it. I like to wear a different outfit everyday and don't like repeating outfits for a while. So, it is important for me that each piece I buy creates more than just one outfit. If you are on a budget this is important. It is also important to not buy items that require you to buy more new items to go with it. Keeping in mind today's style is not matchy anymore. So you can wear funky colored shoes under an outfit that does not have that color in it at all to add interest. Actually it is totally stylish to go bold with either your shoe, belt, scarf or purse in a color that is going to contrast and pop from your outfit colors. It is also stylish to mix multiple patterns together (i.e. flowery designs with stripes). So don't have to look for exactly matching stuff.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Orange Crush

Going with cameo and orange today. The outfit is actually a little too matchy matchy. I would like to add a little bit more edge/boldness but can't do it everyday so this will have to do today. At least the orange over cameo does add a pop of color. The necklace is silver and orange from a farmer's market in Turkey (where I am from). The hat was bought two summers ago from a store in PB. I wore a tomatoe red 3/4 sleeve cowl neck sweatshirt over this outfit as it was chilly in the morning.

Orange tee - Closet - $10
Cameo Pants - Victoria's Secret - $39
Cameo flats - Rocket Dog - TJ Maxx - $30
Necklace from Turkey - $5
Hat (can't remember where or how much but it was cheap)
Sweatshirt (not shown) Everlast from Victoria's Secret - $40

Today's Activities: Outdoor Toddler class in the am, delivering dinner to a new mom and taking kids to music class in the pm.

TIP OF THE DAY: Shopping tips continued...
What to look for when choosing and trying on items:

Style is obviously a personal matter. You might never do skirts or shorts under a certain lengthe or sleeveless tops etc... So, continue to stay true to yourself.
Just like most people, I am always drawn towards dressier clothes and shoes. But, after purchasing items that I only get to wear once or twice a month I realized I need to shop for my current lifestyle. So go for clothes and shoes you can wear everyday with kids most of the time. Look for materials that will not wrinkle easily or need dry cleanning. Also patters and designs are great at hiding those stains we tend to accumulate with kids throughout the day. Any shirt with too many buttons or shoes with too many buckles become a hassle. When you try on a clothing my test is to bend forward and see if the tops stays put without expsosing to much cleavage. I then raise my arms to apply the same test to my midsection. With pants, I bend my knees down to see if the fabric gives in and allows me to move with ease. I also look for pieces I can layer since I am cold in the  mornings and the afternoons but get warm mid day.
For shoes I am now a big fan of those sandals with zippers in the back where all the buckles are decorative only. They are so easy to put on and off. Ballerina flats and dressy sneakers work great as well. When buying boots I know if I buy flats or lower heeled ones I will wear them so much more. I absolutely love heels. Love the way they look and make me feel, so I still go for them but may be 1 pair a season. And don't think you always have to wear pants and short when with kids. Dresses with knee lenght skirts, or a-line or full skirts that are mid tigh length work fine. I also love skorts, they look like mini skirts but have the comfort of shoes. So, don't be afraid to try those on as well. If you like to keep your style always casual like I said before you can always make it a bit more chic by adding cool belts, scarfs or necklaces. They are easy pieces and can be found cheap and instantly upgrade a simple shorts and t-shirt or jean and a sweater outfit. When choosing these items go for bold colors to make the effect more dramatic. Like yellow for an black ensemble, red for a grey one etc...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Touch of St. Patty Green

It was wear green day at our toddler class... Apparently I do not have many items in green. This top had some green so tried to make it work. It is normally worn untucked but decided to tuck it in and belt it for a rugged look. Again if only I could wear heels some black peep toe booties of some sort would have looked great but since that is not reality, I went with simple green flip flops. As you can see getting a lot of use from these new cargo pants and they are so comfy. The bracelet and the necklace are more tribal pieces. Had barely enough time to take these photos so forgot to take more of the jewelry. I am sure I will wear them again. So, the necklace is 3 strands in this photo but by the end of the day it was two strands. The middle strand came undone with beads flying all over during the class! My son helped me collect them all thank goodness before my daughter can choke on them. May be Masai African made items are not as durable as you would think.  And the top was not that easy to wear all day long. Strapless is a difficult concept to pull off with kids. Doubt I will wear this again.

White/Green strapless top - Old Navy - $15
Cargo Pants - J Crew - $39
Woven black leather belt - Alloy - $30
Flip Flops - Mossimo from Target - $12

Activities: Indoor toddler class in the morning. Taking kids to swim class followed by stopping at target to buy my son a new sheet set so he can be seperated from his goose down comforter and grocery store.
So, wore this 'IRISH' zip up hoodie in the morning before the weather warmed up...

Here are two mommies in my toddler class that proves there are some out there with great style. The one on the right has purple highlights! and alwasy dresses very cool and funky. Loved her outfit today. The one on the left has a great necklace.

TIP OF THE DAY: 'Where to Shop'... So obviously this entirely depends on your financial situation. If you have the means, the best and most fun is to shop at the actual stores of the brands or department stores. If you have the means but still would like to save money sites like, net-a-porter, topshop, zappos are excellent for finding designer brands for less.

If you are very cost concious, here are some stores/sites that have surprising finds...

Target: I am so impressed how much they have changed since I moved to this country. I always follow their 'showcase designer' for great funky pieces. This month it is 'Liberty of London' and 'Jean Paul Gaultier'. Most magazines advertise the upcoming designer month in advance. I note the date on my calendar and hit the store when it first comes out. Sizes and styles go really fast. I also love their selection on Kid's clothes and shoes.

H&M: This store has great pieces. Unfortunately I feel the San Diego store really lacks style. I used to find so much in the NYC store but this one I rarely find something I like. Mostly go in for the accessories. And the prices are a bit higher than forever 21 so I always check there first.

Forever 21: Now this store scares most people because of the name and the window. Frankly if I have not been inside I would be scared too. But it really is not just for twenty something age group. It has great pieces as you keep seeing in my outfits at stupid prices. Now, the sizes only go up to large which I would guess is probably a 8. However if that is too small of a size for you, still check it out for belts and accessories. When buying funky items it is great to spend under $10. You truly have to look hard though and try to see each item on its own and apart from the chaotic display in the store. My kids can last about 20-25 minutes here. I tend to grab a few durable jewelry items and let them play while I browse, then put them all back. Horrible I know but it works.

Charlotte Rousse: Could have some cool stuff occasionally. The sizes definitely run smaller but worth checking it out.

TJ Maxx: This is the ultimate store for my mom, sister and I. It is always a hit and miss but you can find awesome deals on brand name items here. Especially purses and shoes. Also great place for kid clothes for brands like Polo, RL, Hurley, Juicy etc...AND this is a store you can go with kids. I always hit the toy/book section first and grab a few of interesting things, books for my son, toys for my daughter and put them in the cart. That at least gives me 20 minutes or so to check out stuff for me.

Nordstrom Rack: Another crazy, makes you sick in the stomach store but great finds can come out of it. Not so easy to shop with kids.

CLOSET: This is a good store for buying basic layering pieces. They literally sell every kind of basic tee and tank top you can imagine in every color for great prices. Sometimes they also have cool items, like my recent purchase of dark grey skinny jeans. Again you have to see each item apart from all the other cheap items.  There is one in Point Loma and one in PB on Garnet.

Urban Outfitters: Great style similar to Anthropologie (my all time favorite store) but at much cheaper prices. I see a new one is openning up in PB on garnet. Can't wait to check it out.

Victoria's Secret: Unfortunately the clothes are only sold via catalog/online but once you figure out your size, you can continue shopping from them with ease. They do follow trends very closely and items go on sale within months plus they usually have great specials. And an amazing selection of shoes in all brands.

Newport News: Another catolog/online store. Sizes run much larger so if you are small order a size smaller than you are. Not all that stylish but could have cool thing occasionally.

Other than these I still hit my favorite stores but make it a policy to quickly walk to the back of the store and ONLY browse the sale racks. My faves are Bebe, Anthropologie, Betsey Johnson, Guess, BCBG, JCrew and Bloomingdales. I love Kate Spade but can't afford even items on sale, so I just lust over the window and do not go in. Juicy I never go in because even their items on sale are not cheap enough. You can alwasy find juicy items at TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack for fraction of the prices.

For Shoes: I find Steve Madden and Aldo carry great styles at reasonable prices. Nordstrom as you know has a great selection. This is one area I do not go cheap cheap. But that is just me.

Oh, and one HUGE TIP if i you are going to be shopping from cheap stores (like Forever 21 and Charlotte etc..) try not create outfits where all the pieces come from these stores. Always pair 1 or 2 cheap items with quality/brand name items you own. This way no one can ever tell.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nautical Theme Continues...

Aaah, the weather is finally returning to classic San Diego weather: warm and sunny. However I am still a bit cold in the mornings so not ready for shorts or skirts yet but at least went with short sleeves and sandals today. The top is actually thin sweater material. It is a bit crop but not enough that it exposes my belly when I lift up the kids. It has a wide boat neck so occasionally it goes off the shoulder which is cute. I went with boyfriend jeans to match the relaxed look of the boxy top. Could have gone with a predictable white belt but decided add a touch of sparkle with the thin silver woven belt. And it helped me compliment the thin silver hoop earings. The sandals are 2 years old. They were my first 'flat shoe' purchase when I realized I can't vacation with an 11 month old in Acapulco with heels. They are comfy but not that practical to take on and off due to the buckle.
After the photo I added a single white bangle bracelet as well.

Top - Forever 21 - $14
Boyfriend Jeans - Newport News Catalog - $49
Belt - Forever 21 - $6
Shoes - Charles David - $150

Today's Activities: Playdate at a friend's backyard in the am. Sea Life Aquarium in the afternoon. Parents over for dinner at night.

TIP OF THE DAY: So, contiuing the 'shopping tip' series...
Today, lets talk about our constant battle with our weight and dress size. If you follow yesterday's advice, you will probably face this issue as you try on your own clothes. Almost every women has this issue but if you have given birth or multiple births you have probably gone through some serious weight fluctuations. If you have very recently given birth or still breastfeeding I suggest hold off on any big shopping sprees until your weight settles. But if it has been over a year, it is probably time to make some piece with your weight and size. I am not saying forget about your goals of loosing those last 10-15 (or if lucky 5) lbs. It is good to always try to eat healthy and try to squeeze in exercise to continue working towards that goal. But in the mean time, instead of hiding in your sweats or yoga pants because nothing else in your closet fits and you refuse to try on a bigger size at a store, come to some sort of an agreement. If you did go and buy a few pieces in your current size, for one you will get out of those elastic pants and two you will realize your new size is not as bad as you thought when you are not trying to squeeze into something super tight. And contrary to general belief baggy clothes do not hide your extra pounds they extantuate it. Wearing complimenting clothes in your correct size will make you look slimmer. So, long story short, go ahead and pick some pieces you like and take 3 size to the dressing room and see what your new size is and shop in that size. If you truly think you will go down just buy a couple pieces for now. Personally 'baby doll' styles and those elastic bottom blousan style tops were my best friends when I still carried the baby flab tummy.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bon Voyage!

Decided to go a bit nautical today since the big event today was going on a whale watching cruise with my son, just the two of us while my daugther stayed with my mom. Nautical is totally in now. However, need to be careful to not go overboard. For example, striped top, with sailor pants, anchor necklace is a bit too much. I say pick one nautical piece and/or keep the colors nautical.
The T-shirt is something I bought a few months ago from Charlotte Rousse. It is tissue thin, and has an a-symetrical hemline which is cute. Has this barely seen red design (I think of a parrot) on it. Just enough for me to compliment it nicely with my red crinkled scarf. I chose simple white jeans and my white rocket dog sneakers (with socks, since I am always cold, especially on a boat).
Moms are always afraid of white but I find actually very practical. Because no matter what stain you collect during the day, with a dab of bleach pen at night you can make it disappear.
The jean jacket is quite old. It is actually something I bought when I had started showing while pregnant to my son. When my crop and slim fitting jean jackets didn't fit. So, this one is a size bigger but makes it comfy because of it. I like the vintage flower lining inside. This is one of my 3 jean jackets! Apparently you can never have enough as each is slightly different style. Since the scarf is bold enough I went with no jewelry except for the silver tiffany charm bracelet. Would have worn a watch but 3 out of 6 watches I own need new batteries. An errand I have not got around to just yet.

See this outfit would have looked killer with some heels. I would have tried it with my navy patent leather plaftorm peep toe heels. But again, this is reality and sneakers is the best I can do given my activities.

Today's Activities: Whale watching cruise with son (packed an additional red wind breaker which I did wear when we were on open sea), since he napped on the boat on the way back and my daughter was sleeping at my mom's, did marathong grocery shopping for the week, hitting costco and vons back to back. Just enough time to come home unload, pack snacks and take the kids to the park for a playdate (mom brought my daughter back). At home babysat a friend's kids during dinner so she can get a well deserved facial.

SO, for the TIPS section I decided to start a series of tips on 'Clothes Shopping'. I don't want to list bunch of tips and ideas all at once, so everyday will expand on one idea or a tip on shopping (or as in today 'pre-shopping').

Tip of the Day: Before you shop, re-visit your closet. Since no mommy has time to tackle this project all at once, I suggest breaking it up. One day (may be 30 minutes after kids are in bed) tackle pants, the other shorts and skirts, the other t-shirts and tank tops, dresses etc... you get the idea.
As you tackle each section, if you have not worn an item for a while or worse you don't even remember owning this item, I suggest quickly try it on for fit. Anything that does not fit, separate, the ones that do fit, assess if you still like it, will you wear it with kids, or going out? Remove anything that does not fit, or you will not wear. Will cover what to do with these later. For now, use an old bin or big bags and put these in the garage or a spare bedroom closet or attic etc... This might take up to a month but you will feel so much better for one having an organized closet and second knowing everything in there is now something that fits you and things you will wear. Once done, re-visit all those items you bagged and stored away. Go through them again, separate the items you know you will never want to wear again and nothing special you want to keep for anyone else. Donate these to goodwill. If there are expansive items that you do not want and you are up for it, you can sell them to designer second hand stores (google ones in your area) and get some money for them. Also, keep some items that do fit and in good brands but not in style at the moment. They will come back in style again and you will be glad you didn't get rid of them. They just don't need to take up space in your closet. Store them somewhere else. Those flat under bed storage bins work great if you don't have extra closet space. I use the extra space in both my son's and daughter's closet but they both have large closets. Hope this helps. Please comment if you have any other suggestions on this topic. Would love to hear your ideas and comments if this was helpful.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

This is another one from my list of ideas. These pants (Ann Taylor) are from my work days very long time ago. I like the idea of animal prints with bold colors like this pool blue and hot pink. After my pregnancy with my son I realized I could no longer wear the waist length t-shirts I owned. The were too short. I love the store 'Closet' for cheap purchase of basic t-shirts and tanks. They sell them in every color and style (v-neck, scoop neck, ripped, straight with lace trim etc...) and at funny prices like 3 for $10! This hot pink Tee was one of those purchases. The jacket you have seen me wear a few times now. It is from Forever 21. Even though it looks polished and dressy it is actually very practical and comfy. The material never gets wrinkled and the design is perfect to hide those mini choclate covered finger prints you tend to gather throughout the day. I also love that it has pockets to stick wet and dry wipes for those constant runny noses. The necklace is a purchase from a 'thread show' couple years back. I went with simple ballet flats (cole haan) to finish the outfit.

Today's Activities: Took the kids to the 'Diego and Dora' movie as part of the latino film festival and then got a photo with Dora. Had to tell my son Diego was napping cause it wasn't going to come for another 20 minutes and we had to get back home for naps. In the afternoon we checked out the Children's Museum (free day today) and then walked by the water at Seaport Village to enjoy the finally sunny weekend we haven't had for weeks.

So, I finally had some time last night to do some internet searching for other mom's that blog on fashion. Could hardly find any which surprised me. There was LOTS of mommy blogs but not on fashion. Found only a few but I need to comment and ask them if they are working mom's or do they just take photos of cool outfits they come up with. Cause the outfits do not seem like things you can wear when running around town with kids. If I was working that is what I would do: Make all my fashion statements with work clothes and not worry what I wear on weekends with kids. But, that was my challange and inspiration to start this blog after all. For those mom's that no longer have work to dress up for and spend all the day with kids doing kid stuff, do they give up on their love for fashion. For the past month and a half I have been able to at least prove to myself that I don't have to. With some good planning and smart purchases you can adopt today's style to your current life style. I decided from now on I would add a 'Tip of the day' to share how I shop and how (and more importantly when) I come up with the outfit ideas and how I make it work...