Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wishful Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

"I wish..."

I had Saks Fifth Avenue as my personal closet to shop from each day!

You thought I was going to say Lilly Pulitzer, didn't you?

Well, here's why I didn't.

Lilly Pulitzer is my favorite designer, but I love so many other designers, as well. I do not wear Lilly exclusively because then I wouldn't have my own style. I love to mix&match other designers with my Lilly items. & as I have only been buying Lilly apparel for myself for about a year (my Lilly addiction started in my home); there are often days when I am Lillyless head-to-toe until...

...I pick up my agenda...
...or put on my eyeglasses...
(I have those Saylie frames in tortoise/lime, in case you cared to know.)
...or throw my Pandamonium tote over my shoulder...

I am consistently amazed&wowed by everything new that the geniuses at Lilly Pulitzer come up with, so I doubt it could ever happen...

...but I love Lilly too much to ever risk growing bored with their selection by limiting myself to only wearing Lilly.

Saks was the first place I ever really began buying designer clothing.

Sure, I had accumulated a few designer items here&there over the years - mostly handbags. But I grew up in a small enough Southern town that dressing well only required consistent attention to coordinating, & occasional attention to updating.

I was aware of brands&labels from an early age...

(Did any of you also have to have those denim Guess? shorts with the triangle on the back pocket, in fifth grade?)

...but my mama was generally happy to buy most of my clothing from GapKids, & then the Gap; & I was generally happy to wear mostly classic preppy-casual basics - with the occasional

armful of random bracelets
(most of them handmade),
or pair of black Dr. Martens Mary Janes
(well, you know, I had to portray the deep intellectual),
or pair of overalls
(though I can't recall ever wearing them with one strap unbuttoned),

I certainly paid attention to fashion. My mama can attest that I had a serious magazine addiction that began, oh, probably in about the fifth grade. My Prince can attest that I have not kicked the magazine habit.

(In fact, it's now grown to include cooking, entertainment, fitness, home, parenting, regional...)

Then I didn't really pay more attention to fashion in college, but I found I had more reasons to dress up. Having more opportunities to wear more luxurious styles of clothing was fun. But since I worked at Gap, a good number of my purchases did come from there & from Banana Republic.

After I graduated, though,

I got a "real" job,
went to graduate school for a while,
& then went to law school.

I lived in bigger cities than I'd ever lived in before, & I discovered the joy of shopping in boutiques. Then when I began commuting from the newlywed home I shared with My Prince, to my law school classes, I found myself passing Saks almost every day.

& I fell in love with Saks. It all began with that pair of Citizens of Humanity jeans, which I had tailored. I began to truly understand that

classics are always better than trends,
(except during those lucky periods when the trends are your personal style),
quality is better than quantity,
you feel better about yourself when you are good to yourself,
& you generally get what you pay for.

(& by the way, that pair of jeans is still, to this day, my favorite go-to pair of jeans.)

I have paid ridiculous sums of money for designer clothing, & I have gotten unbelievable deals on designer clothing. I don't know if anybody has ever used the phrase, "Once you go designer, you never go back..."...but that has sort of been the case for me. I definitely still incorporate finds from

department stores,
"mall stores,"
& even Target.

But I would much rather buy one designer dress that fits me perfectly & makes me feel great, than eight or nine random finds off of a rack at TJ Maxx. I prefer the "splurge" to the "steal," in most cases.

(Not that I don't occasionally make a great random find at TJ Maxx!)

So for me, Saks Fifth Avenue would be my ideal "daily personal closet." I could still choose Lilly Pulitzer pieces, but then I could rotate them with other great designers, like


& I could accessorize from collections from


But y'all knew I couldn't leave it at that, right? Y'all know I can't do a post on anything without sharing some retail eye candy...

(Yep, that's why I always end up late publishing my posts. I write them on time! But then I will search&search&search until I find the perfect images&items to share with y'all. I hope y'all don't mind my punctuality issues too badly. I am sorry, but I do have a life to live before I can blog about living it, & I know y'all can all relate to how that goes! ;))

Admittedly, right now my life is a bit less glamorous than what Saks is prepared to outfit me for. But I love my life as a stay-at-home-mama, & I am not inclined to "let myself go..." let the fashion show begin!

Material Monday:

(Ideal for a typical Monday...take the White Dog to the groomer, go check out bargains at the semi-annual kids consignment sale, take Pretty Little Bare Feet to a momfriend's house for playgroup, spend the afternoon cooking supper for a momfriend with a newborn...)

Traditional Tuesday:

(Perfect for a usual Tuesday...share special time with Pretty Little Bare Feet in the morning at the library for storytime, go to lunch at Chili's with our playgroup, take Pretty Little Bare Feet to a park later in the afternoon with momfriends, go to a dentist appointment, attend a friend's baby shower in the evening...)

Well-Groomed Wednesday:

(Excellent for a conventional Wednesday...go to our MOMS Club monthly social, head to the farmer's market, pick up some of Pretty Little Bare Feet's photos, go on date night later with My Prince...)

ThursdayFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

(Fitting for an average Thursday...go to book club in the morning at Panera Bread, venture out to Pretty Little Bare Feet's toddler gymnastics class, take Pretty Little Bare Feet to a well toddler check-up...)

Fashionable Friday:

(Practical for a classic Saturday...go shopping, followed by our weekly lunch date out with My Prince...)

Stylish Sunday:

(Sweet for a common Sunday...go to church together, get my eyebrows done, participate in a garden tour in the afternoon...)

(Okay, so no, I am not usually that busy every day. But days that busy do happen occasionally, & we almost always have something going on each day. & I do have Pretty Little Bare Feet with me for pretty much all of it! But if I had a big ol' Saks closet, these are just the types of things I'd pull out of it, & the types of places I'd be wearing them to!)

(Sorry I'm even later posting than y'all can clearly see, I struggled with Polyvore. Going to need to play with it more to hone any ability for it!)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pretty Little Bare Feet's Palate: Asparagus Puree

As I posted before, I have always preferred to make most of Pretty Little Bare Feet's food myself, even her "baby food."

One of the vegetables My Prince & I consider a favorite staple is asparagus. We like it pretty much any way that you can prepare it. We like it

baked in the oven,
or used in casseroles or ensembles for entree dishes.

Now, of course, Pretty Little Bare Feet is able to eat it pretty much any way that we prepare it for ourselves, although maybe cut into smaller bites. We cultivated her love of asparagus early, though, as I began feeding her this homemade asparagus puree last summer when she was about seven months old.

I adapted the following recipe from combining bits&pieces of information&recipes, mostly from my aforementioned sources; as well as from my own trials&errors.

(sorry for the iPhone-quality photo)

asparagus puree

(yield: makes about 3/4-1 cup)

  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 12 spears or 1 pound), woody ends snapped off
*Cut all spears into 1/2-inch pieces.

*If you have a Babycook, follow Babycook directions for adding water to steam asparagus. After steaming, remove steamer basket. Then follow Babycook directions to puree.

*If you do not have a Babycook, bring 1 inch water to a boil in a pot. Put asparagus in a steamer basket, set in pot, cover tightly, & steam until tender & bright green, 7-9 minutes. If you do not have a steamer basket, cook asparagus in a saucepan of boiling water until tender, about 6 minutes. After you have cooked the asparagus, rinse asparagus under running cold water to stop the cooking; or have ready a bowl of ice & cold water, & immediately transfer cooked asparagus to ice water to stop cooking.

*Puree asparagus in a food processor until smooth. Additional liquid will not be needed.

*To store, refrigerate cooled puree in an airtight container for up to 3 days; or fill ice-cube trays or other containers to freeze for up to 3 months.

(Asparagus offers a wide range of vitamins A, C, K, & several of the B vitamins. You may have more success getting your baby to eat green vegetables in the early months than a few years later, especially if you swirl in some fruit puree. Try this puree alone first, but if your baby is reluctant to eat it, stirring in some apple or pear puree may tempt him. Pretty Little Bare Feet loved it just by itself like this!)

***Please note that I am not a doctor. I am a blogger, a lawyer, & a stay-at-home mama. I gather&read a lot of information before I prepare food for my own child. I would encourage you to do the same, rather than only going by what I've posted (although I do stand behind the observations I've recorded here). Each child is different, with different needs. Foods are also different in different regions. I use guidelines I've received from our pediatrician, for feeding our child. Please use the advice of your own pediatrician regarding the age at which your child should begin eating which foods, & what serving sizes are appropriate for your child. Thank you for reading my blog! Please feel free to email me with any questions you may have.***

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Style Monday, June 28th, 2010

I've really missed doing My Style Monday for the last couple months. I know that the amazing Short Southern Momma has a lot on her plate right now, though, & my thoughts are with her! She is a wonderful blogger (&blogfriend!), & she has been such a bloggy inspiration to me!

So I decided to adapt the awesome guest post that Gwen from Handbag Obsessed did for Short Southern Momma last week, into my own little My Style Monday post.

(photo of my laundry "room," from before we moved in)

Okay, so we don't actually have a laundry room, but we have this laundry nook in a hallway leading to the guest bathroom, which is off to one side of our main hallway downstairs. I love that it is

tucked away,
out of the way,
behind closed double doors.

& I love the built-in cabinets above the washer&dryer, which house

all of our laundry paraphernalia,
as well as some other cleaning supplies,
& our board game collection...

I almost always have the double doors closed. But I am one of the few odd duckies that actually enjoys laundry, which is a good thing since there is a lot of it to be done around here. So one day I would like to beautify my little laundry nook.

Until then I will take some inspirational cues from decorating laundresses elsewhere...

(source: HGTV)

(source: the Container Store)

(source: Country Living)

(source: Hampton Design)

(source: Idea Group)

Happy Washing!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Book Clubbing: Nice to Come Home To

Nice to Come Home To by Rebecca Flowers

"A funny, entertaining novel of love&family for our times: a single woman, who fears she's lost her chance at a family of her own, begins to accumulate an ad hoc one around her.

In the tradition of Elinor Lipman or Marisa de los Santos, Flowers delivers a smart, witty, appealing story of love, family, & community; that breaks the mold of the conventional love story - & will have readers cheering.

Everyone around Prudence Whistler, thirty-six, seems to be settling down. Her once single girlfriends have married & had babies. Her gay best friend is discussing marriage with his partner. Even her irresponsible younger sister Patsy is the single mother of a two-year-old. But when Pru panics at losing her mediocre boyfriend of two years - & begins to see the door to her traditional family life closing - she accidentally finds something even better: a new definition of family&happiness. First, it's the crazy cat that moves into her apartment. Then come Pru's headstrong sister & two-year-old niece. Then the niece's dog, the sister's ex-boyfriend, &, ultimately, Patsy&Pru's widowed mother. With the strength of her modern new household, Pru musters the confidence to open the dress shop she's always wanted in town - & discovers an extended family of sorts, in the community of shop owners & devoted customers. It's only then that she ends up with the man of her dreams. Endearing, romantic, & satisfying, Nice to Come Home To is a charming, crowd-pleasing debut."

(from the synopsis)

I am honestly surprised that this book hasn't been all over the bestselling lists & chick lit racks.

(You know the ones...that endcap at Target, filled with books that give off a vibe of, "I don't read romance novels...those are trashy. I read funny, modern, smart novels - call it chick lit if you must, but this book is really good! Really!" What? Y'all don't have that little dialogue going in your head whenever you select a book that you'll be seen reading in public? Yeah, well, the intellectual part of me gives my girly self a hard time sometimes.)

According to the author's blog, there is actually another novel of hers out there somewhere, but I am unfamiliar with what "on the market" actually means. It apparently does not mean that it is available to buy yet. & I'm intrigued by this memoir she's apparently writing now...about her "spiritual journey from WASP nest to Judaism." Sounds delightful...

...& Nice to Come Home To is also a delightful read! I read it at my mama's house last year, when we were transitioning between our old house in our old city; to the new house we were waiting to close on in our new city.

(Okay, so we were grownups who moved in with my mama for the better part of two months. It saved My Prince from a 150-mile commute to his new job!)

Anyway, my graduation from law school was during this period of time. One day after all of the studying was done, I started itching to open up a new book to read. But all of my books were packed up in boxes in some storage unit I had never even been to. & in the town my mama lives in, Walmart is the only place to buy a book.

(I have vowed to keep my child away from the horror that is Walmart, for as long as I possibly can. She is seventeen months old & has never been inside one. I don't think I've even been in one in the year 2010...thanks, Prince!)

So my choices were my mama's books. My mama is a voracious reader herself, but our literary taste isn't always similar. I used to select books that were

too dark,
or deep,
or modern,
or strange,

for her tastes. & she occasionally veers into

Civil War history,
memoirs of survivors of horrific accidents,
or murder mysteries.


(Hey, I minored in history - I've read plenty of it.)


as I grew older,
& finished my degrees,
I also grew weary of reading the heavy stuff.

I had to read&think deeply on command for my classes, & I wanted something fun&happy to read in my downtime. Furthermore, as I've matured, I've realized that you can be a


person - without being a cynical, depressed complainer that disdains all materialism&vanity.

(Or at least that's what I tell myself.)

Apparently, though, my mama had also found herself in a situation or two that had caused her to pick up one of my "fluffy" chick lit books, & yay, she liked them! So I was pleasantly surprised to find a short stack of these kinds of books at her house. She'd accumulated them for me, but had been planning to read them herself before giving them to me.

Having read a bazillion chick lit books over the years (gosh, I read Bridget Jones in high school!), I can tell you that while most are entertaining, not all of them are memorable. I have some favorite chick lit authors, but sometimes their books even get mixed up in my head after a few years.

So when I read one that is really good enough to write down the author's name somewhere,
to make sure I keep an eye out for her future titles,
it's definitely worth sharing with fellow readers!

Nice to Come Home To was just this kind of book. I loved all of the relatable characters&scenarios. I also found that the author's style of writing seemed more experienced than a debut.

(If you're like me & enjoy reading all of an author's other books after you've read a good one, you can generally see the progression of the author's writing. First books are often fantastic, but you can sometimes detect a hint of...overzealousness...for lack of a better term. On the other hand, there are those authors who seem to run out of anything interesting to say by their eleventh book. What do I know, though? I've been too chicken to actually finish any writing that I've started.)

Read this book if you are the kind of girl who takes a bubble bath to make you feel better at the end of a long day. In fact, read it in the bubble bath.

(That is, of course, the best place to read. Made better if the bubble bath is by Philosophy, & if you're able to sip a properly mixed gin&tonic while you flip pages.)

  • Easy read...yes!
  • Enjoyable read...yes!
  • Thought-provoking read...yes, at times, but you don't have to think too hard if you aren't in the mood for deep thinking!
  • Would read another book by this author...yes!
  • Friday, June 25, 2010

    What I Want This Weekend, CWDKids Edition 2010

    Here are some pretty things I've come across this week,

    from the CWDKids catalog,

    that I need to convince My Prince to dole out the cash for...

    I am sure all you mamas are familiar with the CWDKids catalog.

    (I have to admit that I was not familiar with it until I became a mama.)

    I am not sure how they found me, but their catalog is always one of my favorites to receive in the mail - we all know how much I love to shop for Pretty Little Bare Feet!

    & I've got to tell you - I am pretty excited that I believe I can start shopping for some size 2T clothes! Pretty Little Bare Feet is just barely holding her 18 months clothes up (the britches are especially droopy); but I am hoping maybe I can safely buy size 2T clothes for next spring&summer. I am just a bit afraid to buy anything bigger than the ubiquitous size 24 months for the colder months, though.

    (Even though the jury is out on the actual difference between size 24 months & size 2T. & yes, I have heard all 737 reasons that they are supposed to be different - but none of them consistently apply! ;))

    For me, the excitement of size 2T lies in the fact that so many darling brands of children's clothing don't even include anything smaller than size 2T.

    (& many of the ones that do seem to save their most precious designs for the 2T&up set!)

    Anyway, I am old-fashioned in so many ways. & one of them is in finding delight in flipping through an old-school catalog with real, glossy pages. Although obviously I do my share of browsing online, I keep a special little magazine rack in our guest bathroom filled with only my very favorite (current) catalogs. We receive an awful lot of catalogs, it seems, although not nearly as many as we did at our last address. But only the best of the best get to stay around (I hate clutter!), & CWDKids always makes the cut!

    CWDKids carries a lot of my favorite brands of children's clothing. It's almost like a

    "boutique catalog;"
    but then it also carries some of the classics,
    like what you'd find in an upscale department store.

    So there is a good variety.

    They actually carry a lot of my favorite brands that are already hanging in Pretty Little Bare Feet's closet (or stored in one of her toy baskets, as the case may be), including:

    When we arrived back home after our trip, I found that:

    Not only had I neglected to go through any of the mail I had taken with us on vacation...
    (Duh, I should have known better than to be that ambitious!)
    ...I had also managed to leave my email(s) unchecked for long enough to rack up something like five or six hundred emails.
    & for added fun,
    we had a pile of mail waiting for us when we got home.
    (Of course!)

    So to keep myself from getting too overwhelmed, I've been playing to my A.D.D. by

    going through real mail when I grow tired of email;
    reading or running when I tire out of all kinds of mail;
    cleaning or doing laundry when I start to feel like a sloth;
    then going back to the email.

    Slowly but surely!

    So far, my favorite catalog of this recent stack has been CWDKids. & Pretty Little Bare Feet always appreciates when I post about what I want to buy for her.

    (Or at least that's what I consolingly tell myself, to try to make up for the fact that I shop more for a toddler who'd be happier naked, than I shop for myself anymore!)

    Ruffle Tee in Daisy by Mulberribush

    Monogrammed Crayon Purse by Princess Linens

    Polka Dot Dress in Green by Hartstrings

    Little Kelsea Coral Print Dress in Lime by Lilly Pulitzer

    (all available at CWKids)

    T.G.I.F.! What do YOU want this weekend?