Wednesday, November 30, 2011

the classics. my list.

I feel like this classic fashion mess has consumed me. I've really, really enjoyed all the hypothetical shopping, but it's been a little daunting. Just the same, I've managed to come up with a list. A list of the items that I think could get you through the rest of your life. Seriously. I think if I had each of the items on this list, I'd never need another thing. Maybe. Here it is:
  1. Underwear that fits. I really do love the cotton bikinis from Gap Body. They lay flat, and you're not yanking on your panties all the livelong day.
  2. Bras that fit. Never, ever underestimate what a bra that fits can do for you. A bra that fits doesn't ride up in the back. The straps don't fall down. The material hugs and supports you. And, trust me, I've had a lot of bras. I spent the majority of my adulthood with big boobs. Then I nursed two babies, and now I think S could wear my bras. I've got a collection of bras from A-cups to D-cups. And, honestly, because Gap can't be reliably counted upon, I've found that I actually like bras by Maidenform. Particularly this one. It's a great everyday bra.
  3. Socks. How many times am I going to have to tell you to get some SmartWools? I know they're pricey, but they are worth every penny.
  4. Slippers. I live in slippers. I take off my shoes almost immediately when I get home and put on slippers. I'm like Mr. Rogers in that I'm so predictable. I linked to those cute ones yesterday, but I saw these this morning, and they look pretty dang warm.
  5. Heels. Classic pumps. Nothing flashy. Something that you can wear with jeans or with trousers or with a dress. I'm sticking with the Dolly.
  6. Boots. I have a pair of tall brown suede boots by Sofft that I love. If they ever die, I will cry big tears because they don't make them anymore. They are a very classic silhouette, like a riding boot, but as they're suede they're a little more casual, which suits me well.
  7. Ballet slippers. I swear, since I got my Bloch slippers at the end of the summer, I've been one of the happiest people on the planet. I fully intend to get a pair in black in the next year or so.
  8. Handbag. I spent more time than I'd care to admit looking for "classic" handbags over the past week. I like the idea of a classic handbag. I like the concept of having a bag that will last, one that doesn't look like you just picked up the latest trend. In the end, I settled on loving this one and this one. Also, I love a classic bag because if you need to add a pop of color, you can just tie a vintage scarf to the handle and look all Parisian awesome. If you don't have a vintage scarf, use a new one and tell everyone it's vintage.
  9. Jeans. I bought a pair of slim leg jeans earlier in the fall because I thought I should be a little more on trend and tuck my jeans into my boots. But you know what? That's not a great look for me. When I sent my dad to pick me up a smaller pair of jeans yesterday, I made extra sure that I didn't question myself. Dark wash, bootcut. I can wear those jeans with boots and sweaters, with cardigans and flats, with heels and something sparkly. Versatile and classic.
  10. Cardigans. I really cannot say enough about cardigan sweaters. They are my life.
  11. Tanks. I don't like actual matchy-matchy twinsets much. I like cardigans over tanks or sleeveless knits. I told you yesterday that I love these tanks, and I do, but this would also be nice under a cardigan.
  12. Sundresses. I don't wear shorts. Ever. I even wear pants to the gym. God did not intend for my legs to be seen in shorts. It's not flattering. I don't do it. In the past, I've been pretty well dedicated to skirts and tops in the summer, but from now on, I think I'd rather do dresses. Dresses are so, so easy, and you look a lot more polished in a dress. This was my go-to dress this summer. It was great with sandals for everyday or wedges if I needed to be a teensy bit dressier.
  13. Day dresses. I'm trying to extend my dress wearing to year round. I picked this up a couple of months ago, and it's been worn lots already. (It is much more flattering than the picture indicates, which is odd since they are attempting to sell the dress.) It remains to be seen whether I'll be able to stomach dresses throughout the long dark of Moria. I mean the winter.
  14. LBD. Everyone needs a dress that they can immediately pull out of their closet and throw on for a wedding. Or the opera. Or a fancy date night. My favorite one? It's from Ann Taylor. I got it in 2001. It's a great fabric, it fits like a dream, and it has yet to go out of style at all because it is completely classic. It's almost exactly this dress.
  15. Something festive. Right along with the LBD, you need something with some pizzazz. Something to wear to holiday parties. Something that you can mix with jeans or trousers or a black skirt. I keep three things along these lines tucked away. A midnight blue silk sleeveless cowl neck top that I think I got before I got Mr. Ouiser, which was eleven years ago. I've also got a cranberry silk surplice sleeveless top that I think I bought two years before S was born. A black lace tank from around the same time. None of these pieces are worn often, but they've all paid for themselves dozens of times over. In fact, I'm wearing the blue silk to M's office Christmas party this Friday. Something along these lines.
  16. Wraps and scarves. I couldn't live without wraps and scarves. Mostly I wear wraps as scarves because they can double as blankets when I'm cold, and I'm always cold. While I'd love to be rocking these, this is one area where I tend to go cheap. You can always find wraps at Marshalls or Target. Also, if you don't spend a ton of money on them, you don't mind when your daughter plays dress up with them outside.
  17. A trench coat. I want one. That's all.
  18. An umbrella. I'm not talking about a golf umbrella or the tiny fold up number in your driver's side door. Those have their places, but I'm talking about an umbrella you'd walk around Paris with. I've got a couple of stick umbrellas that I inherited from M's mother. I love them.
  19. Wellies. I'm getting tired of talking about Hunter Boots.
  20. A belt. Again, I swoon.
  21. Tee shirts. You just have to have them. As a grown up, however, they shouldn't say anything. You're not a billboard. This, of course, only applies if you're going for a classic look. There will always be a time and a place for your favorite Chicago Cubs tee shirt.
  22. Trousers or skirts. I told you yesterday about how trousers aren't always good to me. Skirts, however, are all mine. Everyone needs something nice. Something for fancy brunches, parties, funerals, impromptu meetings with the President. Whatever. I stand by these pants from yesterday, but this skirt is what I'd really wear.
  23. Pearls. I'm fortunate enough to have joint custody of my grandmother's double strand with a sapphire clasp. They are beautiful. I actually wore them as a bracelet over my elbow length gloves at our wedding to remind me of my Grandma as she passed away a week and a half before the big day. I also wear pearl studs pretty much daily. I'm wearing them right now. If I didn't have Grandma's pearls, I'd want these. I kind of want them anyway because real pearls are one of the greatest things ever. The weight and the texture and everything about them screams luxury and elegance, and I love them unapologetically.
  24. A vest. The Ouisers really do love vests.
  25. A fancy coat. I'm not talking about a fur or anything, I'm just talking about something to wear when you want to look nice. I've got a traditional wool camel coat that works well, but I've also got a brown tweed with a faux-fur collar that I bought a few years ago that I adore. I'd probably go with something along these lines if I were replacing mine.
  26. An everyday coat. You might live in a reality where a fancy schmancy looking coat can go with you from day-to-day. I do not live in that world. I live in a world where one must jump in leaf piles and make snow angels and traipse around on the farm occasionally. I wear something almost identical to this (in black) to do it.
  27. Sweaters. V-Neck or crewneck or turtleneck or cowlneck. Pick your poison, but everyone needs sweaters.
  28. Knit tops. You know...shirts to live in. Since I don't wear button downs...
  29. Sandals. It's kind of weird to follow coats and sweaters with sandals, but they're a necessity. I don't wear things between my toes, and I don't wear things that flop when I walk, so that limits what I'd wear. And I know these have a kind of geriatric Jesus vibe, but you cannot deny that they are classic. And every time I see a pair, I kind of want them.
  30. Loungewear and sleepwear. While I'd love to look like this, reality is somewhere less glamorous. Just the same, you need something for Sundays on the couch with coffee and the paper. Or Sundays on the couch, covered in spit up and crayons, clutching your coffee like a life raft, trying to keep your infant from eating the Life and Style section.
  31. An apron. I spend way too much time covered in flour to not include an apron on my list of classic items. I wear mine daily to keep my clothes a little less ratty looking. It doesn't protect me from my infant, though. I keep a nicer hostess apron like this for company.
  32. A bathing suit and sunhat. I wear almost this exact suit, which might be a smidge too retro for some. I also love this hat.
  33. A smile. Really, you can pull off anything if you're doing it with a smile, with your shoulders held back, and your chin held high. Everyone looks better when they look confident, when they look like they want to be exactly where they are at that exact moment. And if you don't want to be where you are, fake it 'til you make it.
So that's it. Really. I defy you to think of a situation in which you couldn't combine these 33 items and be appropriately attired for anything. Anything!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

the classics. ouiserfied.

I don't think Ouiserfied is a word, but we're going to go with it anyway.

Up next on this crazy fashion classics adventure: if I had to purchase the 32 items on the Real Simple list, what would I buy? Let's be clear, I wouldn't necessarily choose these 32 items, and that will be abundantly clear. In the next post, I'll choose the 32 items that I would buy if I got to make the list from scratch. Here goes nothing, folks...
  1. White Cotton Button Down. I have a couple of issues with button down shirts. One: they are too boxy for me unless they are very fitted or tailored. They just swallow me up. Two: If they are fitted or tailored, all that fabric around my neck (read: the collar) makes me claustrophobic. I own one button down and it's a very relaxed, banded collar number from J.Jill. It is worn almost exclusively with boyfriend jeans and flats in a very, very relaxed, I-could-totally-live-in-a-loft way. If I had to buy another one, it would likely be similar. Maybe this one.
  2. Twinset. My need for easy washability makes this option a good one. Of course, I love all cardigans. Love. As in, love love. If I hadn't already married Mr. Ouiser, I might just marry a cardigan.
  3. Long sleeved tees. I used to have a couple of the Gap long sleeved favorite tees, but they changed the fabric and now I do not love them as much. I have, however, always been pleased with knit purchases from J.Jill, so this one is what I'd get. For the record, the J.Jill knits don't shrink terribly, the cotton is thick enough that you don't feel like your underthings are on display, and they hold their shape. I really do love their knits.
  4. Pashmina. Really, I love all scarves and wraps. All of them. Since this is my list, I'll throw this one out a dream. I'd never actually pay for it.
  5. Handbag. For the totally classic vibe, I like the Cole Haan Chrystie Street Ava bag in black.
  6. Rain hat. I can't really imagine wearing a rain hat, so I'll just act like I would wear the one I linked to last week. Really, though. Get a pretty stick umbrella.
  7. Barbour jacket. The original article claims that chic Milanese women wear these everywhere "from the market to the opera." If they say so. There's really not an alternative to these, so let's just act like I'd wear the original.
  8. Wellies. Stick with Hunter Boots.
  9. Short sleeve tees. I have to be careful with tees. Probably everyone should. Not many people can pull off the classic crew neck tee shirt without looking like a boy or a person with no style. Some really thin people can, but I am not one of those people. I need a significant scoop neck or a v-neck always. Also, I'm awfully particular about sleeves. I had a tee from Old Navy this summer that I loved. When it fell apart, I decided that I loved it so much I didn't care, and I ordered three more. One of them has a big, fat hole in it already, but I swear I'll order it again anyway. It fits like a dream. But the white is a little too thin.
  10. Cords. I love J.Jill's authentic fit jeans so much, that I'm already considering getting a pair of their cords.
  11. Belt. I've been telling myself "thou shalt not covet the belt on the internet," but I'm still practically drooling over the belt from the original list.
  12. Driving loafers. I don't wear loafers, so I don't care. Want to know why? They make my legs look shorter than they are, and that's a rather monumental feat. I wear ballet slippers instead. Just the same, I'd never pay for a pair of Tod's. I'd get the knock offs from LL Bean.
  13. Watch. I'm not likely to ever wear a watch again. Just the same, there was an article in my aunt's Real Simple (again with the Real Simple magazine!!) about watches making a comeback. I saw one that made me swoon. This one right here. Go figure it's from Tiffany.
  14. Crewneck sweater. Crewneck sweaters are just like crewneck tees for me. They have no place on my body. However, I have an older version of this sweater that I love. It's warm and it has held up to life in the Ouiser household nicely.
  15. Trousers. Here's the problem with trousers and me. I'm short, and I've got what I'll lovingly call curves. Neither short girls nor curvy girls should wear wide leg pants. It's a fact. They make us look stumpy, and no short girl wants to look stumpy. We'd all rather be adorably petite. Alas, we're not all Audrey Hepburn, are we? No, we are not. Anyway, nothing wide legged for me. That wouldn't be a problem if I didn't have thighs like tree trunks and a small waist. People don't want to dress me in trousers. It's not a good look for me. I am a girl who was made to wear dresses. That being said, I had good luck once with a pair of curvy pants from Ann Taylor, and these are lovely enough that I'd almost be willing to try them.
  16. Pumps. Whilst I would love a pair of Cole Haan's, that's not in the budget for me for a pair of shoes that I'd rarely wear. I did attempt to get these earlier in the week, but when they arrived today, they didn't fit and they don't have the smaller size in stock. They were, however, lovely.
  17. Nightgown. I've actually taken to wearing gowns in the summer. It makes me feel like a little bit of a grown up. I like these.
  18. Robe. What's the purpose of the robe? To lay around and be warm or to wear from the shower to the closet? Who cares? I'll take this one.
  19. Slippers. I love slippers. Love them. I made Mr. Ouiser a convert about a year ago when I got him a pair of Sorels. I have worn through two pair from LL Bean in the past three years, so I think I just might go for cute ones the next time around...since I'm wearing them out anyway.
  20. Tanks. I fully intend to buy several of these after Christmas. You see, I love to wear a tank under my clothes, but I like these because they aren't underwear, which means I can wear them alone under a cardigan. I couldn't do that with an actual undershirt. Also, they lay flat unlike those wretched, ubiquitous ribbed tanks.
  21. Kneesocks. SmartWools. That is all.
  22. Pajamas. I can't imagine wearing men's pajamas. I don't like collars on my regular clothes, wearing a collar to bed sounds like unnecessary torture. However, I love Gap Body's pajama pants. And maybe a shirt that matches would be nice.
  23. Cotton bikinis. Again, I'm like an ad for Gap Body.
  24. Black turtleneck. I explained previously that I don't wear turtlenecks. Since you now know that I also don't like collared shirts, you can see that I have a fabric-touching-my-neck-unless-it's-a-scarf-aversion. You can pretend I'd wear this if you want.
  25. Jeans. I swear by these. Swear by them. So much so that I need to go buy another pair because all these stupid vegetables have left me falling out of my pants. I look like a hobo. That is decidedly not within the classic aesthetic wheelhouse I'm going for.
  26. Brown boots. Seriously, I wouldn't be caught dead in the boots from the original list. It goes back to that "playing touch football at Turkey Hill" thing I talked about earlier. It's preppy overkill for me. However, I think a classic riding boot silhouette can never go wrong.
  27. Boat and Tote. Do you have a boat and tote? I don't. I used to, and I loved it. It was so handy that it was almost absurd. Alas, I left it at the dry cleaners once with my dry cleaning, and that was the end of that. I should replace it.
  28. Winter cap. I know it's not a winter cap like the list means, but I saw this when I was looking for a rain hat that was tolerable, and I fell in love. I will never own it, but it's so pretty. It looks so soft. I want to pet it. I feel a little like Lennie Small.
  29. Sweatshirt. I own exactly one sweatshirt. I have had it since 1996 when I went to visit the U of M. It is in bad shape. The neck is toast. Alas, I still have it. Recently, I've taken to wearing cardigans exclusively around the house because when I'm in sweats, I act like I'm in sweats, which roughly translates to "I act like a sloth." The cardigans don't tend to keep me as warm as a toasty sweatshirt, though. I can't snake one from Mr. Ouiser because all of his are hooded and there's all that fabric around my neck plus they're size ginormous, and I'd be wearing a sweatdress instead of a sweatshirt. I need a compromise. Something cuter than my decrepit Memphis sweatshirt but toasty and comfortable. Perhaps this.
  30. Vest. I'll stick with the Synchilla.
  31. Trench coat. Really the London Fog is about as classic as they come, but who wouldn't want this?
  32. Diamond studs. Now I love a diamond as much as the next girl, but I'm more of a pearls girl at heart. I wear pearl studs almost everyday. It adds to my perception of myself as Donna Reed. Oh, how I long to be Donna Reed. However, if I must channel Marilyn, I'll wear these.
So there you have it. Now, let's be perfectly clear, these are pretty much the items I'd buy if my bank account was suddenly switched with Warren Buffett's. I suppose I could've been more practical in some of my choices, but it's my party, and I'll cry if I want to.

You know what I mean.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

the classics. found.

So the classics list. Because I have the original article, I at least have a picture of each of the items that they cited as being timeless, and they all do have a very classic aesthetic. Here's how I'm going to tackle this little classic style issue. Today, for the items that I couldn't find, I'm going to give you the best alternatives that I can find that are the most like the ones in the original article. They might not be my choices, but they'll be the truest to the article. Next I'll give you the list with my choices based on the 32 items on the list. If I'm feeling really nice, I'll give you a splurge option and a realistic option. Lastly, I'll make a list of the 32 items I'd choose as the best choice for your wardrobe if I were making the list from scratch. Are you ready?

I thought so.

Ralph Lauren Twinset. I can't find the silk cashmere blend set the article references, and the best alternative that I can see is the J. Crew Crewneck Cashmere Cardigan and Cashmere Shell. Someday my son will stop gnawing on my shoulders and puking all over me and I'll be able to wear cashmere. I'll be running around singing to the hills like Julie Andrews.

Maltesta Olimpia Stole. This was just a pashmina. Go forth and buy one. I think this particular one in Bordeaux is lovely. The Malatesta version apparently came in loads of colors.

The Coach Legacy Crescent Handbag. Looking at the picture, I fell in love. So much so that I thought I might bite the bullet and buy it. Alas, it's no longer in existence. This is the only photograph I can even find. You'll notice that the bag has simple, classic lines. It is large enough to get you through life without being so big that you're tempted to put things like dogs or laptops or gallons of milk inside. It also has one strap, and I love a purse with one strap. That way the other strap isn't constantly falling off your shoulder causing you to fidget. If there's one lesson I learned from watching Pretty Woman, it's that you're always more beautiful when you're not all fidgety. I can't find a great Coach alternative, but I feel like in the spirit of the list, I should. The Coach legacy Zip is closest in appearance. Alas, the strap is considerably longer because cross body is apparently the new black. However, I don't think that the cross body look is true to the classic aesthetic we're shooting for here. (By the way, if anyone ever told me I'd type this many words about a purse, I'd swear they were nuts.)

I forgot to include diamond studs on the original list, but these are on there.

The A.P.C. nylon rain hat. A rain hat? Really? This one is almost identical.

Barbour's Flyweight Quilt Jacket. The exact jacket in the article is gone, but with Barbour of England, you're always getting the same look. Here's a pretty close alternate jacket. The Barbour look? Essentially you could throw on some Wellies and stomp around Balmoral. I could live that life. Totally.

Speaking of Wellington boots, the article referenced a pair by Smith and Hawken, but who are we kidding? Hunter Boots are the way to go. I adore mine. I do kind of wish I'd opted for a more subtle color than orange, but I don't care. I still love them.

Petit Bateau tee shirts. I can't find the crew neck version of these tees that the article references. It's a crew neck tee shirt, though. The article says that the Petit Bateau tee is soft, snug, and carefree. It also claims it's sophisticated enough to wear with a ballroom skirt. Since I can't find this exact shirt, here's a link to J.Crew's perfect fit tee. I chose it over their vintage cotton tee because the fabric is a little heavier. Slub cotton is not classic. It also doesn't hold up terribly well in my experience.

Ralph Lauren's Saturday Corduroys. I actually had a couple of pair of RL's Saturday cut jeans in grad school. I loved them. They were, miraculously, the exact right length for me, which had never happened before and hasn't happened since. They no longer make them, but they were a relaxed fit without being slouchy. Because we're going for classic, I'm ruling out slim leg or boyfriend styles as an alternative. I'm settling for these. Garnet Hill's Fine-Wale Corduroy Trousers.

Tod's Driving Loafers. They don't make the exact shoe in the article anymore, but it's Tod's, they make loads of driving loafers. These are pretty classic.

Swiss Army watch. Nobody wears watches anymore, do they? We've all got mobile phones with clocks. Here's a nice alternative, though.

Benetton's wool crewneck. This is just a basic sweater. The article calls it effortlessly stylish. It says to pair it with a crisp collared shirt, jeans, and worn loafers. That's cool. If you want to look like you summer in the Hamptons and you're hanging out at Turkey Hill for Thanksgiving and this is your outfit for the annual backyard game of touch football. The picture they painted with that description is just too vivid...and too dowdy for my taste. Alas, here's an alternative sweater from Lands' End.

The Drina Pump by Cole Haan is a thing of the past, but it was a lovely shoe. A squared off pointed toe, but not the extreme pointed toe that was all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips about seven years ago. I found a pair of my black pumps in the attic the other day, and the toe was so pointed that it looked like a joke. At the time, the shoe was totally basic, so it just shows that even seemingly basic pieces can date you. Acid wash, anyone? Anyway, for a classic pump, here's the Cole Haan Air Talia Pump.

I can't find a Laura Ashley nightgown, but here's an alternative by Eileen West. I mean, it's pretty and all, but if I put it on, Mr. Ouiser would laugh me out of the bedroom.

I can't find the Izod Cotton Waffle Robe, but Real Simple says it was great because it wasn't all bulky. It looked a little man-ish for my taste. Here's the Pure Jill Jersey Knit Robe from J.Jill instead.

The Jockey Round-Neck Tank was touted as being "as soft and delicate as gossamer and as warm as Grandpa's thermal underwear." Here's their Naturals Seam-Free v-neck tank. I will say that I read a few years ago that we should wear tanks or camis under our clothes for a couple of reasons. One: warmth. Two: it protects your clothes. If you're wearing an undershirt, all the lovely oils and things from your body get on the undershirt, not your actual clothes, which enables you to take your real clothes off, air them out a bit, then put them away without having to wash them. I pulled that off for a couple of years, but my new status of "constantly covered in puke and drool" means every article of clothing must be washed every time I wear it. Just the same, I love having an extra layer.

Lauren by Ralph Lauren kneesocks. Apparently, these stayed put pretty well. Here's a link to some SmartWool kneesocks, and if you're not on the SmartWool bandwagon, get there. Now.

Banana Republic Black Turtleneck. I don't wear turtlenecks. I haven't been able to tolerate them since S was born. I also cannot tolerate anything remotely scratchy. Eek. Here's a knit turtleneck from Gap. If that's your kind of thing.

Echo no longer makes their cashmere blend cable knit hat, but here's one on Etsy.

That's everything as close as I can get to the original intent of the article. Next time, I'll take the 32 items and choose the ones I'd buy if I were buying them for myself. That'll be loads of fun, won't it?

Monday, November 21, 2011

the classics.

Yesterday I was cleaning out a cabinet in the office when I ran across a couple of old notebooks. They were the notebooks that I'd filled over the years with magazine articles and pictures and things that I wanted to keep for inspiration and ideas. The notebooks that Pinterest has rendered practically obsolete. There was some good stuff in there, though. Old stuff. I cleaned out a lot of it, but I couldn't let some of it go, which I'm fine with.

One thing I ran across was an article from Real Simple from a zillion years ago that was entitled "Classic Style." It was a list of 32 perfect, timeless pieces that you should have and keep forever. Here's the list:

Brooks Brothers White Cotton Shirt / Ralph Lauren Twinset / Gap Long Sleeved Favorite Tee / Malatesta Olimpia Stole / Coach Legacy Crescent Handbag / APC nylon rain hat / Barbour Flyweight Quilt Jacket / Wellington Boots / Petit Bateau tees / Saturday Cords by Ralph Lauren / Jutta Neumann ring closure belt / Tod's Driving Loafers / Swiss Army Cavalry II XS Watch / Benetton wool crewneck / J.Crew charcoal gray wool flannel trousers / Cole Haan Drina Pumps / Laura Ashley nightgown / Izod Cotton Waffle Robe / Pearl River Satin Slippers / Jockey Round Neck Tank / Lauren by Ralph Lauren Kneesocks / Brooks Brothers Men's Pajamas / Gap Cotton Bikinis / Banana Republic Black Turtleneck / Levi's Men's 501s / Blundstone Stout brown boots / LL Bean Boat and Tote / Echo Cashmere Blend winter cap / Russell Athletic Sweatshirt / Patagonia Synchilla Vest / Trench Coat.
I find it absolutely hysterical that so many of these pieces have been discontinued. In the event that the exact piece is still available, I've linked it. However, it doesn't do anyone any good at all to have a list of pieces that are completely unavailable, so I'm going to spend the next couple of days finding alternative pieces. Just for you because it's almost Christmas and maybe you still need to think of the perfect gift for someone.

You should be warned, however, this list will apply only to those with a more minimalist, classic approach to fashion. An Audrey or Kate Hepburn lover. A Grace Kelly follower. A Jackie O admirer. If you're after the latest and greatest from Beyonce or Jessica Simpson, you're going to need another list. You might also be interested in another blog.

Stay tuned for the updated list...

Friday, November 18, 2011

veggie tales.

So here's the vegetable scoop. I've gotten Yum and Die Frau on board and I randomly hear from them how they're doing with the idea of eating more colors. Here's what I've got.

I've found (what I find to be) a good way to get my veggies for lunch aside from salads, which I never make. I mix a can of pseudo-drained black beans with a can of refried beans and a cup of pureed sweet potato. Then I slather that stuff on a tortilla with a ton of baby spinach and salsa. The bean/sweet potato mixture lasts awhile in the fridge, so I can eat it for several days. Lunchtime veggie crisis solved...until I can't stomach another burrito. That'll take a few weeks at least, so I'm not worrying about it.

I've also been snacking a lot on apples and pears and raw carrots, and I get totally full on all that wonderful soluble fiber, just like I expected. The result is that I think I actually have dropped weight this week. That's excellent and all, but now my pants don't fit.

Also, the fullness doesn't last. I'm not sure if you all know this, but raw veggies have just next to ZERO calories. You already knew that? Okay.

So, I guess even though I am still feeling like my stomach is full, my body needs more. The burrito lunch works fine because there is protein, but my breakfasts of a banana and either Cheerios, oatmeal, or yogurt is not cutting it. I can tell my blood sugar is all wonky during the day.

More veggies at dinner has been great. I just roast some broccoli or carrots and it's so easy that I can't understand why I haven't always served pasta with a side of roasted vegetables. I guess because I didn't grow up with it. Anyway...

I've got mixed feelings. I feel better about eating better, but I don't actually feel better. I am walking around feeling hungry despite not feeling hungry.

I'll let you know how the experiment continues...or if I just finally get so hungry that I eat a wild dog or something. (I've been rereading The Hunger Games this week. I guess that's where the wild dog reference is coming from because I've never even seen a wild dog, so I doubt the opportunity to eat one will arise. Just so you know.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

my newest crazy.

I think I might actually be crazy. I'm just saying.

The latest evidence? I've decided that for the 30 days of November, I will declutter/organize one space per day. As I didn't start until yesterday, I had to do ten spaces yesterday, but it was pretty easy since most of those spaces were spaces that I clean pretty regularly. Yesterday I tackled the pantry, the kitchen cabinets and drawers, my half of the closet, M's half of the closet, S's closet, the playroom, S's play basket in the family room, the linen closet, the bathroom, and our dressers. Today I did the refrigerator.

I let M handle his own half of the closet and his own dressers (he has two). The linen closet was the only space that really took any time yesterday. I'm donating several cosmetic/toiletry bags that never get used, and I cleaned out the cold medicines. I also reorganized all the linens and the extra bath supplies. In the pantry I vamanos-ed some leftover tapioca from a failed recipe, a box of nonfat dry milk from an old recipe, and a bottle of Karo syrup that was crazy sticky. The fridge yielded only one thing: a tube of wasabi paste from God-knows-when.

That's all.

The remainder of the month looks like this:
12th: TV cabinet
13th: Filing cabinet
14th: my craft supplies
15th: my fabric stash
16th: bath toys (read: toss all bath toys, buy new ones)
17th: laundry area in the basement
18th: S's dresser
19th: S's jewelry hoard
20th: S's art supplies
21st: Amelia (my car)
25th: coat closet
26th: desk
27th: ATTIC
28th: ATTIC
29th: ATTIC
30th: ATTIC

The attic needs some major attention, so it gets four days, and we've got to really take a long, hard look at our Christmas stuff since things from M's dad's came here. I need to sort stuff, and I need to toss broken stuff and duplicates.

In this insane endeavor, I reserve the right to tackle more than one area a day if I need a day off. I also reserve the right to rearrange the days that I do each task. The bottom line is that all of these spaces will be cleared out by December 1st.

Also, I've eaten a banana, a half of a bell pepper, and a cup of roasted broccoli today. I'm about to grab an apple, and I'm making etouffee for dinner. I feel confident that I'll eat enough tomatoes, celery, peppers, and onions to qualify as several veggie servings, so I'm good for today. I know you were all worried. Also, thanks to Yum, I have a veggie-eating partner in crime :)

my son, the contortionist.

The wee man has a gift for wiggling. He is almost literally never still. He keeps moving in his sleep. Sometimes he is still for ten or so seconds when he realizes the TV is on.

Up until a month ago, he slept in a baby bag (more appropriately known as a wearable blanket, but it's really a bag for your baby with arm holes and a neck hole), but we had to stop using it because he tried to wiggle out of it like a snake wriggles out of its skin. We'd go upstairs and find the thing around his elbows, trapping his hands. Since that prevented him from rolling over, it was not particularly safe, so we 86'ed the baby bag.

His next trick was what we affectionately referred to as The Tarzan. We have found that he can get one arm completely out of any outfit that is not footie pajamas by Carters. Footie pajamas by Gymboree? Arm out. Footie pajamas from Target? Arm out. Any version of a onesie? Arm out. What I mean by "arm out" is that he would get one arm out of the neck hole, so his outfit was always around his torso ala Tarzan. We invested in more Carters pajamas. Problem solved.

And life was relatively peaceful. Until last night.

Last night he managed to get both of his legs into one leg opening, so he was flopping around like a merman. For the life of me, I cannot comprehend the mechanics of that one. He is gifted. I swear.

I don't know what we'll do about this one...other than pray it was a one time deal.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

eat it up.

Image from Squidoo.

Yesterday I was thinking about what I had eaten over the course of the day.

At the end of the day, the contents of my stomach were as follows: two cups of coffee with peppermint mocha creamer; an apple; a bowl of cheerios with skim milk; leftover pasta with bechamel, sun-dried tomatoes, and roasted chicken; another cup of coffee with hazelnut creamer; a box of Halloween milk duds; another piece of Halloween candy that I don't remember; a cup of decaf with peppermint mocha creamer; a bowl of homemade chicken soup with extra carrots and celery; a handful of crackers; a multivitamin; and about six glasses of water.

Notice the glaring omission of anything? Aside from the apple and the vegetables in the soup (there were also onions and garlic), there weren't a lot of fruits or veggies consumed.

And, for the record, I don't normally drink that much coffee. It was just one of those days.

Then I started thinking about it, and most of my days look like that. I'm making a concerted effort to always, always serve some vegetable at dinner, and S snacks on bell peppers a lot, but I find my diet curiously devoid of produce most of the time. I should be getting 2 servings of fruit and 3 of vegetables daily. Even with the extra veggies in the soup, I probably only got one serving, and one apple is one apple.

So I'm going to try harder. I'm going to try to incorporate veggies into my lunch and dinner, and I'm going to eat fruit with breakfast. I'll also try to snack on fruits and vegetables more. My major issue with that is that S eats so much of the produce that I buy, that by the end of the week I worry about eating the last apple/pear/carrot/bell pepper. I can remedy that pretty easily by buying more produce.

What about you? Think about everything you ate yesterday. Did you get enough produce? Will you jump on the bandwagon with me and try, for the next two weeks, to get all the servings of fruits and vegetables that you're supposed to be getting?

I'm hoping that this increase in fruit and veggie consumption will help my immune system. It certainly can't hurt...and if I'm all filled up on fruits and veggies and decide not to snake two pieces of Halloween candy from Sadie's stash (I'm not even stealing my own child's candy, people. I am a rotten person.)...and if that happens to help me drop a few pounds....that's okay, too.

Seriously, who's with me? We can form a club. It can have a snazzy name.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

home again, home again.

The Ouisers are home, and to make up for all the recent activity, I'm pretty sure we won't leave the house for a week or so.

We had the best trip ever. Chicago has been our only trip so far as a family of four, and this trip was so, so much better. We just relaxed, and M and I both needed it. M's aunt and uncle made the whole thing so amazing. I didn't have to do anything or decide anything (other than what to order for dinner) for five days. For someone who is a control freak, thinking that I would hand over the reins was daunting, but I loved it more than I ever would've imagined.

We swam. We went to Disney on Friday. We went to a local butterfly garden on Saturday. We swam again on Sunday. We sat and talked and ate and enjoyed being in the company of family. I sincerely couldn't have asked for a better trip.
M with Aunt S.
S literally squealed with excitement when we saw a show in front of Cinderella's castle. M literally teared up from the pain of having a squirming, 60 pound girl on his shoulders for 15 minutes.
On the carousel. I rode sidesaddle as I was wearing a dress. It was pretty impressive.
Polka Dot the butterfly.
The little man loved the water.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Happy Birthday to my main squeeze.
I love you everyday and twice on Sundays.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

be a man.

A friend of mine posted an excerpt from a Dockers ad today on Facebook. I promptly reposted it, as it was essentially a call for men to be men. I've since looked up the actual ad, and the Facebook post wasn't quite the whole shebang, but still.

I've posted before about the things I want to teach my children, and this remains one of my favorite things I've ever pinned. The Dockers ad/Facebook status this morning got me thinking a little more formally about something I've actually been pondering lately.


I am grateful every single day to be married to a gentleman. To be married to a man who is a man. A man who takes care of his family and who actually wants to do that. A man who takes care of all of the people that he loves. A man who takes care of his home and his lawn. A man who knows how to use a chainsaw and isn't afraid to use power tools (even if he chooses to pay people to do the work sometimes...someone has to stimulate the economy.) A man who loves football, but won't sacrifice his time with his kids for it. A man who looks good in a tie and wishes the men in his office would wear them everyday. A man who has a deep, commanding voice. A man who polishes his shoes and always polishes mine, too. A man who opens doors and always shovels the driveway when it snows. A man who idolizes his grandfather and his daddy. A man who respects my granddaddy almost as much as I do. A man who makes people laugh, but never at the expense of other people. A man who rarely raises his voice, but whom you will listen to when he does. A man who reminds me of leading men. Jimmy Stewart. Cary Grant.

My man.

I hope that someday someone will love all of these things about my son. I plan to spend every day until then training him to be that man. A man. A gentleman. Nothing else will do.