Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts

Christmas Dish and New Year's Resolutions

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hi friends! It's officially New Year's Eve and I'm getting my work done and thinking about how I kind of hate NYE. It's like there's too much pressure to dress up and fall in love and kiss someone (Thanks a lot, When Harry Met Sally) so we kind of just opt out. We're taking the kids to a little party, seeing fireworks and then we're dunzo. I can't handle that kind of pressure otherwise.

But for now, let's dish about Christmas and a little on what I'm planning for 2015, shall we?

So this Christmas was actually a little more stressful than usual because we had to keep pressing pause to be up in Salt Lake for the whole citizenship thing. I did have the sense to buy up stuff slowly, but I felt like I was in a mad dash the last two days. 

I'm also way into Christmas Eve. We host the family party here, so it's crazy and loud and fun and then everyone leaves and it's magical and quiet. We tidied up and did pajamas before heading over to the local outdoor light display. 

Also, my pajamas were these and I might be still wearing them now because the pants are so friggin comfortable I want to be buried in them. I know that's macabre, but I really love these pants. I'm buying more because they're on sale. 

Our kids actually fell asleep at 8:30 because they had been up the night earlier. Like, Andrew actually fell asleep during the reading of The Night Before Christmas and I was like shut up, this is like TOO picturesque. 

Of course, that just meant Justin and I were only up until 12 getting stuff ready and crying over It's a Wonderful Life. And the kids woke us up at 5:30. Thanks, kids. 

Also, I should point out that I go crazy over Christmas because my kids overreact to everything. This is Andrew opening a pair of socks and losing his everloving mind. 

And me? The ol' ball and chain is a good gift giver. I usually give suggestions throughout the year and he stores them like little acorns until Christmas and I'm like how did you remember this? 

My main present was a new bag. I hate buying new bags. I get reallllllly comfortable with the ones I have and it's hard for me to make the switch. But my black bag, while in really good shape, had started to fade after two years of use. So Justin bought me this one, which he picked out on his own and I love because he remembered I have to have a crossbody strap to even function (mine is the chalk color). Also, the front cell phone pockets are totally brilliant. 

Also, he bought me this Dior Addict Lip Glow and I'm obsessed. It's perfect for a lipstick avoider like myself: It's a balm that just enhances your natural lip color. It's a really pretty rose on me. I love love love it. 

I also got this amazing Urban Decay Naked On the Run palette, which has basically everything you could ever need while traveling in one compact – eyeliner, mascara, gloss, bronzer, blush, highlighter and eyeshadow. Perfect for weekends away. I must plan one immediately. 

This is me only wearing stuff from the palette. The lip gloss is aaaahmazing, as well as the Dive eyeshadow shade. It's a golden rose with sparkle. Shut. Up. 

I also got some electronics: A new Kindle Paperweight since I used and abused mine heavily during the past year, as well as a completely new desktop. I know I'm old school, but I'm obsessed with my desktop. Laptops cannot hack it for someone like me. Justin bought a tricked out one with tons of memory for my computer packrat tendencies. Very smart. 

Anyway, that was my Christmas. Now, share with me in the comments on yours. Get any awesome beauty products? Or shoes? I will say that I went shopping the day after Christmas and bought myself a pair of high top Nikes. Because: 

Okay, now onto my New Year's Resolutions:

So, here's a little story. In the summer, I started noticing that my migraines were ramping up. I have migraines with aura (and have for years), which means first, I lose my sight and then I'm hit with pain, light sensitivity and then 24 hours of lie-on-the-floor-and-die nausea. Which sucks, but last year it was only like, one every other month and that was doable. But suddenly, they were once a month. And then once every two weeks. And then, by July, I was having one a week. 

Finding myself basically incapacitated for a day a week was crazy to me. Like, it was summer: Kids home, working, trying to keep up with them and then BAM I'd be in my room with three pillows on my head and telling my husband he had to come home from work because I thought I was dying (migraines also come with a lot of drama and emotions for me, too. Hooray.)

Finally, I made an appointment with a new doctor. To be honest, I'm the type of person who is mortified to ever need help, so for some reason, I couldn't bring myself to talk to my usual, friend-of-the-family doc. 

Anyway, I was so stressed out about the appointment that I almost backed out like, six times. Finally, I put on some big girl pants (Calvin Klein, natch) and saw him. I explained the frequency of my migraines, along with a long family history of the same. 

First thing he asked me? "How are you sleeping? How do you feel when you lie down at night?" I thought about it and answered "Like I could probably run a marathon every night at 11 p.m."

After some other questions about my lifestyle and general state of mind, he came back with the question "Are you ever anxious?"

I won't get into the discussion we had, because you know, patient-doctor privilege, right? But in the end, after 30 minutes of talking about social situations, sleep habits and my overall personality, my doctor (very) gently suggested that I might be suffering from an anxiety and sleep disorder, which was triggering my migraines.

To be honest, I was first like "WHAT? I am not one of those people. I'm capable and responsible and dependable and on top of everything. Anxiety is for crazy people. I just have headaches sometimes." But see, here's the thing with that line of thinking: Believing that I had to be capable and had to be on top of everything was exactly what caused my sleepless nights and daily anxiety. I was literally making myself sick proving to everyone that I could do it all. 

I'm not even a perfectionist; it's much worse than that. I'm someone who has to be THE BEST at all times. And when you're constantly worried about being THE BEST, you can't ever relax, since there's a lot of self-evaluation and improvement happening. What if you stop and someone else becomes THE BEST? Being THE BEST at work, life, friends, style, everything was a huge factor in my lying awake at night and wondering if I was doing enough and what more I could add to be THE BEST.

Women get a crappy end of the deal sometimes. Call us the Pinterest Generation: We're obsessed with measuring up. Social media just offers a more palpable way to further assess our success based on others'. "Yeah, she's prettier – but my house is cleaner." "Sure, she's a great cook, but I heard her son is a hellion at school." "She's skinny – but it's like, 'skinny fat.' I have more muscle tone."

What the heck is up with that? We totally stand on someone else's shoulders to put ourselves ahead of the pack. It's some serious girl-on-girl crime, which I'm totally guilty of, too. We all do it as a way to justify someone else's talents and take her down, notch by notch.

We get it: No one's perfect. But I've learned that consistently "placing" yourself on a scale of other women is what leaves you feeling inadequate. Sometimes, I think women are the worst anti-feminists at all, because it's SO HARD to be happy for another woman. She has success, and we all think of ways that she's probably failing. 

I had an experience this year when I was on the receiving end on that girl-on-girl process. I was succeeding in one area, and someone had to point out somewhere that she thought I was failing. And seriously, not to be braggy at all, but it was an area in which I had worked really hard to be THE BEST. And I still had someone saying "Yeah, but..." And to keep it short and sweet, it sucked. Hard.

You guys. That's crappy behavior. Because everyone is just trying to do their best, right? Not a single one of us is just like, coasting through life and tripping into hyperbaric gold mines that cause us to be simultaneously rich and skinny. We all have kids and husbands and bodies and homes and not all of them will be perfect. All we really can do is work on being enough and acknowledging that it's the same thing every woman you know is trying to do, too. 

There's a wordy New Year's Resolution for you: To be OK with not being THE BEST and being happy for the person who is. 

I've worked with my doc and have a treatment plan in place. I didn't want to type that, because anxiety has a pretty crappy stigma and like, admitting to everyone that you're medicated isn't super cool, but it's true and it's been a total lifesaver. My migraines have gone back to being a once-in-awhile affair (I went all December migraine-free what what!) and I actually sleep. Every night. It's glorious. 

So basically, I'm THE BEST at anxiety treatment.


Thanks again for another great year, guys. 


How to: Create the Perfect Holiday Uniform

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I sat down to write a post on festive wear, but to be honest, I've written it like every year since I've had the blog. Here are some of the past things I've had to say about dressing up for Christmas:

5 Ways to Rock a Holiday Party Like it's Your Job
Non-Scary Festive Party Wear
Dressing Festively Without Looking Like a Christmas Tree Barfed on You
Reader Question: Frigid Fashion

This year has been uber busy. And really, who isn't busy right now? Yesterday I went to read a Christmas story to Andrew's class, and when I came in, the teacher was like "Let's all thank Mrs. Curtis for coming in when she could have been out shopping" and I wanted to scream because if it were only shopping, I would be a happy camper. Instead, it's shopping and baking and working and party prep and food and shuffling around to various children's programs and oh yeah, I have to be sworn in as an American citizen on Friday.

So it's probably not all that surprising to find out that instead of doing the whole "OH CRAP what am I gonna wear?" to everything, I've created a basic uniform. This uniform has – thus far – been perfectly appropriate for every holiday-related event and errand I have to run, so I'm feeling pretty smug about how easy getting dressed has been this time around. Of course, you can talk to me next week, when I'm sick of wearing it.

The thing about having a basic uniform isn't that you wear the same thing to every event, but that you have a general template in mind. It's stuff that looks good and walks the line between dressy and casual, especially with simple swaps that can dress it up and down. Here's what I'm living in this season.

Start with a chiffon top. They're pretty universally flattering, a little dressy and can be worn tucked or untucked. If you're like me, you already have a bunch kicking around your closet anyway. Also, they're looser, which means you're not wistfully looking at the bacon-wrapped scallops all night.

Once you have that, you can (obviously) add pants. Dark jeans are usually kosher for anything casual or dressy casual, but I'll admit my leather pants are getting a workout too – they're a nice bridge between casual and dress. Not into leather? A pair of cropped skinnies are pretty perfect for parties, since they look great with heels or flats. If you prefer a straight leg, just remember that length matters: If you're wearing heels, the pant leg should fall an inch or two above the ground, not above your shoe.
Now, it's time to add a jacket. For day, I wear my fave leather jacket as a standard. For night and parties, I'm wearing blazers. These are not the same as coats, which are for warmth. Jackets are outfit toppers. I just make my husband go warm up the car first. Also, if you're doing a pretty standard black jacket, you can have more fun with color in your top, shoes and accessories. Also, lazy.

Yay, it's shoe time! I'm positively living in these White Mountain boots that I bought after my friend snagged them on Black Friday. They're uber comfy and have been perfect for errands and kid stuff (and they have actually grippy soles, so I'm not sliding all over the place).

For parties at people's houses, I always default to heels, because if you wear boots and the host wants you to take off your shoes, it can ruin the whole outfit. If you're doing a low heel, your outfit will look pretty much visually the same if you have to take them off.

I do wear my trusty black Fryes for casual events where there's a lot of standing, since they're super comfortable. Otherwise, have fun with shoes! The best part about this uniform is that it's pretty standard, so you can add pattern and texture with your footwear, booyah. Also, you should have one pair of entirely ridiculous pumps to wear to at least one event where you're sitting down. Please, for my sake.

Finally, top it all off with your accessories. You have free reign because your uniform is pretty basic. I'm really into my tassel necklace right now, which I've worn for EVERYTHING. It's interesting without being gaudy or too trendy. But a big pair of earrings, a cuff or a sparkly clutch will do, too. Just remember that if you're wearing multiple accessories, you give a little visual space: Wear earrings and a huge cuff, or a necklace and cocktail ring, not earrings and a necklace. I like gold for the holidays, just because it's out of the ordinary for me.

If you're more into dainty jewelry, just layer it up for a more festive look. So pretty!

Super easy, right? By making a basic holiday uniform, it takes a lot of the guess work and stress out of all of the events you have to juggle. Instead of coming up with a new outfit each time, you tweak your basic uniform and away you go.

Loose top, skinny pants, structured jacket. It's my Christmas present to you.

Freaky Friday: Deck the Halls

Friday, December 5, 2014

I've got family in town, so I'm reposting. Please forgive me. Let's pretend it's still funny a year later?

 The more I look this picture, the more I laugh. It's not so much the sweater, but the "I have no idea what I'm doing" look on Rudolph's face.

 Ugh, who even started the whole "Team" thing? You don't need to be on any team. It's the holidays. Can't we all just get along?

 How can a festive sweatsuit make me feel so sad inside?

PS I can't see the bottom of these pants but I just KNOW there's elasticized cuffs. 

 Oh... OK, that's cool.

 This is my favorite festive sweater of ALL TIME. Look at those happy dreidels! They're all like "You don't have to celebrate Christmas to have a good time" and I'm like "You're right I totally want in on this Hanukkah thing!"

 I love these mopey teenager "Things I love" pictures. They are so freakin' specific. Wearing sweaters around the house? Are we just naming things we do every day that aren't special at all?

"Paying bills."

"Waiting in line at the grocery store."

"Pumping gas."


Wow. So true.
 Aw, look! You get loneliness for Christmas!

 That's one way to spread Christmas cheer.

 OK, the cat's paws look like saggy boobs and now I can't unsee it. It's like how my husband says that Sara Bareilles song "Brave" sounds like it's saying "I wanna see you pee-pee" and I can't unhear it EVER.

 Feeling festive? Do some pattern mixing, wear your husband's socks and then look reeeeeally unimpressed and you can spend Christmas alone.

From the "Every 2nd grade teacher ever" collection.

Speaking of which, the other day my little brother was sending me pictures of my first grade report cards and they said things like "Jacqueline is an excellent galloper" and "She reads from the dictionary and wrote a story about blisters."

I was a really cool kid is what I am saying.

 Let's finish strong and not forget that leaving out cookies is like, soooo mainstream. If you really want to impress him, leave some indie music on the record player and Santa might leave you a corded phone and some bangs.

Gift Guide Refresher

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I am still in the throes of gift shopping right now. This is the time of year when the mail girl hates my guts because I have something coming to the house every day. Also, I'm terrible at keeping track of everything that I order, so it's like a tiny Christmas for me each time a box shows up at my door because I don't remember what it could be.

So, since I'm in RoboShop mode right now, I thought I'd link up to last year's gift guides. Since I focus on specific types of gifts (rather than a specific product) it's kind of an easy way to match the right person to the right prezzies.

For Coworkers and Neighbors
For Your BFF
For Your Husband 
For You
For Your Kids 

Hopefully that helps narrow down choices and relieves a bit of the stress that comes with gift giving. And hey, it's only the 3rd: You have plenty of time to drive yourself crazy for the next three weeks. Enjoy!

9 Tips for Wearing White in Winter

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wearing white in winter is like, blogger fodder, amiright? They get to act like those pesky fashion rules don't apply to them and tee-hee what a pretty rebel and they eek out another post.

Unfortunately for them, wearing white in winter has been a thing like, forever. And, when done properly, you won't look like a demented blogger but a lady.

The difference between summer and winter white is completely tonal. In summer, white has a blue cast and looks amazing with like, pastels and even neons. I find that summer white is totally minimalist: It looks better with simple outfits, like a tee and jeans.

But winter white -- oh, winter white! I love the golden-toned white that starts appearing in stores come October. It's way richer and looks amazing in chunky knits and luxe layers. But even if you love white and want to wear it all year around, there's a way to wear white in winter so you don't look like a) a Laura Ashley model circa 1993 or b) a rave baby. Keep these outfits and tips and mind and you'll look ah-mah-zing.

winter white 1

1. Choose WINTER white. We know this. It's a yellow-toned white that pairs best with deep jewel tones.

2. So duh, go with jewel tones. Mulberry, plum, turquoise, jade, cognac: All of these look crazy good with a gold-toned winter white.

3. Add some texture. I love a leopard with winter white, but I love a leopard with literally anything. But any texture works: Add a little snakeskin or leather, go for something sequined: The white can handle it in the winter.

4. Speaking of sparkle, let winter white and gold have a love child on your body (ew). Gold accessories will look so riiiiich.

winter white 2

5. Not sure about winter white? Tone it down with a ton of black. I love the idea of a sweet skirt paired with a tough jacket and tights for a winter party. It's also a great way to bridge those white pieces you own that could be for both summer and winter.

6. Load up on winter white accessories. A scarf, a coat, some gloves, whatever. I especially love winter white with dark red... it's festive without being like, hey Santa's here!

7. Choose the right footwear. It's winter, so put away the open-toed anything. Instead, go for boots and you'll be warm and super luxe. I'm super obsessed with these over-the-knee ones. Ugh. I think I need to shop.

winter white 3

8. Look for knits. While summer white is best for sleek looks, winter white is meant to look cozy. An oversized sweater or wrap coat? YES PLEASE.

9. When in doubt, layer up. Winter white looks great over deeper colors, so go for a sweater or jacket over jewel tones.

See? Winter white is actually super easy, once you know what to look for. I love it for like, a work party or Thanksgiving dinner. It's pretty and cozy without being schlumpy, which is hard to do despite the fact that "schlumpy" is a word from my imagination.

So, what do we think? Yay or nay to winter white?

Jae's 4th Annual Trashy Halloween Costume Contest!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year, guys. That time when children use their imaginations to become whatever they want to be, and the time that costume companies decide all women want to dress like strippers.

I started the Annual Trashy Halloween Contest four years ago as a way to document the most ridiculous "sexy" costumes available to women (and as a way to stop people from seeing Bert and Ernie as sexual objects because that's gross). And every year, I laugh at my notes for this post because I have to write things like "Sexy Slice of Pizza" out to keep track of entries.

And I like that.

As usual, if you don't see you entry here, it was either used in a previous year OR someone beat you to it and sent the same one in first. Vote in the comments with the most egregious sexy offender and I'll tally up the votes Halloween morn. Winner gets $25 to Target and the title of "Best Trashy Costume Shamer in the Land!"

Are you ready for this? Yes. You were born ready. Let's go!

Sexy Ebola Containment Suit: Because the pain and suffering of an entire African region and thousands of people is SO HOT RIGHT NOW.

Seriously I will actually punch anyone who wears this so be aware of that. Thanks, Tiffany H. (or no thanks, you choose)

Jennifer W. sent in this Sexy Leatherface costume, Because when I think about a crazed lunatic who cuts off teenagers' faces, I often wonder if he had a special someone with smokin' legs. 

Meleah sent over this Sexy Martini, which I can only assume is desperate, not stirred. 

I don't know what you're talking about, Beth G. I have fantasies involving McDonald's french fries like, every night. 
Mostly that they magically become carb-free. 

Also, why is "Hot Fries" written on the crotch? It sounds like something you should probably get checked out. 

Michelle S. sent over this super sexy Blue Ox. Halloween: The only time when being called a "cow" can be construed as a compliment. Why yes, thank you, I am in fact a cow. 

Sexy Banana, you probably shouldn't make eye contact with anyone for the rest of the night. Thanks , Annie R.!

This Sexy Olaf costume was the one I received most frequently, and Alana K. was the first to send it in and remind me that "Do you like warm hugs?" wouldn't get old and tired AT ALL. 

Like, I'm not even trying to be dramatic right now, but if you sexify a cartoon snowman, I feel like you should probably be drowned in a pot of children's tears because that's friggin' creepy. 

This Sexy Bomb might "explode" and by "explode" I mean "stalk you on Facebook and act like she knows intimate details of your life by chance."

Because we all agree that women who dress like this on Halloween are insane. Like, burn your house to the ground because you didn't like her costume insane (Thanks Amy!)

Corinna T. sent me this sexy Mad Hatter (I think) costume. I think sexy costumes just get ambiguous over the year. Put on some knee-high socks and a short skirt and you can literally be "Sexy Anything."

Amy sent this Sexy Nerd over. Too bad it's not a Sexy Nerd who has taken Photoshop because learn to use the blur tool, my friend. 

Mmm, sexy Candy Corn. Makes your stomach hurt and gets stuck in your teeth. (Thanks, Amy N.)

Amanda H. sent me this sexy Pregnant Troll and I was like WTH I can't even with this anymore. Like, it broke my soul as a human being, so I hope you're happy Amanda. 

Beth sent over this Sexy Baby outfit because you know what really turns me on this holiday season? 


Amber W. sent over this costume, which I think is supposed to be Miley Cyrus from "Wrecking Ball" but is instead just an excuse to wear a sports bra and underpants as a costume and I hate everyone and everything. 

Michelle S. sent over this "Galaxy Gremlin" which is obviously a non-licensed Yoda.

Ladies, if your husband's roleplaying fantasy is Yoda, RUN AWAY. 

Thanks for the sexy Sock Monkey, Jenna F. I was actually wondering when costume makers would hurry up and defile innocent childhood playthings.

Also, I feel like it's a testament to my true nature that the first thing I thought upon seeing this costume was "Wow, those shoes do not go." 

Alright, that's the lineup for this year. I know I have my favorites -- what do you think is the very skankiest of skankiness here? Vote until 11:59pm, tomorrow night and I'll announce the winner before I have to go dress my kids up. 

Thanks to everyone who entered. It affirms that I'm not the only one that feels like the sexification of this holiday is super gross and quite frankly, a little smelly. 

Also, still struggling for a last-minute costume idea? Try this hot mama outfits that really get your motor running (thanks, Bethany C.!)

5 Non-Trashy, Super Easy Costume Ideas

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I think one of the reasons that women dress like straight-up strippers on Halloween is the fact that there's really not a lot of non-trashy options out there. Go to any Halloween costume site and click on "Women" and literally every option will involve boobs and fishnets.

Which have their place, just not at the school Halloween carnival, thanks.

So I went on the hunt for some of the funnest costume ideas that you know, don't degrade your entire gender group. I found some genius ideas just by searching "non-skanky Halloween," but here are some of my favorites.

Rita from Arrested Development

I would actually love to go as Lindsay, my favorite character from Arrested Development, but alas, this is her best-known look, which probably isn't appreciated while handing out candy.

But remember Rita? She was by far my favorite guest character arc on the show, and her clothes were THE BEST. If you'll remember, Michael dated Rita, thinking she was fun and spirited, when she actually had special needs.

Basically, you'll need:
-Your kid's tiara
-A mini backpack
-A loud, flowered shirt that doesn't match in any way shape or form
-Striped leggings
-A tutu

Basically, you'll look like an adult dressed in child clothes. If you really want to hit it home, hang a sign that says "For British Eyes Only" around your neck. I love an obscure costume that only fans will get.

A Real Housewife

This would be friggin brilliant, especially if your friends are Real Housewives lovers like me. 
Use the following:
-Cocktail dress
-A streaky fake tan (use something that washes off after one use)
-Huge hair and jewelry

Carry around an orange and a cocktail dress and slur your words and you are good to go. Getting into verbal fights and using common cliches improperly are bonuses. 

The SunDrop Girl

No shame in my game: This was my fave costume of all time, but mostly because it allowed be to booty dance to Drop it Like it's Hot, which is my second favorite song of all time. Plus it was super easy to throw together at the last minute.

-SunDrop shirt, which I got at WalMart.
-Jean shorts. Or "jorts" if you will.
-Black tights
-Leg warmers
-Red shoes

Here's the original commercial I used for this one. It was SO. FUN. 

Paper Bag Princess

I'm obsessed with this costume idea because it would be TOO adorable, especially if you were helping out in your kid's class for Halloween. I would just wear tights with it.

-Paper bag from grocery store (I think it would be easy to grab a few and tape them together)
-Card stock crown -- remember to turn down the edges! 
-Makeup -- to make it look like you're dirty. 

Just scuff up the paper and the crown a little and you are good to go. It would be also super fun to carry around a dragon, if you had one. Not a real one though. You're not Daenerys. Although that would also be a fun costume.

Fashion Blogger

Alison over at Wardrobe Oxygen nailed this look and it would be super simple to recreate. Just mix fabrics and add statement necklaces until you look like a total caricature of yourself. Boom. Blogger.

Just make sure to pose for a million "candid" pictures and never let that Starbucks cup leave your paws, ever. 

And remember, when in doubt, remember that it's NOT OKAY that guys get to dress up and have fun and women are supposed to suck in their stomachs and look like sexpots for what should actually be a holiday for children.

 If your husband suggests a sexy costume, suggest that you turn the tables.


What to Wear: For Valentine's Day

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hand up if you already have Valentine's Day plans! Yeah, my hand is down. Actually, we tend to hang out with our kids on the actual V-Day, because I don't want to use up babysitter time when they should be having romantical times themselves. SO my husband and I tend to celebrate on the 15th or whenever the Saturday night after Valentine's Day happens to be. (My kids LOVE having us home on Valentine's -- I let them have candles with dinner and watch a lovey Disney movie.)

So I'm thinking about what to wear. It's actually what I think about when I'm in pain and working out. I did a killer round of PiYo (Pilates and yoga mixed) on Monday and when in plank for like, 30 minutes I planned my next week's worth of outfits. So I apologize to my butt but am thankful for my closet.

Anyway, if you're still totally stumped for what to wear on your hot date this weekend, here are some ideas. Now go! Go and get frisky!! 

If you're: Headed to a movie

Whatever, so movies aren't the most original date. But my husband and I love them because we get to eat nachos and it's quite for 90 minutes at least. With kids at home, that's heaven to me. I like to be comfortable and casual, but I always need a top layer because theaters are freeeeezing. But I also don't want to be too warm, because I still like my husband to give me his coat. I feel like that's my right after 11 years of marriage, right? Jeans are a must, plus a flirty top and a structured topper.

Bootcut lovers, unite -- flares are totally back this spring and that makes me very happy. Just make sure you balance them out with a sleeker top and shoes. Anything clunky and you'll look like a hippie.

If you're: Headed out to dinner

If you're going out to eat, ditch the pants and get schmany with a maxi dress. It's totally comfortable, but it's a little fancier than your garden variety jeans. I also love how maxi dresses toe the line between casual and more formal, so they work for everything. I love to wear my maxi dresses with heels because they make my legs look loooooong. Plus, if you cover up in the maxi dress, it's the perfect time to flash some cleave. What? Who said that?

If you're: Heading out on the town and doing something fancy

If you're doing something more than dinner and a movie (couples' cocktail party, formal restaurant, dancing, etc) you'll need a cocktail dress. I'm fairly obsessed with this one. BUT! Because you don't want to be overdressed, toning that dress down with a moto jacket or a blazer makes sense. I would even sign off on knee-high boots with this outfit if you wanted even more casual. It's a hot Valentine's Day outfit without wearing the skirt the size of a postage stamp. And you know what? It's fun to dress up and look hot. It's like 75 percent of why I actually like V-Day.

The other 25 percent is me getting presents. My husband says mine will be delivered on Friday and I might actually vomit I'm so excited.

OK, so what are your plans this weekend? Are you a celebrator or a rebel who stays home to watch Pride and Pejudice because I can respect that either way.

5 Ways to Rock a Holiday Party Like it's Your Job

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

-- I'm headed out for a day of festivities. My son's preschool has a party and I have a few more things to pick up before I can come home and do some serious wrapping. For now, here's this awesome repost which will be handy if you're off to any work parties and you're feeling intimidated and frumpy. DON'T THAT'S LAME! Also, see the link below if you're wondering what you should wear. It's my Christmas present to you. But seriously, I have to go I'm late. --

Last week, we talked about what to wear. This week, I want to talk about how to act. Not because I want to rule your life, but I genuinely think -- especially if you're a SAHM -- that the invitation to a swanky work party can be a little intimidating. After all, you spend most of your time cutting crusts off of your kids PB&J, not sampling crustini. I just don't want anyone to feel intimidated or even worse, second-class, because you feel out of place during these stressful holiday parties. So, I assembled five tips that should keep you out of trouble and away from the walls for one night at least. Ready?

1) Dress Appropriately.

Yes, we talked about festive wear last week. But I also wanted to stress how important it is to dress for the party you're attending. That way, you don't show up and feel totally uncomfortable because everyone is in cocktail dress and you're wearing your favorite snowman vest, you know? I covered what to wear to which type of party here so check it out and work accordingly. My no-fail party look is a pair of trousers and a blazer worn with a pretty/festive cami. Easy peasy and works every time. When you look good, you'll feel more comfortable and less like hiding in your hubby's shadow all night. It'll also help with those feelings of "Everyone is so cool and I'm so frumpy" too.

Also, can I remind everyone to think about footwear for parties? Those knee-high boots might look great with the outfit, but if a party is in someone's home, they might want you to ditch the shoes and then everyone can see your mismatched socks. I tend to go with flats for home parties and heels when a party is in a restaurant, since at a home I'll be standing or going shoeless and at a restaurant, I'll be sitting.

2) Bring a Hostess Gift.

K, you don't need to do this if you're like, hanging out with a group of girlfriends and you all equally planned the food, etc. But when one person was clearly in charge of a party -- especially if it's someone you don't know well -- bring along something. It can be food, drink, plant, whatever, just stay away from anything kitschy or to adorn the home unless you know the hostesses tastes. It's just good breeding and it gives you something to do at the front door other than say "Hiiiiiiii."

Also, you only need a hostess gift when the party is in someone's home. Don't bring something if it's a catered event in a reception center or at a restaurant... unless you want to make your waiter very happy.

3) Head for the Food.

OK, this might sound like a weird piece of advice, but it's one of my favorite party tricks. When I don't know many people at a soiree, I'll go where the food is for a few different reasons. First, it helps to keep my hands busy so I'm not standing around like a weirdo. Second, it's a good place to make small talk with new people. Last, EVERYONE likes to talk about food. EVERYONE. So when you're chowing on your crab appetizers, you can ask the person next to you if he's ever been to that place down on State St. that serves amazing lobster ravioli or if he's tried the new Mexican restaurant. It's the world's easiest small talk and you can hold your own.

4) Don't Talk About Your Kids.

Unless you're with your other mama friends, keep the kid chat to a minimum. Your boss or your hubby's boss probably don't want to talk about your potty-training two year old. Not only is it probably mind-searingly boring for them, but it paints this picture of someone who can't socialize outside of her kids. One or two super-funny anecdotes? OK, fine. But talking about how your four-year-old looooooves peas to a captive dinner audience makes me crazy. And I actually have kids. Some other topics to avoid? Religion and politics. Just don't.

5) Check in Once or Twice.

I get that a cell phone can be a party security blanket when you don't know a ton of people, but tapping away on your iPhone the entire night is bad form. Not only is it rude, but it means you don't get to know anyone and therefore will spend next year's party doing the same thing. If you have to check in with the babysitter once or twice, that's fine. Just don't be THAT person. Put your phone down and you might actually have a good time.

Does that work for everyone? Doable? I should point out that these rules are for like, any party more formal than Aunt Myrtle's Annual Christmas Fondue Dip. While you still shouldn't snotty and phone-obsessed there, you can probably talk about kids and stuff your face with less abandon with your close relatives and your friendsies. Or, like in my husband's family, when his Grandma brings out her alter-ego, Wanda. She has a prosthetic face. A PROSTHETIC FACE. That's a little more casual than your garden variety work party.

Just don't feel intimidated by the all-powerful Holiday party. It's not there to make you feel crappy, but a chance to hang out with a new set of people. Come prepped and ready and you'll hold your own and actually you know, enjoy yourself this year.

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: For Him

Monday, December 2, 2013

How was everyone's holiday? I am kind of exhausted after it all. I did Black Friday shopping and Saturday shopping, so I feel like my legs and feet are calling "Uncle!" today. But luckily it was trauma-free. My friend and I didn't go out until Friday morning and I think all the crazy rioters were home in bed by then, so it was low key. I still got everything I needed and I'm feeling very accomplished. Yes, that's all it takes.

So, I thought that this week, I'd forgo my usual posting schedule for some gift ideas. I LOVE giving gifts. Gifts are totally my love language. It's because I'm so awkward emotionally and am terrible at verbal and physical love. But can I buy you a present? Oh yes I can!

I take great pride in my gift-giving abilities. And first up: The main man in my life. Buying for my husband is a pain because he's a very even keel person. He doesn't ever get too mad or too sad or too happy -- he's always in the middle. So it's taken years for me to know what he really likes, because when I ask him what he wants, he'll say nothing. THIS IS ANNOYING.

Now, I put a plan in place and basically operate within the same realm each year. It makes it less stressful because I already know what types of things to buy, I just switch up the actual items. Here are my five must-haves for hubby shopping and what I spend on each.

1. A Higher-End Functional Piece: Budget around $100

My husband does like the finer things in life, but he'll never buy them on his own. I use Christmas as a way to buy a nice functional piece to which he can't say no and that will last him a really, really long time. I've done jackets, boots, nice sunglasses, a watch, pricey cologne (that I like obviously) etc.



2. A (Couple of) Fun, Trendy Pieces: Budget around $50 for both

My hubs works in a pretty casual office, so he rarely needs really professional clothes. He usually heads to work in dark jeans, a button up and a cargo jacket. So I like to buy a couple of trendier shirts that he can wear to work but doesn't feel like a total dork wearing out as well. He's picky, so I don't push too hard for something new. Instead, I look for interesting details, like a shirt with grommets or a super subtle pattern. I'm also mindful of his favorite brands -- that way, I know the right size and that it's something he'll like.

3. Something Fun: Budget around $30 to $50

My husband doesn't play a lot of video games -- we have a PS3 but it's really a glorified DVD player. Still, when I'm in Canada, he likes to play, so I usually get him a new game, CD or something else that's fun and just for him -- no "we" gifts. But Wii gifts would be fine. But seriously, I like to look for some type of gadget, game or movie that says "Hey I know we have completely different tastes in everything but I will put up with watching Skyfall multiple times because I love you."

4. Something Practical: Budget around $50 to $100

Let's face it: Guys sometimes suck at buying stuff that they need. I don't know about yours, but my husband will make do with something just to avoid going to the store. So I make sure one of my gifts is something that he really needs, but probably wouldn't buy himself, like some new speakers for his car or an iPhone dock for his office. Just something that enhances his life but that he may not have considered.


5. Something Thoughtful: No budget -- usually these are the least expensive.

While I might be an emotional robot, I do like to include something thoughtful. This is usually something family-related that only my husband and I would really "get." One year, I ordered a custom keychain that was stamped with all the important dates in our family -- both of our birthdays, wedding date and then our kids' birthdays. He loves it. I've also done family pictures, think-y books for my scholarly huz, mementos that I picked up on vacation and an entire scrapbook I made myself in an uncharacteristic bout of creativity during our poor newlywed phase. He keeps all of this stuff forever and it makes Christmas morning that much better.

While these are the 5 categories I try to hit, I usually buy other stuff as I come across it. He does wear a suit once a week for church, so ties and church shoes are necessities, even if they aren't "wow" gifts.

I think, in the end, your husband/boyfriend/life partner just wants to know that you were thinking about him. So whether you like to dress him up or geek him out, if you put a little thought into it, he'll get it.

What do you buy your husband for Christmas? I'm always up for new ideas.

Check back tomorrow for another gift guide!


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