Thursday, May 8, 2014

Colorblocked Maxi Dress and a Blazer

Today was my Mom’s retirement party and I wanted to wear a dress, but it was really, really windy, so I decided to go with a maxi dress. The event was really casual, just an after-school party for teachers, and this outfit fit the occasion. I thrifted this dress in March for $5, and was excited to finally wear it. I love all of the colors in it! Again, it was windy, so I thought I needed something over it. I was going to go with a denim jacket, thinking of an outfit or two that I had pinned, but then I saw my coral blazer, and realized that the coral in the blazer matched the coral in the dress perfectly! Looking on Pinterest now, after the fact, apparently this has been done which I guess means I am officially “ok!” I added some flip flops that matched the teal in the skirt, and a coral necklace, and was ready to go! Pardon the head cut-off, my sister came to pick me up since some dickwad broke a window in my car yesterday for no reason and I cannot drive it. She's short, so she clipped off the top of my head in the picture, and I just finished the job the rest of the way.

Outfit details: Colorblocked maxi, Target, thrifted. Coral Blazer: T. Milano Petites, 2012. Necklace: Burlington Coat Factory, old. Flip Flops: Old Navy, old.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My latest thrift haul...

All right, I am going to try and post a bit more, especially about my weight loss (I've lost 21 pounds!), thrifting, and outfits of the day. The other day, my sister and I did Zumba, went to lunch, and went thrifting. The haul was great, as always…and this time, I shopped smartly! I vowed to not go much over the $40 that my Grandma gave me, and I only spent $47! I have been reading up on smart shopping (see the blogs Recovering Shopaholic and Exploring My Style if you'd like to read who have been inspiring me) and both of those blogs encourage shoppers to do a few things: try EVERYTHING on, even at the nasty thrift store, only buy things if you absolutely love them (no “I love this except…” allowed), and though these tips seem so obvious, I am HORRIBLE at them. My last thrifting trip, I bought two tops I didn’t really love, and now I already am thinking about getting rid of them! Ridiculous! This time, however, I stuck to these rules, and it paid off. I abandoned some new with tags $3 Old Navy shorts because I didn’t like the frayed hem. That is so unlike me! I also abandoned an Express sleeveless essential blouse that looked pretty good on because I did not want to go over budget. It helped also that Savers was kind of a rip-off that day, and lately in general. I don't know if it's because thrifting has become more popular, or it was just the days that I hit it, but I'm sorry, $7 for something like a worn Merona shirt should not be acceptable. Luckily, I did have a 30% off coupon, so I was able to stretch my money further, but I still had to eliminate a few pieces that I did like, just because sticking to a $40 budget was a bit rough that day.
I apologize for not getting individual pictures of the items, but I will next time.

Left to right (All prices are pre-discount, I paid 30% off the prices as marked)

Brown and White printed dress, EnFocus Studio- This dress looked fabulous on, and I can't wait to wear it. It'd be both work and summer appropriate. $8. 

White Lace Tee, Cynthia Rowley, $6. I love Cynthia Rowley, AND I've been wanting a white lace tee for some time. So versatile! 

Blue sleeveless shirt with beaded trim, Ann Taylor, $5. This shirt is perfect for work or play, depending on how it's styled, it looks flawless, and you can't beat Ann Taylor for $5! 

Lace Sleeve Sweatshirt, American Eagle, $4. Sweatshirts that are dressy are very much on-trend, and this one was adorable and CHEAP for that day. It was pretty new (tag said 2012 or 2013) and barely worn. There was actually another one just like it that was oatmeal with cream sleeves, but my sister and I agreed that this one looked better on me. 

Apt. 9 Printed Skirt:  $8. When I saw this skirt, it was love at first sight, so even though it was marked kind of high, I went for it...especially once I tried it on. 

Printed dress, LC by Lauren Conrad (Size 6, go me! ;-) $7. I love LC's dresses, and this one looked fabulous on. 

This is a Loft dress that I found in near mint condition. It was marked at $9.99, which is high for thrifting for me, but I fell in love with the color and the way it fit me. 

Not pictured are a pair of denim Faded Glory Shorts, size 10, 4.99. I normally never buy Wal- Mart clothes at the thrift shop, but these fit well, were really cheap, and were new with tags, so I made an exception. They replace two pair of WM shorts I paid full price for that are way too big now. Also, a reversible sweatshirt knit skirt! So on trend, and it was 2.99! It has a cobalt side and a navy side! For that reason, it had no tags, but it had the AE eagle embroidered at the hem (sucker Savers employees, muah ha ha!!!) And finally, an Apt. 9 casual sleeveless top in a white, blue, yellow, and mint floral print. All in all, I loved everything I bought, and can't wait to wear it all. And, all of that for $47! It's quite the steal for somebody who is in need of a LOT of new clothes. 

That being said, I still have far too many clothes, but I have been trying to weed out what no longer fits and replace it with some high quality stuff that does. I will discuss my process in a later post...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I'm so bad at this!

I am just terrible at consistently blogging, so I thought that maybe I could share something with the few lovely people who have so nicely followed me...I finally created an Instagram account, and I have been taking outfit pictures there, so if anyone is interested in seeing those or following me there, my username is lovecolorandlife (link here. Link  I feel as though I am far more likely to be consistent there than I am here, as all that is involved over there is snapping and uploading pictures, and now that I have an iphone, it's super easy to take outfit pics. I need to master the art of the full body selfie to get the entire time!

Since I am here already, though, I'll share with you all a few things. One, since I last wrote, I really did buckle down and lost almost 20 pounds! I did this through following Weight Watchers and attending meetings (the most doable strategy that I know of!) I have thus been really weeding through my clothes and trying to get rid of not only the things that are too big but also curate an entire closet of pieces that I love. It's been a big project and it's been taking up my free time...and it's still ongoing! I have been putting some stuff on ebay (here if anyone is interested) and will continue to do so; I also want to try Plato's Closet to try and locally sell some pieces.

In the in-between (I still have about 10-12 pounds to go until goal) I have been doing a LOT of thrifting to acquire some new-to-me clothes in my new size without spending a pretty penny. I have become quite the pro at thrifting and often find flawless items with good labels. You just have to be willing to dedicate a few hours to the cause, and yes, it does get tiring, but here are some labels that I have found lately, all well under ten bucks a piece: Cynthia Rowley (one of my favorite labels!), Escada, Loft, Ann Taylor, Express, LC by Lauren Conrad, American Eagle (mainly for jeans, I live for their jeans), Pink by Victoria's Secret (I'm a fan of their raglan tees, not so much the ones that scream PINK as I am 30!), Anthropologie, Gap, and many, many more. When I get to my goal weight, I do plan to treat myself to a regular shopping trip and buy some nice pieces new, but until then, thrifting is holding me over quite nicely!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A month straight of holiday eating and....

I feel cruddy. In November and the first third of December, I was consistently exercising each and every day, and no matter what I ate, I maintained my weight. The past few weeks, however, have been something of a disaster. I am afraid to get on the scale. I see the bloat in my tummy. It's time to get back on track. What I really want to do is go back to clean eating. Veggies and fruits of all varieties. Lean meats. Protein, such as milk and cheese. Whole grains only. My hubby is actually ready to buckle down and do this, too. We still have some food left over from our big New Year's bash which is far from clean, but I am so over it. Yesterday, I made some homemade applesauce (Easy Peasy Applesauce, and it was delicious! It didn't need any added honey, maple syrup, or worst of all, sugar. I think that I will be using it over the next several days as an add-in to oatmeal or a snack on its own. Here's my tentative menu for today. For the next week, I really want to be strict, with lots and lots of steamed veggies, brown rice, no dressings for salad, etc, just until I lose some water weight. Then, I will reintroduce things like whole wheat pastas and breads. I find that following the 100 Days of Real Food Guidelines work well for me.

Steel cut oatmeal made with milk, with Easy Peasy Applesauce

Salad with chicken breast, blue cheese, other veggies, with lemon and avocado as a "dressing"

Here's the hard part...there's one last thing from NYE I wanted to eat, which is a piece of potato pie that my SIL made. I might eat this. If I am really good, I will instead eat brown rice and steamed veggies. Haha.

I just want to kick start my weight loss again and lose all of the water weight that is causing me to look seven months pregnant. Hopefully, it works. It usually does. And then it helps me to eat sensibly for months, which is a definite plus.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

"I AM NOT A MILLENNIAL": Why I Hate Generational Labels

Ok. So here's something that's been on my mind for AWHILE. In the world of generational labels, I am, according to most sources, considered a "Millennial." My husband, born just the year before me, is in No-Man's Land, or according to some, Generation X.  While I do not think either of us are old enough to belong in "Generation X", I don't identify with being a Millennial. I was almost an adult at the turn of the millennium. I am not one of these super tech-savvy, live with my parents until 35, selfish typical millennial types. And why should I be grouped with people who are just teenagers now? Some sources cite millennials as being born up until the early 2000s. In the early 2000s, I was in college. What???? Do I have anything in common with people born in 2002? Absolutely not. We grew up in different worlds. Heck, I could be a parent to someone born in 2002!!!!

To understand this, and to truly drive home the point that there are "generation label gaps", let's take a look at how someone like me, who was born in the very early 80s, grew up, versus how someone who was born in, say, 1997, grew up.

I grew up watching things like PeeWee's Playhouse, the Smurfs, Garfield and Friends, ALF, The Cosby Show, Full House, and Saved By The Bell. Our concept of Nickelodeon dates from shows like Pinwheel and Today's Special to Clarissa Explains it All and Hey Dude (I think the latest I ever watched Kid's Nick, outside of seeing it because of my sister, was 1994. Nick at Nite when it was still good...well, different story!) Someone born in 1997...well....I can't even tell you what kind of Saturday morning programming or Nickelodeon they watched. I'd have to look it up. I was too busy, you know, watching the Seinfeld and Friends finales (1998 and 2004, respectively), and becoming an adult and whatnot. Oh yes, and I watched almost all of Seinfeld, from 92 on, and all of Friends, in their original runs.

We never, ever owned a video game console or single video game growing up. While I know that this is unusual for someone born five years before me, let alone the same time as me, it is the truth. My parents didn't allow it. And not many people that I personally knew in the late 80s had them, either. Kids born in 1997...well, it is more than likely they had one or all of the consoles available, unless they had strict parents.

When we were bored, we played outside. We read books (Babysitter's Club, Judy Blume, and Beverly Cleary were my favorites. I doubt many kiddos born in 1997 read the BSC.) We used our imaginations. One of the biggest characteristics that I have heard in talking about millennial kids is that their imagination and We played with Quints, My Little Ponies (the original ones), Sensation Barbie, dolls that didn't do anything fancy, etc. We rode bikes. We roller skated. We did fashion shows set to the music of 1992-era Madonna. When I see some of these lists for "You Know You're a 90s kid if...", I don't recognize half the toys. This is because I was born too late for a lot of 90s toys. I am a late 80s, early 90s kid. I am a mid-to late 90s teenager. I am a millennial adult. I am not the same as someone born in the mid to late 90s, and definitely not the 2000s!

I had my first cell-phone in 2000, senior year, and it was a giant brick that was kept in the car only. I had my second cellphone in 2003 and it was a HUGE deal that it sent and received texts. Yes, I remember life before texts. Someone born in 1997 likely had a smartphone as their first phone. Someone born in 1997 likely does not remember a world before text messaging.

On that note, we had one phone line. If I wanted to talk to friends, I called them. If I stayed on the phone for too long, I got yelled at for tying up the line. If I wanted to tell my friends something while I was in class in high school, I had to write a note. On paper. There were no texts. Kids born in 1997 are still in high school. You tell me if they can imagine a world like that.

I remember when my family got the internet. It was 1995, and we had an AOL account. It was dial-up. You had to wait what felt like hours to log on. There were barely any websites. You could only stay on for a certain amount of time before getting yelled at for tying up the aforementioned one phone line. I remember life before all of that. Someone born in 1997 would not only not remember life before the internet, but might not even remember dial-up internet. Forget about someone born in 2002, supposedly part of my generation!

Yes, I use Facebook. Yes, I occasionally blog. Yes, I use email. Yes, I internet shop. But compared to the kids of 97-on, or even early 90s on, I don't use social media half as much. I have no desire to ever get a Twitter. I don't understand it. I don't Instagram. I hate most of the YouTube craze videos (I love YouTube for watching shows and commercials of my generation, though!) I remember when there WAS NO YOUTUBE. Someone born in 97 was 8 when YouTube came to be. I doubt they much remember it not being a thing. I don't even pretend to know what Reddit is. And I most definitely disapprove of how technology-based society is. I use it a lot, but if I could go back to a simpler time when people weren't on their phones in social situations, when people looked at each other, when people weren't so rude, I totally would. And I remember such a time!!!!!!! Someone born in the early 90s, let alone the late 90s, probably doesn't remember much about a world like that. GET OFF MY LAWN, GRUMBLE, GRUMBLE!!!!!!!

Oh, and those "old people in college"? Yeah, I totally am one, now. The kids who are 18-19 all group together and don't give me the time of day, nor do I to them. The ladies who are about 40 talk to me and I talk to them. I am closer in age to them than to someone who is 18. Yet, someone who is 18 is supposedly part of my generation??? How is this possible? I also notice a huge difference in work ethic between people in class who are 18 and the older set. I fear for the future. GET OFF MY LAWN AGAIN!!!

In summation, there is a lot more that I could say on this subject, but I think I've made my point. I am not a millennial. People who were born in the early 80s should not be labeled as such. I'd rather be in the no-man's land that my husband often falls into. I think that anyone born from about 1979-85 doesn't really fall into Gen X, or Gen Y (Millennial). We need a new label. By the same token, people born from 87-93 should probably have their own generation, too, and so on. These generation labels are too "one size fits all," and I am tired of falling in between the "You Know You're an 80s kid" and "You Know You're a 90s kid" posts on the internet. End rant.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Jumper Dresses...a shameful confession

Over the last several days, I have seen jumper dresses popping up here and there on fashion blogs, and I must admit, my heart started racing a bit. It is kind of embarrassing how much I used to wear this style of dress when I was about 12-13. I probably should not be happy that they are seemingly creeping back into style, but I am. What can you do? Old habits die hard...and this one will not die, even if I was at my most awkward while wearing this style. Haven't bought one yet, but have been browsing around for some inspiration. I need to dig into my garment bag which holds all of my handmade items, because my grandma made me one back in about 1995 that I might still have....Anyway, on with the inspiration! Note: some of these are shown by themselves, but for fall, you would layer them over a blouse and maybe add some tights and booties :-)

This cute little item from Derek Lam Nation is so perfect and so affordable (and so only available in my size) that it might just be fate...

This Zobha number is an edgy and modern take on the slightly dumpier version that I wore as an awkward adolescent. I like it...
I actually really like this one from So Brazil because of the pattern, the flare at the hips, and the fact that it's shown worn over a shirt, which is the look for fall. Throw it on over tights, too!
This one, from The Atomic Boutique, is everything to me. It is classic and reminds me of why I loved this look in the first is very mod and 60s.
So, there you have it! I hope to jump back on this budding trend very soon. You saw it here early :-) Would you wear a jumper dress, or are they too preppy/little girl/reminiscent of your awkward days?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Quick, Delicious Fettucine Alfredo

Man, did I have a day today. My instructor for two of my classes will no longer be teaching us due to health issues, and I'm bummed. He was a nice guy and a good teacher, and I was just getting used to his way of doing things and settling into a routine. Getting two new teachers three weeks in is nothing short of stressful. Days like this make me crave comfort foods. Luckily, I had just the thing in mind, This fettucine alfredo recipe is from 100 Days of Real Food, and it is FANTASTIC. It also couldn't be easier, and is not too expensive to prepare. Heavy cream and butter are not the best thing for you, but in moderation they're totally ok.

1 lb whole wheat (you could also use regular) fettucine
2 TBS butter
2/3 cup Parmesan (I used Boar's Head, it is quality stuff)
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Boil water for pasta. Cook pasta as directed. As pasta is cooking, melt butter and 2/3 of the heavy cream in a saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon, and when it thickens a bit (after a few minutes) remove it from heat and set aside. When pasta is done, drain it and then add the heavy cream and butter mixture to it. Add the remaining 1/3 cups of heavy cream and all of the cheese, and heat on medium high for a moment or two. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with more Parmesan, if desired. Serves 4-6, depending on portion size :-) I also blanched some frozen green beans in boiling water for a few minutes, then sautéed them in a tiny bit of butter and seasoned them with salt and garlic powder. They served as our veggie side.

Now, not counting the veggies, here is my estimate as to how much this delicious recipe cost per serving. Keep in mind that I calculate the amount used from each item and not necessarily the total cost (for example, the pint of heavy cream I bought was 3 dollars altogether, but I only used half of it for this recipe, but the pasta, sold in pound boxes, was all used so I counted its full price.)

Pasta- $1.00
Butter- 16 cents
Parmesan- $2.50
Heavy Cream (Organic Farms)- $1.50
Salt and pepper to taste- let's call it 25 cents, even though it probably isn't that much.

Total- $5.41 for the entire recipe, we will get two dinners out of it, so call it four servings, so $1.35 per serving! When you think about how a serving of fettucine alfredo at a restaurant would likely be $9.99 or more, that's pretty awesome! Not to mention the fact that you are controlling the quality of the ingredients and the amount of sodium, and if you use whole wheat pasta you're getting healthy grains...

Sorry for the lack of pictures, we were in a rush this evening to get to an event and I didn't think to take any. Next time...