Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April Goal Review and a Close Enough African Violet




It is Day 2 of the Pantone Spring Color Challenge with Marissa and Heidi, which means I'm supposed to be wearing something that is "African Violet."  I'm pretty sure I don't have anything that is the exact right shade, so my light purple cardigan will have to do.

It's also the last day of April, which means I have to take stock of my goals:


  1. Do a project, mostly sewing - Um, I don't think I have done any sewing. 
  2. Work out 3x a week - I think so?  I haven't been keeping track as well this month, but I have been going to the gym pretty regularly, plus I went hiking and even went to a yoga class in Arizona.  For what it's worth, I'm pretty much sore all the time.  That will go away eventually, right? 
  3. Tackle a project around the house - We painted half of the basement!  I also am about halfway done sorting through my dresser drawers.  I'm hoping to get rid of quite a few things, and then organize everything else so it is easier to see what I have. 
  4. Cook a "real" meal at least 3 days each week.  LOOK, A BEAR!  Did I distract you enough that you won't notice how badly I failed at this in April?  No?  LOOK, ANOTHER BEAR!  Why am I so bad at preparing meals???
  5. Stick to a clothing budget - success!
  6. Read 50 books.  I'm on track with this one.  I finished 3 books in April, and am currently reading 3 books.  I'm at 16 for the year, which Goodreads says means I am on track.  I'd like to stay 1-2 books ahead of schedule, but since I am partway through 3 other books, I'll probably jump ahead soon.  


***I'm trying to figure out how to edit my photos with ipiccy, so any advice is appreciated!  Somehow, my legs look super tan in the first picture.  I'm not trying to make myself thinner or anything, just want to get the light and colors to look good.


Dress: Target
Cardigan: Gap
Belt: Limited
Sandals: Carlos Santana via DSW


Monday, April 29, 2013

Emerald City




Last week, I hit a major "fashion blogger" rite of passage.  For the past year and a half, I've mostly taken pictures in my backyard or in my house.  Sometimes, I would take pics in my office at work, if I had to go somewhere right after.  Last week, I decided I needed to step up my game, which involved getting my courage up to take pictures in random places (in public!).  It might look like I am just standing in my driveway, but I'm actually posing by a currently empty warehouse building.  It seemed like a good choice, because there's a "For Lease" sign in the window, so I assumed no employees would be there.  I was nervous the whole time that someone would drive by and ask me what I was doing.  I need to find a better spot!   Any advice on scouting a spot?

As you may have noticed, I'm always up for a bloggy link-up challenge, so when I heard about Marissa and Heidi's "Pantone Spring Color Challenge", of course I was going to participate.  Day 1 is Emerald Green.  This is easy, because green is one of my favorite colors!  I used it as an excuse to wear my new dress, even though I was way overdressed at work.  This dress makes me feel sort of fabulous, and it has pockets!  Winning!

Dress: Banana Republic Outlet
Blazer: Gap
Shoes: BCBGeneration

Friday, April 26, 2013

April Shopping Confessions

I went into April with the plan that I would be spending more than usual.  This is mostly because of "Friendizona" weekend, where I knew I would be shopping at stores I don't have at home (like outlets, and H&M).  I also had $50 extra that I didn't spend in February, and $50 extra from selling at a consignment shop, so my April budget was basically doubled to $200, instead of the regular $100.  I made my shopping list at the beginning of the month, and was able to find quite a few of those items (marked with * in my detail list below).



Gap:
Polka Dot Skimmers $15 (originally $35) (similar) (worn here)
Pink Shorts $28 (originally $40)  (similar)
*Navy Cardigan $13 (originally $40) (similar) (worn here)
Mint Tank Top $7 (originally $23)
*Workout Capris $16 (originally $35)  (similar)

H&M:
*Black Blazer:  $15 (originally $25) (similar) (worn here)
*Lace Tee: $10 (worn here)
*Leopard Scarf: $7 (worn here)
Floral Scarf: $7 (similar)
*Cobalt Necklace: $12 (silver version) (worn here)

Banana Republic:
Striped Dress: $25 (originally $100) (worn here)
Green Dress: $13 (originally $100) (similar)

Old Navy (shopping trip back in Omaha):
Striped Skirt: $7 (originally $23)
Black/White Striped Tee: $7.50 (originally $15)
Blue/White striped Tee: $7.50 (originally $15)
Green tank: $6 (originally $18)

Total: $189 (originally $505)

While I spent more than normal in a month, I think I got some really great deals on some quality items, and I made sure to keep track of what I was spending throughout the trip.  Since I knew how much I had to spend, I was careful not to waste money on something unless I really wanted it, and thought it would remix well into my wardrobe.

Did you do any shopping in April? Link up with Fran for Budgeting Bloggers.     

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mint Jeans Remix




These mint green skinny jeans are way more of a staple in my wardrobe than I ever would have expected.  I felt foolish when I bought them, but they were only $13, so I figured it would be okay if I only wore them a few times.  Now I feel like I need to remember to only wear them once per week. 

Here are 6 ways I have worn these over the last 4 months.  I'm sure they will continue to be worn throughout the spring and summer.  I might even try rolling them up a little to keep my ankles cool once the weather warms up!  
1/2/3/4/5/6
What other ways would you style mint jeans?  Any color combinations I should try? 

Outfit details:
Cardigan and Jeans: Gap
Tank Top: Old Navy
Shoes: Target

Linking up in a few places today:
  • Inspired My Style - I take inspiration from other blogs and Pinterest quite a bit.  This outfit was actually inspired by one of my previous outfits.  I really love the mix of cobalt blue pieces, so I suspect I will wear this outfit again with different skirts or jeans.    
  •  Style Link Up with Agi
  • Friday Remix with AJ



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Halfway There


 


It's Wednesday, so we are halfway through the work week, YAY!  It's also April 24th, which means I am halfway between birthdays.  Which means I'm turning 30 in 18 months.  So, that's sort of crazy.   

Shirt: Target
Cardigan: J.Crew Outlet
Jeans & Shoes: Gap

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Weekend Shenanigans




The weekend was so fun and busy that I didn't even have time to write a Monday blog post about it.  Our friend, Ben, came to visit for the weekend, so we were having crazy adventures all over Omaha, including, but not limited to:
  • Lunch at a never-before-visited restaurant recommended by Urban Spoon.  "GoldeeZ" was set back in a shady-looking strip mall, and the menu featured sections such as "AppetiZers, PiZZa, SandwicheZ, and Soup&Salad."  I'm sort of offended on behalf of Soup & Salad.  Why not "Zoup & Zalad" or "SoupZ and SaladZ" to fit in with the other headings?  We may never know.  Ben has a Z in his last name, so I felt like John and I should pretend to be Zmiths, or SmithZ.
  • Bowling - in which I broke 100 in both games!  I usually fall apart at the end, but I got two strikes in the 10th frame!  (I tried to ignore the fact that the children in the lane next to us were significantly better than me.  10yr old girl rolls a strike - Andi rolls a gutter.  The boy (probably 8 or so) congratulated me when I got my first spare.  They were very polite, and way too good at bowling!)
  • Dinner at my favorite restaurant in town, including my favorite dessert. 
  • Settlers of Catan - not one, but TWO games.  I'm not allowed to say who won both games, so you can come to your own conclusions there.  
  • The first miniature golf of the season!  Sunday brought warmer weather and excessive wind, but mini-golf seemed like a great idea.  I was still in my church clothes, so I ran into some difficulty with my dress and scarf, but we had a great time.  I'm also not allowed to say who won at mini-golf.  Let's just say I managed to get a hole in one on a couple of the holes.  
When I learned that the weather was supposed to be nice again, I took advantage of the opportunity to wear my new favorite dress.  Since my church is pretty casual, I thought a denim jacket and flat shoes would make it less dressy.  I still felt like a very fancy lady.  And then I felt sort of overdressed for mini-golf.  

Dress: Banana Republic Outlet
Scarf: Calvin Klein
Jacket: Izod
Shoes: Target
Purse: Dooney and Bourke (gift)

  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Review - The Fault In Our Stars


If you haven't read The Fault in Our Stars, go read it right now.  I read it on our flight home after the cruise, which made the day go by quickly, but also made me uncomfortable as I was laughing and then crying on the plane.  I should pay more attention to the books I read in public, and try to avoid excessive emotional displays.

The book follows Hazel and Augustus, two teenagers who are dealing with cancer, remission, and just trying to be teenagers.  I immediately loved both of them, and how they related to each other.  I have heard complaints from other readers that they aren't realistic teenagers.  I suspect those people haven't spent much time around intelligent teenagers.  I also suspect that a 16-year-old who expected to die at 14 probably has a bit more depth than the average teenager.  Plus, it's a work of fiction, so the characters are allowed to be unbelievable at times.

I also really loved that the book is set in Indianapolis.  I didn't know anything about John Green, so I was unaware that he is from Indy, and was surprised when things sounded familiar.  Castleton Mall, Broad Ripple, and Holliday Park are all familiar to me, so I was able to picture the exact location he was describing.  I love it when movies or books take place somewhere that I have been! 

I don't know what else to say about this book, other than it is my favorite from the last several months.  I'm sure it will be turned into a movie soon.  Go read it.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Book Review - Eleanor & Park


At the end of February, my friend Brooke invited me to a book signing for Rainbow Rowell's new book, Eleanor and Park.  I felt a little weird going along, since I hadn't read her first book, but it sounded like something I would enjoy, so I went, thinking I wouldn't buy the book, but just borrow it from Brooke.  Then I felt like I should buy the book.  Then Ms. Rowell did a reading and answered some questions, and I was pretty sure I would love the book.  Then the signing portion started, and I felt awkward, because I didn't know what to say when I got up there.  No worries - she was SO NICE!  And for my readers who care about fashion, she was wearing really cool shoes, and complimented my outfit.



I left for vacation the next day, and already had a stack of books that I was taking along (and was worried about messing up my fancy signed copy), so I waited to read E&P until I got home.  I really liked it.  Here are some reasons why:
  • It is set in Omaha, so it was fun to know the area.
  • Rainbow Rowell was wonderful at the signing.  I liked her so much, that I already liked the book before I even started reading it.
  • Eleanor's hair look a lot like mine, only red.  
  • The main characters are weirdos (and not in the "Hollywood misfit" way where the girl is basically a supermodel wearing glasses who likes to read - but actual misfits, with real flaws and real problems).  I guess I just believe their story more than some teenagers.    
  • The ending - this was a love/hate.  It's kind of open to interpretation, but I suspect my interpretation is not what the author intended.  I'm just going to believe what I want to believe.
I also just read Attachments, and liked it even more than E&P.   I'll write up a post about that one soon.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Green Skirt Remix





Random thoughts for you on this Friday:
  • I thought the colors in this outfit were so pretty together, so I am copycatting!   
  • My broken boot is fixed!  When I picked it up from the repair shop a couple weeks ago, it was about 70 degrees outside.  I joked that my boots were fixed just in time for warmer weather.  Be careful what you joke about, because it might snow in mid-April! 
  • Meet my new lace tee from H&M.  I've had this on my list for a few months, so I'm excited to wear it with everything I own!
  • I got this skirt on clearance at Target just before Christmas.  It was $8.  And then I found out the emerald is the "color of the year," which I really don't understand how one color gets that honor, but I am so ready for wearing green!  I've already worn it several times, so thought it deserved a remix post.  Here are 5 other ways I've worn it! 
1/2/3/4/5
I'm also linking up with AJ for her weekly remix!  Go check it out!


Top: H&M
Belt: Gap
Cardigan: Urban Outfitters
Skirt: Target

Boots: Guess via TJ Maxx

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Flowers and More Showers

  




Even though it hasn't really felt like spring very much, I'm excited to jump on the floral bandwagon and link up with Bri for Third Thursday Threads!  Plus I found my fancy flower umbrella just in time for more rain (and the flower-themed link up).

Whitney's recent post reminded me that I love how stripes look with floral.  If you are new to the idea of mixing prints, I'd recommend starting out by selecting prints in the same color family.  The navy and white of these prints "go together" and make it a little less crazy than some other print mixing options.

You may or may not notice that I chopped about 4 inches off my hair.  It feels really short to me, but I doubt anyone else will notice, since it is still pretty long, but it used to reach almost to my elbows!  It's sort of dangerously close to being triangle hair, but that is always a risk when I get a haircut.  My curls feel much lighter and springier, unlike the weather.

And finally, I had another wardrobe malfunction.  Around noon, I noticed a snagged thread on my tights and thought I could just snip it off.  Mistake.  A small hole appeared immediately, and as the day progressed, it turned into a giant run.  So, I will be looking for a new pair of gray tights, but hopefully not until next fall!

Shirt: Gap
Belt: Chinese Laundry via TJ Maxx
Skirt: Bass Outlet
Tights: Target
Boots: Wanted via Piperlime
Umbrella:  Birthday gift from my parents (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Guys and Ladies/Girls/Women




Have you all noticed there isn't a good female alternative for "guy"?  I mean, if I am talking about a male co-worker, I would say "this guy at work...", but if I am talking about a female co-worker, I'm stumped.  Woman?  Lady?  Girl?  Gal?  No, those all sound weird.  Is there a good alternative I am just forgetting?  These are the things I worry about.

In other news...

You guys, I finally found a leopard print scarf, and it was only $7!  I really wish there was an H&M in Omaha.  Although it might be trouble.  I also found these polka dot shoes on my shopping adventures in Arizona.  If you are wondering how many pairs of polka dot shoes a lady/woman/girl needs, the answer is at least 3 (exhibit A and B).

Scarf: H&M
Shirt: Gap
Jacket: Izod
Jeans: Old Navy
Shoes: Gap Outlet





Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Literary Junkies Time







Hi there!  It's book nerd time again.  Argyle is sort of bookish, right?  Right!  Here are the questions for this month:

What are you currently reading? Tell us about it!
The Shepherd of the Hills - set in the Ozarks around 1900, it starts with the arrival of a mysterious stranger form the city, and then the story starts to build from there, and we learn more about the folks who live in the mountains.  So far, I really like it.

Let's learn about each others Reading Habits!! Answer the following questions either with a simple answer or with lots of details!  
  • Amazon or brick and mortar?  library
  • Locally owned bookshop or big name chain store?  library
  • Bookmark or dog-ear?  usually bookmark, unless I can't find one, and then I dog-ear.  A friend recently got me in trouble for this and said I should have learned not to fold corners in elementary school.  Oops!
  • Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?  by author mostly
  • Keep, throw away, or sell?  keep favorites, sell or donate others.  I really try not to buy books, because I rarely re-read them, and they just take up space and are difficult to move!  
  • Keep dust jacket or toss it?  keep it
  • Read with dust jacket or remove it?  remove to read
  • Short story or novel?  novel
  • Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?  no preference.  I don't read a lot of short stories, so I guess it would depend.  If it was a favorite author, I'd pick a collection.  If it was a favorite topic, I'd pick an anthology.  
  • Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?  I have to get to a stopping point!  
  • “It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?  Well, I'm not a big fan of scary stuff, so I guess "once upon a time"
  • Buy or borrow?  borrow
  • New or used?  either is fine
  • Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse?  combination.  I get a lot of recommendations from friends, but sometimes I just wander around the library.  
  • Tidy ending or cliffhanger?  I prefer closure
  • Morning, afternoon or nighttime reading?  If possible, all of the above.  With my current life schedule, I mostly read at night.  My favorite thing is reading outside on a nice day.  
  • Single volume or series?  I like both.  I usually try to be patient until the series is complete to start the first book, because I don't like having gaps between each one.  
  • Favorite series?  This is a tough decision.  The first ones that popped into my mind were The Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, and the Chronicles of Narnia.  
  • Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?  probably the book I am currently reading - The Shepherd of the Hills 
Have you read any good books lately?  

Outfit details:
Sweater: Old Navy
Shirt and Jeans: Gap
Shoes: BCBGeneration

Monday, April 15, 2013

April Showers





Let's talk about the weather, okay?  It is mid-April and last week we experienced all of the seasons.  Monday was warm and beautiful, and I wore this.  Rumor has it that over the weekend, we even got up into the 70s, but I was gallivanting around Arizona, so I can't really confirm those allegations.  Tuesday started out nice, but got significantly colder as the day progressed, and then we had a crazy hail storm that night.  It rained all day Wednesday, and then snowed on Thursday, and I'm just not really sure how to dress myself when there is so much variability in the weather!  I'm falling back on my jeans almost every day.  

On the rainy Wednesday, I started with the thought that I should wear my rain boots.  Then I worked from there.  Add my giraffe umbrella and I was ready to go!  Sadly, the giraffe umbrella is now broken.  Don't worry, I have another one!  (I just have to find it...)

Trench coat, Sweater, Jeans: Gap
Blazer: H&M
Boots: Target

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bloglovin'




By now, you've probably heard that Google Reader (and maybe Google Friend Connect) is going away.  When I heard the news, I switched to Bloglovin for my daily blog reading.  It was really easy to make the switch, and I was able to import my Google Reader blogs into Bloglovin.

Pros:
  • It was a good time to trim down my list of blogs.  The list had grown so much that I was missing out on the ones I really wanted to read.
  • Bloglovin seems easier to make groups of blogs, and mark certain ones as read.  

Con:
  • I have to open each blog to read the full post.  Google Reader had the full post most of the time (depending on the blogger settings).  I don't think it actually takes longer, but it seems annoying to have to open each blog in a new tab.

One thing I have heard/read from other bloggers is that it will be nice for GFC to go away, because then we won't all be so focused on the number of followers.  I don't really get this, because Bloglovin' still tells you a number of followers.

Anyway, if you are currently using Google Reader, I would recommend Bloglovin as an alternative.  You can import your GR subscriptions, or just start fresh.  You can find and follow me here!

PS - I'm being an outfit copycat again.  I don't think I would have thought of combining yellow, pink, and purple, but this picture inspired me!  I was going to wait until it was warm, but I got impatient, and I really like how the denim jacket and gray boots tone down the crazy bright colors. 


Shirt: Gap
Scarf: Charming Charlie
Skirt: Sunny Leigh via Macy's
Boots: Wanted via Piperlime

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Books: The Paris Wife and A Moveable Feast


The Paris Wife by Paula McLain is the Literary Junkies Book Club selection for April.  I actually planned ahead and read it during vacation.  It is the story of Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley.

Based only on this book, without thinking too much about the fact/fiction part of it all, I thought it was just okay.   I gave it 2 stars out of 5.  I was interested in it, and Hadley and Ernest had a strange relationship with each other and various other characters in Paris (some well-known artists/writers of the time).  The ending was sad, but then, it had to be, because we all know Hadley is his "first wife" and we all know how Hemingway's life ended. 

I didn't know very much about Hemingway's early life, so as I read the book, I was curious about how much was "historical" and how much was "fiction."

I really enjoy historical fiction that is based around real events, but the main characters are just made up by the author, like Fall of Giants, which is set during WWI and has some peripheral characters that are real historical figured, but the specific lives that he focuses on are fictional.  I also don't mind stories about real people if they are sort of mysterious people, where we only know a small piece of their life, and then the author imagines the rest of the puzzle, like in The White Queen.   

The Paris Wife just seemed weird to me, because the main characters are real people, who lived less than 100 years ago, and we have pretty detailed information about what happened to them.  I don't really get how an author can just take a true story about real people and re-word it, maybe add in some assumed feelings, and get credit for writing a novel.    

I decided it would be interesting to read Hemingway's "memoir" (even though he says to consider it fiction) about that same time period, to see how much matched up, so I got A Moveable Feast from the library.  I really wish I had read it first.  Many of the stories are the same, which is expected, but takes me back to my original question of how McLain gets credit for writing a "novel" when she didn't really come up with anything.  A Moveable Feast was more interesting to me, and I mostly learned that F. Scott Fitzgerald is CRAZY!   

Hemingway was also pretty crazy, so I don't know how much to believe about what really happened.  I have read a fair amount of his work, and I generally enjoy the story, until then ending when I am sobbing. 

Have you read either of these books?  Are you a fan of Hemingway?  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

All the Colors






I'll be honest - I feel like a very fancy lady in this dress.  I found it at the Banana Republic outlet over the weekend, and was smitten by the colorful stripes!  I feel like a pack of Fruit Stripe gum, in the best possible way.

The necklace and cardigan are also spoils from the weekend of shopping in Arizona.  These were both items that I have been looking for over the past few months.  I decided I should keep a list, so I remember what I want to buy, and don't just make impulse decisions (even though striped dresses are great impulse buys!).

What's on your shopping list these days?

Dress: Banana Republic Outlet
Cardigan: Gap Outlet
Necklace: H&M
Purse: Dooney& Bourke (gift)
Watch: Fossil (gift)
Lapis Ring: gift
Shoes: BCBGeneration