Monday, March 31, 2014

Peer Pressure Pants

Peer pressure got the best of me, and I broke down and bought my own pair of Pixie pants from Old Navy. So much for staying strong, I guess. Stephanie did a great job reviewing the pants, and I don't have much to add. I do think they have the potential to be universally flattering for MOST body types, but like the Rockstar skinny jeans, they require trying on and messing around with the sizes. Some women may feel more comfortable sizing up, and because these pants are a thick, stretchy material, sizing up is easy and won't result in baggy butts or saggy crotches.

I disagree with reviews claiming that the pants are too thin- that's just not true. In fact, I would say that thickness-wise, they are very similar to the Rockstars. It definitely feels like you are wearing a substantial pair of pants. That little 5% spandex addition, while it's not a miracle worker, did help me feel nice and tucked it, no muffin top action going on. I probably wouldn't pay full-price for the Pixie pants, right at $35, but when they go on sale for less than $25, I definitely think you will be getting your money's worth out of them.

Pixie Pants- Old Navy (Buy Here)
Black Tee- Old Navy (Similar Here)
Yellow Cardigan-        (Similar Here)
D'Orsay flats- Forever 21 (Buy Here)

I also like the versatility of the pants. Like Stephanie showed us, they can easily be dressed up or down. I usually shy away from graphic designs, but I thought this black-and-white option could be paired with tons of colors and different tops. I'm glad I branched out. I wore these on a laid-back weekend lunch and movie outing (I accidentally fell asleep during Muppets Most Wanted, but totally cried just watching the trailer for the upcoming Annie remake!), but I would feel equally comfortable in them at work.

I'm also loving these D'Orsay flats from Forever 21. I been looking for a new pair of black flats for a while now. My others has seen better days, and then Lulu finished them off for me in a chewing frenzy. I liked the cute cut-out details of these, but I am having to get used to the pointy toe length. I feel a little like I'm wearing clown shoes! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Gathering Nectar: Land's End Floral Flare Dress

You all know that saying about March- "In like a lion, out like a lamb"- well, my March is trying it's best to hold on to that lion! This is spring break week, and the weather has been less than cooperative. We've seen a fair amount of rain, temps dropping below freezing on multiple days, and I am beginning to question (while I type this up and listen to the pouring rain) where my spring is and when does it intend to arrive, soft and gentle like a lamb.

On one of our sunny days earlier this week, I wore this dress from Land's End (on sale for $14.97!), while Sean and Lulu frolicked in the backyard. Well, Lulu, frolicked. Sean kinda rampaged, but you know how boys are! At some point I look around and spy both of them chomping on dandelions growing wild in the yard. I expect it of a dog, but Sean??! I asked him, "Whatcha doin'? Does that taste good?",trying not to laugh at him. 

He, matter of factly, responded, "I'm getting out the nectar." Guess I need to show him some photos of honeysuckle because I feel pretty certain he wasn't getting and nectar out of those dandelions!

Off topic, but important--- I FINALLY got the information for the True Blue friendship contest back in February (sooooo sorry it took the PR company so long), and I can FINALLY give away the TWO $100 promo codes to J.Jill, BUT I forgot to tell all of my lovely entries to leave an email address, so I can contact you if you are the winner. So if you entered back in February, PLEASE comment below (or click here to comment on your original entry) and leave me your email address! Thanks!

Dress- Land's End (Buy Here, only $15!!)
Sweater- Kohl's (Similar Here, Here, and Here)
Boots- Old Navy (Similar Here, Here, and Here)
Belt- Cato's (Similar Here)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Anchors Away

I'm not someone who usually cares much about brands and name-dropping. Growing up without a lot of money, the only time I got name brand clothing was if it happened to be at the thrift store or on the clearance rack of my local TJMaxx. Some things are important to people, and some things are not. For me, I'm fine wearing Old Navy instead of Gap and Wal-Mart instead of Banana Republic. Maybe if I were to magically drop 50 pounds and could actually fit into all those fancy brands, I might completely change my mind, but for now I'm fine with what I've got to work with.

Denim Jacket- Old Navy (Buy Here)
Anchor T-Shirt Dress- Old Navy (Buy Here)
White Moccasins- Minnetonka (Buy Here)
Anchor Bracelet- Kate Spade (Buy Here)

The only brand I ever feel sad that I can't wear is Kate Spade. The aesthetic she has built is very appealing to me- I love the prints and patterns and silhouettes. It makes me thankful in a way that I am too fat for her clothes, because I sure as heck can't afford them! But I feel in love with her Anchor bracelet months ago and pinned it on my Spring and Summer Wardrobe board to pine after because I'm not going to spend nearly $70 on a bracelet. Momma's wallet just don't work that way!

But did you know that Pinterest will send you an email if a pin of yours (pinned from a company's website, of course) goes on sale? How cool is that? So when Pinterest informed me that the bracelet was on sale, I searched for a promo code (hint: ALWAYS look for a promo code before buying online) and the bracelet was mine for a little over $30! This is the first "status" type item I've ever owned. It came in the fancy box, which Sean promptly turned into a mushroom for his Mario toy reenactments! I was worried that It may not fit my fat wrist, but it curves perfectly like it was just meant to be mine. I am in love.

I am happy that the nautical theme seems to be hanging around again this year because this is the perfect accessory.  I wore this outfit Saturday for lunch and grocery shopping. I love all the pieces together- I felt ready to go out on the yacht or something. OK, maybe not quite ready for the yacht, but Target instead of Wal-Mart? I can totally do that! Happy Monday and Anchors Away!


Friday, March 21, 2014

Old Navy Pixie Pants Review

Last week I had a ton of questions about the Old Navy Pixie Pants, and since I actually don't own a pair, I asked my sister-in-law to write up a review for us! After reading her post and seeing how cute the pants were, I've actually already ordered my own pair! So without further ado- here's Stephanie!

Hey y’all! I’m Katie’s sister-in-law, Stephanie. I’ve been in a few pictures on here before, but most recently I drove her to south Alabama to pick up her sweet new puppy! Anyways, Katie wanted me to drop in and tell you about my latest obsession, Old Navy’s new Pixie pants! I love that Old Navy denim comes in so many different shapes…I’ve been wearing the Sweetheart (“for curvier shapes with a defined waist”) for years. Since I’m a Sweetheart devotee, I was nervous to try the new Pixie pant. They claim to be for all shapes and sizes, but so do the Rockstar jeans and those fit terribly no matter how much I size up!

 I have never felt that I was a “plus-size” girl, because I’m blessed with height to stretch it all out, but since I’m not a stick-figure teenager anymore it can be hard to find pants that aren’t low-rise or too tight in the butt or too big in the waist. I am the definition of pear-shaped!! I’m super open, so I’ll just say I’m 5’9”, and a size 14/16. I’m all hips, butt, and legs!! I’ve lost 20 lbs since New Year’s (yay!), so I’ve been wanting new pants even though my size hasn’t really changed. I have been looking for the perfect pair of ankle pants that can transition from work (I’m a librarian) and be comfy/casual for going out after work.

V-Neck Tees- Target
Scarf- Gift (similar here)
Pants- Old Navy

I bought a navy pair of Pixie pants on a whim and I can’t even tell you how amazing they made me feel! They run true to size, I bought 14 long. They are available in 3 lengths and up to size 20! First off, they aren’t denim! They’re a soft, comfy cotton (Don’t put them in the dryer! I learned that the hard way!). The first thing I noticed was how flattering they are. I don’t get the waist gap, they’ve got enough stretch for comfort but not so much they sag by the end of the day, and best of all, my butt looks AMAZING in them! It looks like I do squats or something (which I most definitely don’t!)!! They’re also really practical, because they look nice enough for business-casual if you dress them up, but can also be worn with a t-shirt for hanging out around the house or going to a baseball game! I can’t say enough great things about the Pixie! I have never felt so great in a pair of pants! They were on sale recently and I now own 5 pairs! So do yourself a favor and at least go try a pair on. If you’re anything like me, you’ll buy ‘em on the spot and never look back!

Here are some of Stephanie's favorite Pixie looks, and I have to say, I'm a believer! I can't wait to try mine out!

Outfit Details:
Outfit 1: Top- TuskWear, Red Pixie Pants

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What to Wear: Plus-Size AND Petite

Reader Michelle contacted me over the weekend. She is feeling pretty discouraged because of some recent weight gain. Like many of us, she is struggling with motivation, but she knows that looking good will also make her feel better about herself. Finally like many women, Michelle finds it hard to relate to the statuesque plus size models because she's petite and not as hourglass-proportioned.

Michelle wants some help finding clothes that make her feel her best. Who can't relate to that? Last summer I wrote a guide to Personal Style and Plus-Size Shopping. It's a nice basic primer for anyone looking to add to their wardrobe, and you can read it here. Being 5'6" (I actually tower over both my parents!), I don't struggle with the plight of the "petite plus" crowd, but I've found some resources to help all of you!

Several  major retailers, including Talbots, Land's End, Catherine's carry petite plus sizes. You will probably have to shop online for these specialized sizes, but sometimes that hassle is totally worth it. One of  my favorite bloggers, Alison from Wardrobe Oxygen is petite and Curvy, and she is a veritable wealth of inspiration and resources for the plus-size AND petite. Here's a great post about buying clothes when you aren't shaped like a mannequin that may be helpful.

The Curvy Fashionista just posted 8 Places to Shop if You are Petite and Plus Size. She also recently posted 7 Petite Plus-Size Rules to Break for some added inspiration!

Finally, this blog post from The Haute Curvy Woman is over two years old, but the tips and advice for overcoming The Challenges of Being a Plus-Size Petite Woman are timeless!

Readers, do you have any advice or bloggers for Michelle to check out?!?

Also, I'm thinking about making this a regular (or semi-regular) post because I get lots of questions in emails that I think the answers would benefit many. What do you think?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Brands I Buy: ASOS (and a Giveaway!)

I'm one of those weird people who gets really obsessed over things. Take for example, my dog, Lulu. In the months since I've known I was getting her, I have been slowly amassing a collection of French Bulldog/Boston Terrier accessories and clothes.I literally can't help myself. A hairbrush? OK! Shopping bag? OK! Socks? OK!

T-shirt- c/o ASOS Curve (Buy Here)
Ponte Blazer- Cato's (Similar Here)
Mint Wedges Urban Outfitters (Similar Here)
Coated Jeans- Old Navy (Buy Here)
Watch- c/o ASOS Curve (Buy Here)
Mint Bracelet and Necklace- Premier Designs (Buy Here)

So when ASOS offered me $25 to come up with a fun spring look, I KNEW this shirt would be mine! I had been eyeing it for a couple of weeks now. I know it's cheesy, but I literally cannot help myself. The best part? The shirt was only $15, so I still had money left over! I put it towards this really cute friendship bracelet watch, and ended up paying only $9 out of pocket. ASOS is a British store, but they offer free shipping AND returns to the US, so buying from them is super easy and stress free. I love their plus-size line, and I was thrilled when they offered a $35 gift card to a Hems for Her reader as well! Below I'm showing off some of my favorite ASOS Curve pieces and below THAT- a super easy giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 14, 2014

How to Wear: Chinos for Spring 2014

I think I've only ever owned like one pair of khakis- shapeless, sexless, uniform-esque pants- so when J.Jill asked if I wanted to try out a pair of their Live-In Chinos for March, I wasn't expecting much. I always feel like "Pat" in khakis, so I didn't see how their chinos could be any different. But when I started looking around at their options, I was excited at the silhouettes, not a "Pat"-pant in sight!

Denim Jacket- Old Navy (Buy Here)
T-Shirt- Old Navy (Buy Here)
Chinos- J.Jill (Buy Here)
Moccasins- Minnetonka (Buy Here)
Jewelry- Premier Designs (Buy Here)

I chose the Live-In Chino Ankle Pants in Zest. I thought it was going to be a lemony-yellow color, but it's actually the color of Key Lime Pie. Do you want Key Lime Pie now too?? The color is fresh and spring-y, and looks great with so many different colors. The cut is also a nice spring transition, just showing a peek of the ankles- perfect for cute flats and wedges alike.  For a pant that's been around since Levi's invented khakis back in 1906, it is very modern and stylish. I think I was really intimidated at first, but when I started thinking of them as just a pair of skinny jeans in a super soft fabric, it really helped with styling.

I pinned some of my favorites on my Spring and Summer Wardrobe Pinterest board, so you can get more inspiration there! 

J.Jill has four different Live-In Chino silhouettes, including Live-In Chino Ankle Pants (like mine!), Live-In Chino Boyfriend Pants, Live-In Chino Shirtdress, and Live-In Chino Skirt. Because people always ask, and I always forget, washing these just increased the softness and the peach-fuzz texture of the pants. I don't think any pair of chinos can be wrinkle-free; I actually steamed mine right before taking photos. So if you are a really stickler for starched, perfect pants, then you may need to keep looking, but if you are looking for a comfortable, casual pant for spring and summer, then this is what you need! J.Jill is sharing a special coupon code with Hems for Her readers to help you stock up for spring!
Now through March 26th, you can save 30% on a single full-priced item with an exclusive offer from J. Jill.  Enter code CHINO at checkout.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by J.Jill. As a member of the J.Jill Life Stylers, I received a pair of chinos for review. All opinions are my own, as always.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I Bet You Didn't Know

Thanks for such a great response to Monday's post! I didn't want to seem like a total grouch, so I thought I'd share a few funny facts with you today and show off my eShakti dress I bought last month and have finally had a chance to wear!

I bet you didn't know:

* I wrote this post at 2:30 AM Tuesday morning. I was wide-awake after a steroid shot from the doctor on Monday. I have been sick for a solid week and apparently had walking pneumonia. So much for trying to "work through" a cold. Who knows if I will be able to get back to sleep, but I sure wish I had this kind of boundless energy throughout the day!

* Right before taking these photos, Lulu threw up on me! I guess she gets carsick. I don't care what anyone says, having a new puppy is pretty much just like having a baby (watch minute 19-21. So great!). The main differences I see so far is that my dog actually sleeps better than new born Sean did, but Sean was able to wear diapers, so.... it's a toss-up really.

* I have gotten four speeding tickets in my life. The most recent was almost two years ago, and I was driving my mini-van. I swear to you, I spent years assuming that mini-vans were invisible to police and state troopers. This is not true. They will pull you over.

* I have this irrational fear of taking the dog out in the middle of the night and two scenarios occurring. In the first, I walk outside and there is a murder/rapist/serial killer/runaway prisoner outside waiting for me. Terrifying, I know. The second one is ridiculous, but I swear it's scarier to me. I walk outside and walking around on all fours like a bear or something is a creepy alien and it's eating Lulu's poop. Being abducted by poop-eating aliens is some scary crap, seriously. This is what I get for reading too much creepypasta late at night.

*The websites I visit every day (outside of basic social media) are BuzzfeedCrackedOddee, and Listverse. I love them all for kooky, interesting stories, and I am addicted to Buzzfeed's absolutely ridiculous quizzes, though I'm still mad that on the cheese quiz, it said I was mozzarella! I mean it's only the most boring cheese of all-time.

* I love to eat non-traditional foods for breakfast, like pizza and leftover hamburgers. I have to have some protein in the morning or I will feel queasy till lunch time. Luckily Curtis is the same way, so we don't gross each other out in the mornings!

Dress- Eshakti (still available, and they are currently having
another Buy Two, get One Free!)
Shoes- Kohl's (similar here)
Jewelry- Premier Designs (shop here)

* I love watching scary movies, despite my irrational fears of my own backyard. However, I am TERRIFIED of haunted houses. You couldn't pay me to go through one at Halloween!

* I'm not working Wednesday because I have THREE, yes, three, doctors' appointment schedule. That's the way a teacher has to do things. I probably could have been really industrious and worked in one more appointment, but I figured having already been once this week, that 3 would suffice.

This is the face you make when you
see your sweet puppy eating her own poop!
* I have a very short fuse and a terrible temper. I am quick to speak before thinking, so I have to go back and apologize a lot. Sarcasm is second-nature, and I usually don't even recognize that I've said something mean or hurtful until the recipient tells me later. It's something I am working on all the time.

* I have a myriad of health problems that I sometimes think about writing about, but I don't want to look whiny or like a hypochondriac.

So tell me something you bet I don't know about you!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Can You (Really) Do What You Love?

I've seen lots of buzz in the past week about this Do What You Love post from blogger A Pair & a Spare. After reading it, I was all gung-ho, "Oh, yeah, I need to figure out what I love so I can DO it!" And then I faltered. What DO I love? What am I passionate about? Over dinner Saturday night, I posed the question to Curtis after briefly describing the point of the post. He totally scoffed at the notion and said, "You do a job that pays the bill. What you love can be your hobby."  Then he went on this mini-tirade I've heard a lot lately about how Sean better not try to major in a pointless subject college like journalism, psychology, advertising, religious studies, etc. (no offense, these were our concentrations). According to Curtis, Sean will major in something he can tolerate, and even like, but it must be practical first and foremost.

This rant didn't exactly answer my original question, so I redirected his attention, "But what do I love?" We determined over pizza and beers that I love eating, writing, sleeping, reading, and being lazy, not really interests that are high on the pay scale, right? My husband is always pragmatic, but it was really discouraging to hear "No, Katie. You can't do what you love." This is a sore point for me every year around this time. I am mentally and physically exhausted; Spring Break is on the horizon; I feel discouraged and run over by uninterested students and unsupportive parents. I think to myself- "Can I realistically do this for another 20 years?" I hated high school when I was in high school- what was I thinking picking a job that would require me to go back to high school EVERY SINGLE DAY?!?!? Do I love teaching? Is teaching my passion?

In the original post the author says to find your passion it can help to ask yourself- "What's in my DNA? What have I enjoyed doing since the beginning of time?" According to my school days diary, for the majority of my elementary school years, I wanted to be either an "artiste", a "teachr", a "writr:, or a "modele". So I gave myself lots of options at least. But the only one that's realistic is teaching. I mean, I love writing, and I write for fun, but that's not a realistic full-time job for me.  So is it possible to realistically do what you love for a living? Does it make me a terrible person to admit that while I like teaching, I don't think it's my lifelong passion? Is this just totally typical, and I'm making a big deal out of nothing?

So do you do what you love? And since this is such a heavy topic, I thought I'd lighten things up by sharing a pic of Lulu sleeping on my shoulder. She's such a sweetie!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Plus-Size Target Picks Under $20

You may have heard lots of bloggers and shoppers complaining about Target's disappearing Plus-Size selections in stores. I read months ago that Target was revamping its (lackluster, at least in my opinion) plus selections and would reveal the new line of designs in spring 2014. The good news is Target has a ton of great plus-size pieces marked down online. I am sharing some of my favorite sale items below. None of them cost more than $20!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mabel? Or Edith? Maybe Ethel?

Last week a student, well-meaning, I'm sure, made the casual comment that my awesome yellow glasses made me look "really old." Then the same day, Sean told me I was old and had spiderwebs in my mouth (??). Back-to-back blows to my self-esteem has made it pretty tough over here.

More and more, I am starting to feel not my age (which I think is still pretty young), but older. At lunch we were talking about being afraid to drive in the dark and what good old ladies we would be one day. Some of us even have our old lady nicknames picked out. Not me, though I'm leaning towards Mabel (and no offense if your name is Mabel. It's just always sounded like an old name ever since I heard it on Mad about You. Remember? "Mothers Always Bring Extra Love"?).

Sweater- Lane Bryant (old- similar here)
Shirt- c/o Foxcroft (Buy Here)
A-line Skirt- Old Navy (old, similar here)
Belt- Old Navy (no longer available, similar here)
Shoes- Payless( no longer available, similar here)
I pinned a version of this look when I was doing my Foxcroft giveaway. I owned all of the pieces, so it was an easy look to copy. I added the yellow details because apparently I am old, and old people like to be real matchy-matchy.  And yes, I totally based the entire mustard yellow and turquoise blue color scheme on the very pair of glasses that make me look old. Now I feel like I am channeling Sally Jesse Raphael or Dame Edna. So uncool, right?

Steal My Style

Monday, March 3, 2014

Puppy Love

I'm exhausted and stressed. I've been vomited on and pooped on. I have been awake all hours of the night. I have coddled and comforted, fed and bathed. I have laughed. I've said "No!" a million times. I've got it bad.

And you know what, you guys? I think she's got it pretty bad for me too! If you've been reading the blog for a while, then you know that I've been trying to convince Curtis to let me get a dog for a while, and this weekend it finally happened. I would have much rather have waiting until this summer when I could have been home with her sweet baby face every day, but I can't control puppy-making anymore than I can control anything else in my life.

So, I'm really happy to introduce you to Lumpy Space Princess, Lulu for short, the newest member of our little family! Sean is thrilled with his new baby, and it's so cute to see him playing with her, and telling her, "Come to Poppa, girl!" He's doing such a great job. While Curtis will still tell you that he's less than thrilled to have another mess-maker in the house, I've seen him taking a lot of pictures of her and baby-talking her too, so I know he's smitten as much as the rest of us.

She is 2 and 1/2 pounds of pure awesomeness! I just wish I could figure out some way to stay home with her all the time! I am "trying" to keep my Instagram clear of non=stop puppy pics, but if you are into that sort of stuff, you can follow Lulu on her Instagram. Yes, I'm a dork, I know!
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