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Coat:  Calvin Klein
Dress: ASOS
Shoes: Ralph Lauren
Bracelet: JewelMint

Last week I was running late to a meeting the day before I took off for my Christmas vacation.  I walked into a very small, enclosed conference room which was warm and too full of people and immediately felt like I was back in high school.  Someone was wearing Calvin Klein Obsession.  I don't find very many people who wear Obsession anymore, but it was one of the first fragrances I wore and it made me remember being young and trying to figure out what types of scents I wanted to wear.  Ironically, A wanted fragrance for the first time for Christmas.  She read several descriptions online and was sure that she would like something with vanilla that was sweet smelling.  When we went into Sephora for her to actually sample those on her list, she was really surprised that she didn't like any that she thought she would.  Sephora will make you a sample of three scents every time you go in to give you a chance to try them and make your choice.  She finally settled on Lady Gaga's Fame.  Everyone in the family was sure that it was because of Lady Gaga, but when we passed it around on Christmas Eve, almost everyone liked it.  The oddest thing for me is that my baby is a teenager.  When did that happen?

Linked to What I Wore Wednesday on The Pleated Poppy



Sweater: Ron Leal
Pants: Ann Taylor

I love things that you can modify, change or use in some other way.  I've started to post on another blog, The Bespoke Lifestyle, about all the other interests in my life, and over there you can see the latest piece of furniture which I'm using in a new way.  This scarf is another example.  It's a cheap, little, give-away which I got at Ulta over a year ago.  I've had it in a drawer, but on my recent closet purging, I pulled it out and saw the buttons.  Why I wondered, does this scarf have buttons.  Then I read the little attached tag which described different ways to drape and button it.  Honestly, most of them didn't require buttons but were just your standard ways of draping a scarf, but it did show how to style it the way I've done it here as sleeves or as a cape which intrigued me.

Thank you to everyone who left kind words about my work situation.  I'm still employed.  My staff of 40 people was split into four groups.  Three of them went with me, and we have been joined by 14 others where we will be forming a new department.  I hate to admit to being a glass half empty kind of person right now (and I'm really working on trying to be more positive with my thinking - you should see my bedtime reading to prove it!), but every time someone tells me how exciting this is for me, I cringe.  If I had this opportunity five years ago, I would have pounced on it.  Now I keep second guessing myself and waiting for it to blow up in my face, to get the call that they've changed their minds.  A lot of it has to do with not feeling like I have the greatest support network at work right now.  It is so true that under times of stress you find out who your real friends are.  I'm plugging along though.  I have so much to be thankful for, and when I look around at the challenges that others are facing, it feels really selfish to complain.  I have my healthy family, and we have a home and more luxuries than I can count.  We decided to take a new dog into our family this week who my wonderful niece has rescued.  He has some health problems, but we got great news today that he could be ours much sooner than expected.  We've decided to name him Seamus, and I'll introduce him when he arrives.

Linked to: Lipgloss and Crayons and Two Thirty Five Designs



Dress: BCBG
Sunglasses: Gucci
Bracelet: Shashi
Bag: Coach

I was cleaning photos off of the Mac and came across these that I had never posted from August.  This was in the midst of the hottest, most humid string of weather we had this summer which I think shows in my hair.  But even in the heat, the hub and I wanted to get out of the house one day.  We decided to run out for a quick treat, and I've been driving by this little coffee place for a while, so we decided to give it a try.  Even in the heat, I have to have my coffee, but the hub went for iced tea.  Unfortunately for us, lots of people had the same idea, and there was no place for us to sit inside, so here we are pressed into the shade trying to enjoy our drinks.  I have to admit that we only lasted about five minutes before we headed for the car and the air conditioning at home.

Linked to What I Wore Wednesday on The Pleated Poppy



Sweater: Loft
Dress: J Crew
Coat: Tibi
Bag: Nine West
Shoes: Steve Madden
Earrings: Vintage Dior
Necklace: Brighton

After waiting 19 months for the other shoe to drop, it dropped last night, but it didn't hit the floor.  It is currently suspended on a ledge waiting for another good shove.  Okay enough with the cryptic talk.  My company is reorganizing; I may be like so many others, unemployed soon.  We've known it was coming for 19 excruciating months.  Some days have been easier than others.  Some days it seemed like it was never going to happen because it was taking so long, and some days were painful and resulted in sleepless nights, headaches and neck tension.  Over the last week, things began to accelerate with all signs pointing to some kind of announcement coming at any moment.  Last night I received an email telling me I'm being moved back into the organization I worked in three years ago before I was promoted to my current position.  Most of my staff is not going with me, but we all still have jobs.  I honestly have no idea what my new job is, but it sounds like this is just a temporary stop for a few months while they continue to work on the org structure.  I know I'm not "safe," I know it could still happen, but I'm trying to move forward.  A lot of people have given the advice to view this as an opportunity to think about what I really want to do and to follow that path.  That, I'm finding, is not as easy as it sounds.  

Linked to Visible Monday on Not Dead Yet Style



Jacket: Forever 21 (Similar)
Blouse: H&M
Shoes: Sole Society
Earrings: Bauble Bar

Do you remember how slowly time moved when you were little?  How it took forever for you to get to the next birthday or Christmas?  At some age, everything changes.  How do I know this is true?  Because I used to be able to color my hair every six weeks.  Now, I can hardly get to four without looking like I painted the ceiling and dripped white paint all over myself.  I will be wearing my hair pulled back until Saturday which is the day of relief and  recoloring.  But as I was driving to the office today, I really thought about not coloring my hair anymore.  I've seen some pictures on Pinterest of amazing looking women who have embraced their grey hair.  I made the decision to go with it, and I came home tonight and told my husband.  He raised his eyebrow and said, "I don't think so. You know you won't like it." As much as I wanted to be stubborn, I knew he was right because I had pretty much talked myself out of it on the ride home.  I'm just not ready for it yet.  Maybe next year which will be here sooner than I expect it.

Linked to Monday Mingle on Glamamom


Fashion Bloggers Weekly Round-Up

Fashion Bloggers Weekly Round-Up

Fashion Treatment Fashion Blogger Van Anh from Chopstick Panorama

I'm honored to be included again in this week's Round Up on Fashion Treatment.  This week I especially like  Catie's gift guides on Fleur d'Elise.


Party Wear

Dress and Shoes: Modcloth
Earrings and Bracelet: Bauble Bar
Clutch: Marc Jacobs

Looking for more inspiration for party wear.  This look is too formal for the party we will be going to, but I love the neutral look with lots of texture.  I have more working out to do before I'm ready for a strapless dress, but I do love the detailing on this one.



Top: Topshop
Skirt: H&M
Shoes: Lauren Ralph Lauren
Necklace: Forever 21 (Similar)
Bag: Guess

I love pencil skirts and because this one was such a screaming good deal at H&M on sale for $9.95, I was willing to go a little wild and buy the reptile print.  I do have to admit that once I got it home, the only thing preventing me from taking it back was because it was a final sale.  Then I tried it on with a few different tops, and I fell in love with it.  I've paired it with two different peplum tops, this white one and a grey long sleeve, which I actually like better, but I do like them both.  I expect we'll be seeing quite a bit more of this one in the coming weeks.


Fashion Bloggers Weekly Round-Up

Fashion Treatment Fashion Bloggers Weekly Round-Up Joanna from Anna and Joanna

This week, there are some amazing images coming out of the Fashion Bloggers Weekly Round-Up.  Anna and Joanna has quickly become one of my favorites, and I never would have found them without the round-up.  


Party Wear

Skirt: Marc Jacobs
Shoes: Miu Miu
Necklace: Lulu Frost
Ring: Mawi

This year will be the first year we go to the Christmas party for the company where my husband works. I already find party wear tricky, but this time the wording of the invitation has made it even worse.  The party has a masquerade theme and encourages party wear, but then goes on to say that if you don't want to dress up, you can wear casual attire.  It goes on to discourage flip flops and shorts.  To me, there's a big gap between flip flops and party wear, but knowing that there will probably be a fair share of party guests wearing jeans, I don't want to wear a formal dress.  This outfit has equal doses of comfort and sparkle.  The cardigan will keep me warm on a chilly, winter night, but the skirt is icy, shiny and bright.  The heel is just right for standing around drinking wine in a crowd, and I'm becoming more and more of a fan of jewelry with mixed metals because they are so versatile.  What are your plans for party outfits this year?



Jacket: H&M
Pants: Target
Boots: MIA (Similar)
Bag: Celine
Bracelet: JewelMint

Have you ever noticed that sometimes just as you are feeling really great about something, something happens that sets you back?  Maybe it's a lesson in not having too much pride.  Maybe it's just me being way too critical of myself.  Does everyone do this?  Do even really successful people sink into self-doubt at the worst times?  Things are going along great, it's all clicking together and then, boom, a setback.  Maybe it's just a minor one, but it's so easy for it to become the excuse for second guessing and, suddenly, everything comes to a screeching halt.  The last week was full of some setbacks for me.  I've dwelt on it a lot, and even though I was having some successes in other parts of my life, I let the setbacks overwhelm me. Instead of celebrating some good things that were happening, I let the other stuff take over.  Now that I realize what I've been doing, I'm moving on.  No more pity parties.  No more analysis paralysis.  No more procrastination because if I make a decision, it might be the wrong one.  I'm moving forward again.  The last thing I do whenever I leave the house is put on some lipgloss.  That means that I'm ready to go.  So now I have my lipgloss on again, and I'm ready to go.

Linked to Monday Mingle on Momtrends


Menswear Thread

Coat: Forever 21(Similar)
Pants: Zara
Bag: Celine
Shoes: ShoeMint
Bracelet: JewelMint

Finally a chance to bundle up on some cold, clear days in Southern California.  It will be over by tomorrow, so I'm trying to appreciate it while it lasts.  I'm in love with my new ShoeMint oxblood loafers, so I decided to pair them with dress socks and short trousers (my slim cut from Zara which are my favorites right now, and I wear everywhere) for dinner out on Saturday night.  I should have done a better job thinking about the layer I wore underneath this coat, because I couldn't take my coat off during dinner or I'd freeze.  The stringy scarf is really too short to wind about the neck properly, but I made do.  The other thing I'm wearing everywhere is this JewelMint bracelet.  I love the little jaguar heads staring at each other.  My rosecea took a nasty turn this week probably from a combination of the cool weather, a stressful work week, and bad habits.  When I wear makeup, I absolutely do not touch my face.  Because of the flare-up, I went without makeup for two days.  I then had an almost constant need to touch my face to see how bumpy it was which only made it even worse.  I'm probably the only person whose rosecea gets better while wearing makeup.  I'm my own worst enemy.

Linked to: Casual Friday on Two Thirty-Five Designs



Coat: Calvin Klein (Old but similar cut in tweed)
Shirt: Target
Pants: Zara
Bag: Coach (Old but more Bleeckers)
Shoes Loeffler Randall
Necklaces: JewelMint
Bracelet: Bauble Bar

I've written before about the difficulties I have always had blowing out my hair.  With the crazy weather we've been having, it's been taking so much time to do it, I hate it.  But I'm really trying to not just pull it up every day regardless of the temptation.  My hairdresser is trying to convince me to do a Brazilian blowout.  I think she's just tired of hearing me complain about it.  I'm torn because I've heard so many bad things about the treatment.  Anybody had one?  Any horror stories?  It's hard to tell because of the shadows in these pictures, but I'm actually wearing a blue coat with this black outfit.  I've always thought that navy and black went well together, but I know others don't share my feelings.  I am seeing it out a lot right now though.  I might be giving away these necklaces.  This is the second time I've worn them, and they just don't seem to be me.  Still pondering.  I'd appreciate your feedback on them too.



Necklace: Ippolita

The sleeves on this Elie Tahari coat take the leather sleeve trend to a whole new level for me.  I'll take one please!



Dress: Zara
Blazer: H&M
Necklace: Bauble Bar (Similar)
Bracelet: Vintage

After attending a ladies' luncheon, I can say with certainty that I am not now nor will I ever be a lady who lunches.  At least not in the way that I use that term.  My companions were great.  They were pleasant, welcoming, friendly and fun to chat with, but do you ever find yourself in a situation where you are thinking, "One of these things is not like the others?"  It was me, and I did it to myself.  It had nothing to do with age or economic background.  We ranged in age from 25 to 70.  One person had not had a steady job in two years, another was just starting a career and one was getting ready to retire after a career spent in consulting.  Social, networking lunches are so different from working lunches.  I'm really good at working lunches.  I'm not so good at polite chit-chat which can lead to making connections.  I need to work on that.  I'm entering a new phase in my working life, I'm starting a business, and meeting women  like these and forming connections could all be essential to my future success.  I need to look at networking opportunities just like they are part of my job because they are.  Every cup of tea has to be treated like a working lunch.

I've analyzed and over-analyzed why I was so uncomfortable in this situation: I just couldn't relax.  After years of working on not caring about what people think of me, I sat there for two hours worried about what they were thinking.  In situations like this, where I don't know anyone and it's a new environment, it's so easy for me to slip back into that negative, self-doubt mindset.  I need to just be me.  Just me doesn't really like tea that much even though I spent last week drinking a ton of it while I had a sinus infection (my favorite right now is Good Earth but I think I'm ready to go back to Republic of Tea's Ginger Peach which used to be the only tea I drank when I was sick until I got, well, sick of it).  I will always choose coffee first and always in a huge mug (I love my new, huge Nightmare Before Christmas mug which was a gift from my husband) because that is just me.

Linked to Visible Monday


Fashion Bloggers Weekly Round-Up

That's my cuff as the lead-in photo for this week's Fashion Bloggers Weekly Round-Up on Fashion Treatment.  Please visit as many of the bloggers as you can.

Fashion Treatment Fashion Blogger's Weekly Round-Up



The outfit I would buy today if I won the lottery...

Except you have to play to win.



You know that old saying about the kindness of strangers?  I've been really thankful for that lately.  Starting this blog has brought some really lovely people into my life, and although I may never meet them in real life, they have inspired me and helped me in ways I never would have imagined.  I started this blog A) because my husband told me I needed a hobby, and B) because I was frustrated with the way my face and body were changing after I turned 40, and I wanted to become comfortable with and accepting of myself as I aged.  I've always prided myself on trying to be fashionably dressed, and I wanted to still be that way while dressing appropriately for my age.  I have learned so much in the last year: I realized after years of fighting it, I had to do some form of exercise, and even if I will never be a size 4 again, I need to make conscious decisions to eat a healthy diet.  Those lessons or should I say my realizations of those facts I'm thankful for, but they were things I hear everyday.  I just had to accept them which I have.  Some recent lessons though have been far more exciting.

I received a lovely email from a new reader of the blog recently.  She was very kind, thoughtful and complimentary.  Then she challenged me: "It seems like you spend a lot of money on clothes.  I don't have extra money.  It's easy for people like you to look good."  I know the part I've quoted here may not seem lovely to some of you, but it really was a kind email, and it shocked me because I say that about celebrities all the time.  Of course actress X who is the same age as me looks like she's 30, she has a personal trainer, nutritionist, chef and stylist.  I would look that good if I had her life too.  I know I don't live that life, and I know that I don't look that good, but I do have a lot of clothes.  I knew immediately that the reader is frustrated and not so much at me but at circumstances.  The reason I knew this (or maybe it's just an assumption): I've lived that life.  I've written about my life before here, but to quickly review, there was an 11 year period of my life when my annual clothing budget was around $500, and I never had more than $100 to spend on myself at any one time (and that was a rarity).  During that time, I always held management positions at a Fortune 500 company (where the rest of my money went is not on topic for this kind of blog, but I assure you it was not illicit or illegal).

How did I manage to go to work dressed professionally from my late 20s to 30s on this budget?  I narrowed my wardrobe down to four basic colors, black, white, beige and grey, shopped at stores like Target, TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Ross, and only bought basic items.  My uniform every day was trousers or a skirt, a tee shirt or blouse, a blazer and basic black pumps.  When shopping for my uniform pieces, I would always be looking for a unique cut or extra detail like contrast piping around button holes or ribbon trim.  I became a pro at sticking to my color palette and my uniform pieces while shopping clearance racks but having unique details kept my outfits fresh and made me still feel as though I was expressing style.

Back to the letter from my lovely reader.  She questioned if I could dress like "me" if I were on her budget.  In my defense, I have quite a bit more in my closet from H&M, Zara and Forever 21 than I do from Neiman's and Sak's.  On a daily basis, I mix high and low and usually have a lot more low to mid-priced items in an outfit than high, but having lived on a strict budget, I completely acknowledge that the price point of a mid-priced item from Ann Taylor can seem like a fortune.  The outfit I put together here was pulled from things already in my closet and some of them for a long time, so I had to estimate the price but here goes: Vintage Jag dress $17.00, Target jacket $19.99 and shoes $21.99, H&M bag $12.99, JewelMint rings $29.99, Brighton necklace gifted (I wouldn't have worn the Coach sunglasses in order to make my price point, but I was squinting unattractively without them.  Please pretend they aren't there).  Total for outfit $101.96.

I wrote back to my reader to ask her what a reasonable budget for an outfit would be for her.  I really wanted to give an example that was true to her world, but I have not heard back from her.

Here is where the learning something part of the story kicked in for me, and maybe I'm just stupid or naive.  There are truly a lot of people who struggle with this and they shouldn't have to.  Send me a homework assignment.  I love to do this.  The focus of this blog will still be my personal style outfits, but maybe there is another home for me to do this and I just have to pull it together.  Until then, post a comment or send an email if you want to talk about body types or party clothes.  If this post wasn't already making you yawn, I would tell you about my training in Image Styling in the 80s.  But that's a whole new post.  

Linked to Monday Mingle