May 10, 2017

10 Modern Preppy Essentials for Summer

While I’ve never attended prep school, as a New Englander I’m no stranger to the occasional popped collar or monogrammed accessory. Preppy style just goes so naturally with this coastal area, like dropping “r”from the end of words and complaining about the weather. Windswept beaches and Hunter boots? Madras plaid and Cape Cod? Nude flats and…everything? All the yes.

But it’s too easy to go overboard and start looking like a Stepford wife in head-to-toe classics. So I started with ten essential preppy pieces and found updated versions with a twist or maybe a teeny bit of edge. Traditional can be a good thing, but shaking things up is refreshing – let’s give it the old college try, shall we?

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December 19, 2015

A Last Minute Illustrated Holiday Gift Guide

illustrated gift guide holiday outfiti

It’s the most wonderful….ly stressful time of the year.

Especially if you’re a procrastination master like myself.  But it’s not to late to buy your Holiday gifts from the comfort of your couch and still receive them in time for Christmas morning and this year I decided to draw my holiday gift guides in my sketchbook. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them!

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May 12, 2014

Reader Style: Ankle-Wrap Flats For Short Mamas (And Triple Denim Awesomeness)



I was delighted to get the following note from Laura:

Hi dear! So, as a short one under 5'4" I have trouble wearing many of these lovely ankle strap shoes, especially flats. Everything seems to cut off my already short legs and flats are already kinda hard to pull off. But. I found them. The cutest fancy flats ever that still flatter my short legs! 


The key is that the ankle strap and heel are nude, elongating the leg, of course, but still creating that ankle interest. The toe is a pretty black leather. They have lovely toe cleavage, too. Love. Please share with my fellow short gals who may be running into the same issues I've had for YEARS of searching the perfect black flats. 


Her flats are Isaac Mizrahi New York Evelyn flats, and come in black (as shown), white, red and gold.  All colors come with a nude ankle strap.  Laura, I seriously love these.  Thank you!





But let's look at the rest of her outfit (and that seriously cute baby).  I love the triple-denim play here (a triple header?  Ha, Ha…Ha I don't know baseball I shouldn't even pretend.  I'm sure my husband is banging his head on a desk somewhere.)





jacket: Gap 1969 denim jacket

chambray shirt: old American Eagle…try LOFT's soft chambray shirt

jeans: old A&F…but my Madewell's High Riser skinny jeans in deep blue wash are similar (and so comfy)

necklaceRobinson Lane Designs – fundraiser for Arkansas tornado victims 

sunnies:  old Ralph Lauren…try Raybans


on baby Sienna: 

shirt: Gap…but I'm loving this fox tee from SandiLake on Etsy

leggings:  Old Navy Ruffle Bum leggings (currently on sale for $4? Sheesh.)

mocs: mama-made (using this pattern)


Laura, you and Sienna look adorable.  (And I love hearing everyone's baby-name choices!)  Thank you so much for sharing the flats love and sending pics!  We love pics!!!!




ps.  Want more Sienna?  Laura has a blog

May 7, 2014

Street Style: Dresses Over Pants….TWICE


So my sister-in-law, Jen, was in town with her boys a few weeks ago.  (Ugh, we needed mittens.  Sigh.)

Despite the weather, each day she wore some version of this kicky little outfit. 


wearing (similar items): 

jacket: Military Jacket

sweatshirt: Forever 21 Boxy Marled Top

skirt: Forever 21 Ruffled Crochet Mini Skirt

denim: love the wash on the Big Star Mid-Rise Slim Bootcut in 15 Yr Cardova

boots: love these Frye look-alikes from the Vintage Shoe Co (and made in USA!)

scarf:  this scarf from Forever21 would be cute



One of the (many) things I love about Jen is she is totally and completely her own person.  She is uninfluenced by trends or labels, and is always unapologetically herself.  

When I asked her about the dress-over-pants "uniform", she remarked "Oh this? Yes – it's my favorite look.  I got the idea from watching how little girls dress."

Um.  That's AWESOME.

Coincidentally, I received an email from Megan.  She writes:

 I have been seeing the man repeller doing the whole dress over pants look and this is my suburban mom version.  It was super comfy and nice not to have to worry about my bum showing while sitting on my heels at story time. 

HA!  And look how well this works:

Photo (3)


jacket: Banana Republic Sweatshirt Moto Jacket

dress: Gap Shirtdress

jeans: J Brand

shoes: Oscar de la Renta…try this straw-and-leather ballet flat by Cole Haan


Megan, I LOVE this look (and your email).  Someone should seriously start a tumblr: Suburban Mom Does Man-Repeller.


Thanks to you both for the inspiration!



April 28, 2014

Reward Style Conference – What I Wore #rsthcon

I did something awfully glamorous this past weekend. 



I left my three men behind, got on a plane, and attended the Reward Style conference in Dallas. 

Reward Style, is, in my opinion, the affiliate program for bloggers.  If you've ever noticed that some of my shopping links start with "http://rstyle…." even though the item is, say, from the Gap, that's a Reward Style affiliate link.  I get a small commission using those links, and that commission is the reason I've been able to dedicate so much of my time to this blog.  So thank you for supporting me.  (And if any of you are bloggers and have questions about Reward Style, I'm always happy to chat – just shoot me an email.)

So yeah – this conference.  We had brand meetings, presentations on SEO (which, by the way, I've been totally ignoring up until now – for shame!!) and round table discussions.  I learned a ton.  And then?  After all of that?  

Fancy parties.  Oooohhhhh yeeaaaahhhh.


Brand meetings, and then…hello.  Happy hour with Kate Spade NY.  How fun is this?



 Being such an engineering nerd myself, when some of the developers asked if I'd like to join their pic of "all the solid color dresses"…



…of course, right?!  And I refrained from pointing out that technically, I was in a romper.  But how awesomely terrible is that rib photo prop?  Ugh.


romper:  Ramy Brook Lulu Romper

bag:  Anthropologie Straw Clutch

bracelet: Stella and Dot Bangle bracelet (sold out)…try Stella and Dot Arrow Bangle Bracelet

shoesDolce Vita Hexen Ankle Wrap Sandals

lipstick: Tarte Power Pigment in flush



Yes, I wore flats. 


In hindsight, I really should've called this post, "Little Engineer Goes to Dallas".  I was seriously one of the shortest bloggers there.  (And, I suspect, one of the oldest but we're going to all pretend that I never said that and no one noticed mmmmkay?)


headband: Anthropologie Floral Headband

jacket: Rag and Bone (from eBay)…try Shop Ruche's Moto Jacket in beige

tank: Alasdair (gone)…try Chaser's Floral Tank at Shopbop

bra: Cosabella Lace Bralette at Nordstrom

necklace: Gorjana Taner Collar Necklace

jeans: Rag and Bone (gone)…try Karen Millen's Patched Jeans at Bloomindales

shoes: Stylemint Anise Flats


Saturday Night!

I felt all old-Hollywood glamorous.  I so love a stunning dress, and Milly NY never disappoints.



BTW – the straps of this dress are ever-so-slightly stretchy, and if you are comfortable nursing in a strapless bra, I think this dress would work.  (And I'm wearing Spanx, obviously.)


dress: Milly NY Contrast Print Dress

shoes: Dolce Vita Hexen Ankle Tie Sandals

purse: My mom's old prom purse…try J.Crew Factory's Gold Envelope Clutch

iphone cover:  Red Dirt (gone)…also love Red Dirt's Orbit Phone Case.

The most important part: Spanx High Waist Smoother Shorts


Want to hear something crazy?  I didn't miss the boys.  Not. Once.  I was so busy, I barely got a chance to call home, and the alone time felt like something precious…a gift.  

This weekend was a gift.  

I left for Dallas on Thursday in a frazzled state, struggling with both guilt and motivation (talk about a horrible downward spiral)…yet I returned home refreshed and focused.  An inspiring conference can have that effect (and a pretty little dress doesn't hurt), but it was the space to think that had me energized, like I was gulping air back into my lungs after being submerged for too long.

And yet.  Back home, snuggled in with my boys, I felt a sense of relief.  

Mamas home.  Where she belongs.




And I do belong here, right here, with them.  But part of me wants the expansive me, the one with vision, and personal goals that are very different from the goals of a mother.  I guess that's the trick, right?  This balance of what you can give vs what you need; I want it all.

I have no answers.  But the next time I feel myself going under, sinking down, I'll just stretch out my legs, feel for the bottom with my feet, and push.  I'll push up to the surface and breathe.



ps.  A big, HUGE thank you to Trend Survivor for taking my outfit shots in Dallas.  Nina, you and your INSANE shoe wardrobe rock my world.  xoxo


April 23, 2014

Worn This All Week…Lets Call It A Uniform


I have worn this exact outfit approximately 10 out of the last 14 days.  I mean YES:  partly because of the large pile of laundry I have been successfully ignoring (I'm practically an expert in the field of laundry avoidance), and partly because I've spent the last 6 days alternating between banging my head on the keyboard ("Down!  The blog is down AGAIN!") and playing with my kiddos. 

Incidentally, I walked back from school drop-off the other day with Pax yelling, "MINE DICK!! MINE DICK!!" every two feet.   It took me a while to realize that dick = stick.  Ahhhh….



But here's why I keep reaching for this outfit:  It's comfortable, practical, and also….interesting.  Remember when we first talked about interesting sweaters, oh, years ago?   Well, I'd like to expand that 'interesting' label to, uh, everything.  

It used to be that I'd add one interesting piece into an outfit and call it a day, but as the years have passed, I just keep adding.  My favorite striped sweater is cool and everything, but doesn't it look better with snake-print flats?  And really, doesn't everything look better with snake-print flats?  And why not throw in a cool belt?  

Be prepared for this same discussion next year.  If I stick to my current trajectory, by next April I'll also be touting the chic perfection of mismatched socks and veiled hats.  "Um, that's INTERESTING."



sweaterEquipement (50% off at Bloomies)

jeans: AG - similar at J.Crew



Belt: Lucky Brand - similar

On Pax: Fabkids, Vans


Just for fun, here are three other outfits that follow this little formula I'm obsessed with:  striped sweater, interesting denim, patterned flats.  None of these outfits are perfect, but that's exactly why I like them.



Left: sweater, belt, jeans, TOMS

Middle: sweater, belt, jeans, Vans

Right: sweater, belt, jeans, sneaks



In short, I'm going to start dressing more like Pax.



April 7, 2014

The Styling Tip That Makes A Basic Windbreaker Look Chic



Come Spring, I'm all about windbreakers.  I hate being cold, and these Spring winds are no joke.  But I wanted to play around with making windbreakers a bit more chic, you know?  So when I came across this old article on Who What Wear, I knew I had to play around with the windbreaker-as-layered jacket.  And besides, what better place to test out windbreaker styling than at a beach in March?  So I threw a few extra pieces into my suitcase before we headed off to Gulf Shores last month.  


1.  Layer Under a Moto Jacket

Since my moto jacket is really a glorified sweatshirt, this option was really comfortable and warm.  


We were on our way to Bahama Bob's.  Love the easy atmosphere and the seafood.  (This is my kiddos' favorite place.)    



moto: old Roots…try this gorgeous one from LOFT's Lou and Gray line, $89 (or this floral one on sale at Gap for $70)

windbreaker: K-Way…but I'm loving C&C's version, $89

sweater: old ALC…this striped one also has a swingy shape, $60 (but currently 40% off at LOFT)

jeans:  old Rag and Bone… try a seriously cool patched pair by Mavi, $118

flats: Tieks in ballerina pink, $175

bag: Moop Paperback

belt: Target

on Pax: one Jackson hoodie on Thred Up, FabKids pants, Vans

on Raines:  Pip and Squeek boutique dino hoodie, Tea soft cargos, Vans


2.  Layer Under A Denim Jacket 

Even with a dress, this styling trick worked surprisingly well.  (And as you can see, Raines is also into layering.  Because apparently, beach = shorts, regardless of temperature.) 




denim jacket: old Joe's Jeans…love Gap's (currently on sale for $48)

windbreakerK-Way…or try this neon one, $130

dress: old Milly…Tibi has a fabulous option ($325), BB Dakota ($80), Gap ($55) or even Old Navy!! ($36)

boots:  old Guess….try this cool cut-out pair – especially with dresses (on sale for $97)

bag: Madewell Transport Tote, $168 

on Raines: Soldier of Love Tee from Tiny RevolutionaryTea soft cargos, shortsVans



And since it's finally looking warm enough to trick one into thinking they don't need a winter jacket in Philly…I busted the layered windbreaker trick out again this past weekend.  I liked peeling layers on/off depending on our activity.  (Freeze tag?  Off.  Mini Golf?  Off.  In the shady carousel at Franklin Square?  ON ON ON ON)



denim jacket: old Joe's Jeans…love Gap's (currently on sale for $48)

windbreakerK-Way…but I'm loving C&C's version

sweaters:  Equipment (currently 40% off) layered over this one from H&M

leggings:  Plush faux leather, lined in fleece….similar here (on sale for $65)

boots: Steve Madden…similar

bag: Lily Jade Madeline Diaper Bag / Backpack (currently $75 off)



So….that's how I've been wearing my windbreaker to DEATH.  If only I could figure out how to make my tall Hunter rainboots feel fresh.  April has just started and I'm sick of them already.  Any ideas?  

(and ps:  Anyone else doing the two-jacket thing?  I want to see some pics!)



March 30, 2014

Three Perfect Spring Transition Outfits For Nursing & Post-Partum Mamas

Well shoot.  I'm not currently nursing (and "post-partum" is stretching it)…but I'd wear any of these in a heartbeat.  



Look 1:

Flower Hair Clip, ASOS, $15 (I'm picturing this tucked nonchalantly into a messy bun)

Free People Story Teller Tee, $68 (it's waffle knit – so cozy!) 

Nixon Time-Teller Watch, $74 (I'm addicted to these bright, oversized watches)

Striped Backpack, BCBG at Nordstrom, $88

AG Stevie Cuffed Jeans, $188 at Anthro

TOMS in Orange Palm Trees, $54 (the only thing better than palm trees would be…nothing.  Nothing is better than palm trees.)


Look 2: 

Lanston Asymmetic Top, $95 at Shopbop (pooch-hiding, nursing-friendly drapiness at its best right here)

Autumn Cashmere Cardigan (almost sold out…try Target or Everlane)

Chewbeads Red Bracelet, $17 (A teething-friendly bracelet that I would actually wear…)

Marc Jacobs Medium Tate Tote, $198 (I swore by these when my little guys were young…and I'm still using them.  These nylon, washable bags rock my diaper-baggin' world.)

Gap Boyfriend Jeans (Soooo…I tried them recently and wasn't impressed.  Have been hearing much better things about Old Navy's version.  Go figure. 

Tieks Unmellow Yellow, $195 (aka my favorite flats ever)


Look 3:

Blackbird Colorblock Tee, $68 at Anthro

Slouchy Beanie, $12 at ASOS

Lily Jade Diaper Bag, $260 for another few days (then will shoot up to $335)

AG Stevie Cuffed Jeans, $188 at Anthro 

Steve Madden Trooper Lace-Up Boot, $100 at Urban (I wear mine almost every day.  Grace, I have you to thank.  I know I owe you an article about these…how 'bout I just wear them in virtually every pic instead?)


Happy Monday!  (already?!?!)



March 10, 2014

How To Make Your Legs Look Longer While Wearing Flats – Part 2



In Part 1 of this series, we talked about the key wardrobe pieces for leg lengthening, and did a little fashion math involving sneakers.  Today I want to focus on the leg-lengthening miracle flat: the nude ballet.

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March 6, 2014

My Spring Break Packing Edit (a uniform of sorts)

Before kids, my husband and I would try to escape the winter cold by doing our own little mini Spring breaks.  South Beach was our favorite.  I'd pack my XS bikini top (snort), the tiniest bottoms I could find, a little scrap of a dress and off we'd go.  We'd stay out all night, sleep in until noon, and then roll out to the beach around 1PM.

Well.  THINGS HAVE CHANGED, PEOPLE.  And these changes have resulted in a decidedly different Spring Break uniform:



BAM.  Because vacation or no, my kiddos get up around 6:30AM.  And can you guess how long I can stand to be in a CONDO with two boys under the age of 7 before I lose my mind?  

9AM.  If we're lucky.

(And if we're in a run-of-the-mill hotel room, I change my answer to 6:37AM.)

Which means I'm on the beach bright and early, and, typically, freezing

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