Off-the-Shoulder









Top • Dillard’s (In store only), other options  herehereherehere and below | Pants • Ann Taylor,, tall, also regular length here | Shoes • Steve Madden, also here | Bag • Louis Vuitton, similar options through The RealReal herehereherehere, and here | Sunglasses • Ann Taylor | Watch • Michael Kors, similar here

The calendar still says spring, but it’s definitely feeling like summer in the southwest.  Lighter-weight jeans and off-the-shoulder tops work well as we play in the high 90s to low 100s.  Pretty soon even pants will get pushed to the back of the closet as shorts and summer dresses take the forefront, but I’m still getting some mileage out of my Ann Taylor white jeans.  They’re a great weight this time of year.

What do you think about off-the-shoulder tops?  I think they have such a feminine appeal, simultaneously demure and sexy, casual and dressy. If you’re attending an event and you’re unsure of the dress code, an off-the-shoulder top may be the perfect choice, simply because it can be all those things and more.  I went casual here by cuffing my jeans.  Unrolling them would look a little dressier.  A less casual shoe would dress things up even more, and swapping my jeans for more tailored pants or a skirt further increases the options.

Happy Monday friends!

A Dress of Many Colors








Dress • Dillard’s | Hat • similar here, here and below | Sandals • Steve Madden (also here) | Bag • Louis Vuitton (old), other options here, here and below | Watch • The Horse | Lip Pencil • M·A·C Candy Yum-Yum | Lipstick • M·A·C Candy Yum Yum

I could have titled this post Helen and the Amazing Multicolored Striped Dress.  The rainbow of color is what makes this dress such a great choice.  If you like options, you’ve got them.  I added my bright pink Louis Vuitton bag, but turquoise, light pink, tan and orange would be equally at home here.  You’ll also find navy, white and various shades of green would make great accent colors.  No wonder the dress reminds me of the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

As an added feature, there is also a really unique neck treatment.  A metal necklace, complete with lobster clasp, is the way the dress fastens.  You have color and built-in jewelry.  Sounds like this pretty dress has you covered!  It definitely felt as though it belonged on a tropical vacation (hence the floppy hat).  I think it would also work well for an outdoor wedding.

Even though I have a little thicker waist, I think the style works.  One could also add a leather belt (maybe in tan?) in place of the same-fabric sash.  I wanted something a little closer to an unbroken line of fabric.  I’m a bit ambivalent about the shoes.  I’m not sure if I would have liked smooth leather instead of suede. Perhaps I’m not completely sold on the chunky heel with a dress this flowy.  A strappy sandal might work better.  What do you think?

Thanks for reading!




Ruffles


Ruffle Shirt • Dillard’s (In-store only), similar options here, here, here here  and below | Jeans • Paige, also here and here | Watch • The Horse | Shoes • Christian Louboutin | Bag • Rebecca Minkoff, other options here and here

It took a little while, but I decided to jump on the blue ruffles bandwagon when I found this cute top.  I wish it were available online, but I was only able to find it in store at my local Dillard’s.  There are so many options for this look, however, and I’ve included several.  Okay, I went overboard.  If Spring 2017 has a “look,” this is it.  Blue ruffles, whether seersucker or chambray, are everywhere. If you’re not a fan of  the ruffle, deconstructed shirts in mini light blue pinstripes, seersecker or smooth cotton, are also all over the place.

Most versions of the shirt will dress up or down, and light blue flatters most skin tone and hair color combinations, two reasons that may help to explain the overwhelming obsession.  With so many variations available, you will certainly find one to compliment your body type, as well as your budget.

Budget may be the ticket here.  When something this specific takes the fashion world by storm, it usually doesn’t have staying power.  I think it will continue to be a very popular look through summer but I’m not expecting to see it in a year.  With that in mind, choose an option in a price point that works for your single season item spending limit.  I’ve linked items under $30 and over $400.  You can find off-the-shoulder or full coverage.  I’m showing mine with jeans today; I’ve also paired it with white denim for a future post.  There really is an option for everyone!

How do you feel about the trend?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks so much for reading today!

 




Soft Palette

Culotte Jumpsuit, Missguided •   Similar here, here, here and below |  Necklace (old) • Similar here, here and here | Shoes • Steve Madden (also here) | Watch • The Horse | Clutch (old) •  Similar here

I’m loving the cute little rompers I’m seeing everywhere, but most of the are shorter than I want to wear.  One of my alternatives is shown above – a culotte jumpsuit.  This all-white one is really cute, lengthens my short body and gives me the coverage I want.  I chose a soft palette of tans with the white, but in the past I’ve given the jumpsuit a bolder look here and here.  It’s another one of those versatile pieces that make so much sense when you want to get mileage out of your wardrobe.

I’m keeping it short and sweet this Friday.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!




Some of My Favorites from Chico’s

1  |  | 3  | 4  | 5  | 6  | 7  | 8  | 9  | 10  | 11  | 12  | 13  | 14

Earlier this year the lovely Catherine of CatherineGraceO conceived The Fierce 50.  She envisioned 50 bloggers over the age of 50 coming together on the 50th day of the year to celebrate our demographic.  On that day I featured Suzanne of AskSuzanneBell.com here and we had a great time putting together our mutual posts.  Although the message of The Fierce 50 is uplifting and positive, as a whole we’ve been frustrated by the way we’re basically ignored as consumers.  As a collective voice we hoped stores and designers would take notice.

Probably the first retailer to step out in support of our Movement was Chico’s.  They’ve been one of the few stores consistently meeting the needs of women our age, even before we joined together. They sent a beautiful friendship bracelet to each of the original Fierce 50 members.  There are several colors available; I’ve shown mine at #11 above.

As I say in my bio, I don’t want to ride into the sunset wearing elastic pants and baggy sweaters.  Chico’s has me covered, literally, in gorgeous style.  To prove my point, I’m featuring some of my current favorite pieces above.  All are on point without a single “old lady” item among them.  You can see more Chico’s style on Instagram, using #loveChicos.

Thanks, Chico’s, for the beautiful bracelet, and thanks for understanding us.

 

 




K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple, Sweetheart)

Denim Shirt • Target | Jeans • Ann Taylor (also tall sizes here) | Earrings • Kate Spade | Bag • Rebecca Minkoff, similar here and here | Shoes • Steve Madden | Watch • The Horse

When everything around you is feeling a bit hectic, it’s nice to have something simple as a touchstone.  What I mean is, sometimes it’s almost a relief to go to the basics.  It seemed as though this weekend was the first I’d spent at home in a while.  We had planned to attend a fun event Saturday night but it was outdoors, the winds were really whipping and Andy has allergies so we opted to skip.  It was actually so nice to hang out at home with a good bottle of wine and just relax.

We did spend a lot of time building ( the neverending story) so I didn’t get out to stores to see what’s new.  The result?  Shopping my closet and finding that on weekends like these K.I.S.S. works best.  Keep it Simple Sweetheart. What’s more simple than white jeans and a denim shirt?

I’ve also added an item from my first foray in into the block heel jungle: these simple yet versatile beige suede sandals.  I wasn’t sure about suede vs. smooth leather but the price was right (under $50) so I thought I’d give it a go.  I found mine on Amazon and then discovered a really pretty blush color here which I like even better.  Live and learn.

Our current building project is still the front courtyard.  Almost everything is finished.  In fact, we’ve been doing a little entertaining out there.  We get the fountains going and it’s the most peaceful place to sit and chat.  Or just be. We are still working on a built-in bench we’re incorporating into a large pergola (aka “The Gazebo”).  Andy is engineering the bench (he’s actually designed the entire structure) and it’s taking quite a bit of thought.  I told him what I envisioned  (I want it to appear to be floating) but it also needs to support about 1,000 pounds and it’s all made of redwood.  Oh, and we don’t want any hardware to show.  Simple?  Yeah, not so much.  But the weekend was productive and I’m starting the week feeling as though we’re making progress.  That always makes me happy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Celebrating the Chunky Heels Trend?


1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 910 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 1617 | 18 | 1920 | 21 | 22 | 23

It doesn’t take much looking to see the shift happening in shoes this season.  Although stilettoes are still a part of the landscape, chunky heels are everywhere.  In some cases “chunky” means downright fat.  Some of these heels are really wide and there are some crazy shapes out there.

How do you like the trend?  I can’t say I was excited at first.  I mean, we’ve been here before. File it under “Everything old is new again”.  But the more I check out the shoes, the more I find styles I like.  I’ve rounded up several for today’s post, mostly from Nordstrom, and realized there are so. many. options.  Designers are all in with the look which means it’s probably going to be around for a while.

The chunky heel look has so much variety.  Check out the options above – everything from pumps to mules, with heels in so many shapes and sizes.  A lot of the options are really fun.  I wasn’t sure I was going to play along, but now that I have, I’ve noticed a couple of things.  First, wider heels have more stability.  You may find you can go with a slightly higher heel as a result – or not. Maybe more stability at your normal “elevation” sounds ideal.  Second, walking through grass is so much easier (read: outdoor wedding).  We’ve all dealt with the challenge of sinking heels in soft soil.

Like everything else, you’ll probably find you need to try on a variety of styles to find the ones that most flatter you.  I dipped my toe in the conservative pool with a beige suede version of #17, but I’ll be adding a few more of the options above because some of them are really cute.

By the way, if you’re a Nordstrom card holder  you can earn triple points on your purchases through Sunday.  I’m in.

Happy Friday, friends.  Thank you so much for stopping by!




Menopause and Your Skin


Menopause and pre-menopause have brought a lot of unexpected changes to my life. Although I’m happy to say goodbye to monthly periods, I was not so thrilled by some of the new guests that chose to make themselves a permanent part of my life. My blood pressure inexplicably increased right around my 50th birthday. When I say “inexplicably,” I mean within one month it jumped from a lifetime normal of 110/70 to 145/90 and climbing while I was simultaneously increasing my exercise intensity and losing weight.  Go figure.  Welcome, blood pressure meds.  Please sit down and make yourselves comfortable.

Hot flashes and night sweats are stereotypical so I won’t even bother, except to say a small fan on your desk makes life so much better!

Another issue I was not expecting was a change to my skin.  I’m pretty good about skin care and have been rewarded with a clear complexion and soft, silky skin.  That is, until the hormonal chaos of menopause.  My skin suddenly felt rough and dry, no matter what I did.  Even microdermabrasion wasn’t yielding the great results I was used to.  After a shower or nice soak in the tub I could lightly “rake” my nails across my face and remove so much dead skin it was alarming.  Even employing more acceptable exfoliation methods were giving me sub-par skin.  What in the world was happening?  The search for something better had begun.

Before I go further, let me say this is not a sponsored post.  Although I will somewhat shamelessly plug my niece, Kelley’s Arbonne distribution business, it’s only because the products work and she is the distributor I know. (And she’s amazing, but that’s beside the point.)

Kelley launched her Arbonne business a few weeks ago.  She gave me several skin care samples to try and I really liked them.  The creams are very rich, which is apparently what my face was craving, but I think the product that really makes the difference is the Arbonne Intelligence Genius.  These are small, resurfacing pads you soak with solution and gently apply to your face, neck and decollete’.  After several days of use that layer of dead skin was gone.  My face felt soft and smooth again.

My Arbonne routine includes the Smoothing Facial Cleanser followed by the Intelligence Genius.  I then give myself a few spritzes of the Regenerating Toner and follow with one of the different facial creams, such as the Night Repair Creme or the Intensive Renewal Serum.  My neck gets a little Lifting and Contouring Cream and I’ll apply either Corrective Eye Creme or Lifting and Contouring Eye Creme around – you guessed it – my eyes.  My skin feels so much better and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Am I seeing fewer wrinkles?  To be honest, I don’t know.  I didn’t take any before and after shots to compare.  I can say my skin looks better and healthier though.  In fact, I went to work Monday without any make-up!  What?  It was accidental.  I was running late and when I gave myself the once-over in the mirror everything looked fine so off I went.  It wasn’t until I’d left the house that I realized I’d forgotten.  I think that says a lot about the products right there.  Even so, what I’m most interested in is the way my skin feels, and it feels amazing.  It’s soft and hydrated – like I have my pre-menopause skin back.  That certainly works for me!

If you’re interested in trying the products, find an Arbonne rep in your area or log on to Kelley’s site here.  You’ll find a lot of health and beauty products to keep you looking and feeling your best.

I hope you find today’s post helpful.  Thanks so much for reading!







Another Look at My Ariat Boots

Boots

Boots •  Ariat Pamplona c/o| Top • Old Navy (their “Stay-White” version here) | Jeans • Paige (also here and limited sizes on sale here) | Watch • The Horse | Sunglasses • Similar here | Earrings • Kate Spade

Happy Thursday! Amazing how quickly a “normal” week flies after the crazy hours of tax season.  While I was gushing about my Ariat Pamplona boots here, I commented how great I thought they’d look with jeans.  Today I prove my point.  How fabulous does this rich brown look with dark denim? Paired with a simple white shirt, you’ve got a classic look that transcends the seasons and the whims of fashion.  Just like reading the latest best-selling novel, playing with fashion trends is fun, fresh and entertaining.  I still enjoy returning to the classics, whether it’s a long-established title or a tried-and-true outfit.

It’s getting a bit warm in the southwest, and soon I’ll have to put these beauties away for a few months.  While there is still a little time left to slip boots into the shoe rotation I wanted to feature these again, especially since they’re currently on sale.   Cold-weather staples aren’t the only items Ariat offers. Be sure to check their site for their new spring and summer styles.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Thank you Ariat, for sponsoring this post.

Ariat Boots – Not Just for the Horse-Minded

 Ariat Boots (On Super Sale right now!)| Crochet Top, old • Similar here,  herehere and here | Tank Top • J. Crew, others here and here | Jeans • Ann Taylor (also in Tall and Petite) | Earrings • Kate Spade, similar here and here

When  Ariat offered me the opportunity to showcase their Two24 collection, I’ll admit I was a bit hesitant at first.  Ariat is an authentic horsemanship brand featuring serious riding boots for serious riders.  I haven’t been on a horse in nearly four decades.  How could I do justice to this company?  But you know me – I’ll try just about anything once.  I was thrilled to give it a go.

First off, I found my initial perception was just a small part of this multi-faceted apparel company.  Yes, Ariat is known for high quality (and highly comfortable) boots catering to both English and Western riding styles.  But they also feature among others things, casual shoes, an athletic line and a really pretty collection of clothing for festival season.

I chose a classic English riding boot because I wanted to show its versatility: a lacey tunic and white pants aren’t “riding attire” but they look great with my Pamplona Ariats in Bay Brown.  So do skinny jeans and leggings.  I’m sure they’ll be great with a long skirt as well.  The clean lines of the Pamplona make it adaptable to so many looks.  I love the extra buckle, but it’s removable if you’d like a more streamlined look.

I really love my new Ariats, which proves you don’t have to ride horses to appreciate the brand.

Thank you Ariat for sponsoring this post.