Category Archives: Shopping

Alabama Bloganistas: Let’s Talk!

Bloganista-defined

I am very excited because in a little more than one week I will have the opportunity to gather with an amazing group of women to gab about blogging — my favorite subject next to what inspiring outfit Beyonce recently wore!

via The Daily Mail, Beyonce in Manhattan on July 2 in a figure-flattering and very on-trend striped dress. That structured bag, though!

via The Daily Mail, Beyonce in a figure-flattering and very on-trend striped dress. Love how her heels mimic the trim of the dress. And that structured bag, though!

Just like Beyonce puts in hours training for a tour, anyone interested in blogging needs to put in some time learning the ins and outs of the blogging biz. The See Jane Write Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design is the perfect place to do so.

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The Mini-Con will be Aug. 1 at the Vestavia Hills Public Library from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Lunch, snacks and more are included with your ticket (buy your ticket here!), and you will hear from a variety of bloggers, including myself! I will speak on the “Blog Like A Boss” panel about addressing body image issues in addition to fashion and fitness and how my professional experience has helped my blog, and vice versa!

To get us pumped up for the Mini-Con, Javacia, the founder of See Jane Write, is hosting a mixer at Collage Designer Consignment in Vestavia from 6-8 p.m. this Thursday, July 23. The event is free, but please register here. And get more details about the special offerings for the night here! I plan to be there by 6 p.m., so I hope you will introduce yourself — I know I plan to try on some clothes, too, so let’s shop!

If you’re a blogger in Alabama, I can’t express how valuable last year’s Mini-Con was for me — learning more about blogging but also making wonderful contacts with inspiring women. I hope you can join us on Aug. 1!

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An Uncommon Mother’s Day

Did you know that Mother’s Day is right around the corner? It snuck up on me, too! It is Sunday, May 10 this year. Besides my own lovely mother, I have my sister and grandmother to celebrate, not to mention all my friends who are amazing mothers as well. So when Uncommon Goods asked me if I’d like to look through their choices for Mother’s Day gifts, I jumped at the chance! Uncommon Goods is known for featuring artists and handmade goods, and for their commitment to the environment. According to their website, their products are made without harming animals, and they have a number of items made from recycled materials. You can look through some of their Mother’s Day Gifts here. And here’s a few items I wanted to highlight — all of which would make great gifts! IMG_2357This beautiful Slate Cheese Board comes in red or black ($29) and makes such a pretty platter for a fruit and cheese plate! It comes with soapstone chalk, which wipes off easily. According to the website: “Created by Brooklynites (and self-described foodies) Sean Tice and Kristy Hadeka, they source their gorgeous pieces of natural slate from Kristy’s third-generation family quarry in upstate New York.” So cool! IMG_2362The board comes with a natural burlap bag to store it in, plus cork pads so the slate won’t scratch furniture. I happen to love anything that’s personalized, as most women who live in the South do, so when I saw these State Dish Towels ($20), I immediately wanted one for Alabama (my bestie Dominika gave me a New Jersey one last year as a housewarming gift!). IMG_2353I love the detail of all the different regions, the Yellowhammer bird — they even have Vulcan on the towel! IMG_2360Uncommon Goods also sells awesome Country Dish Towels for a handful of countries, too. Finally, if you see me out and about, you will likely see me with this new water bottle! I know most of us are trying to drink more water, and this handy fruit infuser takes that up a notch. It would definitely be easy for moms on the go! IMG_2363I filled my bottle up with strawberries, but I can’t wait to try oranges, limes, lemons … the Flavor Infuser Water Bottle ($15) even comes with a booklet with ideas for combos to try out! IMG_2370While you can’t put this water bottle in the freezer, it is dishwasher safe — sweet! Make sure you check out Uncommon Goods for other ideas for Mother’s Day! They have beautiful jewelry, soaps, glassware, candles and more. Disclaimer: These items were gifted to me from Uncommon Goods, however, all opinions are my own.

What I Want Now: Spring Dresses

I had every intention of writing about running and the 5k I’m planning to do in late April and my desire to start changing my eating habits … and I will post all about those things this week! But, then my sister sent me a photo of my cute little niece in her Easter dress on her way to meet the Easter bunny, and all I wanted to do was 1) hop on a plane to go visit her (hop intended), and 2) go buy a new spring dress!

Here’s a few that I found while shopping online. I admit, I fell down the Lane Bryant rabbit hole, but I threw a few picks in from NY&Co for a little size variety, too!

I love this floral pattern and the nip at the waist is undoubtedly flattering. Plus, blues and purples are my favorite hues!

This dress has two of my favorites: florals and houndstooth! For anyone who wants to mix patterns but is afraid to put something together on their own, this dress is for you. Throw on a blazer, and off to work you go!

Oh, the jumpsuit. I’m going to take the plunge and try you, and a romper, this season! I love the classic navy blue and white, and it comes with straps you can take off if you want.

This dress reminds me of a Jackson Pollock painting! And the pleats. The pleats! (Love the double strap detail, too.)

Great romper! I want to see how the length will work on someone my height (5’7″), but if it doesn’t look frumpy, this romper might just work at the office with a blazer. Again, this comes with straps, if you want them.

Ruffles, florals … can you get more lady-like and girly? I’m in!

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NY&Co, $52

I love orange! I think this color looks good on so many complexions, and it’s not worn enough. I love the pattern of this tunic, too.

Again, with the pattern! And this color green is so bright and fresh. I think white and gold accessories would be perfect with this dress.

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NY&Co., $60

This dress is so romantic. I love the shades of pinks and reds, and the silhouette looks like the perfect fit for a lot of figures.

Finally, the neckline of this dress is to die for, as is the floral pattern. Can you tell I’m into florals? I know it’s a little cliche for this time of year, but I love ’em!

floralsDo you have any dresses that you have your eye on for spring?

Spring Window Shoppin’: Ava & Viv, Belk

Last week I took a quick hour to attend a spring fashion event at one of our local Belk department stores. The weather has been getting nicer here in Birmingham, if a bit rainy, but I’m already feeling the desire to throw on dresses and sandals!

I’m still trying to stick to a strict budget right now, so although I’ve been checking out the new styles in stores, my wallet has remained closed. Still, I thought I’d show you a couple of pieces I like, in case you’re in the market for some new duds.

First up, thanks to Belk for the fun Girls’ Night Out, including yummy snacks and a free makeup application! I had my eyes done by Jonathan Reign at the MAC counter — my favorite makeup brand! And I used what he taught me to create a look for my friend’s wedding this weekend. He was a great teacher!

photo 4 (20)photo 5 (14)Next I made my way to the plus-size section of the store. Admittedly, when I first walked up, I wasn’t too impressed. It baffles me why so many department stores put a lot of their styles for older women up front. What I mean is: Not all plus-size ladies want to wear shift dresses with jackets over them, a la the 70-year-old ladies you see at church on Easter. There’s nothing wrong with these dresses, for certain ages. But show off the younger styles as well, so you can attract a broader customer base!

Luckily, I didn’t give up after that first glance because as I wound my way through the racks, I found cuter dresses (I didn’t even look at the other clothes; I wanted dresses!). I had spring weddings and tunics to wear with leggings on my mind, so here’s two dresses I liked:

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London Times, $68 (on sale); Beige by ECI, $58 (on sale)

The dress on the left would be great for a wedding, shower or even work with a blazer or sweater. And while I like the tunic on the right, especially the colors, it may hug my body a little too much for my taste. I am trying to branch out and wear more body conscious styles … but I think I need baby steps!

Next up, my try-on sesh at Target to check out the new Ava & Viv line! I wrote about this new line quite a while ago, so this post is a long-time coming. I loved some of the styles, especially the patterns and colors. But the fit of some of the clothes left me a little disappointed.

Let’s start off with the so-so finds:

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Ava & Viv blouse, $25

So I’m sure you can see my issue here. The 2X, my usual size, was snug around the middle. Sure, I could’ve left the last button open and it would’ve worked, but sometimes I wonder if that looks sloppy. So I tried the next size up:

photo 2 (50)Clearly too baggy. In the larger size, the shape just doesn’t do anything for me.

Next I tried the palazzo pants. The idea of palazzo pants has had me excited since last season, and I sadly failed to scoop up a pair from TJ Maxx that I loved, and then couldn’t find again when I returned to the store. These from Ava & Viv feel a little too wide for my taste. What do you think?

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Ava & Viv palazzo pants, $30

Maybe a better fitting top would’ve made a difference in my feelings about the pants!

Now, on to the successes! I did love these ankle pants, though they run a little small. I think they would go with a lot of items I already own, so I may purchase them soon! (Focus on the pants!)

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Ava & Viv ankle pants, $30

I also loved this lightweight sweater, even though I usually shy away from high-low styles because I’m not sure they’re that flattering for me. This worked, though! (Sorry it’s so blurry!)

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Ava & Viv sweater, $28

I also loved the flowy blouse you see in the photo above, on me below! This would be my #1 pick to purchase, for sure.

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Ava & Viv flutter top, $25

Finally, I loved this blazer, but forgot to take a pic of me in it! It would be a great staple for anyone’s wardrobe.

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Ava & Viv blazer, $35

Did you like any of these pieces more than another? What are you looking for to add to your wardrobe for spring?

What I Want Now: Accessories!

One of the easiest, and most economical, ways to add a punch to your current wardrobe is to invest in new accessories. A new bag or pair of shoes can liven up a little black dress or a basic jeans-and-sweater combo for date night.

Here’s a few items I’ve had my eye on — and everything’s under $65!

I love this style of earrings! These could easily dress up any outfit.

These shoes are killer — and the metallic can go with anything, from a dress or sexy pencil skirt to dark jeans.

I love the colorblocking on this clutch and the different colors are fun. You could easily wear this with complimentary colors, such as purple, pink, peach and even red.

I have loved the plaid scarves that everyone is wearing this winter, and this one can take you from season to season with its lighter weight.

Do you have any accessories that you’re coveting right now?

Right On Target: The New AVA & VIV Line At Target

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via Target

When I heard the news today about AVA & VIV, the new plus-size line coming to Target, I was so excited I may have thrust my fist victoriously into the air, a la Judd Nelson in “The Breakfast Club.”

A few months ago, I wrote about the #boycotttarget movement after another designer collaboration at Target failed to include plus-sizes. Not long ago, we learned the upcoming Lilly Pulitzer collaboration at the store will include plus-sizes … but they would only be available online.

Just when hope seemed lost for us curvier gals, today Target announced that AVA & VIV is being designed in-house, will be available in stores (and online) and will include input from three plus fashion bloggers who I greatly admire: Nicolette, Gabi and Chastity.

In fact, these ladies got to model for the line’s spring lookbook! Target also listened to their ideas on the initial offering, and the fall collection. Check out their video here:

According to the release from Target, the line will arrive mid-February (start saving now!) and will run from $10 up to $79.99. According to Nicolette’s post, there will be as many as 90 different pieces in the first few deliveries! Sizes will run up to 26, or a 4X. You can see the full lookbook on A Bullseye View on. Jan. 22.

I am extremely excited about this new line. The patterns and colors look amazing, and many of the pieces look fashion-forward. I caught a glimpse in the video of some great-looking palazzo pants, and I love the striped skirt on Chastity in the photo above. I can’t wait to see the whole line!

It’s wonderful that Target not only listened to its buyers and chose to offer stylish clothes in plus-sizes, but they also brought in people that many plus-size women look up to and seemed to really listen to their constructive criticism. It’s nice to feel that our voices were heard, especially since so much of the fashion industry doesn’t seem to value our input.

What do you think of Target’s new line? Do you feel they’re really listening to their customers?

My Lukewarm Relationship With Macy’s

As a woman who was mainly raised in the Northeast, or by parents who grew up in the Northeast, Macy’s has always been and will probably always be one of my favorite department stores. And the fact that I can state that while having endured working at the store at the Ocean County Mall in Toms River, N.J., with its crazy One Day Sales and the madness of Black Friday sales, well that’s saying something.

For a long time I have perused the plus-size section of the store, usually regulated to the upper-floor’s back corner, or in the sake of the Galleria in Hoover, Ala., a crowded section near the teen girls’ area, complete with blasting music (yes, I’m getting old).

I used to be able to ignore a large portion of the “Women’s” section because I knew what I’d find: old-fashioned cuts and styles, out-of-date prints and baggy tops that hung down to my knees.

My saving grace in this department has always been the INC brand. Of all the brands at Macy’s, this is one I can turn to to find more stylish offerings, even in plus-sizes. For years they offered gorgeous shirt dresses with full skirts and waist-defining belts. Work separates were modest yet fashionable.

In a favorite INC dress from a few years ago.

In a favorite INC dress on New Year’s Eve a few years ago.

Lately, however, I’m finding it harder to ignore the rest of the Women’s department. Why? Because it’s taking over. The dowdier, less-flattering options seem to be growing, while the chic INC line seems to be diminishing (at least at the two Macy’s in Birmingham, Ala.).

It’s infuriating that the store even buys so much of these other lines, yet fails to stock more INC, or other more fashionable brands. While there are so many plus-size lines out there that are growing in popularity and offering plus-sizes when they used not to, Macy’s can’t quite seem to get it right lately.

Now there are two things that I am beyond thrilled with when it comes to Macy’s. One, you can find good INC offerings online. The convenience of shopping in-store would be better, but I am grateful for their online selection, particularly these thick, well-made ponte leggings that I purchased recently.

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And in the Misses department, I actually came across a great brand — Rachel Roy — that happens to sell some of their garments in an XXL, and they fit! (I’d say my size is typically a 20, for reference.)

Rachel Roy top, Macy's

Rachel Roy top, Macy’s

Rachel Roy top, Macy's

Rachel Roy top, Macy’s

But as for the rest of the selection in the Women’s department, I am pretty disappointed.

So you can see why my relationship with Macy’s has become lukewarm. Sometimes I can walk in there and have luck, and other times I am really upset at the dowdy offerings. A place I used to find dependable has now become hit or miss.

Do you ever have problems with a department store, or other store, offering less-than-desirable clothing for months on end? Do you wait it out, or do you take your shopping dollars elsewhere?