Just What I Needed!

This weekend A went to her Gigi's house. This meant J and I had a weekend to ourselves! It is rare that we get an entire weekend during the school year because we are all so busy, plus A has ballet on Saturday mornings.

But....last Sunday one of my friends sent me a text saying she had extra tickets to a live show Friday, would we be interested? Normally I would say no, I think it is important for A to go to her ballet class, and I also know how fast weekend time goes. The concert sounded so fun though, that I couldn't refuse. So in stepped Gigi. (Thanks Mom!) We took A to meet her after school on Friday, then made our way to the House of Blues.

I hadn't ever been to the hob before, so it was a fun chance to do something different. We saw Stan Halen and Graceland Ninjaz. Obviously Stan Halen is a Van Halen tribute band, but they also played Rush, Gun N' Roses, and Bon Jovi. I love cover bands because you already know all the songs!!

Graceland Ninjaz are a mash-up band, and they preform their own songs as well. The lead singer dresses as Elvis, sings like Elvis, but the songs are mash-ups. For an example, see the video below, which is Baby Sandman.

I can honestly say that it was the most fun I have ever had at a concert. I danced and sang along. Everyone in the crowd was having a good time, and that kind of energy feeds the band as well. I am already planning on seeing them again when they are back!

Saturday I changed up my hair. Since it is fall, I felt it was time to go a little darker. (I always do it seems.) I took a poll on Facebook and the majority said red, so red it is. It isn't photographing too clearly, but it is pretty red overall. I added copper red and chocolate brown. Next time I will probably do two shades of red. Hopefully it won't fade out too fast!
J and I went out to dinner and then saw Looper. It was very good. Mind bending, but good. This weekend flew by, but it was great to have a few nights of fun, with fewer responsibilities than the usual. Now it is Sunday, A is home, groceries are bought, laundry is running, and J is watching football. I typical Sunday for sure!

Clothes from last week:

Work look from Wednesday. Ooof bad pictures!! This dress looks better in person, I think.
Dress: Macy's
Cardigan: New York and Co
Necklace: New York and Co although, in the future I would go for the "J. Crew" bubble necklace on Ebay.
Shoes: These leopard flats are basically house shoes! I went for comfort. These look similar.

Work look from Thursday. 
Top: I got my shirt at Old Navy last year. This one doesn't really look like it, but it does have the tie back feature that mine has. This is closer in color, but still not quite right.
Cardigan: Target
Pants: New York and Co These are actually ankle length pants, but of course on me, they work as regular pants.
Shoes: Really old, not sure what brand. These are sort of close.
Necklace: Freebie from another teacher.

Date night look.
Top: Macy's on sale now!
Layered Tank: Mine was from Old Navy. This is similar.
Jeans: Macy's these are a darker wash than mine, but it is the same brand.
Boots: My mom's closet! I have been eyeballing these boots for two years, and my whining finally paid off. These from Target are similar.

Plans and Stress

I feel like I have nothing to say! It is crazy. Work has eaten up a huge hole in my life lately, and that of course impacts my blogging. So rather than rehash what was a terrible, horrible, no good week I will instead tell you what I am looking forward to in the next weeks.

*Edited to add* Now on the 28th I have very exciting plans! We are taking A to her Gigi's and J and I are going to a show at the House of Blues. Graceland Ninjaz. No idea, except that a friend invited us, and it sounded fun!
The 29th I have a hair appointment. I love getting my hair fixed, my hair is so dang thick, it takes me a long time to flat iron it myself. I always feel very pampered when someone else does it for me.

The 6th we are having a garage sale. I am hoping to sell the rest of A's baby clothes and items, maybe even a few of my old things as well. That same day, A has a birthday party at the gym where she takes gymnastics, so I know that will be a busy day.

The 13th we are headed home for homecoming. I am so excited to take A to her first pep rally! I even made her a mum this weekend to wear with her cheerleader suit.

I hope that with all these busy weekends, cooler weather decides to show up as well! We had a little taste a few weekends ago, but the 90's have returned full force. I love fall and winter, so I am feeling more than over this summer heat.

At some point we will go to either a pumpkin patch or arboretum. I love Halloween, and need to get on the ball as far as making A's costume goes! I also need to pick up the slack on a dress I am making for a friend, the rosettes my Memaw asked for, and the necklaces others have requested.

I am having a hard time with stress lately. I don't really know why I can't process and handle stress the way others can, but I need to find a better outlet. I have always wondered why some people can take stress in stride, while I seem to be constantly crippled by it. I am letting projects that I have committed myself to slip to the side, and that is not like me. Hopefully this week will have less craziness and I can get myself back on track. It is a strange cycle, you know. I make these commitments, then my normal work throws a kink into my plans, so I feel stress. Then because I can't meet my commitments, I feel more stress, which of course slows down my regular work as well.

 Dress: Old Navy, similar at Piperlime
Cardigan: Target, similar style Target
Necklace: Webster for Target
Shoes: Found on the sale rack at Macy's these are similar.
Shoeclips: Made by me

A's Outfit:
Smocked dress originally by Zuccini, bought at an amazing 2nd hand shop.

Cardigan: New York and Co
Top: Loft Mine is obviously black and tan, the link is blue, but the shirt is the same otherwise!
Pants: New York and Co
Necklace: From New York and Co, I was going for the "J.Crew bubble" look. When I do finally get one, it will be from Ebay for sure!
Shoes: Same 5 dollar ones from a local kids resale.

A's Outfit:
Gymnastics leotard!

Stripes, Leopards, and Flowers. Oh My!

Cardigan: Target, but I just bought this one from New York and Co. I love the cardigans from Target because of the pockets, but I like the overall look of the NYC one better.
Dress:Old Navy (recent in store purchase), this one at Old Navy isn't exactly the same, mine is actually sleeveless. 
Belt: Some no-name store at the mall. I have already upgraded to a true red belt like this one from Macy's. 
Shoes: I bought mine at Macy's on clearance, but these Jessica Simpson ones have the same round toe and shine.
Necklace: Made by me!

This outfit was from September 4th. I had dinner with two of my best friends and our families. J and I are car-pooling this year, so we went directly from work to dinner. I normally wouldn't be so "dressed" for burgers, but it is always nice to be a little fancy!

Cardigan: Same as above post!
Top: Old Navy, not sure if this print is still in stock.
Pants: Old Navy (purchased over 5 years ago), but these are similar.
Shoes: These are Karen Kane, similar here.
Necklace: Made by me for my mom, but I test drove it for her. 

A lot of people comment when my hair is curly, most seem to like it, but I feel so unpolished and frumpy! I really wish I could embrace my curls, but I'm afraid the flat iron is my true love.


Night Look--
Blazer: Sears! I can't believe it either. Similar here
Top: Old Navy. Similar here 
Jeggins: Celebrity Pink from Macy's 
Heels: Kid Re-Sale Shop, these are close. Mine are actually suede-ish.
Necklace: Shop in Albany, this one is very similar

Work Look--
Blazer: Same as above
Shoes: I started the day in the shiny round toe heels, but by the end of the day I was in these flats. I found them at DSW a few years ago. These are the closest I could find, and unfortunately, they are pricey.  
Necklace: This one is the same design, just brown rather than orange. This one is orange, but not the same design. 

I wore the night look out for J's 30th birthday party. I felt a little over dressed, but eventually, people showed up to the place (where we were) in all sorts of outfits. For work, I used the blazer to cover up a black shift (sheath?) dress. I loved this dress in the store so much I bought it in blue too!

Cardigan: This is the one from New York and Co.
Top: This one is close. I actually found mine at Macy's in the junior department. 
Belt: Same link as the black and white dress picture.
Pants: New York and Co
Shoes: Shiny and black again
Necklace: Me

I am going to chalk part of this bad photo to the fact that it had been a rough day. At the time this photo was taken I had been out and about for over 13 hours. It really does make me rethink wearing this particular outfit again though. Crazy how you can think something is working until you finally see what everyone else saw. Maybe a skinnier belt? Or maybe that shirt just becomes a weekend shirt.

Cardigan: Target. I bought it on clearance this summer. This one from Target is similar. 
TopOld Navy but hurry! They are on clearance! If they run out, this one is cute.
PantsOld Navy petites online. Honestly though, I would really like a pair that looked more like these.
Shoes: Target at the end of last school year. I couldn't find anything I liked well enough to link. Sorry!
Hair: French fish--French braid across the back of my head (only picked up from the bottom) then turned into a fishtail. 

I would like to thank J for taking my picture all the time. Maybe next time, he will let me know if my pant leg is tucked in my shoe. Also, these outfits were taken over two weeks. There were a few days where I forgot to take an outfit pic; I don't wear the same black cardigan everyday I swear!

My Personal Style

** I think it is important to clarify a few things before I go any further with this post: I believe people can be healthy at any weight. For me, the weight I was at, was not healthy.  I was not active, drank too much soda, and did not drink enough water.  I was happy at my highest weight, for the most part, just as I am happy now, for the most part. I do not think anyone has to lose weight to be beautiful. This is about me alone. Every person is different. Do what is best for you.** 

I have found the greatest benefit of my weight loss has been outfit related. I always felt like I have had a good sense of style. (Perhaps it was misguided in my youth, but then again, whose wasn't? See examples below)

Mom, Brother, and me all roc
  Christmas 1994.
And lest you think all my sartorial missteps occurred in the early-mid 90's or only at the holidays....
SOOOOOOOOO blond! My poor hair! This was 2002 or 2003. Also my apologies to Brother for bringing him down with me.

I may have shot myself in the foot here, providing these pictures, and my original point was what again?

Oh right, the added clothes related plus side of not being plus size anymore. I think it is important to go ahead and just lay it out there (HUGE GULP). My back hurt all the time. My feet hurt all the time. I was tired, having headaches, and was snoring! But for me, the point when I reached my limit was when my size 18 pants got tight. I am currently wearing a 10-12. It is shocking to me how much of a difference 34 pounds can make, and how much easier it is to find cute clothes in a mainstream (or even an in-between) size. I really tried very hard to dress in a manner fitting with my style even at my previous size. 
October 2010. A typical M outfit, cardi, tank, jeans, and flats.

July 2011. Cardi, tank, jeans, and flats.

July 2011. Cardi, tank, belt, jeans, and flip flops. See a pattern?

July 2011. Cardi, tank, jeans, flip flops.
August 2011. I don't have my cardigan on, but it was in the car.

October 2011. I love skinny jeans and boots.

At the time of these pictures I was wearing a size 16/18. I still think these outfits are cute. In fact, I still have all those cardigans and the striped tank top in my wardrobe.  I never shopped at Lane Bryant. I was lucky (for once) that being short allowed me to fit into extra-larges from stores like Macy's and Old Navy. (And thankfully more and more stores are carrying pants up to size 18.) I do think the way the fashion industry treats plus size women is a travesty though. If you are taller than me, or wear over an 18, your choices are cut down significantly. I found that I often had to work twice as hard as my thinner friends to find cute clothes . I am not sure what the designers and stores think about plus sized women, but it must not be much. We aren't all 5'10. Or over 72. I found that many many plus sized stores offered things I would never consider wearing which made embracing my personal sense of style much more difficult. 

My style has evolved as I have transitioned from teenager, to college girl, to a working mom/wife/woman. The hiking boots and sweatshirt of the 90's has no place in my current wardrobe. Neither does the too blond hair, over-lined eyes, and tight clothing of the early aughts. Even now, if I shrunk to a 00, I would not wear an outfit like the ones I wore then. I don't know what specific terms I would use to define my style. I like some trends, but am not a slave to them. I like layered pieces, and hardly ever leave the house without a cardigan.  I am not afraid of color or patterns. I think stripes look good on everyone, fashion rules be damned. I 100% believe that leopard is a neutral and am glad it is back in the stores. I hate harem pants, clogs, cropped tops, and turtlenecks.  
Dress: Loft, similar here
Cardigan: Target
Necklace: Macy's on clearance, similar here
Belt: Off another dress
Shoes: A local kid's resale shop (Or if I was cool, thrifted.)

 Cardigan: Target, similar here
Top: New York and Co
Necklace: Macy's on sale, similar here


Cardigan: Target, on clearance. Similar here
Top: Gap, very old
Pants: Old Navy
Necklace: Clearance Webster by Target, similar here
The last three pics are from this past week. The overall concept/look is the same as it was before my weight loss, it is just that the options are so much greater. I can easily find pants (well except for the length) and cute tops. I think the only change is that I had been neglectful of jewelry for too long, but am very much enjoying adding little things like these necklaces to my staples.