Monday, July 15, 2013


Slantwise Peplum Tank from Anthropologie
I'm trying not spend any money on clothes or shoes this month because I went a little crazy last month buying during some of the End of Season sales. But I still opened up Effortless Anthropologie's sale post today and saw this little number. I like how it's styled with casual pants and cute strappy sandals. This peplum top is the same idea as the one in my previous post that I got for $20 at TJ Maxx. I haven't been to an Anthro in months because my nearest one is 2 hrs away and it's hard to get away with my job and the kiddos. So I have no idea how this would look on me compared to the TJ Maxx version. This one is currently on sale at Anthro for $30.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Anthro-ish TJ Maxx finds

I've finally admitted to myself that I cannot afford to dress as well as I'd like when I have three growing kiddos who need to be fed every day and must also be clothed in adorable outfits. I have been working for about a year now after staying home with my kids for seven years. I'm still slowly building up my wardrobe. I went to TJ Maxx and found some great pieces that reminded me of some Anthropologie pieces, but at a fraction of the cost.

 Cynthia Rowley dress from TJ Maxx / Franco Sarto strappy heels / sterling silver hoop earrings from TJ Maxx
Photos copyright Darren Whitley
 I've always been able to wear bright prints, so this Cynthia Rowley dress immediately caught my eye at TJ Maxx (worn with Franco Sarto strappy sandals from TJ Maxx, also available here). I don't know if you can tell, but it has a photo-realistic print of tree trunks around the center. Now that I think of it, the whole thing is a Twilight-ish forest print. It reminded me of some of the landscape and photo-realistic dresses and skirts I saw last year at Anthropologie (similar to this landscape dress by another fashion blogger).

Cynthia Rowley dress from TJ Maxx / Franco Sarto strappy heels / sterling silver hoop earrings from TJ Maxx

I've been wanting to find a peplum top, but didn't think my waist was tiny enough to pull it off. Since I love stripes and black, I thought I might be able to pull this one off. When my husband saw it on me, he insisted I must have it. I wore it with a skirt from Ann Taylor that I bought last month along with the matching suit jacket.

Old Navy black t-shirt / Cynthia Rowley polka dot shorts from TJ Maxx / Dansko Susie sandals / Invicta watch (blogged here)
I feel like I'm getting to an age where I really shouldn't wear shorts. Or maybe that's what I tell myself because I have such a hard time finding any that fit me well, except for the Nike dry-fit shorts I wear to work out. I was really surprised by this find because the print and fabric reminded me so much of the Anthropologie Polka-Dotted Mini Dress I bought last year and ended up returning (blogged here). 

Old Navy black t-shirt / Cynthia Rowley polka dot shorts from TJ Maxx / Dansko Susie sandals / Invicta watch (blogged here)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

DIY: how to remove watch links

My husband got me the watch I wanted for Mother's Day. I wanted one that displayed the date and had a classic Rolex look without the hefty price tag. I ended up picking this one out by Invicta.

It was too big and I needed to have some links taken it out. But since I ordered it online, I couldn't bring myself to take it to my local jeweler for resizing. Plus, sometimes I can be kind of cheap. After watching a few YouTube videos and taking a deep breath, I decided to tackle the task of removing the extra links using tools I found around the house.

 I used a scrap piece of wood to protect my kitchen counter top and the watch. My handy husband drilled a couple of holes in it for me. I ended up using the hole closest to the edge. I also used a pair of angled, flat needle nose pliers, a small nail, a watchmaker's hammer that I use sometimes to make jewelry and a nail file.

 I filed the nail edge down so that it would have a flatter surface.

 When I tried on my watch it looked like I needed to remove three links. I also used my old watch for size comparison.

 My new watch is marked with arrows to show the direction which the pin exits the link. I aligned it so I could punch down the pin that holds the link in place.

 I placed my watch so that the pin would fall into the hole that was drilled on the piece of wood.

 I barely had to tap the link so that it would fall out. The pliers were handy to have when the pin didn't fall out right away.

 This shows that the pin is actually split in half. One side is flat and the other side expands inside the watch link to hold it in place. I removed one link from each side.

Before tapping the last pin back in place, I was able to put the links all back in place to see if it was the right size. I decided to take out one more link, for a total of three.

I finally tapped the last pin back in place. I did the opposite of what I did to remove them. I placed my watch with the arrows facing up this time and I inserted the pin with the flat side first and the open tension last. I tapped it back just using the hammer or gently with my filed-down nail. I ended up with a great fitting, Mother's Day watch and a great sense of accomplishment. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

sunday at anthro

We left the comfort of our small, rural town last Sunday and ventured into Kansas City because my husband (a professional photographer) had to shoot an event. While he was working, the kiddos and I went to The Plaza for a bit of shopping. We stopped at Gap and grabbed some things for my son and then hopped over to Barnes & Noble and picked up new books for the kids' bedtime reading. I went into H&M for the first time, but nothing really grabbed my attention. Then we took the long way to Anthropologie (pictured above) so the kids could burn off some energy before we had to pick up my husband and drive 1 1/2 hours home.

Ever since I scored a giant bead necklace last summer on sale at Anthropologie, I've been obsessed with trying to find more. I spotted the pink one (I don't see it on Athro's website) on the right first, but it felt kinda cheesy. The pinks are very candy colored. I was looking for something bold, but that I would feel comfortable wearing at my office. I liked the Primary Spheres Bib Necklace on the left, but I wasn't sure if I like it enough to pay full price. Plus, the beads are gigantic and I wasn't sure what I'd wear with it. I didn't even try it on because I had all three kiddos with me and I was trying to get out of the store without one of them breaking something.

The kids managed to stay entertained with a vintage typewritter that was on this desk display while I looked around the home section.

This rustic dinning set caught my eye. I wouldn't mind having such a rugged dinning table and bench that way I wouldn't have to worry about my monkeys kids damaging it like I do our estate auction dinning set.

I didn't notice at the time I took this photo, but each place setting is different. I think I was mostly drawn by the beautiful contrast between the worn wooden table top, the sea colored Old Havana Dinnerware and the limestone central object.


These Handpainted Still Life Monograms looked pretty cool. They are big at 18" tall each. 

There were Easter bunnies on display throughout The Plaza shopping district and this is the first one we encountered. I wanted to get a cute photo of my three kids posing with this bunny, but my daughter would not get close to it. She later warmed up to them as we saw more. It was a cold, misty afternoon so the kids wore their super tough, water proof, Shell Jackets with Windfleece Jacket inserts from Polarn O. Pyret

Kids are all wearing Shell Jackets by Polarn O. Pyret in Pine Green, Rowan (compliments of Polarn O. Pyret, a handmedown from her older sister) and Flambe pink (from last year) / Windfleece Jackets (with thumbholes as demonstrated here by my older two kids) worn under their Shell Jackets / My daughter on right is wearing a Tea Collection dress, Children's Place leggings and her brother's handmedown Kamik Rocket Cold Weather Boots / my youngest daughter is wearing a bubble skirt dress, leggings and Paul Frank rain boots, all handmedowns and by Target.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

master bedroom

I once read that a couple's bedroom is symbolic of their relationship. I had been letting stacks of magazines and children's outgrown clothes pile up in my bedroom and realized that it was interfering with the whole relaxing vibe I envisioned for my master bedroom. I was also paranoid that I was taking my husband for granted and not taking care of us. I don't think that was really happening, but it was a good enough excuse to go shopping. We got brand new sheets at TJ Maxx (I only buy white for everyone in my house so I can wash them all together) because the ones we had were getting holes. I scored a Patch NYC for Target duvet set when it went on sale for 50% off. 

 I splurged on these Mist colored Cottage Ceramic Table Lamps by Haeger. I placed two different orders so I could use two discount codes I got in emails from LampsPlus. They're made in Chicago, Illinois and were shipped to me directly from the factory. I felt kinda special because I had to wait a few weeks on them to be made to order. I'm a big fan of American manufacturing and try to choose American made items for my home as much as I can. I grew up in a large city in Mexico where I saw the importance of manufacturing for local economies. My knitting basket is also American made by Peterboro Baskets. I use their baskets for organizing and storing things throughout my house. I order them directly from the manufacturer's website. I won the side tables at a neighbor's estate sale two summers ago (blogged here).

I routinely dry our clothes on this awesome wooden drying rack (instructions on how to make one from Martha Stewart) my husband made for me a couple of years ago, especially the kid's clothes so they don't get excessive wear from the dryer (so they can be handed down to younger siblings or friends). On this day, I was drying my toddler's cloth diapers and cloth wipes. A little embarrassed that we still haven't installed closet doors on our renovated closet (blogged here).

Monday, November 12, 2012


This is my third winter wearing these awesome Times Three Booties by Schuler & Sons I bought two winters ago. My husband spotted them when we were shopping at the Anthropologie store in Kansas City. I fell in love as soon as I tried them on. Even though they were marked down on sale, they were still $99. I wanted them so badly, but I couldn't justify the price because at the time, I had never paid so much for a pair of shoes. I walked away empty-handed that day, but because I couldn't stop obsessing about them, I called the store and they shipped them to me. I wear them all the time during the cold weather season and I've received numerous compliments.

The other day I decided they needed some TLC before I broke them out again for another year. Since I didn't feel like doing the work myself this time, I took them to my local cobbler who re-stained the heels (snow/salt damage from last winter) and polished them all up for me to make them look better than new.

in the closet

I took advantage of my 3-day Veteran's Day weekend and spent hours cleaning, decluttering and reorganizing my home. One of the areas that I really needed to work on was the closet I share with my husband. Since I returned to work this past August after a total of nine years (two in graduate school full time and seven as a stay-at-home mom), I really needed to customize it to my new full-time-working-trying-to-exercise-and-lose-weight lifestyle. My house was  built in the early-1960's, when people were smaller in size and generally owned less things. So I have to limit the number of things I own so I don't end up on that TV show "Hoarders." My closet has to hold all of my in-season and out-of-season clothes (except for my winter coats and workout shoes that all live in the hallway coat closet). I also needed a place for some crafting items since I long ago lost my studio space to my kiddos. This is what the closet looked like around this time last year.