July 30, 2010

Friday Favorites: Nude Heels

These won’t be the flashiest shoes in your closet, but they will be the most versatile. When it comes to creating a long-legged look that goes with everything from a printed wrap dress to a navy pantsuit, nude heels can’t miss.

Here are a few of my current favorites in various price ranges:

Christian Louboutin Elisa Patent Pump, $625.00

Stuart Weitzman Platswoon, $298.00

Nine West Bonfire, $89.00

Enzo Agiolini Starlite Platform Pumps, $79.95

Franco Sarto Napoli, On Sale for $73.95 at Zappos.com

July 27, 2010

Book Review: Alligators, Old Mink & New Money

Last week while browsing on Amazon, I came across Alligators, Old Mink and New Money: One Woman’s Adventures in Vintage Clothing by sisters Alison and Melissa Houtte. With a title that intriguing, I knew I had to investigate further. After downloading a sample to my Kindle, I was hooked and immediately bought the rest of the book so I could finish reading.

(Incidentally, this is one of the things I LOVE about the Kindle. If I read a sample that captures me, the rest of the book can be at my disposal instantly. No more calling around trying to find it at a local bookstore or waiting days – or worse, weeks – for it to be delivered to my doorstep. But I digress…)

The book is part memoir, part guide to vintage clothing and accessories. It details how Alison went from being a model to owning and running successful Brooklyn-based vintage clothing store Hooti Couture. Peppered with fun anecdotes about her family, buying trips, amazing finds, pricing foibles and the interesting cast of characters she meets along the way, this book had me at every turn of the page. The addition of a Vintage Shopper's Guide at the end makes this a true gift to anyone with an interest in fashion, who enjoys the thrill of the hunt and the tales that go along with it.

In short, I couldn’t put this book down.

July 26, 2010

Happy Feet

I know I’ve already posted once today, but I just discovered something so fabulous I had to share. As the mom of three boys under the age of three, I don’t make it to the salon for professional pedicures as often as I would like. (Sad, but true.) As you can imagine, I’ve become pretty skilled at managing this task myself at home. I own (and love) a Diamancel Foot Buffer, but lately I’ve been wanting something extra…

Today at the drugstore, I discovered the Spongeables Pedi-Scrub Foot Buffer, which is a double-sided sponge and exfoliator that releases a foamy blend of glycerin, olive oil, shea butter and tea tree extract scented with lavender.

When the children went down for a nap, I tried it, and I must say it was pure bliss! I can’t remember the last time my feet felt this good without professional attention. (And the fragrance is divine, too.)

Do you have any special pedicure tips? Please tell us!

Rue La La Rewards New Members

If you haven't yet joined sample sale site Rue La La, now is the time. Through August 7, new members will receive a $10 credit just for joining.  And if that isn't enough, the discounts alone are worth the moment it takes to fill out the membership form.  If you still have doubts, check out my previous post about some of the goodies I scored when they held a Lilly Pulitzer boutique!  There are always plenty of deals to be had.  At the moment, I am awaiting a package from them containing some fabulous finds from Le Mystere!

If you need an invitation, click here to join as my guest.

Happy Shopping!

July 24, 2010

Random Saturday

I hope you won’t mind if I interrupt my usual commentary on fashion, books and children’s clothes for a slice of daily life.

For an accurate idea of what I'm referring to in the following paragraphs, picture your favorite blogger (hah!)  in jogging clothes, pushing this, with an antsy toddler running alongside.

I was having “one of those” mornings. (Yes, even Mrs. Julep has those days.) I was desperately in need of a trip to the post office with three cranky babes, no help in sight (Hubby’s working) and I wanted to get there before the line got too long. We got there early, but there was already quite a wait and my toddler was understandably antsy. (And of course, the sight of my twin stroller plus my tot is enough to attract attention from every well-meaning person for miles.) Little jaunts like this have a tendency to throw off our schedule for the rest of the day, and today my husband has begged me to have this crew on schedule so that we can enjoy a wonderful dinner out. (The restaurant we’re going to makes a delectable cucumber martini that is calling my name…)

Needless to say, I was feeling (and probably looking) rather harried. Cue the lovely woman in line behind me – who as it turns out, is someone I should know. She hails from my home state of Virginia and graduated from Mary Washington, where I attended for a brief semester before transferring schools. We were actually at Mary Washington at the same time in neighboring dorms. Add to this the fact that she also lived in the DC area before she and her husband moved here, has two little ones of her own (and a third on the way) and her second child is the same age as my toddler. And of course she lives in my zip code. How random is that? I adore this kind of coincidence. Fortunately she is also the friendly sort who voluntarily slips her phone number to people she hits it off with in line at the post office. (This is absolutely the kind of thing I do when I’m not so frazzled.) Overall, this ended up being a very interesting start to my Saturday and totally worth the schedule juggling that commenced once we returned home.

Needless to say, I do have some fun finds to share with you, but they will have to wait for another day. If you’ll excuse me, the children are napping and I need to figure out which of my Lilly P. frocks to wear tonight….

July 22, 2010

You Say Tomato, I Say Tomahto

If you haven’t visited the Talbots website lately, there is a fabulous reason to hop on over there right now. A new feature called “Great Takes” showcases different ways to wear the same item. And the combinations they’ve put together are phenomenal.

I am always looking for ways to freshen up my wardrobe and get as much mileage out of my clothing as possible, and the stylists at Talbots are obviously full of fabulous ideas. Now if only I could get them to come to my house and do this for me….

July 21, 2010

Blog Sale!

I just finished another round of closet cleaning, so I am offering you a few items in need of a new home. (Sizes vary a little, as my weight has fluctuated after pregnancy, etc.)

Shipping on each item is $5. Please email me at julepsandjj@aol.com if you have questions or want to purchase an item. Happy shopping!

SOLD Lilly Pulitzer Tinsley Dress in the Juice Stand print, Size 8.
So gorgeous, so Lilly (especially the name of the print). I love this dress, but it no longer fits me. It has been worn just a few times and is in excellent condition. (Incidentally, it has been washed on gentle and air dried.)

Laundry by Shelli Segal Silk Dress, Size 6, $50 Reduced to $45
This is a beautiful mod print that is Pucci-inspired. It can be worn strapless, with the attached scarf dangling in front, or as a halter (the way it’s shown on the hanger). It has been worn once and dry cleaned and is in excellent condition.

SOLD Talbots Cropped Cardigan, Size S/M (This fit me when I could wear a 4 or a 6.)
This is adorable with a tank and the skirt listed below. I also wore this with other Lilly skirts in the Via Blue color. It is meant to be worn open and does not have buttons. Excellent Condition.

SOLD Lilly Pulitzer Skirt, White King Crab print, Size Small.
A highly desirable print that is cute and summery. Elastic waist. Excellent Condition.

Banana Republic ¾ Sleeve Striped Button Down Shirt. Size M (this fit me as a size 4 to 6). $15.
Adorable shades of pink and cream. Excellent Condition.

SOLD Ann Taylor Dark Denim Skirt with Cute Kick Pleats. Size 6 . $15
Excellent used condition, no fading.

SOLD J. Crew Cotton Skirt in a lovely shade of Light Blue. Size 6. $15

Express Green Zip Polo with Yellow Tipped Collar. Size M (this fit me as a size 4 to 6). $10.
Beautiful Color, only worn a few times.

Express Floral Cami with Built-in Shelf Bra and Adjustable Straps. Size M (this fit me as a size 4 to 6). $10.

Lovely floral print. Worn Twice.

Vera Bradley Travel Cosmetic Case in Nantucket Red, $25.
Interior zip pocket, plus eight dividers to hold your products.

This was never used, so it is in pristine condition. It was stored in a drawer with something perfumed, so it has a slight hint of fragrance to it. (The scent was Estee Lauder’s Beautiful, if that matters.)


July 20, 2010

How do you “Lilly”?

Bethany at Maryland Pink and Green is asking readers to submit photos of themselves outfitted in their Lilly Pulitzer fashions to showcase how different people style their finds. She will post the photos on her blog and choose one participant at random to win a set of Lilly Pulitzer coasters. If you like to “Lilly,” stop by her blog and submit your photo before Sunday, June 24.

Have fun!

Taylor Angino, summer intern at Lilly Pulitzer, pictured with Carson Kressley at the Devon Horse Show.  Photo from the Lilly Pulitzer Blog.

July 18, 2010

Falling for Orient Expressed

It may only be mid-July, but in the retail world it is time for fall and winter clothes to start making their appearance, as evidenced by the magazines and catalogs that have been gracing my mailbox. The new Orient Expressed catalog arrived yesterday, and all I can say is, “Ooh la la!” They have some truly adorable options for outfitting the minis this fall and winter.

I’m particularly enamored of:

The Reversible Tractor/ Football Shortall

(This is the other side.)

The Reversible Carriage/ Mouse Jumper

(This is the other side.)

The Reindeer Shortall

The Red and White Checked Big Collared Dress
(This is supremely cute with the collar monogrammed!)

And this delightful little jon jon, which is a repeat item from last year. I ordered it for my tot last fall and I'm thrilled with how cute it is in person.

Of course I can’t forget that Orient Expressed also sells specialty linens. I received a set of their linen hand towels for Christmas a few years ago, and I always look forward to using them. This year’s designs are so fun!

(Aren't these perfect for the preppy house?)

Those of you who’ve purchased from Orient Expressed before know that you have two options for ordering: through your local home show representative or directly from their catalog and website. If you know a local rep, it’s always nice to show them some love, but if not, ordering directly from the company is wonderful, too! (I have ordered both ways in the past and there was no difference in the service I received, although last year I attended a trunk show and was able to check out the designs and sizing in person before placing an order. I found this to be particularly helpful since I was unsure what size my little guy would need.)

Either way, the result is darling!

July 16, 2010

Friday Favorites: Elizabeth McKay

Can I tell you how much I adore Elizabeth McKay’s gorgeous clothing? Her designs are the epitome of classic, casual elegance. Any of these items can be easily dressed up or down with a quick change of accessories and you will always look beautiful, no matter where you’re going.

I’m particularly craving:

Scotland Dress

B to B Dress

The Bon Voyage Dress

Notting Hill Pant with The Elizabeth Shirt

Cape Grace Skirt with The Pimm's Top

If you're looking for stores that carry this line, you may be in luck if you live near the east coast. (I know Elizabeth McKay frocks are a favorite of patrons at one of my old D.C. shopping haunts, Sherman Pickey.) Those of us who currently reside in other parts of the country will have to content ourselves with ordering online. I think these lovely clothes are worth it, though, don’t you?

I am dying to know what her fall line will feature.

July 15, 2010

Gift Wrap That Survives The Trip

This is a particularly busy time of year in the Julep Household in terms of family birthdays. Since NONE of our family lives here, we are continually shipping gifts across the country. Wrapping the gifts in a way that looks great and survives the shipping process is key.

This morning I was wrapping some gifts for one of our darling nephews and I thought I would share with you some of the tips and tricks I have learned.

Tulle Ribbon: The thing I hate most about shipping gifts is that the bows get crushed. My favorite product for avoiding this problem is Tulle Ribbon. I love Tulle Ribbon because even if it gets crushed, it bounces right back. You can tie it very simply (like I did in the photo above), or you can make more elaborate bows and it will always look great. I’ve been buying it at Hallmark, but sometimes it can be hard to find. I also just found out that it can be ordered online from Nashville Wraps. (You want a 2 or 3-inch spool of ribbon, NOT the 6-inch. Trust me. I once tried buying the 6-inch stuff from The Container Store, thinking I could fold it down myself. Complete disaster. Stick to the smaller ribbon.)

If you can’t find Tulle Ribbon, or you can’t find the color you want, the next best choice is:

Satin Ribbon: Go to Michaels or A.C. Moore and buy some spools of nice satin ribbon. Personally, I prefer to actually go to the store and buy this (instead of ordering online) because I want to feel the quality of the ribbon. If it is stiff and papery (ie, cheaply made) it will get crushed. You want nice quality satin ribbon, and you can usually find it at the aforementioned craft stores for a really reasonable price. (Evaluate it carefully, though, because these stores also sell the stiff papery kind.) Also, be sure not to buy the wired ribbon, because that’s absolutely the worst when it’s been crushed. You want plain, floppy satin ribbon. When you tie it, make a simple square knot and trim the ends so they look pretty. (I’m a big fan of notched ends.) Be forewarned: big elaborate bows will not work for shipping packages encircled with satin.

Clear Cellophane Gift Bags and Patterned Tissue Paper: For wrapping small, awkwardly shaped items (or even baby clothing that can be rolled and tied with a pretty ribbon), I like to use patterned tissue paper inside of a cellophane gift bag (finished with tulle or satin ribbon, of course). The cellophane can get bumped around quite a bit in transit and it will look no worse for the wear, and of course there are a lot of options available in patterned tissue paper, so it makes gift wrapping that much easier. I have purchased cellophane gift bags at The Container Store (not the cheapest option) and recently I also found them at Michaels labeled as “Large Treat Bags” (which are very economical).

And don’t forget to include your personalized gift tags! Tiny Prints offers some lovely choices!

Do you have a favorite gift wrapping tip you’d like to share?

July 9, 2010

Practicality Aside…

Aren’t these Kerrington Ballet Flats from J. Crew heavenly? In my fantasies, I am wearing these with a white sundress, a sherbet-hued cardigan and a perfect pair of pearl earrings. I am running errands and taking the kids to playdates in the park, never stepping in a mud puddle or having little ones drop their snacks on my perfect silk and cotton-clad toes. A girl can dream, right?

(And LPC, if you’re reading this, you should know that yes, I even want to wear prints on my shoes. Does this make me the Artsy Cousin?)

July 7, 2010

Just Who Do I Think I Am?

I’m sure by now you all know how much I swoon over retro fashion. (Remember this post? And this one?) But it’s been awhile since I’ve attempted to add actual vintage pieces to my wardrobe. (Five or six years ago I had a few less than ideal Ebay experiences with vintage clothing that convinced me to stick with buying what I know… )

Lately I find myself having a lot of Lucy Ricardo wardrobe fantasies.

With all of the adorable, reputable vintage shops now online, I’m considering taking the plunge and ordering a vintage dress or two.

Maybe something like this…

Or this…

Both Dresses Are Listed At Dorothea's Closet Vintage

But the real question is, can a modern mom of three pull this off? (And really, where would I wear these?) Just who do I think I am?

Do you own any vintage pieces? If so, how do you integrate them into the rest of your wardrobe? If you don’t, do you ever consider buying some?

July 6, 2010

Fleeting Moments

I hope you all had a fabulous holiday weekend. I know I did! Sunday night we drove around town and saw multiple displays of fireworks. This was quite exciting for my big kid, Little Mr. W (who’s almost three). We then capped off the evening with some ice cream from Sonic, which is a rare treat for him. (I do not believe in pumping kids full of sugar on a daily basis.)

Yesterday we left the twins with a babysitter and took Little Mr. W on his first movie theater outing. We saw Toy Story 3 (and got some popcorn). He was quite in awe of the entire experience. You add to this the fact that we have been working on potty training and he has been wearing training pants for the last five days, and he’s had quite a busy week!

If you’ve read the reviews, I’m sure you know that Toy Story 3 is about what happens to the toys when their owner grows up. As a mom, I felt a little teary thinking about it. Of course, it’s thrilling to watch your children grow and develop and gain their independence. But we also have to remember that these moments we have with them when they are little are precious and fleeting and we need to make the most of every minute. As much as I look forward to seeing them become the adults they are meant to be, I also want to make sure I always remember what they are like today.


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