August 20, 2010

More Prep for Your Step

Recently there has been a lot of buzz about the upcoming release of True Prep, the update to The Official Preppy Handbook which was originally published in 1980. After reading the witty excerpt on the Vanity Fair website, I can say that I’m officially excited. True Prep will be released on September 7th, and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.

August 19, 2010

Trend Alert: Mini Saddle Bags

Vintage-inspired saddle bags worn across the body continue to be a big trend for fall. Personally, I love these bags paired with all of the prep school looks we are seeing. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Bonnie from Mulberry

The Hutchinson Medium Across Body Bag from Radley London

The Aspley Extra-Small Crossbody Bag from Burberry

The Totally Turnlock Bell Saddle Bag from Marc by Marc Jacobs

August 15, 2010

Kitchen Savvy

Over the years I’ve become a bit of a foodie. (Living in the D.C. area for a while with access to fabulous restaurants tends to have that effect on a person.) I understand the importance of slicing and dicing foods into equal pieces so they will cook evenly, not to mention look gorgeous on the plate. But I often have trouble accomplishing that task easily at home without spending a ton of time. To put it bluntly, my knife skills could use a little work.

A few days ago, I discovered a wonderful series of free how-to videos available at Many of the tutorials were created by the Culinary Institute of America. Do you want to know the best way to slice an onion, peel and cut a mango, or de-shell a lobster? It’s all there.


Still shot from the tutorial, “How to Cut Watermelon.”

August 13, 2010

Friday Favorites: Lilly Pulitzer Fall Line

When many bloggers stared posting listings of their favorite items from Lilly Pulitzer’s fall line a few weeks ago, I decided to hold my vote until I’d had a chance to see some of the pieces in person.

Viewing the clothing online, my initial impression was that it looked like the line contained a lot of gorgeous party dresses. Now I adore party dresses as much as any other girly-girl, but the reality of my life and my closet is that I only need a few each season. What I need most for fall are beautiful items that translate to my day-to-day life: play dates, preschool pick-up, Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) meetings, church, charitable activities, and dinners out. One of the reasons I love Lilly for spring and summer wear is that there are a lot of cotton dresses, skirts, and cardigans that work for my lifestyle (which means they’re cute, but also easy to move in and machine washable), and I really wondered if this year’s fall line would hold the same appeal.

Now that I’ve had a chance to see the initial fall offerings at my local Lilly store, I am happy to report that it does. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Lulu in True Navy Skindalous

If you are a Lilly lover who has not tried this style, get yourself to a Lilly Pulitzer store right now! I find this dress to be an extremely flattering hourglass fit, and this style is polished enough to be appropriate for church, charity meetings or dinners at the club. This fall it’s available in several adorable prints.

The Adalie Wrap Dress in Shorely Blue Serenity

In addition to being a great overall day dress, this would be perfect for our fall trip to the Texas coast. (I'm really in love with this print!)

The Worth Shift in Cameo White Flowey Wowey

"Wow" is right!  This is another great day dress in a to-die-for print. If the straight cut of the Worth Shift is not to your liking, the print also comes in this fabulous Roslyn Skirt, of which I am a fan.

Last, but not least, I wanted to share one find that I have not had the pleasure of seeing in person.

The Conrad Sweater in Multi Lotus

This adorable creation makes my must-have list because it looks like the perfect piece to pair with my jeans and boots when the weather here in San Antonio finally turns cool. I can’t wait to see this one for myself.

And of course, Lilly makes fantastic coordinating cardigans and sweaters which are perfect to layer over any of the sleeveless dresses when the temperature drops.  This makes these dresses a perfect fall investment because you can wear them now and continue to wear them as the season progresses!

What about you? What Lilly items and and prints are you excited about for fall?

August 9, 2010

I Want, I Need… Turquoise

I adore statement jewelry and all summer I have been longing for accessories in turquoise. Remember this post? Here are some of my current obsessions.

Amrita Singh Greenport Earrings in Turquoise

(Confession time: I have a pair of these on order. They should arrive today!)

Meg Carter Audrey Drops in Turquoise and Lemon

(Oh, how I need these to wear with my Lilly Pulitzer!)

Amrita Singh Maylen Necklace

Stella and Dot Turquoise Sea Necklace

Kenneth Jay Lane Marble Bead Necklace

(I actually spotted this at Saks Off Fifth for $60, which is quite a discount from its retail price of $200. They had one. I stepped away for a few moments to think about it, and when I went back it was gone. Can you say, "regret"?)

Before I sign off today, I'd like to say a quick "thank you" to all of you who expressed concern for my husband last Thursday.  His LASIK procedure went exceptionally well.  (I even got to watch.)  He is thrilled with his result and is looking forward to next summer when he can swim with our sons without worrying about contacts.  Happy Monday!

August 5, 2010

Celebrating Four Wonderful Years

Photos by Jennifer Domenick

Four years ago today, I married my sweetheart. The time has come and gone in the blink of an eye, yet I can hardly believe how much has happened. In these four short years we have moved across the country, bought our first house, and become the parents to three wonderful boys. We have experienced birth and death, difficult pregnancies and losses, as well as many, many blessings. Through it all he has been my best friend and the one who reminds me never to lose faith. He is strong when I am weak and he loves me even when I don't deserve it. I know without a shadow of a doubt that he is the one who was intended for me. Mr. Julep, I love you more than you can ever know.

Dear readers, if you are inclined to pray, I ask that you please say a little prayer for us today. Mr. Julep is having LASIK this afternoon. While he keeps telling me that it is a “routine procedure,” I can’t help but worry. Thank you!

August 4, 2010

Planning for the Big Three

A certain tot’s third birthday is just around the corner (read: less than a month away) and it’s high time I turned my attention to selecting the perfect party invitation. I’m starting my search with Tiny Prints (an advertiser on this blog) because I have ordered from them many times in the past and we’ve always been thrilled with the result. (In fact, the Christmas Cards I sent last year were such a hit that several of my husband’s ultra stylish, supremely selective family members declared they would order from Tiny Prints next time.)

Here are a few contenders for this year's invite. (Like many boys his age, he’s a little obsessed with trains at the moment.)

Traveling Train Invitation

Birthday Stripes: Siren Invitation

Birthday Locomotive Invitation

I would be remiss if I didn’t also share with you the adorable invitation we ordered for his second birthday party last year, which was held at The Little Gym.

The Monkey Bars Invitation in Persimmon

What do you think of these choices?

August 3, 2010

Shhh! Don’t Tell: Designer Fashions at a Discount

I have a little secret. I adore designer clothing, but I also love to find it on sale. Just thinking about it makes my heart beat a little faster.

When it comes to finding the perfect item at a discount… well let’s just say it’s a talent of mine. (This is not to say that I don’t pay retail. Some items are quite simply worth full price and some pieces are so special they will sell out long before they are ever discounted. Savvy shoppers know when to spend and when to wait.)

Today I’m going to share some of my smart shopping strategies with you.

A photo of me that appears on Maryland Pink and Green today for Bethany's feature on reader outfits.  I am wearing a Lilly Pulitzer Lennox Wrap Skirt in the Jubilee Toile (which has recently been on sale at Saks Off Fifth) and Lilly Pulitzer Better Than Gold Wedges in Platinum that I scored on 

Department Store Outlets: Saks Off Fifth, Neiman Marcus Last Call and Nordstrom Rack
If you adore designer clothes and accessories as much as I do, these stores are pure heaven. My local Saks Off Fifth has recently been filled with last year’s Lilly Pulitzer, as well as finds from Tory Burch, Milly, Tibi, Diane von Furstenburg, Michael Kors, St. John and Marc Jacobs, just to name a few. Be sure to peruse the shoe, handbag, and accessory departments, too. Check back often, because they continually mark down merchandise and eventually you’ll find bargain basement prices. (Last week I scored a skirt that retailed at $178 for a cool $37.) At Nordstrom Rack I’ve spotted clothing and swimsuits from Trina Turk and shoes from Tory Burch, Coach and Burberry, among others. I do not make it to Neiman Marcus Last Call as often because it’s further away, but I assure you they have to-die-for merchandise, too. All of these outlets are fabulous places to find designer sunglasses at a nice discount.

The Brick and Mortar Discount Chain Stores: TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Filene’s Basement and Stein Mart
If you have any of these stores nearby and you aren’t visiting them regularly, what are you waiting for? I have found the likes of Lilly Pulitzer, Tahari, Theory, Vineyard Vines, Coach, Kate Spade, Le Mystere and La Perla at TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Filene’s Basement is always a treasure trove of designer items (and one that I miss now that we are in Texas). Depending on the quality of the Filene’s near you, this may require a little digging. Years ago, I nabbed a gorgeous Dana Buchman leather wallet from a bin at a Filene’s Basement in D.C. It’s price? A mere $10. (This was in the days before Dana Buchman was designing accessories for Kohl’s. That luxurious wallet was the steal of the century.) Stein Mart can also be fun and I’ve seen everything from Vineyard Vines chinos to Vera Bradley bags and Felina lingerie discounted there.

Department Stores
All of the big department stores have amazing sales. Befriend a sales associate if you want advance notice of upcoming sales and invitations to pre-sale events.

Sample Sale Web Sites
I discovered these gems through tips from other bloggers, and I can’t believe what I was missing. Each of these sites opens new sale boutiques daily. If there is something you are interested in, you want to get to the site at the moment the sale starts because merchandise can sell out quickly. Expect discounts on everything from designer clothing to lingerie, handbags, jewelry and vintage accessories. And the discounts can be steep. Be sure to check on the return policy for each site, because they vary. If you need invitations to any of the following, click on the link provided.

Rue La La (My personal favorite. Psst... Lilly Pulitzer will be on sale tomorrow! Be forewarned; Lilly sells out immediately, so you must be quick!)

Billion Dollar Babes

Haute Look

Beyond the Rack

One Kings Lane (O.K., this is for home furnishings and accessories, not clothing, but it is wonderful enough that I am including it here. )

The Preppy Outlet:
Just as the name implies, The Preppy Outlet carries Lilly Pulitzer (even a few items from the current season), Vineyard Vines, CK Bradley, Rebecca Taylor, Brighton Bags, Island Company and Salmon Cove for Men. The best news is that The Preppy Outlet has a decent return policy, so you can try something at home and return it if it doesn’t work for you. The stock changes frequently, so check back often.

The Sale Shack:
This is the outlet arm of famed Palm Beach retailer C. Orrico. Expect to find bargains on Lilly Pulitzer, Milly, Jules Reid, Shoshanna and Trina Turk. I believe these items are final sale, so shop carefully.

If you are as much a fan of Lilly Pulitzer clothing as I am, participating in the Re-Lilly group on Facebook is a must. It is a group of Lilly aficionadas who buy, sell and trade their Lilly Pulitzer items and there are great deals to be had. In addition, you get insider tips on which of the Lilly Pulitzer Via Stores are having sales.

Other Websites Worth Visiting (You can often find past-season Lilly Pulitzer here.) (Another resource for Lilly Pulitzer.) (This site sells more than shoes, you know. And it has great sales.) (Bargains from a lot of other sites are listed here. The leg work is done for you.)

Upscale Resale
O.K., I can’t really give you names here because these stores vary from city to city. In my opinion, it is worth your time to investigate what your locale offers. Since we’ve moved to Texas I have discovered a small handful of wonderful upscale resale shops at which I’ve spotted new or barely-worn fashions from Lilly Pulitzer, Trina Turk, Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Furstenburg, Milly, Nanette Lepore, Peter Som, St. John… the list goes on. I frequently find items with the original store tags still attached. Recently, I even spyed a gorgeous Chloe handbag in perfect condition. If you get to know the staff and let them know what you’re particularly interested in, they can be a valuable resource.

Now what are you waiting for? Go find some deals!


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