Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

I know you’re wondering so. I’m still grey, animal print, cowl-necked, striped. the end.

wait, new in 2013 was metallic stripes. i might have 6 of those.


still keeping it classy though.


have a great holiday and perhaps you’ll see more of us in 2014! haha

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Just, no.

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Tra la la, la la la

Winter is over! Okay not really, but I have a rare and precious weekend in sunny California planned for February.  How to fit a fabulous three-day wardrobe in a carry-on bag? Sundress time! I only buy dresses that I can also wear to the office — okay not really, but let’s assume that I try — so I settled on these three awesomefest dresstastic dandies from Boden. All look good for walking-shopping-ice tea-in-sandals fun, with leggings if the day is cooler. Back home, where it is cold, I will try to wear them to the office in winter with tights and boots. In the summer maybe to work with slingback heels.  All have current colors (our Paris correspondent reports that coral is IN for 2012!). The prints and strike the perfect note of pretty without being fussy or affected (that note which is officially designated, in fashion notation, as “cute.”) All are machine washable and jersey-knit cotton blends that will wad up into little suitcase balls and lose their wrinkles in a hotel room shower. And hopefully,  all should flatter a busty little person with narrow shoulders and a little round belly (that shakes when she laughs like a bowl full of jelly).

I emphasize SHOULD FLATTER.  I had a deal for free shipping/ free returns, so I got six of them to try on and see how it goes. Boden is killer fabulous but notoriously temperamental with fit. Fingers crossed that one or two of them will work.

Also I love the pattern and color names! They sound like haiku:

Airforce Floating Floral, Mint Sketchy Floral, "Radish.

Khaki Spotted Shadow, Heather, Pewter.

Stay tuned for Part 2, when I try them on and post pictures. That is, I will post pictures if they look good (or at least bad in a good-enough way).  Otherwise Aki might have to bribe me to get me to post about it.







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I made a shirt



Although “made” might be overstating it. As might “shirt.”

Imagine a shir that looks like this,  except that it's cuteThis pattern is Simplicity 2181 “Misses Knit Tops.”  It is a fairly simple pattern in that it is only 4 pieces — front, back, and two “overlays” sewn to the sides and twisted across the front. It is difficult because it requires knit fabric (I just realized that any shirt without buttons or a zipper needs to be stretchy enough to pull on). Knits stretch when you sew them, the pins slip out, and they don’t like to crease neatly when pressed. For these reason knits suck and I don’t know why I bother, except I like wearing them and I’m hoping that my skills will improve with time.

The fabric is a “watercolor stripe” knit I got for $4.99 on sale at Denver Fabrics.  It caught my eye because of that 2011-is-that-an-animal-print styling, plus these are my favorite colors to wear.

The pattern caught my eye because Simplicity Patterns were on sale for $1 each.  If you buy patterns but don’t know this yet, take heed: Pattern pricing (actually everything to do with sewing pricing) is a strange-ass racket. They are marked for sale at $9.99-$17.99 or so. They are always sold retail for 40% (which exempts them from most major retailer coupons “for full price items only.”) Then they randomly (?) go on ridiculous discounts like $1 each. If you’re interested in sewing, spend some time browsing the pattern sites (or better yet, a good sewing site like patternreview.com) and start keeping a list of patterns you’re interested in.  You’ll have it handy as soon as you see a “1$ sale” at the fabric store, which is good because everyone will be hogging the Simplicity books.  And the last thing any sew-ist needs is more wasted time in the fabric store.

I’ve known for a couple of years now that ruched and gathered tops work best for me. I was happy to see that my style instincts were right on track, there. My technique, unfortunately, is not. The neckline is wonky because I sewed the facing in along the V-neck — I can’t press it flat, so the lining poofs out like some extra-ruffled collar action. Like some kind of  Dickey . Seriously my husband trying to be nice said “oh is that another design detail?” NO IT’S NOT, Good Husband, it is just that  I’m not finished putting the shirt on! Come over here and give me a hand, will you.  I think I need to be more careful stitching the lining along the exact same V as the shirt front. Also I need to follow directions about “clipping curves,” and stuff like that, which always seems “extra” but you know it’s probably in the directions for a reason.

Speaking of directions, the sleeve is messed up there because I accidentally sewed things backwards and had to cut it apart. You can see where a leftover piece of backwards-stuff is still attached.  There is no good reason why I sew stuff backwards on accident; I sit there telling myself “Read the directions, Robin! DONT MESS UP!” and then next thing I know, Good Husband is trying to put the shirt on me saying “I really don’t think this can work, like it is mathmatically impossible for it to go on over your head.”  OKAY FINE I will fix it.  Everyone standing around waiting for the “look at my new shirt” demonstration, please retire and await the next announcement.

Next step: Carefully rip the seam out of the mistakie-place, avoid damaging the shirt, figure out to do with the arm holes. See if I can iron it into something presentable.

Then get ready to wear that baby out on the town. For real.

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Back to the Beginning


i don’t know if you’ve been paying attention but i recently had a baby. as a result i spend a lot of time staring at my son’s face and reflecting on things like how my life up to now came to be, where i’m going now, and other things. for instance, how is it that when i open my closet, there are only *3* shirts in there? and also that i hate every single one of those stinking shirts? how did i get here?

another thing i noticed during one of these baby-staring sessions is that while most newborns are supposed to look like winston churchill, mine looks a lot like wallace shawn.

as you know, wallace shawn is famous for playing vizzini in the princess bride. if you were alive in the 80s you know what i’m talking about:

"all you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

vizzini was known to tell inigo and andre the giant that whenever you get stuck on something, you should always go back to the beginning. when you find yourself lost, go back to the beginning. i thought he had a good point. so last night i spent some time rereading my old posts. why did we start this blog? what was my objective? what was my attitude? did i look good? am i where i wanted to be when this all started?

2 years ago, i was wearing nothing but hoodies. that was my uniform. it was easy breezy and comfortable. why can’t i have that again? i can’t even remember why i thought i needed to get rid of hoodie aki. probably because the hoodies i did have were old tattered and pilled. so what if i bought *nice* hoodies? i can haz that back again, right? so that’s another homework assignment for me. get some nice hoodies.

(i have a vague recollection that when we started i had an earnest desire to make this into a good fashion blog. now i feel like we are the fashion equivalent of the onion… people like to laugh though, right?)

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so… now that the pants situation is under control, the eye of sauron turns to shirts. we’re operating on the assumption that my current body is the body i’m going to have for a while. i’m dressing the body i have. and right now? i still have the jiggly post-baby blobby jiggles. my goal is not to highlight this area. robin told me that for this body type, “flowy” shirts are good (i think she means baggy sacks). in addition, i have to remember my existing rules about the shirts i wear: cowl or wide crew necks to give my neck a little space but without exposing any cleave, sleeves that do not showcase my linebacker shoulders and big flabby upper arm. if that wasn’t hard enough i now have a new requirement: armpits need to breathe. i do not like fabric hugging my pits. lucky for me the stores are currently filled with 80s-esque wing sleeved shirts. unfortunately it also follows the 80s trend of being cropped. wow, so this is going to be a fun challenge. i need to find tops that will make me look like this:

incidentally, my son went as a bat this halloween. this look is of the moment.

so, off to the bon i went. on the rack, this INC shirt looked HUGE. in the picture, it looks ok. but in person, it really was huge. I needed a smaller size but since it was on clearance the L is all they had. poop.

this had good "flow" but it had a little too much of it, i fear

next up i wanted to try the “distract the eyes” technique. the frills DID cover up my giant tummy. however, since it’s november and i don’t need tank tops right now, this was a no. good to know for future reference though.

also, no one needs to see my shoulders

then i got distracted. this is my “oooh shiny!” shirt. when victims on the tv show “what not to wear” are given the rules to shop by and sent out on their own they often still try to get away with buying clothes from their old look that sent them there in the first place. this is my weakness. leopard. mmm. nothing wrong with them, but sleeveless tops are not what we were looking for today. but i had to try it out. clearance!

another INC shirt, unfortunately one size too small.

it was too tight and the old aki would have bought this anyway in the hopes of “one day, when i lose 5,000 pounds…” but i was strong. i looked down to remind myself that i am trying to hide, not highlight the tummy:

in the foreground is the boob shelf. below is the gut. sad. scary. but also kind of cute, no? no?

i am totally getting distracted here. looking for fall/winter shirts here, aki! this next item, my favorite neckline and the clearance status compelled me to try it on. even though it has horizontal stripes. in colors i don’t particularly like.

surprisingly not bad but not what i'm looking for this day.

OK. FOCUS. moved over to nordstrom in the point of view sales rack. ah, here’s a bat shirt!

it's the right size and color but the fit and fabric were meh for me. plus i could smuggle a couple of hobbits in the sleeveses.

by this point i am really really tired and need to go pick up my son from preschool. the last one was actually my favorite even though it is the weirdest looking on the hanger. what was working against it was the length, sadly. i would like to be able to raise my arms without exposing my stomach.

ta-da! i actually really liked this even with the webby wing attachment and its horizontal stripes. but it was a size too small.

so what am i learning here? i realized that i do like these baggy wings, even though you’d think that as a petite (i’m 3’8″) lady i should probably avoid clothes that only add volume to my body. what’s that about? this is something i need to explore further. i am going to keep on looking. wish me luck!

in the meantime, maybe this should be my uniform.

it meets all my requirements, doesn't it?

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it’s not that i was too busy to post anything. it’s that i wasn’t buying any clothes. i was pregnant and frankly i didn’t see the point in spending any money on temporary clothing. first i was growing. and then i would be shrinking. and *then* i was going to start buying new clothes. that was the plan. but when am i done shrinking? am i really shrinking? i just had my 6 week post-baby check-up and you know what? i am not shrinking. i am actually gaining. so is it realistic for me to keep wearing ratty old stinky clothes until one day i magically drop 15 pounds?

hello. which way to awesome assville?

then my blog partner robin gave me a wake up call. i’d been stubbornly wearing the one pair of pants that still fit me, which was my 1st trimester maternity jeans. nothing else fit. i wasn’t going to buy anything new. i wasn’t going to fit into my pre-pregnancy pants. so i kept wearing the ONE jeans over and over again. every. single. day. and one day i got a package in the mail: pants. robin had sent me pants. PUT ON SOME REAL CLOTHES, it said. DRESS THE BODY YOU HAVE, it screamed. STOP PRETENDING, it punched me in the face. so i plodded on over to target to return the camel-toe yoga pants in exchange for a pair of jeans on clearance for $1.56. then i wore the $1.56 pants every day. every. single. day. then one day again, robin said to me “don’t you think you deserve to wear pants that aren’t $1.56?”


yes. yes, i do. thank you again, robin. so last week i treated myself to a pair of nice designer jeans. second hand at goodwill. i’m still rebelling a little because i think i *will* lost some weight and refuse to pay retail to dress my temporary body. but my butt looks good. my butt thanks you. my butt salutes you, robin.


up next: shirts

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Winterized Sundress

Milli Vanilli Chilly Willy

Boden short-sleeved jersey dress (Blueberry Batik) with burgundy cardigan, rust-brown tights, black boots, forest green handbag with braided handle

No, I am not posting just because Aki did. I am posting because I liked my outfit last week! What’s up is, I am not shopping much these days: it’s winter, and I’m being crazy frugal. This makes me crazy boring, unless you think it’s fascinating when people repurpose leftovers into fried rice for dinner and buy cheap beer at Trader Joes.  Which, wait, is this also why my clothes don’t fit? Let’s not go there.
So I’m not burning through Nordstrom sales like a caffeine-crazed Marie Antoinette.  I did buy a solid pair of black Aerosole boots to replace my previous ones, which lasted about 18 months.  I also got a dark green handbag with a braided handle, which is a total $29.99 knock-off but I luv it and I LOVE that color dark green.  Thankfully, 2009 Robin stocked up on a bunch of good work clothes, leaving me some good solid pieces to work with (btw if you see 2009 Robin will you tell her to withhold more taxes and cut the cell phone bill?)  I can be pretty tenacious with a good pair of wool pants and a cardigan, like I can wear them three days a week if I have to.  I try to mix up scarves and necklaces, wear colored shoes as long as it’s not totally swamped with rain outside, and smile a lot to trick people into thinking I’m cute.
And finally I tried winterizing a sundress.  I should’ve done this sooner because it was pretty fun. This is the blueberry batik print I got from Boden last summer.  It’s loose and forgiving, lots of colors in the print so it was easy to find pieces that worked with it. I wear this burgundy cardigan three days a week.  The rust-colored tights aren’t exactly the same color but somehow I think that made it even better.  Black boots — yes I know I KNOW I hate black but listen, I’m made of flesh and blood like any woman. And this is what I wear when it rains. 

Same dress on beach in summer, San Diego. Wait, it was pretty cold then, too.

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The other day, a friend reminded me that I had a blog. Also the other day, I noticed that all my pants had shrunk. There is nothing I hate more than jeans hunting. Don’t get me wrong. I love buying them. I just don’t like looking for them. And who wants to go up a size, especially if that takes you into the one more digit territory?


this is hugh jackman and his dog mochi and it has nothing to with my pants situation

So, with money burning a hole in my pocketses I bravely decided to wade into the ambiguous S-M-L land of elastic waisted comfy pants. U-Village was my destination, because somehow that made it less terrible that I had finally completely given up on myself.

First stop was lululemon. I hate lululemon. That’s not true. I hate the lululemon culture. Everyone, I mean *everyone* is wearing lululemon and if you’re wearing lululemon everyone knows it because the logo is everywhere. I neuharthed lululemon. Also, they are stupid expensive. They are so dumb. But the lemming-follower in me needed to try on their pants, you understand. The first shopgirly girl who approached me suggested that I try their most popular styles “the groove” and “the astro pant” (see, doesn’t that already make you want to hate them?). I tried them on. They were too tight and I looked gross. I tried to slink quickly out of the dressing room undetected but the dressing room girl stopped me and asked me why I was running away. I told her I wasn’t running away from her but from myself and sputtered something about camels and their toes. She started demanding more answers and before I knew it I was back in the dressing room trying on the “relaxed fit” pant. And to my utter astonishment it fit! It fit and it looked good. She even told me my butt looked awesome! They hem for free! Lifetime hemming! They’ll change it into capris or shorts when the hem gets worn! My butt looks good! Hey did I just spend $98 on yoga pants? What the hey!


i forgot to take a picture in the dressing room because i wasn’t thinking about the blog then. i just googled “lululemon relaxed fit pant” and this came up. let’s pretend this is my butt.

You would think I’d be done now. No. The hemming of the pant takes a week. Walking out of the store without an actual product does not give me a high. I’m always chasing that next high. Also, I had that wad of cash in my pocket, remember? And throwing money around makes me feel powerful and in control. Jonesing for that rush, I headed over to Lucy. By now I’d figured out how to talk intelligently with shop persons. I asked specific questions, pointed at my crotch, and the girl handed me a couple of pairs of their “vital pant” in varying sizes. Bam! Thanks to vanity sizing I was a SMALL and my butt looked good. I’ll take it! I’ll take two! Oh, $79 you say? Then I’ll take one! And the good news is that there are now enough short people in the world to warrant pants to be manufactured in shorter hem lengths and even though I am 3’9″ I didn’t even need to hem these. POW!


i bought these pants. and the “propel” tank too. it’s very flattering. my original plan was to mess with the aspects of this photo to make me look slimmer but i’m actually totally ok how i look here. and isn’t that the point?

and you know what? i bought this shirt too. the giant cowl turns into a hood if you want. it totally distracts the eyes away from the 7 layer gut.

That was fun. But I learned something too. It’s true that you really do have to try things on even if you think you know everything and you think salespeople serve no purpose. Some of them do actually know a heck of a lot more than you do and they look at customer butts all day long. They are experts. You don’t need to be embarrassed or self-conscious about your body. They can steer you in the right direction. It’s also true that lots of store associates are 25 years younger than you and don’t know crap but they’re not all like that. So, you know, give stuff a chance.

The other point is that if I’m going to be wearing more of these all black pants now I have to be even more careful than before to not sink into the Snape trap. My hair already looks like Snape. I don’t need to go ALL Snape. More color accents. Less Slytherin.

Lastly, no, I’m not going to wear my yoga pants for any exercising at all. You knew that. You totes knew that.

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Fashion Week

Hello everyone, I told you I’d be back. Exciting post for you today!

This traveling fashion correspondent just spent a full 22 hours smack in the middle of NYC, roughly 2 of which I spent gawking at… well, other gawkers. This makes me an expert now, right? So let’s get down to it.

Wait. Who am I kidding? I don’t know a gosh darn thing! So I’m just going to post a bunch of pictures I took. That’s all you want to see anyways, right?

Okie dokie. This guy getting his photo taken said this was Evangeline Lilly. There was some debate among my friends but one of them figured out it was Abigail Spencer.

This is all the rage now.

And do NOT forget your see through pants.

Wearing pants is passe.

Actually, I like this one. She is cute.

Industry hipster

You'd think she's out of place but she walked right past security.

Hmm not so flattering pants.

What an actual fashion correspondent looks like.

People sure do like their legs.

Robin will go insane with all the black shoes.

Look, non black shoes. Colors!

Okie dokie

Attention-seeking hat


Mama? I'm hungry.


Tapir cookie


He acts like he's famous. Maybe he is?

More forgotten pants

Giant shiny purses. And old ladies.

More loud purse and old lady.


Was actually hoping the girl's boobs would pop out. They didn't.

Brrr my butt

Skip to the evening. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was taping some sort of bit in Times Square. Cutie.

Obviously my pictures weren’t very high quality. I wish I was more prepared. Here are some other pictures that are fuzzier or are less entertaining.

Fancy moms with fancy children

Fancy nanny with fancy children

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