Thursday, January 27, 2011

Stellar Stripes

Hey, readers! Hope you all are having a great week. Lately, I have been checking out new trends for Spring 2011. I search for them by browsing magazines, watching the fashion clips on the Today Show, watching What Not to Wear, keeping up with mainstream trends in weekly newspaper ads, etc. Furthermore, I frequently check websites of stores I like to shop. When I notice a coming trend, I figure out if it is one I want to follow. With the trendy item in mind, I go on the hunt. I almost always buy all my clothes on sale. I get quite a bit of satisfaction out of the most bang for my buck.

This coming spring, horizontal stripes will be everywhere. I do love stripes a lot and I try my best to wear them carefully. However, we men and women, must remember that the best way to show off a trend is choosing the right item for your body type. The following sentences will show you a list of some examples that will work for men and women. Option one, go for a horizontal stripe top with skinny jeans, this will help balance a broad pattern with a fitted pant. Second, choose a horizontal stripe cardigan and pair a solid shirt underneath, this will ensure balance if you have a wider frame. Third, if you hate the way horizontal stripes look on your body, go for accessories; choose a striped bag or scarf and pair them with your look.

While browsing around today waiting on my boyfriend, I took some photos of horizontal striped pieces that are perfect selections for the coming season. As you can see, there are already plenty of options stocked for your enjoyment. These pictures are from TJ Maxx and Target. I also checked,, and for some other options. They are there, so just type those in your browser. Guys and girls, hear me out, "You can do this at any age, any size, and any budget!" I am here to prove it to you! I even picked up a orange and white striped tank prevuiously from Aerie (American Eagle) at TJ Maxx for $6.99. Honestly, how much can we really beat ourselves up over a shirt that cost the same as a Burger King meal? Just skip those calories and buy something fabulous! Of course, you could always go for that dollar menu item, no shame there. So, do not think that because you see a trend in a coture fashion magazine that it cannot work for you. Follow the trends you love and if the love is not there, well, head to your nearest BK.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Apple Julep

Hello! I wanted to share this recipe for an Apple Julep that my mom and I use ALL the time when hosting parties. I love it so very much with hors d'oeuvres, sandwiches, cake, etc. It seems to go perfectly with everything at anytime of year. There is nothing I love more than to cook and share with others! Enjoy and have a perfect week!
This is a recipe that I found on a recipe card at the Apple Barn in Gatlinburg, TN.
Apple Julep:
1 quart apple juice
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 sprig of fresh mint leaves
1. Mix all
2. Pour into iced glasses
3. Garnish with mint leaf

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What I Wore Yesterday

Hey guys! One of my sweet friends Amanda suggested that from time to time I do a blog on what I am wearing. I took this as such a compliment. I thought it was so precious that she thought enough of my style to compliment me in this way. Thanks, love! So, I wanted to show a quick picture of myself and what I wore yesterday. I was dressed up for Judicial Board. This outfit is a quick suggestion for business wear. Simply choose a dress pant, funky heel, button down shirt, and jacket. Don't forget your accessories (jewelry, etc.) With these pieces you can make endless outfit combinations and always maintain a classic look. For this ensemble, I liked the idea of doing neutral colors with this bright jacket. This is THE time of year to be on the lookout for business clothes because many stores are trying to get rid of last year's items. Each item I am wearing came from the clearance rack and some I have had for several years. No matter what age you are or what career you have, you can always find pieces similar to these.
Jacket: Velvet Blazer, JCrew
Button Down: JCrew Perfect Shirt, JCrew Outlet
Pants: Martin Fit Dress Pant, Banana Republic
Shoes: Peep-toe booties, Franco Sarto
Pearls: Christmas gift from Mom, from Genesis Jewelry

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Old Like New

I LOVE LOVE LOVE antiquing, especially with my Mom. It is one of our favorite things to do together. My mom has such an eye for the value in something and I am happy to say I have learned that lesson well. We enjoy spending weekend after weekend prowling any and every antique store we can find. There is so much joy in finding something old that is new to me. I grew up antiquing all over the south. Seriously, what else is a southern belle to do? :) When I was younger, I sometimes felt bored by looking at old things because I did not understand the worth and story in each and every item. As I got older, I grew more and more in love with this hobby. What I love the most about digging through these places is that you can find gems for your home that are exactly like those on the current retail market. A couple of weeks ago, my mom and I were visiting an antique store in Sheffield, Alabama. All of the sudden, I looked over in a dark dusty corner and found THE perfect pair of candlesticks for my kitchen table. I just HAD to have them. Besides the fact that they were in perfect condition, excellently priced, and ah, vintage, they had an almost identical look to some that I had seen in Anthropologie just a few months earlier. Although I awed over the ones at Anthropologie, I did not buy them. When I saw these at the antique store, I was thrilled. The thought of taking something else that has a history of its own and giving it a sort of "life" in my own home is wonderful. As many of you know, I love history. History itself is a drive that keeps me prowling those crammed and cramped booths.
There are endless things to find in antique stores if you look carefully. Momentarily put aside those worries over dust and must and dig around! When you do find something, figure out exactly what you will use it for before you buy it. Having a purpose in your searching means you will only buy what you truly love. Keep in mind that though you may see the same items in the same stores for several visits, the people are trying to move out their items. If you find that have to have item, it is wise to get it then. You cannot always rely on coming back to guarantee that the piece will be there. I see so many signs in these stores that say, "The time to buy an antique is when you see it." Although this somewhat sounds like a sales plug, there is a true statement within it. People do have money in mind when selling their items. However, many are also selling them in an antique store in hopes that they will be passed on to others. Over time, you will find that you have an eye for what is priced well and what is not. Even I have realized that the owners or managers of the store will divulge secrets about a sellers items if it has remained in the same place for quite awhile. For furniture, consider the era of construction (most often listed on the tag), type of materials, scratches, and chips. It is unlikely that you will be able to find a true piece of antique furniture in mint condition. If you do, good for you. Most that look perfect are likely restored pieces meaning that the owner has fixed the paint, glass, wood, or hardware on the item. For jewelry, keep in mind the clear difference between costume and estate. Almost always, costume is reasonably priced where as estate, being of substantial value, needs some type of consultation. Most small home trinkets, of worthy value, can be assessed by research (as can all other categories.) For example, these candlesticks are made of vaseline glass which has a long history but was quite popular between the 1930s and 1970s. Now, I did not know this off the top of my head. My mom knew that this type of glass and for this blog, I researched a little bit. Dates for smaller items are really a personal preference. Many times, you can obviously tell the era of something, for example, retro floral kitchen bowls. Simply consider the date if you are going for a particular theme in your home or if history is important in your searching. You could put an item on hold if you really wanted to make sure that you paid the right price then do some googling. Moreover, you could ask a fellow friend or sales associate for their advice. I've often found that antique store owners and sellers are nowhere as pushy as those in mainstream retail. When you arrive at the counter, ASK FOR A DISCOUNT! Most often, antique stores are multiple booths owned by multiple people and if you ask, you will almost always get AT LEAST 10% off the current price. I have had even 30% and 40% offered to me if I will buy the item right then and not ask to have it held in the store.
So, I urge you to get out there, look around, really observe the things that are available. "Where did you find those in here," was all I needed to hear as confirmation of my digging adventure. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I made a left turn to frequent my next store.

Frequented Antique Stores: A mere list of antique stores. Make a comment with your favorites!
Cypress Creek Antiques-Florence, Alabama
Belle Meade Antiques-Florence, Alabama
Keepers of the Past-Sheffield, Alabama
Antiques Unlimited-Sheffield, Alabama
Franklin Antique Mall-Franklin, Tennessee
The Factory at Franklin-Franklin, Tennessee
Railroad Station Antiques-Huntsville, Alabama

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Reminder of You

Hello! Hope all of you had a blessed holiday season. Mine has been quite a roller-coaster experience to say the least. Over my holidays, there have been many ideas and suggestions for blog posts. It is quite a blessing to have so many avid readers. THANK YOU!! It was wonderful to have face to face encouragement as I saw numerous familiar faces. I am going to try to get to all of them as quickly as possible.

Today, lets stop, take a deep, deep breath, and pause. Pause to remember who we really are and what we really want the world to know about us. I want all of you to think about the impression you are giving off to the world, especially your physical impression. If you value yourself, why would you not try your best to show it? Remember, we are all one of a kind. We each have something to offer that belongs to no one else in the world. How many chances will any of us get to be 15, 21, 30, 42, 55, 72, or 89 ever again? The inner reward gained from self-respect is something we should all try to wholly achieve. By putting your best foot forward, you become the best version of yourself. People often forget themselves, which, makes others around them suffer. If you do not take care of yourself, how much are you REALLY living? Take the best care of yourself that your life will allow. TRY, TRY, TRY, this is often my mantra!

I was urged to write about this due to a recent occurance. Upon enjoying a romantic anniversary dinner at Dale’s in Florence, Alabama, one of the city’s premier dining attractions, I was in one of my particular observant modes. Now, do not get me wrong, I understand that all people do not place the same importance on fashion and their appearance as others. Nevertheless, refer to the soapbox paragraph above for my encouragement. Although I was having a splendid time with my wonderful boyfriend of seven years, I could not help but be somewhat distracted thinking of the others around me on New Year’s Eve. At the table, we even engaged in a deep discussion about the importance of the I and of the us. Sure, these people around us were enjoying a nice dinner, which is a blessing, but how in the moment were they? Did they leave their homes believing that they were truly valuable? Was their last look in the mirror filled with a pleasant thought? Did they think that the time they were spending with whomever was a moment to cherish? Do you?