Thursday, July 31, 2008

Superior 1930's Wife

Here is a really cute quiz that I found over at Chic Mummy's blog. It is a quiz that will tell you how you would rate as a housewife by 1930's standards. It is outdated of course, but so charming! It made me see some things that I can add to make the home more pleasant for my husband and myself. I answered very honestly and am surprised I got "superior" actually. Can you say need to stop complaining?  

Check out Chic Mummy's blog too.  She has created a beautiful space with a lot of inspiring things to say about chic living as a stay at home mom as well as the transition from the corporate workplace to being at home.


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Autumn Inspiration at J Crew

Even in the sweltering heat of Houston I am starting to think about autumn weather and autumn clothing.  Every year I eagerly anticipate the long awaited fresh start that this season brings. I'm not in school anymore, but I still get a thrill when I see the crisp backpacks and back to school supplies being sold.  I am one of those who loved school and to this day I have a very strong obsession with paper and pens.

Dreaming was always an essential part of back to school planning.   I pored over fashion magazines and in my mind I knew what I would do if I had the money.  It's still fun to dream and the other day I was looking at J Crew's new collection and I am definitely impressed.   The pages are chock full of wacky color combinations that just work. Color is very important to me because it makes me happy, but sometimes I need the push of what I see in a magazine or website to make me take that chance.  

This collection has something for everyone.  I see a mix and match of styles, like casual with dressy, like this below.  I wouldn't normally wear an argyle cardigan with a skirt like this, but it does give an idea how to change up combinations to make your own wardrobe fresh.

This one is a gold tank top with a hoodie.  If you go to the website and look at other views, you will see that she is wearing gold strappy heels and her jeans rolled up.  I really love this one, except that the tank top is $400! 

Living in a warm climate our autumn season is cut short by the heat, however we still dress for the season since once inside it can be quite chilly and air conditioned.  Look at the layouts to see ways to incorporate your summer into autumn wardrobe with layers.  Tank tops are really year round when you can layer them like this.

It looks like long necklaces are certainly "in" this season.

If you are planning a wedding, don't forget that J Crew has beautiful bridesmaid's dresses.  I would have loved to go with J Crew with my wedding, but cost was an issue so I went with Ann Taylor.  These dresses don't look like typical bridesmaid's dresses and they offer many interesting colors to suit the offbeat bride's style.  Here is another color combination you can steal, green with turquoise.  Love it!

Also, to get a sneek peek at the upcoming fashion colors go to Pantone and check out what the designers are using for inspiration.  Chances are if you don't like these colors, you won't be able to find anything but these colors because that is the way it works in fashion.  I think there are some beautiful colors coming around though.

What are you planning for your fall wardrobe?  Nordstrom is having their anniversary sale right now which is where they put the fall clothes on sale in advance.  It's a great time to get a first pick of a winter coat or new boots.  They always have some great beauty buys too in the cosmetics department.  Nordstrom in my favorite store for all around great customer service and selection.  Here is one of their beautiful coats on sale.  If you wear a lot of black, this can help break the monotony without a huge color commitment.  It looks so elegant too.

I could keep posting pictures all day long, but I'll let you go look for yourself.  I just want to say don't feel like you have to shop at these stores to get these looks.  A fun thing to do is open the catalog and start matching up pieces you already own to create these looks.  I bet you have so much already and you won't have to spend any money looking up to the minute fashionable.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Spreading the Love: Premio Brillante Award

Maybe you have visited me and linked over to some of the links to the right.  One of those blogs is all about being stylish as a stay at home mom.  If you are or aren't in this phase of your life, still go visit her blog because she gives a lot of ideas that you can bounce into your own life. I love her recent article about having a minimalist wardrobe.  This is the kind of subject that gets my heart racing.  You can read it here.

I also want to thank her for endowing me with a Premio Brillante Weblog Award.  I'd like to thank my husband, my dog Keegan, my family and of course Leah who chose me to receive this honor.  I was imagining myself in a long sparkly dress holding up the award in the air.  Well, there's no physical award, but there's this!

Now, part of the beauty of receiving an award is that I get to choose my favorite blogs to bestow it upon.  And the winners are (drum roll please) ....

I was going to give this dearly departed blog this award just because it was such a great blog. When I decided to give it a click just to see the sad little page not come up, I saw that it had been resurrected.  It's great to have LBR back in cyberspace.  

She writes about her love for France and also tells the stories of her life with humor and transparency.  You will love to follow her along because no endeavor is too great for her.  This girl has guts!

The writer of this blog I like to think of as a pioneer in blogging.  She is so gracious and supportive of other bloggers and her genuine, sweet spirit is transmitted through her writing. You just can't help but feel like you know her.  She bravely takes pictures of her outfits almost daily.  I think she inspired many to do the same in blogging and I know she has inspired many cool outfits from her photos.  She has a great personal style and is pregnant if you need some maternity looks to try.

Ok that isn't the name of their blog, but that is what I call it on my blog.  This couple has the sweetest story about how they met while doing mission work in Africa.  Now they live in France and are busy traveling, cooking, working and loving life.  The joie de vivre comes across the ocean and into my heart when I read about them.  To me, their life is what happens when you love God and trust him to live to your fullest potential, with no fear.

This is a blog is written by a young Jewish woman who believes strongly in being a Godly women, wife and future mother.  She devoted herself to learning how to be a wife before she even met her husband.  Now she is married and expecting, and writing about her feelings on those subjects.  I found her intriguing because when I first got married I was looking for the virtue of being a wife and homemaker.  There is not a lot to be found on the subject anywhere you look which is why I appreciate her candor and her opinions that go against the grain of our culture.  

I adore cottage decorating.  This blog has a focus on decorating in this style, but I think cottage decorating is also a lifestyle.  It's a way of collecting treasures and memories to fill your space and your life.  She posted a recipe for yeast rolls and they turned out great.  She put a picture of her dining room color and I intend to copy it one day.  I think about that color often.  Isn't it amazing how the world of blogging opens up our mind to possibilities?

Tartelette is probably much too busy right now to accept another award, but it is one of my fave blogs.  I love her.  She is French, she is generous and talented.  Her writing holds such warmth and passion that it isn't surprising that she just got her very own publishing contract.  I love it when a book is just a continuing story from childhood.  It was just meant to happen as a way to let the rest of us in to her magical world of her Grandmother's teachings and love for life as much as the sweet treats she creates.

All you have to do is visit this blog and you will see why I pick this one.  This is my first award like this and it has occurred to me that bigger blogs will not participate in this type of thing, but I was told to choose my seven favorite and this is one of them.  The decorating pictures on this blog will make your mouth water they are soooo delicious!  The writer has such a sweet spirit and is just trying to do what she loves like all of us.  I love that she is relatable and so talented too.

So these are my favorite blogs.  For those who are receiving this award, I just want you all to know that you make a difference to me in my daily life.  You will probably never know just how I may relate to something you write, or how something you recommend makes my day better. All of you are an inspiration in different ways, and I only hope that I can do the same with my blog.

From your Fan, The Closet Therapist

2008 Premio Award Rules

1.  When received, you may post the Premio to your blog.

2.  Link to the blogger you received it from.

3.  Give it to 7 blogs.

4.  Link to those 7 blogs.

5.  Leave those 7 bloggers a comment about receiving the Brillante Premio

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Coupons 101: Who Turns Down Free Stuff?

I'll bet we're not the only family tightening our belts lately.  Since I haven't taken any new projects with my company, I have a lot of time to contemplate how we can improve our personal finances by spending less.  This goal is greatly enhanced by the fact that most days I do not have a car to go shopping out of boredom and thus spend all our fruitful savings.

Never in a million years did I think I would write a post about coupons.  Unless it was a coupon for Starbucks, clothing, shoes or my blessed Central Market grocery store, I would ignore them or throw them away.  I thought that I wouldn't use any of those products anyway.  And, it's true that I normally wouldn't have, but with my newfound pursuit turning into a hobby, I have reconsidered the way I shop for groceries and toiletries.  

I am truly amazed that with coupons and a lot of super savvy combinations of sales with coupons, you can get many items for free or nearly free.  It does take a lot of time to find coupons, cut them, organize them and compare them to the weekly sales.   Sometimes I still think it isn't worth the trouble, but since I do have the time I'm going to continue on and see how it works out. 

It must be said, that using coupons can become like a game because it's such a challenge.  The downside of this is losing complete perspective and buying things that you really won't ever use.  If you think this will be a temptation for you, then plan ahead to donate what you get for free or nearly free to a food bank, women's shelter or a school.  It is hard to pass up items that will be free after all.  

The basic concept is this:  

1-Find coupon for what you regularly buy or would like to try.

2-Try to find item on sale in your grocery store.  If it is convenient, go to several stores to take advantage of their "loss leaders".

INSIDER TIP:  Grocery stores put items on sale a month after coupons come out.  You can save your coupon until that time and save even more.

3-Find a grocery that doubles or triples coupons all the time.  I haven't done this yet, but I think Kroger does it.  They will double or triple your coupon up to $1.00.

4-Double up a store coupon and manufacturer coupon.  Some stores have their own coupons like Target.  For each item, you can have two coupons.  

INSIDER TIP:  Don't let the cashier tell you that you can't do that, because you can!!!  This is a definite Beware of Embarrassment Warning!!   The cashiers and managers sometimes aren't really nice, but that's ok with me.

If  you have a CVS where you are, they have a program called Extra Care Bucks.  You have to have a a free Extra Care card to take advantage of this.  They have two sales flyers, one is weekly and one is monthly.  The monthly will tell you most of the ECB that you can earn.  For example, last month I bought, among other things, a Listerine mouthwash for $3.49 and they give you $3.49 ECB.  So you purchase it, and when you get your receipt there is a coupon for $3.49 for you to use immediately to buy something else.  I reason that if I am going to buy something there anyway, why not take advantage of these and get the other item for free.  This process took me a while to figure out.  The best site for a CVS Primer is Money Saving Mom. Go visit her and you will be inspired.

If you don't get the Sunday paper where most of the coupons come from, you can print your own coupons.  There are several websites where you can choose the coupons you like, print them and use them the same as the ones from the paper.  Try (in the sidebar) each week for new ones.  

Always look at Retail Me Not for online coupon codes before you make an online purchase. Thanks Renee for that link!

Let me know if you have some tips for me.  I am new to this and would love to learn some new tricks too.  Saving money on groceries leaves more money for my perfume and lipstick account! 

Our Trip to Rosemary Beach, Florida

I'm linking up again with  Erika ,  Andrea  and  Narci  for the Friday Favorites!  I love reading everyone's favorites too! ...