Sunday, May 30, 2010

Riverside Brunch and Shopping with JCAs

On this lovely pre-summer weekend, a small contingency of D.C. Aficionadas gathered for a picturesque Sunday brunch, thanks to the planning efforts of Rosa in DC. The ladies sipped marvelous mimosas and enjoyed a divine seafood-themed menu while overlooking the scenic Potomac River at Old Town Alexandria’s famed Chart House restaurant. Present were Cleo26, Drewablank, kater, Rosa in DC (the organizer), and myself.

After our delish dining experience -- during which much discussion was made about the good old days of 2007-2008 in J.Crew’s history and the questionable trends that seem to be overtaking its future – we strolled through historic Old Town to my favorite consignment boutique, Mint Condition. Among the finds there were a navy metallic Mica mini (lucky for Rosa in DC), a dramatic Missoni-esque wrap dress that sizzled on Drewablank, and a sharp red Francie skirt that we convinced Cleo26 to take home (which we know she’ll thank us for).

Here we are on the waterfront just outside the Chart House restaurant post-brunch. Left to right: Cleo26, Drewablank, Rosa in DC, and 3-Penny Princess (kater is taking the photo).

Chart House Brunch

And here’s a close-up:

Chart House Brunch - close up

In case you’re wondering what I’m wearing, here’s the Polyvore set. I can’t find a photo of this exact top from a few years ago, but it’s close enough.

What a fabulous way to spend the day before Memorial Day, as we gear up for the summer BBQ season and vacations. Thank you, Rosa, for the wonderful idea. And thank you, ladies, for making it a lovely afternoon! Happy Memorial Day to everyone and happy summer!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Retreat in the Sunshine State and Welcoming Summer

After being buried in a year’s worth of hard work and crazy hours, the hubby and I decided to take a well-deserved vacay from the hustle and bustle of D.C. and relax in the Sunshine State a couple of weeks ago. And boy was our timing impeccable! For probably the first time ever, we took a 9-day trip and managed to enjoy all 9 beautiful, sunny, warm, and perfect days.

Every single day in Florida was in the high 80s with no humidity, no rain, and no ominous clouds. The beach was idyllic, the water was calm and blue-green, and the breeze was just right. Which we learned was in stark contrast to the chilly, rainy, and dark weather that we left all our friends in. Unfortunately, we also returned to some of it, but at least I had a decent tan to show for our 9 days. So now, I can finally wear short shorts and summer dresses without making people wince.

Here are some recaps:

Florida Beach Vista

Need I say more?Walking the Dog with Alligators

Why you shouldn’t feed the gators:

Baby Gator

This little one was swimming right in the pond near the house.

Shopping in St. Armand's Circle 

Shopping (of course) on the picturesque St. Armand’s Circle.

Visiting the Ringling Museum

Squeezing in a little culture at the Ringling Museum, which has an impressive collection of European paintings from the last millennium.

Hanging Out with Auntie

The last picture is of me with my aunt, who unexpectedly visited while we were down there. What a wonderful treat!

Here are some more sets inspired by the laid-back beach lifestyle that we would all like to enjoy but can only dream about:

I’d like to point out that J.Crew still loves me enough to send me gifts from time to time, like the cute tote bag above which I took to the beach every day.


Not wanting to leave it all behind completely, I’m hoping to channel a slightly more “resort” vibe in my work wear this summer:

I can’t think of a better way to welcome the summer season and embrace another year of business success. Here’s to happy upcoming Memorial Day holiday for all of you and a fabulous start to summer!

Winter Catalogs: Overdue Thoughts

The following is the post I had been planning to publish in February during the monumental blizzard that buried everyone in the D.C. area:
I've been really really good for the past few months. No shopping whatsoever. Not even browsing or window stalking. Since I paid off my credit cards at the end of last year -- every last one of them -- I've been committed to starting with a clean state. And so far it's been mostly successful. I'm even earning a steady (though modest) clothing allowance from selling my clothes, shoes, and bags at my favorite Old Town consignment boutique, Mint Condition -- which by the way is brimming with J.Crew pieces in every size. Actually, I like it better than the J.Crew stores these days as Mint Condition has all the oldies but goodies that have long since disappeared from Jenna’s imagination.

The January J.Crew catalogue was most helpful with my mission to not spend a dime. Rather than spawning an evening of salivating online over a bevy of irresistible new pieces I didn't really need shot in locales I couldn't afford to get to, it instead launched an interesting diversion I enjoyed with my husband called "Guess What the Model Is Thinking?" A game best played with a pen and some mild sarcasm. I might add that this particular model is highly expressive and therefore provided excellent fodder for our imaginations. Let me illustrate.
For the February catalogue, I was pleased to see that J.Crew returned to supporting the travel industry with an interesting trip to Portugal (which I'd like to point out has a most refreshing white wine called Vinho Verde -- very nice with green olives). However, I’m concerned – okay, extremely concerned – about where Jenna is taking us.
Alexis summed it up perfectly in her February 4th post:
"I love the Crewlade. I really do. It's delicious and I could drink it all day. {burp!} That image of the Waterfloral Pastiche Delphinia Gown ($650.00) paired with the white jacket is scrumptious. With that said, is it just me or some of the styles are c-r-a-z-y?!?
I mean paint splattered overalls with a dressy black jacket? Really? And what about look No. 11 that features the Beach Chambray Ruffled Vest ($75.00)— why is she wearing rubber rainboots with no pants. No pants! (Incidentally, did anyone else think of the scene from the first Bridget Jones' movie where Bridget runs out of her building with no pants on?) ;)"
Remember when we were chomping at the bit to get our hands on the fabulous new pieces in each catalog? Admittedly a hazy memory, but one that I wouldn’t mind revisiting. And soon, before I stop drinking the Crewlade completely.

Greetings from Oblivion

To all those who have been kind enough to inquire about my whereabouts and whether I am in fact in the present dimension, I would like to say thank you for asking! An emphatic “yes” to the above and some updates to follow.

First, I have successfully survived my first full year of launching a new business (a hearty round of applause please). Second, my business has now grown to include 2 more associates. What are we doing? We are living the retail dream, my friends. We help stores, restaurants, and other businesses open by getting them into the best spaces in town and by helping them launch. We are even working with small local chainlets and growing franchises to open more stores. A big accomplishment in this economy, no doubt. And proof that you can follow your dream – whether your dream is to bake cupcakes or sell perfumes or make your own clothing line.

Let’s revisit this time last year, when I was preparing for the career shift by buying a new work wardrobe:

Anne in Seville Print Azalea Dress Shirt and Light Camel Pencil Skirt with gold heels Anne in Turquoise Shirt and Navy Pencil Skirt with Cinema Sandals Anne in Orange Dress Shirt and Light Camel Pencil Skirt with Joley Tortoise Heels Salmon Shift Dress with Black Accents

Needless to say, I’ve added many more outfits to my collection. Here are some Polyvore sets from the past year:

Rooftop Business Happy Hour in Shocking Pink and CharcoalFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

So you see? I’m not only alive and well, I’ve also been doing lots of shopping! Granted, it took me a while to come up for air, but I’m happy to report that the creative juices are flowing again and I’m finding the time to finally express them.

More fun to follow, including some overdue Crew gatherings, product reviews, and a little harmless jest.

Tootles, and looking forward to being back in the world of the living!