Anthropologie Haul

Why.  Why do I even go into Anthropologie?  And why do I go in when I know there is a big sale?  Because I know what will happen: I will buy things.  And that is what happened last weekend.  I got lured in by this little siren song:

I went in with a purpose: I wanted to get some coasters.  I love the Celestial Coasters and wanted to pick some up.  My store sells them individually for $8 each, so I grabbed two of the pink ones and figure I'll head back (of course) and pick up a few more.  

I could have stopped there.  I could have just taken my new beautiful coasters to the checkout and paid $16 and walked out. But I didn't.  I figured I was there, and maybe I could find a steal in the sale section.  So that's where I went.  I went into the sale section and of course I found two great things: sunglasses and a cute belt.

The sunglasses were $19 and are the style I love: a sort of oversized cat eye Jackie O sunglass.  These are similar, but I don't think they are exactly it. 

I also found an adorable warm-pink beaded belt: the Bowline Belt.  It was on sale for $30, which was more than I wanted to spend, but I loved the way it looks.

I think it will look fabulous with the coral dress my mom made for me for Jamie's wedding.  This one below.  I have a couple of weddings coming up, so I think I can wear the dress again and add a new, sparkly detail to it.   

I didn't see any clothes I liked in the sale section, but of course that did not stop me from scouring every single rack in the store.  I went into the dressing room with an arm full of dresses and thankfully came out with just one: the Intersections Day Dress.  At $68 it was (clearly) not on sale, but I loved the way it fit and thought the neckline and shoulder area were so flattering.  I walked around the store with it for awhile (again: scoping out the racks) and decided to bring it home.  I'm glad I did! Here it is on, but you'll have to wait for a future "What I Wore" post to see how I ended up styling it.

That's my haul.  As soon as I got in the car after shopping, I texted Jamie and said:

Hi.  Next time I say I'm going to Anthropologie, please tackle me and punch me in the face.  Thanks.

Jamie replied:

LOL.  What did you do??

I replied:

I don't even know.

Ha.  From what I recall, Anthropologie has another pretty good summer sale at the end of July.  So unless Jamie makes good on her promise to tackle and punch me (and maybe despite her doing so), I will be there.  I need a couple more coasters, after all.   

See you swoon,
Note: anthropologie has not paid or otherwise comped me for today's post.  They are welcome to do so at any time, though! 

What I Wore {part 14}

Hi all! Happy (official) Summer!  Here's what I've been wearing ...

* Grey Ruffle Shell & Pink Pants *

All of the pieces in this outfit are from my closet and are at least 5 years old.  I bought the pink pants back in 2005 at the Limited.  The grey shell is from Banana Republic and was a gift a few years ago.  The shoes, which are hard to see, are gorgeous Prada mules and covered in ribbons.  I bought them in New York City at Saks back in 2002.  

* White Tee, Yellow Scarf, Boyfriend Jeans *

I wore this to work on a casual Friday.  Nothing special here: I just paired a white tee shirt with my yellow and white scarf from New York & Co.  The jeans are from the Gap outlet and are the "boyfriend jean" style.  I roll them up.  I love them!  They are so comfortable.  I thought the yellow flats were kind of fun.  And here I am with my assistant stylist.  She loves to help me put outfits together.  

* Navy Top & Seersucker Pants *

You know I love me some seersucker.  I have a seersucker dress and skirt, but I did not have any seersucker pants.  A trip to LL Bean cured that problem.  I found these at LL Bean and they were very reasonably priced and well made.  I had to have them tailored and about two feet taken off the length (ha!), but I'm thrilled with the finished result.  The top is a score from the Gap Outlet from last summer. It's hard to see in these pictures, but it has some lace detailing on it. 

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope yours is smashing -- well, as smashing as a Wednesday can be anyway.  

See you swoon,

Dining Room Mirror: navy blue to cream!

Good morning!  I have a quick before and after to share today.

Once it was time to move Big's little kid dresser out of his room, I knew I'd repurpose it.  The dresser itself is in the kids' playroom and holds the television and Wii (still untouched and navy blue).  But the mirror - the mirror was going in the dining room.  Here is the dresser before:

The mirror was easy to remove: it was on wooden posts that screwed into the back of the dresser.  I just took them off.  I wanted to put the mirror over my buffet, seen here on the left:

Of course the navy blue would not do!  I used a coat of oil based primer (Zinsser) and then three coats of Valspar's paint and primer in one in Cream Delight with two coats of Polycrilic on top in the satin finish.  

To hang it, I bought a Hangman picture hanging system.  I've used these before for heavy mirrors (Jamie actually told me about it when she made her own chunky rustic mirror), and I can't say enough great things about them. They are fool proof! 

And here's the finished product!  The cream matches the cream furniture almost perfectly, and I just love how the mirror makes the space feel lighter, brighter, homier and more finished all at once.

I'd like to get a tray for the middle of the buffet.  But for the most part, this little nook in my dining room is all set!  

See you swoon,

Coaster Art

Hello and Happy Friday!

There's pretty much nothing more precious than hearing your children tell you they love you.   And there's pretty much nothing more precious than seeing your children write "I love you", especially completely unprompted.

A few months ago, I took the kids to dinner at a local restaurant.  I love it there because the food is good, it's a brew pub, and they are great with kids. They always give the kids crayons, which is great.  So, while we were there, Little took a coaster, turned it over and wrote "I love you", colored a border, drew a heart and proudly gave it to me.  It melted my heart into one million pieces.  And I couldn't bear to throw it out. 

The more I lived with the little heart art in my upstairs hall, the more I realized Little's coaster art would work in its place.  I like, but don't love, the heart in this picture.  I bought it years ago in Sausalito.  

So, I decided to use Little's art instead.  I just used permanent double-sided tape to attach it to a turquoise piece of scrapbook paper and then popped it in the frame.  

And then hung it on the wall ...

Aside from making me smile every time I see it, I much prefer the colors that Little used!  I may move this to my stairwell gallery once I finally get around to creating that.  But for now, it lives here, and I see it multiple times per day.  Love. 

See you swoon,

What I Wore {part 13}

Hello! Summer is almost here!  This year, I am ready.  Here's a round-up of some late Spring outfits I wore recently.  

* Bright Pink Blouse, White Pants, Turquoise Necklace *

I've been embracing bright colors lately. I bought this bright pink blouse last summer at the NY & Co. outlet.  It was less than $10.  I love love love NY & Co. blouses - they are fitted, flattering, and reasonably priced and look far more expensive than they are.  I wore this top with some white pants from Gap and an old turquoise carved necklace.  

* Polka Dot Dress & Coral Belt *

I've worn this polka dot dress a ton - I found it at the Tommy Hilfiger outlet last Fall.  It comes with a belt that is the same pattern as the dress, but I switched it out and wore a skinny coral one that I bought for $2 or $3 at NY & Co.  I wore it with my coral wedges.  The belt, by the way, is a size large.  It is the only size they had.  So I just punched a hole where I needed it and wrap the belt around me.  

* White Wrap Blouse & Khaki Skirt *

This outfit reminds me of Banana Republic safari wear, back in the late 80s when the store was more "safari" clothes than anything else.  The white wrap blouse is from Banana Republic from a few years ago (uh, not from the 1980s safari stuff).  The skirt is a simple, casual khaki skirt that I bought at the Loft outlet. I wore my coral wedges, a copper necklace and amber drop earrings.  

That's all for today!  Have a great day.

See you swoon,

Race Recap: 2013 Parvin State Park (NJ) Sprint Triathlon

Hi and happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  It was stunning here in the Philadelphia area on Saturday - a perfect day for a triathlon!  And that's what I did.  I raced the Parvin State Park Sprint Triathlon in my hometown in South Jersey.  I did this race last year and for a variety of reasons it was a tough one.  So I came back this year with several goals in mind.  And I came home with this:

That's right - I placed!  I got a medal --- errr .... key chain!  I came in third in my age group, which I still cannot believe.  I am thrilled!  

Last year, the Parvin tri was my second triathlon ever.  I loved the idea of racing so close to home: turns out, my hometown is a great place for triathlon, as there is an abundance of lakes and lots of country roads with very little traffic, which is perfect for biking and running.  Last year, I was bummed that the swim was canceled because due to "high fecal content", the lake was not suitable for swimming.  Oy.  So the organizers turned the race into a duathlon, which means there was a short run in place of the swim.  I was disappointed, but thought hey, I can run so this is fine!  I will tell you: duathlons are far harder than triathlons because you are constantly working the legs.  So where you'd be focusing on arms and chest, and resting your legs, during the swim, you are instead taxing all those leg muscles from the get-go.   Now, add to that, last year I was not knowledgeable at all about my bike.  I did not change gears properly (which is to say I wasn't changing them at all), and I did not check my tire pressure before the race, so I was riding on very low tires.  I am lucky, especially given the bumps and lumps in the roads, that I did not get a flat!  

Last year, my time was 1:32:44.  I came in 149 of 196 people.  The breakdown:
Run 1 (2 miles): 8:34 pace
Bike (12 miles): 46:14 (15.6 mph)
Run 2 (5K):  9:01 pace

This year, I had four goals:

(1) First and foremost, do not panic on the swim.  At all.
(2) Kill the bike - try to average 18 mph
(3) Finish around 1:20
(4) HAVE FUN.    

All four accomplished!  The big fat cherry on top was the fact that I snagged a third place age group slot.  Woo hoo!   

My total time was 1:20:41, which was 92 of 139 people.  Kind of amazing that I was able to place given there were only 45 people behind me ... but I will take it.  

One of the greatest things about triathlon is how small the tri-world is.  I ran into two people I knew: one was a friend of my two cousins, and I met him at a random night out around Christmas.  He and his family live in South Jersey too, and we remembered each other, so we hung out before the race.  The other was an older guy that I met at an open water swim clinic here in PA.  His son is training for Ironman Lake Placid, and Albert (the father) just got into triathlon at the son's encouragement and now they do races together.  So sweet!  After the race, I ran into Albert again, and he insisted on getting the above picture of me with my medal.  

Here are the specifics of this year's race:  

Swim: 1/4 mile -- 11:06 [90 of 139]

The swim is in Lake Parvin - a nice sized lake in the middle of the state park.  I swam in this lake as a kid, and it was about as I remember: a little dark, cool but otherwise OK.  I brought my new sleeveless wetsuit, and I'm really glad I did.  I'd say about 3/4 of the swimmers wore a wetsuit, but it wasn't absolutely necessary (unlike the swim at Devilman where the water was coooold).   They had three waves of swimmers:  (1) men 44 and under (blue caps); (2) men 45 and up (green caps); and (3) all women (white caps).  Each wave was spaced three minutes apart.  The course was extremely well marked and was a clockwise circle around the buoys.  There were a bunch of buoys marking the way to each turn and the turns had larger buoys.  Sighting, except for some peeks of sun, was very easy.  

I have been practicing open water swimming in a local lake for a few months now.  I'm far more comfortable swimming in open water (and, in fact, I prefer it to pools these days), so I was confident I would get in and not freak out, or, if I did freak out, I could settle down quicker than usual.  My friends: no panic!  None at all.  The horn went off for my wave, and I just started swimming and didn't stop.  I certainly wasn't tearing it up speed-wise, but that will be at a different race.  I decided to take this one at a comfortable pace - to just swim, work on swimming with a pack, work on sighting and see if I could swim the entire swim leg without a moment of panic.  And ... success!  I even passed a few green caps, which meant I was coming ahead of some of the wave ahead of me!  

I cannot tell you how happy I am about this swim.  I feel like I have done tremendous work taming my open water demons.  Now I can work on speed.  

If you're thinking of doing this race, bring a wetsuit. I was disappointed when I asked the race organizers what the water temp was and no one knew.  The best answer I got was "well, it's not hot."  I guess they determined it was ok to wear a wetsuit, so that was all we needed to know.  

T1: 1:57 [99 of 139]

Out of the water, you run up a very grainy-sandy beach to transition.  While I ran, I unzipped the top of my wetsuit and took off my goggles and cap.  I had managed to snag an end spot on the racks at transition, so I had plenty of room to get my wetsuit off and put on my cycling shoes.  I ended up sitting on the ground because that sand was really thick on my feet, so I took my extra towel and really cleaned off my feet before putting on socks and shoes.  I threw on my helmet and glasses and off I went. 

Bike:  12 miles -- 40:47 (avg. 17.7 mph) [99 of 139]

The bike was the same as last year: overall very flat.  There were a few little hills here and there, but nothing that required me to change out of my left shifting gears to really low gears.  The bike felt very hard at first.  I felt like I was really laboring and breathing hard, which was frustrating because the roads were flat.  I played around with my right gears and finally settled into a good pace.  I also focused on pedaling.  I set my goal of not being passed by any women.  I was eventually passed by two, neither of whom were in my age group. But then on the last mile, I passed one of them!  After about 7 miles on the bike, I felt really good and was in a great groove.  I guess I just need the first few miles to warm up and settle into a good pace.  I ate a bunch of energy chews on the bike ride.  I knew I'd need a little boost for the run.  My favorite part was getting cheered on by a guy outside his house - he gave a "you go girl!" and a catcall. Ha!  Before I knew it, it was time to dismount.  I looked at my watch and it was a total race time of about 52 minutes.  I knew if I could keep my run pace under 9 minutes, I'd be able to make my 1:20 time goal.

T2: 0:58 [37 of 139]

T2 was uneventful and obviously, since I was 37th overall, I did well at it.  I just threw on my shoes (thank you speed laces!), took off my helmet, put on my race belt and grabbed my visor, which I put on while running.  

Run:  5k -- 25:54 (8:22 per mile) [86 of 139]

The run is an out and back through the park and around part of the lake.  I really like this run: it's very shady and on mostly paved trails. There is a stretch on grass and a dirt trail, which is very narrow, but other than that, it's easy to navigate and well marked.  There is only one aid station and all they had is water, but it's only a sprint tri, so there really is not need for more than that. 

It took about a mile for me to get my breathing and pace under control. At the mile mark, my pace was 8:22 and it felt every bit of it!  Once I hit that first mile, my legs and breathing felt more normal and I was able to just run.  I noticed there were very few women coming back toward me, so I figured I was doing pretty well, at least among women.  At the turn around, I saw a couple of women on my heels and decided to pick up the pace.  At the aid station, I didn't drink the water, but poured it all over me, which felt amazing.  

The aid station was mile 2, so I knew I needed to just hang on.  About a half mile later, a woman passed me and I saw her age on her leg: 36.  Argh.  I tried to keep up, but she literally blew past me.  I was determined to keep my place.  Another 1/4 mile later, I came behind a woman who had 39 on her leg. I decided I would pass her - I dug in and ran hard and blew past her, just like 36 blew past me.  My watch said 1:19, so I knew I was close.  I sprinted through the finish and my time was 1:20:41.  So so so happy!  

This race has a great post-race spread: lots of water and gatorade, plus fresh fruit (including watermelon OMG), sandwiches, bagels, and pretzels.  Yummy.  

I think the recap may have been longer than the actual race!  

It was so cool to walk away with the medal and to hear them call my name at the awards ceremony.  I've come in 4th in my age group in a handful of races -- just out of reach! So to finally make it was just thrilling for me.  And I will be totally honest ... I am far more proud and happy about my strong, non-panic, swim than I am about placing. Sounds crazy, yes.  But the swim is a necessary skill for the sport and being able to start, and maintain, a strong confident swim is something I needed to master, and it is something I have worked hard on.  That I finally got to the other side is priceless.  

So there you go.  A happy day, a great race and a little bling.  Nothing better!  I have two more triathlons left this season: Steelman (olympic distance) in Quakertown, PA in early August and Quakerman (half iron distance) in Quakertown, PA in early September.  In the meantime, I will be swim-bike-running every chance I get.   

See you swoon

What I Wore {part 12}

Friday! It's here!  I'm looking forward to this one (ok, I look forward to all of them ...) because it's Little's end of year school show, I have a sprint triathlon in my hometown and I have a loooooong bike ride planned for Sunday.  All good stuff. 

Here are a few more recent outfits I put together.

* Pink Top, Grey Pants, Ivory Satin Ribbon Belt *

I found this long sleeved warm pink top with Jamie a few years ago at the j.crew outlet.  I liked the color a lot.  I also found the long necklace at the j.crew outlet on that same trip.  The pants are from the Ann Taylor outlet.  

* Sheer Polka Dot Blouse & Grey Pants *

I found this sheer polka dot blouse at Old Navy on clearance.  I really liked it and thought it would be fun.  I wore it with a white cami underneath (a must) and some grey pants I had from the Limited.  I pulled my hair back and wore a long statement necklace from Banana Republic from a few years ago.  

* Fuchsia Dress & Leopard Flats *

This dress was a steal.  I found it at the Gap online and it was on clearance and had 30% off. I cannot remember the price but it was definitely around $10-$15.  I let Little pick out my flats and she chose leopard.  I love the way it looks!  The leopard flats are from ... Payless. And they are crazy comfortable.  I get compliments on them all the time.  

Happy weekend all!  

See you swoon,

Bedroom Spruce-Up

Hello hello.  On Monday, I shared the before and afters of a little chest I painted and brought into my bedroom.  The chest was the beginning of a serious domino effect of projects around my house: once I brought in the chest, I could move out the old one and redo it for Big's room. And once I brought it in my room, I could finally hang the wall-mounted light I bought months ago and move things around to suit the space better.  My room is evolving nicely!

Here is my bedroom before (and some of these pictures were taken last Summer and are super old):

You know how much I love white in decorating.  This room has a ton of it!  The walls are a great-looking white.  I have cream furniture and white bedding.  This picture does not show it, but there are white curtains at the window.  

This corner across from the bed was a sweet little spot for my white chair and table and lamp.  

In the little nook near the bed, I had the old IKEA Rast dresser to hold my workout clothes.  My jewelry box (must refinish - that dark wood is killing me) and white noise machine on top.  But this area needed a little more light ...

So a few months ago, I bought a Hampton Bay wall-mounted swing arm lamp for this very spot.  I got it at Home Depot for about $30.  I loved that it is a plug-in and I would not have to deal with running cords and wires through the wall.  

I hated the shade that went with it, so I replaced it with a Ballard Designs Marcel shade, which I snagged on sale and with a coupon code around Memorial Day.  I went with the greenish blue pattern in the lamp on the left.

Here's what I did.  First, when I brought in the new chest, it was clear that it just did not fit in the spot where the old chest was.  So I moved it to the area where the chair used to be.   I'm going to paint the jewelry box white or use silver leaf on it.  Oh, and I have plans to add some art in this corner.  

The chair moved to the wall where the chest used to be. There wasn't room for the little white table, but that's OK - I moved it downstairs next to the couch instead!  Once I had the chair in place, I could finally hang the wall-mounted lamp.  

While the room was a mess and I had my drill and level, I hung the set of three antiquey looking mirrors over my bed as well.  I found these at Target and bought them a few months ago.  I like how they break up the white wall over the bed. 

And there you have it!  My room is coming right along.  I still have to hang some art, maybe bring in a full length mirror near the new chest and organize a few spots.  But the room is shaping up to be a great little retreat for me. 

See you swoon,