Tuesday, January 29, 2013

VDay Gifts for Him: Made in USA

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Guess what: all of the above gifts are less than $150!  Actually, I intended this list to include all items under $100 each, but the Allen Edmond shoes were just too beautiful handsome to leave off the list.

There's something for just about everyone on this list or it's a great start list if these things aren't your guy's cup of tea.  If your guy doesn't like beer, but he is in touch with his inner geek, then I highly suggest anyone of the posters from Pop Chart Labs. Not only are they made in Brooklyn, but they're made with vegetable dyes so they are also vegan friendly.  I've purchased three separate posters from Pop Chart Labs and each of the guys who received the posters were thrilled.  Even my brother-in-law loved his diagram of movie monsters and he's a tough cookie to please.

Men's wallets are one of those items where a few dollars can be invested because unlike women, who tend to have hundreds multiple purses, men tend to only have a few wallets.  At least that's how the guys in my life operate.  The bifold wallet is a classic and the one above from J.W. Hulme. Co is an American staple and is actually guaranteed for life.  When was the last time you bought something and it came with a lifetime guarantee?

Side note: I've found soapstone whiskey stones that are made in the USA everywhere from Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel (linked above), to World Market.  I would have never in a million years guessed to look for things made in the USA at World Market, but I was pleasantly surprised to find they do carry quite a few things made domestically in the states.  However, I did find that searching for "Made in USA" yielded zero search results, so search for "made in United States."

Two things that are one this list that I think would work for almost every gift situation:  stationary and cologne.    In these days of texts, instagram, Facebook, etc there is still a need and desire for the handwritten word. The hubs could leave me a post-it note (also made in the USA) and I'd swoon.  If you want something a little fancier than a post-it note then head on over to Crane & Co. for a fantastic selection of stationary that is all made in the USA.  If paper products are a no-go, then go the smelly route and buy a new fragrance. I never even realized that many of today's colognes and perfumes are actually made in the USA.

Valentine's Day gifts for the guys - piece of cake.  Yes, guys love cake too! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

American Woman: Baby It's Cold Outside!

It looks like Mother Nature finally got the memo that it was winter time and decided it was enough of this warm weather.  I actually had to break out my winter coat this week, but I'm wishing I could trade in my gray peacoat for any of these American made beauties.

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Seriously, I'm in love with all of them!  The tie on the Fleurette wrap coat is amazing.  Don't worry, it's a faux-fur collar on the Karen Kane coat and how fun is that texture?   The color on that knee-length Fleurette wool coat is spot on with all of the Oxblood trends. The leather sleeves on the Guess coat... I die. I love, love, love the quilted texture of the Filson jacket. And of course you can never go wrong with a cape, which is why I'm completely smitten with both the Schott NYC and Mettlers capes.

But, wait because there's more.

The skies have parted and this classic staple navy peacoat from Filson is ON SALE. $150 for a peacoat? That's a STEAL. 

Besides a heavy coat I'm living in sweater tights from Target (tons of them are made in the USA) and cuddling up with a Boston Terrier by the fire.  

How about you?  How are you dealing with the cold weather?  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Just a boy and his dog

Over the weekend the hubs and I took Jax for a two-hour walk around the park.  We went ahead and bought a season pass to all of our county's main parks because we anticipate we'll be at a park almost every weekend this year. 

The weather was an unseasonable warm 55 degrees, but the water was cold enough that Jax only got his paws wet and then he was done with the bay.  Funny story, even though he's 7 years old, this was the first time Jax has ever been down to the bay (or to the beach).  He's been out in lake by my parents house, but this was a bit different.  Come summer time we won't be able to keep him out of the water! 

I don't know who was more excited to get out and walk around: Jax or the hubs.  The hubs hasn't been cleared for running yet, so walking is his main form of physical activity at the moment.  

For the record: I held Jax's leash for most of the walk.  It's just safer that way.  Also, even though it was 55 degrees out we left Jewels at home.  Anything under 60 and it might as well be snowing out in her book.  Plus, one pup is enough for two people at the park!

Anyone else get out and enjoy the weather this weekend before the cold air came in? It was crazy how warm it was on Saturday and then by Sunday afternoon you could just feel the chill descending in the air.  Beyonce would have been able to sing live at the inauguration if it was in the 50s! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

American Woman: Ball Gown Edition

Hollywood's award session has officially kicked off and the Golden Globes presented not only the hilarious tandem of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, but also numerous, lust-worthy, gorgeous gowns.  I was deliriously happy that Tina and Amy rocked the show and the critics finally said what we've all known for years - women are freaking hilarious!

Back to the fashion piece. Washington DC, and the surround area, is on notice for this weekend's inauguration balls as to what is in style in the beginning of 2013. 

I might be in the minority here, but I think if someone is going to go to a ball honoring the President of the United States, then you should wear something that was actually made in the USA. #JustSaying

With that in mind I searched around and found quite a few gowns that you could add to your closet or rent for less than $200.  Look, this is one of those times where I could have done some damage and shown ridiculously expensive dresses made in the USA, but showing off dresses in the $500+ range really doesn't help convey the message that you can wear things made in the USA and not go broke in the process. 

Back to the dresses! 

Red was a big color winner at the Golden Globes over the weekend. Claire Danes, Jennifer Lawrence, Zooey Deschanel, Marion Cotillard, Naomi Watts, Jennifer Garner, Miranda Kerr, and others all wore some version of red and each looked amazing.  Jessica Alba looked phenomenal and was absolute perfection. 

Since I'm a red head and typically avoid wearing red I had to throw in a purple dress: 

Left to Right: Aria Style 142 (via Aria), Haute Hippie (via Rent the Runway), A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz (via Nordstrom) , Xscape (Via Nordstrom)

Black is always a classic staple and many celebs wore anything, but basic black to the Golden Globes.  Adele, Salma Hayek, Katharine McPhee, Sofia Vergara,  Julianne Moore, and Rachel Weisz all looked amazing in black.  I know people hated it, but I loved the sheer panels of polka dots on Rachel Weisz's dress. The woman is gorgeous and married to Daniel Craig. I wouldn't mess with her! 

Left to Right: Jessica McClintock (via Nordstrom), Xscape (via Nordstrom), Milly (via Rent the Runway), T by Tadashi (via Nordstrom)

Need an invite to Rent the Runway? Click here.  I've rented a dress from them in the past to wear to a friends wedding and it was the easiest process in the world.

Sadly, the hubs and I are not attending any inauguration balls.  I mentioned to the hubs attending the inauguration this year, but because of his surgery it's best for him not to be around masses of people.  It's also better for me not to get into any type of physical altercations with anyone that dares to bump into him.  Neither the hubs, nor I, agree with President Obama on every issue, but we both agree that he is an inspiration and we wish him the best over these next four years.  While the crowds gather this weekend and Monday for inauguration, I'll think back to the weekend four years ago when the hubs and I went to see President-Elect Obama on his inaugural tour in Baltimore.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Fog: Downs Memorial Park

This past weekend I had every intention of waking up early and trying to take pictures of the sunrise over the Chesapeake Bay. 

Flu-like symptoms and mother nature had other plans. 

However, the weekend wasn't a total loss.  I mean, the Ravens did pull off a massive win this weekend.

Here's a quick recap of a little walk by the bay at Downs Memorial Park

As you can tell, visibility out over the water was severely limited.  I walked out on a jetty and after 100 feet I could barely see the shoreline. 

The picture above reminds me of my childhood home in NY.  

Overall, not a total loss.  The hubs and I were able to get out of the house for a bit and check out the park.  I may or may not have been bundled up to look like the abdominal snowman, but that's fine.  We're hoping to get back there again next weekend with a Boston Terrier and have more fun. 

I hope you all had a great weekend.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hearts and chess

Do you ever have those moments in life where everywhere you look you see the same thing over and over again?  It's like that time my brother bought an Oldsmobile Alero. I swear to goodness I had never seen one of those cars in my life, but once he bought his I saw those cars everywhere.  

It's once something across your consciousness you can't get it out of your head and you see that shape, pattern, color, object, etc. everywhere you look.  

I'm having that moment right now.  Everywhere I look I see heart patterns and chess pieces.  

I think I need to break out my chess board and challenge the hubs a few times this weekend! 

Have a great weekend everyone.  

If you're looking for something cute to check out, then head on over to District Sparkle.  Meaghan and I did a quick photoshoot with her adorable pup, Wendell, and the results were pretty adorable. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

American Woman

Starting a new blog series here this morning.  I'm making it a pledge to show off more American fashion products this year because buying American is something very near and dear to my heart.  I think when it comes to clothing many of us just assume we can't put together an entire outfit that's made here in the States.

Well, I hope to prove us all, myself included, wrong.  

Above is Olivia Palermo looking effortlessly chic.  She is incredibly gorgeous, fashionably, and always put together.  I'd love for any of those three adjectives to be used to describe me! 

Below is where you can find classic pieces that are all made in America to give you the same look that Olivia is wearing above. Yuppers, even the boots are made in the USA. 

Jacket: Filson "Oregon Trail" Jacket // Boots: Munro "Alita" // Jeans: J Brand 901 Skinny //  Sweater: American Apparel Cardigan // Sunnies: Oakley "Forehand" 57mm  // Bag: J.W. Hulme Co. "Mini Excursion Tote Bag"  // Belt:  Tory Burch "Logo" Belt

Please leave me a comment below if you have found another classic item that's made in America.  Thanks!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013: Let's do this thing!

I went through my typical New Year's cynicism earlier this week and thought to myself, "what's the big deal? It's just a Tuesday."  Thankfully the negativity was due to sleep deprivation and after a strong cup of coffee I was void of negative thoughts. Well, mostly :)

Here it is, my to-do list for 2013.  Remember, I hate calling them resolutions.


  • Post quality content 2-3 times a week.  Look, I'm never going to be able to post 4-5 times a week on any type of routine basis.  It's just not going to happen.  I have a few reoccurring post ideas up my sleeve and I hope they go over well.  
  • Engage more with other bloggers.  I haven't really pursued connecting with the larger Baltimore and DC blogging community more than the occasional comment on someone's blog.  I'm hoping to switch that up this year. 
  • More decorating projects! I bought the hubs two pieces of artwork for Christmas and our very bare walls need quite a bit of assistance.  I'm making a list of all the smaller home projects I can tackle on my own since my hubs won't be able to lift his arm above his head for the next 5-6 months :( 
  • Kitchen renovation.  This is happening in the fall. Period. End of story. I'm not talking about a little kitchen updating with refreshing some cabinets and adding a backsplash.  I mean taking the sucker down to the studs, demolishing a wall (non-load bearing!), moving plumbing, and starting from square one. Our house is going to feel like an almost brand new house once the kitchen is done because included in the kitchen renovation budget is putting in hardwood floors for not only the kitchen, but the dining room and living room. It's going to make a massive impact on our house and I can't wait.
  • Fashion. Buy American made pieces.  I'm going to hate myself for saying this, but I have enough clothes.  Instead of buying a bunch of trendy pieces that will only last a season or two, I'm going to focus the limited resources I have this year on buying quality pieces made right here in the USA.  
  • Run less, work out more.  Running is taking a back seat in my life.  I've only run a handful of times since my last marathon and I've realized that by training for longer races all the time I'm tired all the time and actually work out less.  I don't even remember the last time I did a serious set of sit ups or any type of weight training.  I don't have a single marathon planned for this year and for once I'm okay with that decision.  I know I can't run a marathon this fall because of the kitchen renovation.  I imagine my weekends in the summer and fall are going to be filled with kitchen related items and being tired all the time isn't going to work well with that process. Plus, I turn 30 this year and this is going to sound crazy, but I need to work out more and get in shape.  Running isn't cutting it anymore and I need to get myself back in shape.
  • Start a family. BAM! Putting that one out there.  The reason I need to get in shape this year is because after the kitchen is done the hubs and I hope to try to start a family.  We've put this off more than once and the time has come to stop putting it off anymore. I'll be on the wrong side of 30 come next month, so getting in shape is key if the hubs and I decide to try to have a baby the old fashioned way.  Now, I don't know what starting a family means just yet because we still haven't fully decided if we want to adopt first or try to have a biological child first. We're a split household on that decision, so only time will tell. 
That's a pretty tall list if you ask me!  Here is goes 2013. Let's do this thing!