Friday, August 29, 2014

American Made Labor Day Sales

It's that time of the year again. Time to pack away the summer gear and look towards fall and winter. If for nothing else because Game of Thrones has been telling us for the past 4 years that winter is coming and after last winter's brutal weather I'm heeding the warning.

Just do me a solid and if you're in the buying mode, buy something American made this weekend. You know, because this weekend is a holiday that honors the American worker. I'll be adding more sales as I can, so make sure to check back often.

Anthropologie - an extra 20% off all sale items, no code needed.. Amazing cutting board, midi skirt, and plenty of other items made in the USA.

Bailey44 - Up to 70% off on select sale pieces now through 9/1. Hurry! I can't even describe how beautiful this dress is or how badly I need this top for every single blazer I own.

Black Halo - massive sale on select items including gowns and cocktail dresses. Is it too early to start picking out dresses for holiday parties? If you can pull off red then please buy this dress so I can live vicariously through you!

Clover Canyon - just a crazy deal on some of the best prints around.

Ella Moss 20% off dresses with code LABORDAY20 now through midnight of 9/1. In love with this striped maxi, but this icon black dress is a classic! Check the fabric section on each dress to confirm it is made in the USA.

Eva Franco - 30% off select sale items and an additional 20% off all other sale items with codes LABORDAY30 and LABORDAY20. Sale ends 9/4!

Heidi Merrick - take an extra 20% off already reduced sale items with code LABORDAY. Need a vegan leather pencil skirt?

James Jeans - 30% off with code JJLABOR14 now through 9/1. Now is the time to stock up on jeans and finally get a pair of Twiggy Dancers in Black Swan.

J.W. Hulme - 15% off sitewide through 9/1 with code MAKERS. Their iconic legacy handbag just came out in cobalt blue and you do not want to miss adding this bag to your life.

Karen Kane - take an extra 25% off all sale and clearance items through 9/1 with code LABORDAY14. Seriously, this is a good sale. Too many items to pick just a few to highlight!  

Nordstrom Rack - extra 25% off all clearance items. Look for American made favorites like Alexis Bittar, Eva Franco, and more. Again, check the description.

Oka B - buy 1, get 1 50% off on all summer styles now through 9/1 with code LDAY2014

Sparkly Soul - 20% off entire order now through 9/1 with code LABORDAY. Fall running season is upon us so stock up on headbands that actually work now!

Splendid - 20% off select skirts and tops with code LABORDAY20. Oh hey classic black midi skirt. Welcome to my closet! Check the fabric section on each dress to confirm it is made in the USA.

Three Dots - extra 15% off all sale items with an order over $100. Amazing deal on this cropped jacket.

Trina Turk - extra 20% off all sale items. Check item description for Made in USA status.

Tuckernuck - Extra 20% off sale items now through 9/1 with code LABOROFLOVE. Plus free ground shipping! Check out great dresses from Nanette Lepore, Amanda Uprichard, and others.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Farewell Summer

Made in USA: Maxi Dress: Trina Turk (similar) // Bag: J.W. Hulme 
Made in Italy: Shades: old Ray Ban // Shoes:  old Tod's (similar)

I know summer doesn't technically end until later in September, but in my mind summer is over now. I'm sure there will be a few more days of 80+ degree running (I'm looking at you Thursday forecast), but this weekend when I head back up to the lake and mountains I'm breaking out the plaid and boots. Fine, perhaps leather shorts will be a bit of a compromise.

My husband laments my sartorial choices because it's usually an endless supply of black, black, and shades of white thrown in with more black. He never once complained this summer when I slipped on this black maxi dress - I guess the low slit, exposed sides, and open back proved to be too deadly of a combination for him. I can't believe I didn't post photos of this dress earlier this summer. You know, before I drank my weight in booze over the course of the summer and somehow managed to gain 10lbs! No, seriously, that happened and I about fell off the scale the other morning.

This was a great summer. Lots of weddings, plenty of date nights, good cheers with even better friends and family. We have a beer release party for one of our favorite fall seasonal brews later this week. I'm looking forward to fall - buckling down and getting serious with running, football games, October baseball in Birdland, hot lattes, apple picking, crisp air, and baking pumpkin rolls. I jokingly told the hubs that I was going to give up booze for a month before my next marathon :)

Just because fall is rolling into town doesn't mean it's time to pack away your favorite black maxi dress. I'll be adding a jacket over mine to get me through fall. Here's a few more amazing made in USA black maxi dresses

Friday, August 22, 2014

Lens Testing

Eeck! I'm photographing a friend's wedding this weekend. In an attempt to keep my nerves at a somewhat comfortable level I rented a few extra pieces of glass to take with me to the wedding. That meant I had to get outside for some test shots. Unfortunately the weather forecast is nothing but rain, so last night as soon the workday was over the hubs and I took the dogs out for a quick set of photos. 

It was also the perfect way to get a few fresh images with the pups. Can we talk about how awesome the bokeh is on that 135f/2 L lens? Oh wait, how about how the 50f/1.2L completely lit up the hubs and Jewels when it was practically dark outside? And left my ISO on 100 the entire time because I wanted to have a consistency to compare different images. 

This photography hobby is expensive! I do "need" a telephoto lens in my arsenal and I'm fearful after this weekend I might have to save up for one sooner rather than later! 

Here's hoping for good weather this weekend and sharp images! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wedges are what the Doctor ordered

Made in USA: 1: Julie Bee's // 2: Nanette Lepore // 3: Nanette Lepore // 4: Cordani

I hate wedges. There, I said it. Okay, hate is a strong word. I hate Crocs. I have strong lukewarm feelings about wedges. They aren't my least favorite heel type (see previous statement about Crocs), but they just don't excite me the way a pair of stilettos or chunky heel does. 

However, since I've been wearing my beloved hated plantar fasciitis boot nearly every available second I've been home the past two weeks it's safe to say it's that time of the year again where I have to give up my favorite type of heels. And before you get all "just wear flats you idiot!" on me please note that a licensed doctor actually said that flats are NOT GOOD for those with plantar fasciitis! Something about letting the fluid build up in one's heel. Wedges, on the other hand, are the ideal shoe type for those suffering with PF.

With that being said, I'm on the hunt for a pair of wedges that I can wear to work and after hours. In brutal honest talk, I wasn't overly impressed with the pump options in the American made category. Booties - done! Julie Bee's and Nanette Lepore have got me covered. If I can't find made in the USA footwear that I love then I look to the Italian options. And man did I like what I found. Honestly, I can't pick a favorite, but those Acne Studios, Anyi Li, and Aquatalia by Marvin K. wedges pulled at my heart and I'm just trying to make a rational decision.

What's your favorite wedge? Seriously, I'm in the market because I've got just about 2 months until my next marathon and 3 months until my next half marathon. I need shoes to wear outside of the house!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

American Made at Need Supply Co.

I do find as I get older I shy away from the typical brick & mortar mall stores. I think it's mainly the fear of showing up wearing the exact same thing as someone else that keeps me away from the Gap, H&M, Banana Republic, Express, Old Navy, and yes, even my former love J.Crew (who is slowly working its way back into my heart). I appreciate trends just as much as the next person, but I'm always trying to make my clothes my own, rather than a mannequin's.

I think that's why I love smaller boutique's that much more because their curated selections bring in designers I've never even heard of and definitely do not see at the mall. I've been smitten with Need Supply Co.'s selection for the past few years. They do an amazing job of bringing together the designers you know and the ones you don't. Plus, any place that has thousands of American made pieces is top-notch in my book.

Last November when I was in Richmond I had every intention of stopping by the Need Supply Co.'s actual store and I'm sorry to say I ate dinner right around the corner and literally ran by, along the marathon course, and didn't make it in. I blame the searing pain in my hip and the massive chip my pride took with my worst marathon time ever for the reason to miss visiting. That's not happening again this year. I'm definitely stopping by for a proper visit this November on race weekend.

What's your favorite boutique?

Monday, August 11, 2014

7 Years of Wedded Bliss (well, mostly)

August 11, 2007

I don't believe in luck, but I count my blessings that I met my husband. Truth be told the idea of marriage still scares me to this very day and I have difficulty grasping the concept. But, being married to my husband - well that just makes perfect sense.

Marriage, like any other relationship, is constant work. There are easy months and then there are really hard moments that make you question everything in the world all the way to your core. The key is finding balance between the two extremes, unless of course you can find a drama-free life and if that is the case please share your secrets.

Over the past 7 years of marriage the hubs and I have come up with a few observations of our own:

Keep the fights clean. My husband doesn't swear and yet even when I've done my absolute worst he hasn't said anything to me that can't be repeated in a Disney cartoon. That level of decency provides a safety net during disagreements where we can actually discuss our differences without descending in pure madness. Oh trust me, I'm a ginger with a German temper to boot and I can fly off the handle like a psycho, but our fights are clean.

Support each other, don't suffocate each other. For the love of all things please have a few separate hobbies. Do your own thing and enjoy some time apart from each other. Take a few vacations here and there with friends and without your partner. My husband hates running, yet he will show up at a few of my races and be supportive. And I might think his video games are stupid, but I buy him Madden and MLB The Show every time a new version comes out (hey, at least I get brownie points for buying the games!).  It's really nice asking each other "how was your day?" and getting to share stories. That doesn't happen if you spend every second together.

Go to bed angry. Dumbest advice ever is to never go to bed angry. I don't know about you, but I make really bad decisions when I'm angry + tired. This goes back to tip number 1, but sometimes the very best thing is a few hours of sleep (I won't say a decent night of sleep because let's be honest that's not happening if you're ticked off).

Compromise better. We try not to compromise in the traditional sense - instead we rotate who gets to pick what. If we're splitting a dinner and a movie one of us gets to pick dinner and the other the movie. I picked the granite and stove in our kitchen and he got the backsplash, dishwasher,  and microwave. We rotate whose day or month it is based on each other priorities. That way we don't have to settle for some lukewarm, middle ground and instead each of us gets what we really wanted. Again, we struggle with time to time with finding the balance, but overall this works exceptionally well for us.

No one is perfect. I repeat that to myself every time I get angry or upset with my husband. Sometimes I remember the last thing I did that frustrated him just to remind myself that I'm no peach 100% of the time.

Don't compare your behind the scenes with anyone else's filtered life. In today's social media world it's really easy to get caught up in the hoopla of "why doesn't my life look like that?" Everyone's got problems. I repeat, everyone has problems. Think of it this way, that perfect couple you know posts one or two snippets from their life once a day. The rest of the time you have no idea what is going on behind the curtain. That gorgeous flower arrangement, "just because" might look great on Instagram, but you don't see the dirty dishes piled up, the mail collecting, the dried up tissues, and the laundry that still hasn't been put away because it's been concisely cropped out of the frame.

Challenge Each Other. The greatest moments are life are not when you settle for anything. Rather, they are when you challenge each other's every fiber and find your own way. Take advice from others and make it your own. Realize that no other couple has your unique path in life. There is no "one fits all" pill for life's happiness. You've got to fight for happiness all on your own. You might not win the battle each and every day, but think long-term.

I remember vividly when my husband and I were taking pre-marital classes. We were forming our vows and the traditional Catholic vows contain the phrase, "I will obey you." I told my soon-to-be husband I refused to say those words on our wedding day. Even after our deacon joked, "the word obey comes from Latin meaning of 'I listen.'" I told my betrothed I would listen to him, but I would not obey him. I would hear his perspective and I would respect it, but I would not follow it blindly. And that man, who knew my soul said, "we will not follow each other. we will race each other."

That is the path we take in life, never leading, but always sharing. That is why he is my mate in every sense of the word.

Any other tips out there? Please feel free to share them below.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

American Made Copper

I've got copper on the brain. The hubs and celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary next Monday and we're romantic saps when it comes to our anniversary. According to Hallmark Google the traditional gift ideas for the seventh anniversary are copper, wool, or desk sets. Now that we're home owners we try to buy gifts that will double as decorative pieces in our home so that we can both enjoy them. A large wool blanket sounds amazing, but every nice blanket that comes into our house has been claimed by two Boston Terriers and while we knew the pups would rather enjoy a new blanket we elected to go after something shiny for our anniversary this year.

Hence, the copper items above. I did put it out there that we should get matching copper hued sunglasses, but that idea didn't go over well.  Instead we're adding this copper tray from Jacob Bromwell to our kitchen and we can't wait.

If you're in the market for some copper, well then don't forget to give a glimpse at one of the above American Made copper pieces. My nerdy hubs told me that our copper tray will outlive us which I took to mean it should be a highly durable material.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Heels for Beer

Made in USA: Blazer: Helmut Lang // Jeans: James Jeans // Blouse: old Bobeau // Bag: J.W. Hulme (now 50% off!) // Necklace: old Spike the Punch // Nails: Essie 'Naughty Nautical
Imported: Shades: old Ray Ban // Shoes: old Jimmy Choo 

You know you're a heel lover when people point out that you wore flats three days in a row. Sorry, I'm tired and it's getting to that point in the summer where running takes over and there will be a few weeks here and there where I just want to wear flats.

But, now that summer running season is here it brings with it one of my favorite weekly occurrences - Thursday Date Night. Can't go out on Friday nights because I run long on Saturday mornings and sometimes on Saturday nights I fall asleep randomly around 9pm. It happens. This is why iced coffee exists.

Thursday night was date night and I'll be damned if I didn't use it as an excuse to break out of a flats rut. A beer tasting was on the menu and the hubs took one look at my shoes and said, "I'll do the driving tonight." He knows how tired I've been and if I was putting on sky high heels that meant no way in heck was I driving.

We're headed to the Orioles game tonight and I'll be wearing my sneakers and acting in the role of designated driver. It's all about balance!

Heels or flats for date night - go!