Saturday, February 28, 2009

New Look for My Blog...

The picture used in the header is one I took in Scotland about 4 years ago. I love, love, love Scotland and although it has very little to do with my kids, J. Crew, Northern Virginia, or mid-century modern architecture, it is my blog, so I guess I can do what I want! :) I may change it soon, or not. I never quite know when I will get sick of seeing that image or feel like a new "me."

The pic was taken on the Isle of Arran in western Scotland. The specific place is called Lochranza on the northern part of the island. We were staying at the Castlekirk B & B (which has a view of the Castle across the way--only accessible by foot when the tide is out--how cool)!

For more info on this place, go here:
or or


So my only post today will be ripping on a J. Crew Collection item...

I have zero desire to get dressed here I am, in pjs, no makeup, CW is asleep, posting on something extremely unimportant. ;) Oh, well, I guess we all get to take a break sometime!

This is a J. Crew Collection item called the "Pippa" jacket. I love the name Pippa, it reminds me of a girl who would be so much fun to hang out with, she would have curly red hair, and she could drink every single guy under the table even though she is only 5'3" and 110 pounds. So how does J. Crew immortalize her name? With this atrocity (my apologies if you own this jacket).

It sold originally for $1800 and is made of calf-hair. Some poor calf lost its life to create this jacket. Wow.

One thing that bothers me more than anything about this article of looks nothing like J. Crew or J. Crew collection. It has the air of a couture Italian piece, but who in the United States and Canada (main purchasers of J. Crew) is going to buy this jacket? The people who shop at J. Crew are not avant-garde to this extent. It is one thing to create a sublime overcoat in a shimmery-grey fabric (the luscious stormy tweed Lille--which I own) and ask people to buy it for hundreds of dollars (which I did not--scored on sale for a fraction of its original cost) for it, but it is another to think the people who shop at J. Crew (even those willing to spend more on the Collection) are going to get something that looks NOTHING like the rest of what of your other clothing looks like. ABSURDITY!

The model sure is trying her best to look pretty in it, but while her face is amazing, the jacket (even on miss skinny) looks ill-fitting through the shoulders and the calf-hair looks shiny...which disturbs me (I am not sure why). Plus styling this with an orange turtleneck and a green skirt is like saying..."hey, you there, yes, you, in are your colors, do you want to buy this?" I think that this could have been saved (maybe, big MAYBE) if the jacket fit, if the colors used with this were more muted (that jacket cannot compete with other things), then I could possibly see spending (wait for it)...$500. That's it.
The whole reason I posted this is because this was back on the website last weekend (2/21 and 2/22) and they were attempting to sell it at the bargain rate of $1300. Guess what? Still for sale, in a size 4. Here you go (if you want to see for yourself):
By the way, the LA Times mentioned this coat in their post on their blog. Seems they agree with my sentiments.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Yellow, Teal, and Khaki for Spring (or Spring-like) Weather!

So even though I feel like complete CRUD, I wanted to at least look presentable for school today. I have that ridiculous cold running wild here in NOVA and because I have NO days left in my sick/personal leave (yep, maternity leave), I have to go to work. LOVELY POLICY! (Not...)

I am glad it is Friday because I can wear jeans to work. AND guess what? I have lost another pound, so I am HALFWAY to my goal weight. I had 32 pounds to lose and I have lost 16 (I started at Thanksgiving, not right after CW was born in September). I am a mere 4 pounds away from what I weighed before I got pregnant with Rex. My ultimate goal is my old-skinny minnie self from 5 years ago.

So why do I mention weight and jeans? Because I am wearing some of my skinny jeans that I bought before I got pregnant with Rex. WOO! They are some Levis that are faded and skinny (kind of like the matchstick by J. Crew). The top is J. Crew Collection, the daisy-eyelet cotton top from summer 2008 (not on polyvore, sigh). The shoes are J. Crew, salina patent-leather in peacock (teal). The necklace is my "witch" necklace (or so says Jim) from J. Crew, January 2008 (not on polyvore, either). The trench is my beloved "keegan" or washed ruffle-collar trench from J. Crew.

Even though Polyvore only had a couple of the pieces, I managed to make a set that looked similar enough. Go here to see it:

So here it is on me, Ms. Sicky...I feel good in this outfit. I love this color pretty! The eyelets are just gorgeous in real life. The headband is also J. Crew, from winter 2007.

Here I am holding darling Rex's hand (he wanted something from the fridge). The trench polished this outfit up a bit...I feel vaguely retro wearing this coat. The peek of color beneath the coat was enough so I didn't roll the sleeves of the coat up (the lining is this pretty pink/red color).

I look ghastly right now (it is the afternoon) makeup is almost all gone from the constant use of tissues and I look a bit feverish, too. Oh, well, at least my outfit has stood the test of time!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I smell some lemonade!

You all are too sweet to have nominated me for my first blog award...THE LEMONADE AWARD.

I was nominated by three lovelies...DecoAurora's Mslay; Head to Toe with Heidi's HeidiG, and Three Sparrows and Some Sparkle's sparrowsandsparkles. I blush!

The award is for sites that demonstrate great attitude and/or gratitude in general.
"When life hands you lemons, make lemonade."
Upon receiving the Lemonade Award, you also pass it on to other bloggers who you think show great attitude and or gratitude.

Here are the rules:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post
2. Nominate at least 5-10 blogs that show great Attitude and or Gratitude.
3. Be sure to list and link nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they have received this award by leaving a comment on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.
So here are my nominees for the Lemonade Award.
These are blogs/sites where the owner shows a positive and/or humorous take on life, as well as shows gratitude/thankfulness for life in general:

(Here is my caveat--all of these blogs that I follow have been nominated multiple times by others for this award--so I will be a bit different--I will post their web address and in one sentence say what I LOVE about their site!) I love when she posts on her site because they are always very informative and well-researched, kind of like "fun" persuasive essays! I love that she show us how to use clothes in many different ways and shows us how classy we all can be... Slastena is the Queen of Cool...I suspect we all want to be her! Fun takes on a variety of AWESOME promotional codes (THANK YOU)! Gorgeous outfits and funny outtakes from her life (I also ADORE the name of her blog)! Such a pretty, creative, unique blog run by a lovely woman! How does she find the time? A mother of boys and still able to come up with outfits that would take others forever to create... Girl...your reviews make my is like a bit of candy when you are supposed to be on a diet! Love your style...unique pieces styled so everyone can wear them. HeidiG--you had me at Life is too short for ugly shoes... This blog is too precious...her love of life, her family, and God is very clear and humbling for all of us who are fortunate to have discovered her site. Umm, I think Alexis was the catalyst for many of us to start our own blog...without her, half of us would not exist in this cyber-world. Too cute and such a sweet girl in charge of this blog...any site with Hello Kitty has to be great! Oh my favorite mountain girl--a teacher who gets it!!! Joyce...I want to be you. That simple...thanks for all your advice on dealing with my daughter in the future! ;) Mike is a genius about all things mid-century and modern in the DC area. He has NO love for J. Crew, but 'tis okay in my book...awesome blog! Can I say that she has echoes of Audrey Hepburn in her outfits? Love the way she marries Lost and J. Crew! :) I need help with parenting...such a great resource I have with this blog! I happened upon her site and have been hooked ever since...she even has my birthday (Canada Day--only hint). Oh Katy O. Love you, love your style, love your insightful posts! Funny and delightful blog...glad she sees messed-up fashion as an opportunity to blog! Old J. Crew name...still 100% fierce!
Thank you all for making everyday a reading pleasure!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oh, what a glorious day!

Two things of note:
1) I saw some crocuses on the way home today...which means SPRING is almost here...YAY! It was a lovely day for a walk, probably in the low 50s. It is supposed to be amazing tomorrow and Friday...and lucky me, I am walking both days TO school. Whee! (Can you tell I prefer warmth to cold?)

This photo is taken from this website (no camera on me this time):

Oh, and 2) My sister-in-law is having a GIRL. Yay for her. She has been so anxious. She has two boys and now she will have a little girl. My sister-in-law is one of the girliest girls I know. She is one of the only people who I know who "gets" my obsession with J. Crew. Looks like some girly crewcuts are in her near future! Yay for the XX's of the world. :)

Let's see if I can make an outfit for work that I will wear to walk home later...

So I am faced with this dilemma a lot--what to wear that will look nice (enough) and will still be okay for a walk home (I sweat). My answer today was to wear my faves, the J. Crew Matchstick cords in black, the lovely gold-striped (not the one in the polyvore) tee from Winter 2007, the warm and beautifully colored merino Lea cardigan, and the scattered-boule necklace. I only wore the peacock heels for the photo. I really wore my very practical tennis shoes that you all saw in a previous post. Now if I were some sort of super-human, I would have worn those luscious heels again...but, alas, I am not!

I am wrapping the cardigan and necklace up in a bag before I start walking...I would hate to ruin it while on my way home...

Set can be found here:

I really like the way it turned out. The colors seem nice together, and the overall fit is slimming. The necklace is a bit of fun, too. It has its detractors, but I am a fan. This tee is one of my all-time fave J. Crew pieces...I always get a lot of compliments when I wear it and it is the right weight and size to feel really good in all day long!

Please ignore my face (making a stupid one), but look at Rex's hands...he was about to hug my legs when Jim shot the photo. I saw that and smiled. I figured it would make someone else smile today, too! And goodness me, don't we all need that on a Wednesday?

Some frivolity (in the form of a bag and a pic of CW)!

Here is a bit of a brain break (and frivolity) for those of you at work. Look what I found at Border's last night...the darn cutest felt bag with an owl on it...DARLING! I believe it is by the company Paperchase. It was about 4 dollars and I bought it as a present for CW. (Who else does this? She is barely 5 months old and I am buying her things she won't probably be able to use until she is at least 5!) Whatever...

Here is another reason I bought it...CW looks like this owl...especially when her eyes get REAL big and she is concentrating real hard...

Like here, in this picture. By the way, she LOVES this exersaucer thing. We bought it for Rex originally and he loved it, too. It finally occurred to us, this last weekend, that CW could enjoy it, too. AND DOES SHE EVER! It is her new favorite thing...can't wait till the owl bag is her favorite thing...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Mardi Gras!

So this is the second post in as many weeks where I am celebrating Mardi Gras. Well, today there is no party, only a field trip to an art museum, but I had to show the world that I at least recognize today as Fat Tuesday., drink, be merry, SHOP, because tomorrow starts the fasting. :)

I also needed to be "dressed" up for the museum but wear something that would keep me semi-warm (it is COLD out there) and would allow me easy access to pumping (yeah, fun times at the National Gallery of Art bathroom).

So there you go. That is why there is a yellow cardigan (not really the one from J. Crew, but a darn good facsimile--see that other post I did on "a look for less" for more info), a purple Emerson blouse, brown pants (had to have a neutral), and metallic avocado mocs (green). NO way was the trench warm enough. I wore a michelin man coat instead. Let's celebrate! Wooh.

By the way, turns out the National Gallery of Art is the only museum in the ENTIRE Western Hemisphere with a Leonardo daVinci. My kids in my group seemed slightly underwhelmed by this fact! PEOPLE--THE ONLY ONE. ;) At least one or two seemed slightly interested eventually.

Polyvore for this Mardi Gras spectacular? Here:

On me this morning...wet hair and all. Ah, you all have seen way worse! I am wearing the proper size fitting pants. :) Finally!

Here is a shot of Rex (kind of)...he deigned to be in a photo. :)

How to fix commenting on your site...

After wondering why there were no comments at all yesterday afternoon at my site (and seeing that HeidiG was having issues,too), I figured something must be up. Plus, every time I tried to comment at other sites, Joyce's, HeidiG's, and The Violet Diary's, I wasn't allowed to...loading kept showing up instead of the letters that I normally have to input to prove that I am a human being.

However, at Slastena's site, no issues at all!!! So I thought, "aha...that is what I need to do...make my commenting like hers." So I went to the place where you can adjust the settings for commenting and switched my commenting to the FULL PAGE option. And wah-lah...there you go...within minutes of the switch comments started appearing again.

Hopefully this will help some of you bloggers out there. ;)

I am on a field trip today to an art museum, so I won't be posting again until 2 pm (at the earliest).

Monday, February 23, 2009

The lovely Trastevere Print Top with pants and shoes!

Okay, so I only pointed out the top in my post title because the top is really the main player today. The Trastevere print paisley tunic top from last spring is just too gorgeous. I am glad I found it on ebay, and for way less than it originally retailed for...yay! Above is the polyvore set (I finally found the dang top--does anyone find their search engine difficult to use?). You can find it here:

Here is the outfit, full length. Not a whole lot of accessorizing, but it is Monday and this print doesn't need much competition. The tunic top is a size ten, so it's a little loose, but not really a problem because it looks so nice all flowy and silky. The pants are from Ann Taylor a couple of years ago. These are actually a bit big on me, which proves that no matter what you do, if a pair of pants aren't made super-well there will be creasing across the rise (that horizontal striping I talked about in my pants manifesto from yesterday). The shoes are the sumptuous patent-leather heels (Juliet, I believe) in the peacock color. I have already received numerous compliments from kids today about these shoes!

Here is a close-up of the print. So pretty, right? I adore these colors and together they play so nicely! :) I am not wearing lipstick. I should wear lipstick before I take these photos. Oh, well, live and learn!

Deco Aurora/Mslay did this today, and invited others to, as here goes!

Directly from her blog this morning, but with my answers. BTW, Joyce, I promise, promise to get the pics from "where I blog" up soon!

Here is the link to mslay's answers:

Just another one of those things you have to here is one of those questionnaires about myself. I invite/Tag all of you to do one on your blog so I can get to know you better as well.
1. What time did you get up this morning? 6:30--I got to sleep in (yep, sleeping in for me is that early)!
2. Diamonds or Pearls? Diamonds
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Confessions of a Shopaholic with the lovely DC JCAs.
4. What is your favorite TV show? A lot of them...Flight of the Conchords, Desperate Housewives, Big Love, Ugly Betty, What Not to Wear, Biggest Loser...
5. What did you eat for breakfast? Yummy Kashi Cereal
6. What foods do you dislike? none...well, poorly cooked chicken, but who doesn't agree with me there?
7. Your favorite potato chip? Kettle-cooked
8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Always, always Ben Folds "Rocking the Suburbs"
9. What kind of car do you drive? VW Passat Wagon--2007 model
10. Favorite sandwich? Mozzarella, Pesto, and Tomatoes
11. What characteristics do you despise? Ignorance and Mean-spiritedness
12. What are your favorite clothes? Yummy sundresses that give just enough coverage but are uber-comfy!
13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Antarctica--because I wouldn't be paying, right? If I am paying, my favorite, Scotland.
14. What color is your bathroom? Teal, Grey, and Light Brown.
15. Favorite brand of clothing? J. Crew, Boden, Anthropologie, some Talbots, INC.
16. Favorite time of day? Morning!
17. Where would you want to retire to? In Virginia, somewhere in the country.
18. Favorite sports to watch? College Basketball...go GMU!
19. Coke or Pepsi? Coke
20. Are you a morning person or night owl? Morning...
21. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? My sister-in-law will be having a ? (find out on Wednesday)!
22. What did you want to be when you were little? Actress, Archaeologist (got a degree in this one).
23. What is your best childhood memory? Walks in the Forest in Germany.
24. Nicknames? Dina and Dean
25. Piercings? Ears
26. Eye Color? Green-Blue with a hint of yellow (no joke).
27. Favorite day of the week? On maternity leave,, well, Sundays.
28. Favorite restaurant? Mmmm...too many to choose from...sushi and soul food, I love!
29. Favorite ice cream? Rocky Road
30. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? I don't really have a credit card...Jim has control of ours and there is no way I want to face his wrath!
31. Bedtime? 10:30 pm.
32. What are you listening to right now? Classes around me while I keep a student who needs a "timeout."
33. How many tattoos do you have? none
34. Next film you'll see? Coraline with Jim.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pants, Pants, and More Pants!

Okay, you ladies of the 8...10...12 bottoms, CELEBRATE. Mrs. Dina is here to save your day! I have recently purchased FOUR pairs of fantastic J. Crew pants that I swear you all can make work with your...cough, cough...assets. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN! ;)

#1--MY CURRENT FAVE--The gorgeous chambray colored cocktail pants. I bought them in rose. So pretty, so soft, so good at fitting my lower-half. Thank you, J. Crew for having the right mindset to have pants fit at the waist and hip, and then graze the body, and not make me feel like I am placing my legs into sausage casings! Find here at J. Crew:

People, I am NOT going to style the pants like I don't want to even hear it. I put on one shirt and then put the pairs of pants with it. I had like 30 minutes before CW needed to be fed. Sue me if you don't like it! :)

Here is the proof that they fit...and they don't look bad. They look...decent! I do NOT and would never expect to look like the model wearing this. We have way different body shapes, so I can't worry my head off if my hips seem wider in these pants than the model. Golly, I have to have a life, right? I can tell this is a good fit because there is no pulling at the front (those funny horizontal lines that come when the fit is too small).

I think these form well to my lower-half. Not giving the milk away (I am not going to explain this if you don't get it), but not hiding in sweatpants, either. So you know, these are a 10. I have mentioned that I plan on purchasing an 8 in grey for next year when I should (knock on wood) have lost all the baby weight!

#2--ALL WOMEN OF OUR SIZE SHOULD BUY THESE PANTS. The Saturday Pants from J. Crew are beautiful specimens...they fit nicely at the hip and rear, but then gently skim the leg. Awesome. Find them here:

Here they are front view. They actually look really nice with the shirt. Perfect look for a...wait for it...Saturday. Heehee. :)

Again, nice and smooth and just the right mix of tight and loose. I bought these in a 10, as well. No plans right now to buy them in an 8. I think even a little loose these could work on me.

#3--For the braver ones, you may want to consider the mahali dot capri. It is made of a super-stretchy material, so it sucks you right in. However, these leave a lot less to the imagination. You can find them here:

Here they are on me. They fit because there is very little horizontal striping across the hip. Plus, the little there is may be a product of the pants themselves. Supposedly there was even this striping on the model in the pants e-mail that went out on Friday. Big discussion over at J. Crew Aficionada about the way the pants are made and the fact that even the thinnest women are suffering from this pants ailment. (Like some kind of horrible, freak fashion disease...)

I don't mind how much rump is on display. I am proud of my lower-half because I know it is a product of lots of exercise like walking, swimming, yoga, and pilates. However, all that exercise has meant that I will never have a flat posterior. And I will have to continue to try all of my pants on before I purchase them. I also love the way they sort of flare out at the bottom. I think that looks cute with the shoes.

I will not be styling these pants this way, so please no heart attacks over it! I purchased these in a 10 and will not be buying an 8. No need. Even a little loose they should look fine.

#4--This will take confident ladies to pull this off, but bright red (excuse me, cerise) can work with a larger lower half. Trust me! These are the premium stretch bistro pants. They are here at J. Crew (no longer on-line in this color, but your local store should still have some):

I think they look fantastic from the side. I am wearing heels here (maybe 2 inches) and they hit perfectly across the shoe. I won't style it exactly this way, but it looks okay for a semi-casual day. These are BRIGHT pants. Since I have already told you I am proud of my bottom, I don't worry that they will highlight that area, but if it concerns you, you may want to choose a more muted color!

Here they are from the front. I purchased them in a 10. There is a small possibility I will get them in an 8 in a different color. I am not sure yet.

Here is the top in all four outfits. It is a slub-cotton puff-sleeve tee. I like the fact that the sleeves are silk and the rest is cotton. It is fun and soft. I purchased this in a small (it runs large). You can buy them here:
So you worry-warts can stop worrying, I purchased all of these at a discount and on-sale. So run to your nearest store or computer and purchase away! They won't break the bank and may make your lower-half be thankful in return!

Mall Shopping in Style...

So I spent all of yesterday in bed. I seem to get bad headaches on Saturdays. Jim says they come from over-doing it all week...and then the moment I have nothing to do, my body rebels in the form of a headache. I am a sufferer of migraines, and I do have medicine, but it still doesn't make their attacks any better. I now get them a lot less than I used to...but when I get them I am afraid no blogging will happen. :) That said, by 7 pm last night I felt better. Better enough to go--SHOPPING! Actually, I had promised Jim a coat for his birthday and so off to Pentagon City we went (Macy's coats were on sale). Don't worry ladies, I stopped at J. Crew (and got a few things on sale--plus 15% teachers--they were being generous last night). I will put pics of what I got later...but now for the main point of this post--what I wore to go shopping! :)

There was no way to polyvore this set because I looked through all of the items from Anthropologie and could not find this top, so I said, "forget it." The top is Anthropologie from this summer...meant to be an early fall item. I fell in love with it! The catalog barely does this top justice. It is super-soft and the print is so unique. Initially I was scared off by the whole turtleneck/short-sleeve combo, but it works. It is a precarious balance, for sure, but it works. Plus paired with the amazing matchstick cords from J. Crew it all fits just right! The shoes are the brown suede Jane flats from this fall (J. Crew, natch). I also am wearing the sunset charm bracelet from J. Crew that was sold last summer.

To top it all off, I wore the very warm Shipley. I love this coat. It has a nice shape and it keeps me toasty without being a Michelin-man style jacket. Jim was complaining of the cold (good thing we got him a new jacket) and I said, "well, if you had a proper jacket like I do then you wouldn't be cold." :)

Here is my precious baby girl. I love this shot. I might print it out and frame it. I have one of me with Rex (at about this age) and I had that framed, so darling CW needs her own photo like that, too!

You can see the print on the shirt here a little better and the sunset charm bracelet, too.

I rarely buy from Anthropologie, but when I do, I make sure it is different and special. I don't look to their company for classics like I do with the Crew (I had to make that rhyme), but I do look to them to help me expand my wardrobe with a little something that no one else can offer.

My Walk Home...or Two Miles of Sheer Pleasure...

I think this post may be a bit boring for all of the ladies (and men) who usually visit for J. Crew or fashion related stuff, but I love my walk home. It is like a beautiful study in contrasts. On one hand you have the real gritty feel of a walk in a city, and then halfway through, you enter into a world of suburbia and trees. This is why I walk home (besides the fact that it is about a MILLION times better than driving--I grew up in NOVA and driving here STRESSES me out). I love being able to see an area that coexists side by side that is so different, like night and day (I know I just used a very tired simile). This is my two-mile walk home (which I sometimes reverse to walk to school). I do this walk upwards of three times a week.

This is the beginning of my walk. I exit the school building and there are the school buses (by the way, why is it spelled buses and not busses?). This view I love because it means I am going home and I get to see my kids!

This is the medical building across from where I teach. You can see this building from 395. It is an interesting mid-century building and has a very austere sort of presence. I like that this building exists and hasn't been torn down. It seems a lot of folks don't like this particular architectural style, but it is important (especially if the building is sound) to leave a few examples of this type of building up in the world. If you tear down every building from this period, there will be no more physical proof of them in the world, and frankly, that would be sad.

On a personal note, this is where Rex and CW have their doctor, the awesome Dr. Brendan Sullivan. Their office is moving to a location even closer to our house, but for now they are still here. I will mention, for full disclosure, that even though I think this building is really cool-looking, it has horrible parking and the elevators are atrocious. So it really is no wonder that our doctors are leaving.

There is a personal reason I took this photo. There used to be a restaurant called Steak and Ale here, and my dad, brother, grandpa, and I used to go here all the time. It closed in 1990 or something like that, but here it still stands, unoccupied in 2009. Wow. I wonder what the inside looks like. The only use this building has is its parking lot, used by the doctors of the building in the picture before this one.

Okay, this I put this picture up because I sometimes think I am the only one who follows this rule. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people (children from my school, too) ignore this sign and cross over the road that leads to the highway. IDIOTS. IDIOTS! People in their cars drive like maniacs and here are our precious darlings crossing in front of them to save what, two minutes at most? Give me a break. It's not like the pedestrian overpass is much safer(you'll see in the photo after the next one), but more safe than what most people do. Seriously, people, if the sign is there, it is there for a reason. Ugh.

Okay, here is one of my favorite views during my walk. Seen from the pedestrian walkway, the Southern Towers of western Alexandria rise from the flat earth like some sort of brick amazons. I also like the way these buildings line up just is fairly obvious that the architect had that in mind when placing the buildings in this arrangement. These are more buildings done in the mid-century style (most of this area was built up in the 50s, 60s, and 70s). Now I don't know when it was built exactly, but from the brief research I just did, sometime between '60 and '65 seems right.
I wouldn't necessarily say to people, "oh, go live there," but I do love the way it looks and how you can see it from many places in Alexandria. I bet the views from the top floors are spectacular, too!

Okay, here is the most unsafe part of my walk (thank God it is brief). Crossing over 395, pedestrians are forced to walk on this thin bit of concrete next to traffic that is OBLIVIOUS to the walkers. I swear I have seen cars whizzing by at upwards of 50 mph. I am not even kidding. I always give mean, dirty looks, but they probably don't give a cr**. This bus was even going pretty fast (at around 40 mph). Good thing I have good balance. I would hate to accidentally fall and have a car run me over at a fast clip. Really what the city of Alexandria needs to do is install a guardrail on the other side of the sidewalk (not just the part that protects you from falling onto 395). That could help this walk a bit.
In the distance you can see the Mark Center Hilton. Yet another high-rise on my walk home.

Here is the view of late-afternoon (Wednesday in early February 2009) traffic on 395 Southbound. You will notice that the middle HOV lanes are empty. I guess very few people have the requisite 3 people or Clean-fuel car to use the lanes. We always get to use the the 2 kids plus 2 adults equals four, one more than is needed. That said, the traffic in the regular lanes wasn't too bad the day of this walk. I have seen it WAY WORSE. I always like to think that every once in a while, someone will look up from their car and feel a slight jab of jealousy that I get to walk home. I know I used to feel that way when I worked in the District and had a heinous commute!

So now on this photographic journey we are officially in my neighborhood. This is when the skyline loses the large buildings (well, barring this set of homes which gets to see the Mark Center Hilton). Now the homes are low to the ground and modest. There are trees everywhere and if you sit in one place, cars don't whiz by constantly (even though some people use the 'hood as a cut-through). It is so second you feel like you are in a mini-city, and then the next second, you feel like you are in the most suburban neighborhood on the planet.

Our neighborhood was pretty much built at the same time as all the buildings featured in the pics above, mid-50s to mid-60s. There are some later homes, but they are at the fringes of the neighborhood. We are a mid-century neighborhood. This is a perfect example of a mid-century home. It has the split-level entrance and lots of windows, brick and siding, and a mix of different types of windows (some sliding, some small, some large).

Here is another set of perfectly placed mid-century modern homes.
For more on these types of homes and neighborhoods, visit mid-century Mike over at his blog:

So here I am, mid-walk, no make-up, listening to my IPOD (ancient...from 2004), with my Vera Bradley Medallion backpack. I am not vain enough not to show you how much I love this walk, even if it means you people get to see me with no makeup. By the way, this was that day that was SO PRETTY...something like 70 degrees. IN FEBRUARY! Gotta love the DC Area weather...

So this is into the neighborhood a bit, and I took a pic of this intersection because it bothers me so much! The car that you see has a stop sign, while the cars that would pass his path do not. It irks me to no end that these cars with the stop sign will not even bother pausing after they stop because they just ASSUME that the other cars have a stop sign. We have nearly gotten into multiple accidents because of this. I say either install stop signs for all of us, or make it blatantly clear to the people with the stop sign that the other traffic has no stop sign. I think this intersection is a problem because this is a jurisdictional no-mans land...this is RIGHT at the border between Alexandria City and the Alexandria part of Fairfax County (aka the "forgotten part of Fairfax County). Sigh.

This car is right at the end of our street. I always know I am really close to my house when I see this incomprehensible bumper sticker. I figure the person who drives it is an uber-feminist, but the sticker is real tough to understand. My husband and I love discovering really obscure bumper stickers and lucky for us, one is on our block! Hurrah! Any thoughts on what this sticker means exactly?

Almost home...yippee! I hope you have enjoyed the walk. If you read this whole post, you are either: 1) Roxie; 2) someone related to me; 3) REALLY bored at work; 4) fascinated by mid-century stuff like me; or 5) into mundane things and how people can talk about their lives without end. :)
By the way, part of my 30-plus pound weight loss has been from my walks to and from school. I think I will keep it up!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Review of the Washed Ruffle-Collar Trench...

So here it is on the J. Crew website. I much prefer this image to the one of the model wearing it. It looks so bad the way she models it (and she is normally gorgeous in their other clothes). Look here to see the other photos and to see prices, colors, and sizes:

I think she was the wrong model to choose to wear it or it could be that they in setting up the shot played up the ruffle-collar way TOO much. If anything, the ruffle, while darling, is an ensemble player and should allow the jacket itself to take center stage. In fact, had I not seen this trench modelled by the lovely, gorgeous Slastena (who is having a birthday today--HAPPY BDAY!) in late January on her blog, I would NOT have purchased it based on the's portrayal of this jacket. To see how much better slastena looks in it, go here:

Do you not agree? Much more appealing in real life!

I have tried this jacket on and I must say, I love the way it fits me. (Don't worry, I will post real-life pics with me wearing it very soon.) I chose to size down to a 6 because of the way the fiona (from the winter) fit me (I bought it in a 10 and it is quite big on me). I am very glad I sized down. I am fairly small on top so this fits nicely through shoulders and chest, but isn't too tight or loose in the waist, just right! It also hits at my high hip, which is a nice place for me, much better than the lower hip. If you are a pear shape, this may be a good choice if you want a trench...this way you can size solely based on your top-half and not have to worry about how it will fit your bottom-half.

I also wear this buttoned up rather than open. I think it would look to sloppy on me to wear it open. I think this helps with the whole ruffle taking over the outfit look.

You can take out the ruffle if you so choose (it buttons into the collar). I won't, but if you prefer a more classic look, there is that option. The material is so soft and looks like it will stand up nicely to a rainstorm. Not a monsoon, but the sort of rain we tend to get in NOVA in the early spring. I look forward to wearing this with one of my tissue turtlenecks, my capri pants, and a pair of flats. I will feel very "Audrey," even though I will never, ever be able to look like her. :)