Thursday, February 28, 2013

[Vlog] February Budget, Part 1

I know, I know, I said last month I'd do weekly or bi-weekly updates on this so my videos aren't 10 minutes long.

But I didn't.

Basically, I like doing my videos when my husband is gone because I can do them in the dining room without competing against the TV. Our house has a super open floor plan so I may as well be in the same room as the TV when it's on.

Tuesday night, hubs has class for his MBA. Tuesday night is the perfect night to make a video.

The first Tuesday of February I was in LA.

The second Tuesday I went to dinner with a friend I haven't seen in ages.

The third Tuesday I forgot.

So here we are. I apologize again for the length of this video. You can skip it if you really want to and just read below as I hang my head in shame.

  • Green flowered top, Forever 21 (similar, similar, similar), $19.80
  • White printed top, Love 21 (same), $22.80
  • Cobalt blazer, Forever 21, $15.99
  • Damask pants, Forever 21 (similar), $29.90
  • Destroyed jeggings, American Eagle Outfitters (same), $29.99
  • Printed heels, Prabal Gurung for Target (same), $39.99
  • Black heels, Prabal Gurung for Target (same), $39.99
  • Silver heels, Betsey Johnson via Alexis Suitcase, $15.00
Total for this vlog: $213.46, or $133.46 not counting the Prabal Gurung for Target purchases, since I had already set money aside for those items.
Original retail: $320ish - guessing the Betsey Johnson heels at about $75ish, but I have no idea. For as much of a bargain shopper as I am, I only saved money on 3 of these items - the blazer was $14 off, the jeggings were $20 off, and the heels from Alexis Suitcase were a great deal.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

[Shopping] Shop My Closet

As I have mentioned so many times before on the blog - I'm a bit of a saver, a keeper, (a hoarder) - whatever you want to call it. I have had (in the past) this habit of cleaning out my closet, but taking items I love that no longer fit, putting them in a box or a bag, and storing them away to "try on 6 months from now" in hopes that perhaps they'll fit then.

This is a ridiculous way to do things.

I really think that I would be happier with finding these items a new home with someone that wants them. So, each week, I'll post a few new items I've put up in my store and you can either click on over to buy them, or make an offer here in the comments.

Each item is priced, but I'm totally up for bargaining if you wish. Shipping is $5 because I can't seem to find a cheaper price than that. If you sell and ship stuff frequently and have any secrets on getting a better deal, please let me know! I'll happily ship for cheaper. :)

Here are the first two items:

These are plaid capris from American Eagle Outfitters. They're in the store for $8. They're a size 6, have a hook and eye style front closure, and pockets. I probably wore these less than 5 times, and they're in great shape. I still love them but alas I'm a pretty solid size 8 and just can't squeeze into them any more. There is a close up detail of the print at the bottom of this post. No stains, no tears.

These white capris are Express Editors. These are also $8. They are perfectly white and I kid you not I probably wore them once because I was so afraid of getting something on them. These are also size 6. They have a kind of tab closure across the front of the pant, and they're actually a heavier quality material.

There are 4 additional items currently in the store, but I will be adding an item or two daily until I've got them all up (it is so time consuming to add each item so I'm giving myself leeway to do a little bit at a time!) - be sure to check back! I'll also feature each item here on the blog at some point to give you more info. :)

If you're interested in any of my items - these or in the store - OR you have any questions about them, please don't hesitate to leave me a comment or send me an email at thebluehourfashion(at)gmail(dot)com!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

[Question] How Do You Read?

I've been thinking about this question a lot in terms of blogs. I'm not sure how many others out there use an RSS reader, or Google's in particular, but on Sunday the problems began for us Google Reader users. Blog posts randomly would appear and disappear, feed counts were all wrong and then right and then wrong again, and it got me wondering - how does the rest of the world read blogs?

So today I'm posing a question - how do you read your favorite blogs?

Do you use an RSS reader and if so, which one? Do you read via Bloglovin? Do you just visit your favorite sites daily? Do you read them from your Blogger dashboard? I'm really curious!

Monday, February 25, 2013

[OOTD] Out Past Where the Blacktop Ends

It's time again to unload the outfit photos I snapped with my phone that have been sitting around for awhile.

Don't mind my wily hair in the first one...

Outfit Details:
Pants: Target
Flats, Top: Old Navy
Cardigan: Elle for Kohl's
Watch: Overstock (gifted)

This one I wore to a friend's birthday party at a local upscale bar:

Outfit Details:
Jeans: Miss Me via Alexis Suitcase (here)
Top: UK (can't remember what store) 2012
Cardigan: Old Navy
Shoes: Payless
Clutch: gift from my sis-in-law

And I took a side view so the shoes can be seen!!! They're cute black patent cap toes on a leopard heel. (Please ignore the giant pile of laundry on the bed....oops).

 Back in January, I went to root for my Pitt Panthers in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, AL. This was my outfit:

Outfit Details:
Long Tee: H&M
Hail To PITT Tee: Fan's Edge
Jeans: JCPenney
Leg Warmers: Kohl's
Boots: Payless (these are one of my best purchases of the winter!)
Scarf: Old Navy (Red version seen here)

This next outfit is goofy - I wanted to make sure that I didn't look totally ridiculous because I was going to be taking shots for my Sinless Cocktails giveaway. However, you get a nice little look at my feet that you didn't get to see in that post, haha!

Top: Macy's (seen here)
Jeans: ?? (old)
Sweater: New York & Company via Alexis Suitcase (seen here)
Earrings: Daisy Fuentes for Kohl's
Slippers: Payless
(Side note, my hubby LOVES those slippers...I have no idea why but he's always telling me to buy more!)

This last outfit, I was quite proud of. This is my first real stab at major print-mixing. Not only that, but I wore it out and about running errands and actually had someone compliment me on this outfit!

Outfit Details:
Top: Target
Cardigan: Thrifted
Burgundy Skinnies: Forever21
Black Leg Warmers: Kohl's
Boots: Payless

Friday, February 22, 2013

[Shopping] Dressing Room Diaries, #2

Let's look at some more wins and losses!

Alexis Suitcase:

I hemmed and hawed over these jeans. For a few days, actually.

In the end, I ended up with them. You saw these True Religion skinnies way back here in my thrifting post!

Next up, Macy's. I was looking to bulk up my sweater collection a bit this past winter, because I got rid of a whole bunch of sweaters.

In retrospect, I really like this one. The color is great. At the time, I didn't love it, so I didn't pick it up.

I liked the length on this one but thought that it hung a little too strangely. Didn't buy it, though in the picture it doesn't look half bad!

 This one came home with me, and you saw it in this post here.

And Old Navy....

Looking back I really like this one. I apparently didn't at the time because I didn't get it. Boo.

This sweater sat weirdly at the waist. Left this one at the store.

What would you have done with these outfits?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

[Beauty] Ombre Nails Part 2

Awhile back, I took a stab at ombre nails and really liked how it came out. I've thought about trying it again a whole bunch of times since, but it seemed like such a giant pain in the ass to fish through my nearly 100 bottles of nail polish to find the right mix.

So, on a boring Saturday afternoon a week or so ago, I did just that. Went through my nail polish collection and picked out some colors to do an ombre paint job.

You can see the actual differences between colors better here:

Do you like ombre style nails? Have you tried it?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

[Linkup] Trend of the Month: Black and White!

You guys, I felt like it was fate when Marion at Marionberry Style picked black & white as the trend of the month. Why? Because I had planned to take an upcoming week and do a weeklong feature on 5 ways to wear black and white. The trouble was, I had 6 black and white outfits and I liked them all. So, this linkup gave me the perfect opportunity to showcase the "leftover" outfit, and to promote my upcoming black and white week!

{one quick aside - I'm finally starting to learn the manual settings on my camera, and am using them for outfit pictures. since I'm just learning, I don't get it right many times. please bear with me on the quality of my pictures as I get used to using my camera! oh, and since I have a bridge camera, there's no inbuilt light meter which has definitely made it more difficult to learn on the fly. now I'm completely reliant on viewing the pictures after the fact to learn what was good and what was bad. if you have suggestions for tutorials or helpful sites, I'm all ears!}

Outfit Details
Top: Topshop (UK summer 2012)
Pants: Target
Shoes: Chinese Laundry, old
Necklace: Forever21 

I absolutely loved this top when I first tried it on - though I didn't love the price! However, since I was in England, and knew I couldn't pick this up somewhere at home, I nabbed it. Oddly enough, I saw a nearly identical version of this top, in the same color as well as blue, when I was in Forever21. You can probably still find it!

 These shoes have been an old favorite for years. However, in an attempt to declutter, I'm forcing myself to get rid of items I love that are just not functional or in good shape any more - so this is the last time you'll see these shoes! You can see better why I'm getting rid of them in the slightly side-facing picture down below - the heels have oddly bent in with years and years of wear, and on top of it, sometimes the back strap doesn't stay on my heel and these function more like flip flops. I'm sad to see them go, but I need to respect that it's their time to go! :)


I wasn't sure how I would feel putting this outfit together - I love how pairing this top against black brings out the lighter shades in the top. If the pants weren't as skinny as they are, I would say the top could certainly be overpowering, but with a skinny pant and heel, I feel like there's just enough flow.

In previous blog posts, I've talked a bit about how sometimes this sleeve length impacts those of us ladies who are a bit more top-heavy. Sometimes, a half or 3/4 length sleeve doesn't work, but I really liked this one because the sleeves themselves are slim and sleek, not adding any additional bulk to the upper half.

Stay tuned for more black and white in the coming weeks!! How do you wear yours?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

[Random] Yes, That's Exactly What This Is

Ok, everyone, today I just felt like being random.

So, when I started blogging, arm parties were cool. Recently I read they're "on their way out". What do you think? Are arm parties still fun? I personally really liked this one!

Guys, my closet is a hot mess:

I just know it's going to be so time consuming to clean it out, I've been avoiding it for months. It's been on my task list every weekend since the new year, and every weekend I hit the little postpone button next to it on my task app. Yeesh. Don't even mention that top shelf. I shudder every time I want to wear something up there, and I curse every time I can't find what I want.

This was how I told my hubby we were going as Harry Potter and Hermione for Halloween last year. I think I should totally get these frames if I ever need to wear glasses for more than reading.

And lastly, I've been lusting over this bag at Target, but I cannot for the life of me justify buying it because I have almost zero use for a new tote bag. So, I'm going to leave it to you guys to justify it for me. Leave a comment and give me some ideas as to what I can use this for that means I absolutely must go buy it now!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

[Shopping] Dressing Room Diaries #1

Ah, the dressing room photograph. A great way to figure out whether something really does look good. Also, a great way to feel remorseful about a purchase you didn't make, or perhaps even one that you did. These type of pictures are super helpful for all of us to learn what works on us and what doesn't. Let's see what's worked and what didn't over the last few months...


This top was just too flowy at the bottom. It ballooned when tucked and overall was just frumpy at the waist. However....

It had a really cool cutout back. But not cool enough for me to overlook the obvious. Didn't buy.

I kind of liked this sweater, but I couldn't decide if it was supposed to be fitted or not. It was a bit big at the waist and that, in the end, prevented my buying it.

 This one I really liked. It had that oversized look that I love and was super comfy. But...

I thought the arms were goofy - way too large. Didn't get this one.

I have been looking for a chambray shirt I love and have yet to find one. This one I liked, but didn't love, so I put it back.

I really liked this pink blazer, too - but it wasn't on sale and I couldn't justify buying another blazer when I have plenty. (See, this is one of those pictures I look back on and think that perhaps it was worth the price for how well it fits!)

I had been looking for some kind of mustard item for my top half. This cardigan fit the bill. I brought this one home!

This cardigan is a different color and a smaller size than the mustard one. I liked the fit of the larger size, and wasn't in love with this color, so I left this one in store.

What would you have done with these items?


Thursday, February 14, 2013

[Life] VDay, or the Birthday Pup

Today is February 14th. To many, it's a day to celebrate love, since it is St. Valentine's Day. I've never been a huge Valentine's Day fan - it's all so manufactured, yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah. Now, to me, it celebrates a different kind of love, as February 14th is the day we've chosen to celebrate our pup's birthday.

We rescued Lexi in June of 2010. We have no idea how old she is, and we have a vague idea of her story (it includes her being a bait dog to train other dogs how to fight). What we do know is this - she's a nearly perfect pooch and we love her to pieces. (Side note: here is where I tell you that rescue dogs are the best. If you're thinking about a dog or a cat - please rescue! They have nothing but love for you - and older dogs are often already housebroken, which is way better than having to be up all night with a puppy!! Rescue!! Please!!!)

she's totally chewing on her face.

We got really lucky - we rescued Lexi from the Atlanta Boxer Rescue, and she's been an angel. You've seen those dogs on Dogshaming, with torn up beds and chewed up shoes. Perhaps you even own a dog that occasionally knocks over the garbage can looking for a treat. Lexi, on the other hand, is lazy. She has no interest in exerting the energy to chew anything other than the lady bug sitting right in front of her face, nor is she interested in making an effort to find out what's on the counters, in the garbage, or in the cabinets.

So today, we celebrate Lexi. It's a day of love, and the hubs and I love her very much. Tonight we'll be celebrating with ice cream for us and a doggie sundae for Lex, which she will undoubtedly chase around the Bruester's patio while attempting to lick up every last drop. How are you celebrating today?

oh, those JOWLS!

[Giveaway] Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

You may remember a few weeks ago I had a giveaway for some Sinless Cocktails mixers. I picked the winner as soon as the contest was over and them promptly forgot to post about it. So, who will be getting a bottle of their choice??

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CONGRATULATIONS, Jessica!!! I will be contacting you shortly!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

[Life] Belated, 12.9833° S, 38.5167° W: Salvador, Brazil

Between Cuba and Salvador there were a few days of note:

January 27, 2003
First day of classes: "We talked a lot about Cuba...they don't have access to the 'real' internet but instead a Cuban intranet full of sites chosen by the government, to keep outside ideas out. We discussed the medical care {a student} got and how they have well trained doctors but minimal access to good medical supplies. We also discussed the ethics of the party thrown by Castro - most Cubans never see that kind of food - why is money being spent frivolously on Americans?"

January 29, 2003
Lariam Day: the day we had to start taking our Lariam (malaria medication) in preparation for our docking in Africa.

February 1, 2003
Neptune Day: the day we cross the equator! "We didn't have class and instead were awakened by crew members marching up and down the halls with whistles and drums (in costume, of course). We made our way out to the pool deck. The pool was filled with 1.5 feet of water. "King Neptune" was introduced and we went about going from "pollywogs" to "shellbacks". First, you got "fish guts" on your head (flour and water, but still a pretty gross consistency), then you walked through the pool and out the other side to kiss a fish. Then you proceed to King Neptune where you kneel and kiss his ring before you are "knighted" a "shellback". Afterwards, the head shaving began. The Captain did the first 5 shaves while reggae blared on the deck. About 80 people shaved their heads, including Jen!!"

King Neptune

The Dean getting the first hit of "fish guts"

Me kissing the fish
Jen getting her head shaved!!
Shaved heads! Happy Neptune Day!

February 5-9, 2003
Salvador, Brazil

Day One

"Got up for breakfast around 8, just as we began to see Salvador in the distance. It was completely different than I expected - full of skyscrapers. I don't know why but I expected a much squattier city!"

"We did a walking tour of Salvador, going up the Lacerda Elevator to upper Salvador."

"After the tour, we took a cab up to the Pelourinho (or 'Old Town') for dinner. A lady dressed in a huge white dress attached herself to our group and was shouting happily. We thought she was shouting her name - 'Theresa! Theresa!' - We were shouting along with her and eventually she led us to a restaurant called Mama Bahia. We ordered drinks, including caipirinhas, which were like mojitos but with lime. When we left, Theresa was back, shouting at us 'Theresa, Theresa!' We started giggling and pointing at ourselves and yelling our  names. When it was her turn, she pointed at herself and yelled 'Christina! Christina!' - then pointed at all of us and shouted TOURISTAS!!! We then realized she was calling us tourists."

Walking tour


Dinner at Mama Bahia

Us touristas with Christina

Day Two
Rio de Janiero, Brazil

"When I looked out the window of the plane to see a sprawling, mountainous Rio. Again, nothing like I expected."

"We checked into our hotel right on the Copacabana beach, and boarded the buses to Sugarloaf Mountain."

"We went to dinner at a restaurant called Marius's - it reminded me of something medieval, with a large buffet and waiters walking around with huge swords of meat and fish that they'd carve right off it."

"After dinner, a group of us decided to walk back to our hotel. There were tons of people out, and a night market going on along the beach."

Day Three

"Our first stop was a Favela service project with a dance school. We saw the kids dance, and played soccer with some hanging out in the yard."

"Next stop was a samba school with a Carnival museum.Then the Carmen Miranda museum, which was plopped right in the middle of a park in downtown Rio."

"After lunch, we got to shop a bit, then cable car trolleys showed up. We started off, with a Brazilian 3 piece band providing the soundtrack. At the end of our ride, there were open Jeeps waiting for us. The ride up the mountain was incredible - the view, the sun, the wind - perfect. And at the top was  the Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue."

"We drove back down, taking an extended ride through the rain forest and stopped at the Chinese Pavilion for one last breath-taking view of Rio de Janiero."

"That night, we started out at the rooftop bar while listening to a one man performer and taking in the amazing view from the open air patio. We then grabbed a cab to Meli Melo - a club that was tropical in decor but American in music."

Day Four
Last day in Rio

"Went to lunch at a quaint little place on the beach, then headed back to the hotel. Spent the afternoon shopping, then grabbed dinner at a place where you paid by how much your plate weighed. After dinner, it was back to the airport and back to the ship."

Day Five
Back in Salvador

" Had lunch and went back out into Salvador. Went to the market and found an internet cafe. We ended up back up at the Pelourinho for dinner, and picked a place with a cute little courtyard in the center. After a delicious dinner, dessert, and a few Kir Royales, we headed back to the ship."