What to Wear to a Wedding

It’s March 1st. Does anyone else find that to be insane? Well, I do. Anyway.

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I have a couple of weddings this year. One of them I’m in, which makes life easier in that my outfit was selected for me and is already decided and hanging in my closet.

The other…well, there’s the rub.

Not surprisingly (probably), I put a lot of research into dresses I buy for events. (Ok, into any clothing purchases. We all remember the pants.)(I’m actually wearing the black pants right now! They’re awesome, but I need to get the waist tailored.)(I know, I know, you don’t care…)

My biggest problem is that I always come up with a very specific idea of what I want to wear without any consideration for whether or not that idea is actually available anyway. I like to drive myself insane like that.

For this wedding, I want a dress in a bold color (like green or berry…but ideally not blue because I really don’t need ANOTHER blue dress) with some kind of open, drape-y back. I want it short, but not mini, and I would prefer no or short sleeves. I want to look hot, but it’s still someone else’s wedding, so not like, BAM-look-at-me-hott-with-two-T’s. More like turns-my-husband’s-head-hot. (One T.) Oh, and also under $100 if I can find it because I’m returning to my cheap old woman ways.

WHY OH WHY ON EARTH WOULD THAT BE A CHALLENGE TO FIND.

Oh yeah. Because I’m a crazy person who dreams too big.

So anyway. In true me fashion, I hit up the Google for ideas. Here’s a collection of what I found and why it’s not perfect:

1. CUT25 Draped Back Dress in Palm: Ok, so this one is so close to perfect it’s ACTUALLY painful. Perfect color, good shape (maybe a little tight on the caboose, but the hubs wouldn’t complain). Only problem? check the price tag. Plus, there’s only ONE left, and while that usually is my size, I would feel safer going a size up since it looks tightish. But mostly, check the price tag.

2. Bebe Open Back Shine Dress: Also very close EXCEPT. The price is a little high, and the bridesmaid dresses for the wedding are the same color. Sorry, not going to be that girl.

3. Akira Black Label Open Back Drape Sleeve Dress in Royal Blue: So this is actually the closest to perfect and I may actually buy it. The only issues: I would prefer NOT blue and they’re out of my size. But the waist cinches, so I think I could get away with a size up. And I guess I could deal with another blue dress…if I don’t find any other options.

4. Warehouse Exposed Back Dress: LOVE this dress. But it’s expensive and…well..white. I also refuse to be that girl at the wedding.

5. ASOS Sexy Cowl Back Dress in Mink: Close, but a bit tight and short. Blah, I’m getting tired of the same excuses. The price is nice, though.

6. Joanne Kitten Open-Back Pleated Dress: This is actually another promising option. I like the cut of it, the color is ok, the back works. I just don’t…it’s not drape-y. I think that’s the problem.

7. French Connection Dress with Strip Back Detail: I LOVE the back of this dress. It’s amazing. And the overall cut is great too. But it’s navy, which is basically blue except MORE common in my closet. And it’s too expensive. Blerg.

So what I’m saying is that the search continues. And since y’all are such great problem solvers, I’m hoping you’ll share any colorful, drape-y, open-back-but-not-slutty dresses you know of in the comments. Worst case scenario (which isn’t even all that bad), I’m going with the blue Akira dress. (It’s also available in red, but it’s like WHOA RED. Not sure I can pull off that color.)

I really, really, really love this dress in blush, but I have no idea who makes it (and let’s face it, I probably can’t afford it):

Any help out there? Or are you searching for something really specific that I can help you find? I’m pretty good at this whole “online searching” thing.

Advertisements

Bedroom Decor on the Cheap

It’s official: I’m never making another decision on my own without consulting you guys first.

Seriously, you’re all so helpful! After I posted my (FIRST EVER SUPER AWESOME) mood board yesterday, packed with all kinds of questions and requests for advice, you all stepped up. I got answers through gchat, comments, emails — and they were all really helpful!

If I can get super mushy for a second, it seriously warms my heart when you guys comment. It’s especially exciting when you’re people I don’t even know in “real” life, but all responses are extremely validating.

Ok, mushy second over. In other news, I’ve started pricing out my dream bedroom. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m hoping to DIY a lot of things, but there are still purchases that need to be made.

Duvet cover: Since the Target one I referenced yesterday has since been taken off the market (d’oh), I found one at Bed Bath & Beyond (of which I am a huge fan):

The only issue is that I can only find it online. The pros of this are that I don’t have to go searching for it and I can get cash back from Ebates.com (which you know I love), but the cons are that I have to pay shipping and I’m not sure if BBB’s endless stream of coupons applies to online purchases. I need to rustle one up and check. It would be about $75, with 1 percent cash back from Ebates. (Le sigh.)

Rug: As I mentioned yesterday, as much as I love Crate & Barrel’s pretty rug, it’s a bit too pricey for my taste. So I did what any cheap-o, decor-loving girl would do and settled for the next best thing: IKEA. Their Stockholm Rand rug would work perfectly, and it’s $100 cheaper than the C&B version:

However, it’s still not exactly free, so I’m saving my pennies.

Vanity/desk: This was a perfect example of how a commenter really came through for me. So we know I love the West Elm Parsons Desk. However, we also know that it costs a billion dollars. You know what is much more reasonable? THIS little beauty from World Market:

And it’s basically the same look. I actually like it a tiny bit better because the legs add some visual interest. Plus, um, hello? Cheaper. (Although, again, not free, so I’m trying to hold out for a coupon.)(Plus, 4 percent cash back from Ebates.com.)(HAVE I MENTIONED THAT I LOVE EBATES YET?)

Other than that, I need 3 shadow boxes, fabric, a couple Goodwill lamps, and a vanity stool I can paint and recover. Sooo…yeah. Dream decor is kind of a cash suck. But I already have coupons for Michael’s and Jo-Ann Fabrics, so that’s a start. And I’m trying REALLY hard not to let my excitement take over and make me spend a bunch of money right off the bat. I. Will. Take. This. Slow.

Anyone else ever find themselves diving head-first into projects (only to be left EXTREMELY poor)? Also, anyone have any cheap-o options to share? You know I love it when you do.

8 Dreamy Decor Ideas

You GUYS. I am really excited right now. And we all know what happens when I get too excited. So I’m trying to keep calm. Trying.

What has got me all twitterpated? I’ll explain.

So as you know (if you’ve been a loyal follower of this blog as I pretend everyone reading this is), my bedroom is one of the last portions of my apartment to be beautificated.

(Those of you who don’t care about my apartment are realizing that this a decor-centered post, aren’t you? I fully understand if you want to walk away now. I don’t like it, but I understand.)

Anyway. Now that the more dedicated/decor-interested of us are alone, without those other people, let’s begin.

So as I was saying, the bedroom. It’s in pretty sorry shape.

I mean, we got a pretty bedspread on our wedding registry, but then we got a bigger bed. And then we started using the bedspread as a blanket. And then it got all kinds of warped. And…well…it just doesn’t look as crisp as I’d like it.

And aside from the bedspread, the room really is not even masquerading as a thoughtfully decorated room. There are literally no other pretty bits. AND remember how I really wanted a room where I could display Joey’s guitars? Well, my friends, I have a solution that solves all of my life’s problem. (Well, almost.)

So, without further ado, my plan for our bedroom/THE FIRST MOOD BOARD I’VE EVER MADE EVER:

Not bad, right? I’m ridiculously proud of it, so if you have anything negative to say, SAVE IT FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO HEAR ANY KIND OF CRITICISM. Because that’s not me right now, ok? Let me revel.

Here’s a breakdown of that bit of gloriousness you see above:

1. RUG: We’ll work our way up, starting with this pretty little rug from Crate & Barrel. I’ve been getting more and more into bold, graphic prints lately, and I love how this rug grounds the whole look. Unfortunately, this version is a wee bit out of my price range, so I’ll either have to save my pennies or search for a cheaper alternative. Anyone have any ideas?

2. BEDSPREAD: We already have a pretty impressive bed, but as I mentioned, the covers are a little worse for the wear. I really like how simple this grey bedspread from Target is. Simple, solid basics are good for people who are as fickle about their decor as I am.

3. LAMP: I’ve sort of been on this kick lately to incorporate more color into our apartment (even fickle girls get tired of neutrals eventually), and I think a bright, glossy lamp or two would be just the ticket. (Double bonus because this room has ZERO overhead light and we need lamps anyway.) I’m sort of hoping to DIY this bit of loveliness, so I’ll be scouring the Salvation Army for lamps with good lines. (I’m not sure where that particular lamp is from, but I found the image on Pinterest.

4. WALL ART: This is a DIY project I’ve been wanting to do ever since I first saw it on Pinterest months and months ago, I just didn’t have any place to display the finished product. WELL NOT ANYMORE. I want to make three of them to display on the far wall of our bedroom. I just can’t decide if I should stick with our honeymoon destinations and do Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid, or if I should incorporate Iceland and just do France, Spain, and Iceland. Any opinions?

5. VANITY: Remember the time I sort of tried to create a little dressing table area for myself? Well, I want to make one for real this time. I still have that gold mirror pictured in the linked post, but what I really need is a desk/vanity to go under it. I die for the Parsons Desk from West Elm, but again, my dreams don’t quite match up with my budget. I’ve been scoping out Craigslist for a while, but does anyone know of a sleek desk/vanity out there that I’ve been missing?

6. VANITY STOOL: This is another detail I’m hoping to DIY. I’d love to find a cute little stool from Goodwill or something that I could paint and — gasp! — even reupholster. I know. I. Know. But I honestly think I could do it if it was as simple as the one pictured. I’d love to do one of the bold patterns you see in the pillows. Speaking of which…

7. PILLOWS: Yay, patterns! I have links for all of these beauties, but honestly, I’d prefer to just make them myself to save on cash. (And to make myself feel awesomely crafty.) For those of you who would rather have them RIGHT NOW, here are the links: Black and white Greek Key pillow, seafoam green pillow, grey Ikat pillow, Scrabble pillow (I would get a J, obvi), orange trellis pillow.

8. GUITARS: And finally, the detail I’m especially excited about, Joey’s guitars. We have this giant, blank wall facing the bed that has nothing on it. (Well…there’s a Japanese fan taped to the wall…but that’s a longer story and is really a joke between Joey and me…err…moving on.) I realized the other day it would be the PERFECT place to display the guitars. So that’s the plan. He has like four or five, so it should make for a nice display.

I’d also like to swap out the curtains for something like these:

I couldn’t find any good source info in that pin, but I found this place online that can make a similar version. Who knows, maybe I’ll get really crazy and attempt making my own. But they’re dreamy, right? (Speaking of which, if you’re interested in other bedroom decor that tickles my fancy, be sure to follow my bedroom board on Pinterest!)

So anyway, that’s what I have so far. Obviously, I still have a ways to go to put all that into practice, but I feel better even having some mild direction. Now I just have to keep myself from getting too excited and spending a million dollars on accident. As I am wont to do.

If you have answers to any of the questions in my breakdown, I’d love to hear your input!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the Gloria Art & Design giveaway announced yesterday for a chance to win a CUSTOM painting of your choice to add to your own dreamy decor!

Steal a kiss

I’ve lived in a lot of corners of the country. Born in California, a brief stint in Texas, a large chunk of my life in the Midwest, a year in Brooklyn, and now settled in Long Island, I feel like I have experienced a lot of the different cultures you find in America.

One of the most interesting parts of living in different places (at least to me) is seeing the quirks of the people raised there. Especially when it comes to their level of human contact.

I’ll explain.

In the Midwest, people don’t really touch. I mean, sure, you get handshakes and high fives and you hug people you know really well, but for the most part, your standard greeting is sans contact.

So one of the biggest things I had to get used to when I started spending more time in Long Island was not something you might expect: kissing.

No, I’m not saying every new person you meet will expect to engaged in a little tonsel hockey, but you are expected to kiss hello.

(Anyone else remember Jerry’s aversion to the kiss hello?)

I recently had my cousins from Ohio to visit, and it was kind of funny to watch them react to people leaning in for a quick smooch.

My advice was basically to react to cues from the other person. If they lean in, cheek first, they’re probably expecting a kiss hello or goodbye. The only time it’s ever awkward is if you both go for the opposite cheek, and then you end up doing that weird chicken bob trying to figure out which direction to turn your head. I’ve never accidentally kissed someone on the mouth in an attempt at a cheek kiss, but I’m sure it has happened.

Personally, I think it’s kind of a nice custom. It reminds me of high school when I had a French foreign exchange student come to stay with me and the group always did les bises, or kisses when they wanted to say hello or goodbye to their friends. But I can also see how it would be uncomfortable if you’re more of a big-wave-hello kind of person.

What about you? Are people touchy-feely in your area? Or do you keep your distance? Anyone have a good accidental kiss story to share?

Making lists keeps me sane

The title of this post should surprise no one who has read this blog for at least the last six months. (And if you’re newer than that, my name is Justine, and I’m incredibly Type A. Welcome.)

So as you know, I embark for Iceland in less than 48 hours. (Pause for girlish squeal…squeeee! Moving on.) Naturally, I still have a few things I need to accomplish before then. And to help keep my own brain straight, I’m going to document them here.

Welcome to my brain.

List of Everything I Will Accomplish Before Thursday Afternoon:

1. Go to the drug store for allergy medicine, batteries, face lotion, and a few other essentials. (Doing this over my lunch break today.)
2. Go to the gym. (After work.)
3. Pack. (Doing this tonight).
4. Go to the gym again. (Tomorrow morning.)
5. Get my nails did. (Yes, again. My nails grow really fast. DON’T JUDGE ME.)
6. Clean the entire apartment. Including putting away the laundry Joey is picking up tonight, straightening the living room and dining room, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, and giving every surface a once over for that ever-multiplying dust. (After the nails.)

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but I hate coming home from a trip to a messy apartment. I mean, you’re already bummed to be coming home (and in the case of international travel, it may have not been the smoothest trip). The last thing you (I) want is to do is stumble through the door to be met with a stressful, cluttered space. (Hmm? I’m the only one stressed out by clutter? What?)

So anyway. Six things. That’s not so bad. Plus I’ll have half a day after I pack to think of things I may have forgotten.

Hmm…I should probably make a list of things I need to pack, too, huh?

A mish-mash of things.

For those of you concerned with the status of my health: The head cold has evolved to more of a chest cold.

Pros: Less nasal congestion, easier to breathe, not so much of that “out of it” feeling.
Cons:
The coughing has begun — and it sounds revolting. (You’re welcome, co-workers.)

Plus, I got these tissues that have lotion AND Vicks in them, and if I ever start feeling really congested, I just hold one up to my nose for a while and breathe real deep. It’s magical. And doesn’t make me look insane at all.

I think we’re going to pull through, folks.

For those of you not concerned with my bodily functions (humph…suit yourself), I GO TO ICELAND IN THREE DAYS.

Obviously, I am mildly jazzed.

For those of you not concerned with my life at all (in which case, what are you doing here?), it’s Valentine’s Day. I don’t celebrate it, but if you do, here’s hoping you haven’t already screwed it up. Or, at the very least, that you can still rustle up a $10 bouquet at the grocery store. (Hint: Get there early.)

Ok, can we go back to the Iceland thing for a second? (Listen, if you’re not concerned with my life at all, you should probably move along. It’s not you, it’s me.)(Literally.)

I’ve been looking forward to this trip since August of last year. For realz. And now that it’s finally here, it’s really starting to augment that feeling of “the year is pretty much already over“.

Because next thing you know, it’s March, which means it’s time to go to the hockey game that I bought Joey tickets for last fall. And then it’s time to FINALLY see The Hunger Games.

And then it’s pretty much April, which means it’s our one-year anniversary and Annie‘s bachelorette party.

And then it’s just about May, which means it’s time for our friends’ Bryan and Brittany’s wedding, and then oops, it’s summer. Surprise. Which means I’m officially 25. BAM.

I mean, I’m sure other stuff will happen in between there. I’m sure it won’t literally be like a quick blink and then suddenly it’s 90 degrees out. But I’m also sure it is going to go pretty quickly. And…I don’t know. I guess it’s weird when life starts to pick up so much. And honestly, I’m not even that weirded out about getting older. It’s just that 25 has always felt like such an adult age. You are officially, for real a grown-up.

I know that shouldn’t weird me out. I’m married. I have had a grown-up job for a few years now. But it’s still…weird. Am I ever going to actually feel like a grown-up?

This post has rapidly spiraled out of control. (Almost like my year! Full circle!)(?)

Oh well. Hopefully in all that madness, at least a few of you will read this and be like, “Yup. THAT IS HOW IT FEELS.” If not…well…then I’m alone as well as insane.

And just to end this post on a suitably random (and positive!) note, I bought the J. Crew pants. They were on sale, plus I got an additional 3 percent cash back from Ebates. (You HAVE signed up for Ebates by now, right?)(If not, please use that link there — I get rewards for referrals, so we BOTH win.)

And thus ends the most random post EVER. My apologies.

Treat yo self.

I’m not a particularly indulgent person.

I mean, sure, I can treat yo self with the best of ’em. But in general, my Practical Polly ways win out.

Like any good rule, though, there are exceptions.

Can I just express how much I love doing really indulgent things on my lunch break? I mean, come on. You’re sitting at your desk all day, and while life may not be miserable, it’s certainly not (most likely) the time of your life. (And if it is…well, you’re probably a circus performer. And some of us are uneasy around clowns, so that career path isn’t a viable option.)

It’s nice to know that you can escape for a bit and do something for yourself.

Remember that time I got my hair washed and dried on my lunch break? Greatest decision ever.

And today, I got my nails done. Boom, instantly more relaxed. (Although the color turned out a bit more “Barbie” than I intended. C’est la vie, amiright?)(SEE HOW RELAXED AND CHILL I AM NOW?)

Anyway. If you’re having a rough day, I strongly encourage lunchtime pampering. Anyone else do this? (Or am I the only occasionally self-indulgent one out there?)