Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Finds - Love and Wine

It's pretty obvious that I have an obsession with all things fashion related. It's also very clear from previous posts on restaurant reviews that I am dedicated to the pursuit of great food and local eateries. However you may or may not know that I am also passionately addicted to wine. OK let's be honest anyone who knows me well knows that I am a complete and total wino. I only regularly consume 3 things on a daily basis. 
Coffee, water and wine! 
Due to my pretty much daily habit I am always on the hunt for great affordable wines. I wanted to share with you my current favorite budget picks. While some people fall into the category of white wine or red wine people, I don't discriminate. I like them all!

Layer Cake, Malbec 2008

This is my number one go to wine these days. It's smooth and silky with notes of blackberry. This wine is elegant with a touch of sultry. It's like your best LBD (little black dress). It's a steal at $15. It really tastes like a $30 bottle. Best place and price to find it, Fresh Market in South Tampa. Watch out folks this one is dangerous, I for one can't get enough.

Louis Martini, Cabernet, Sonoma County 2008

I usually stay away from Cabernet. They tend to be too tannic and full bodied for my palate. But this easy drinking Cab has me singing a different tune. It's soft with flavors of red fruit. I was at a wine tasting recently where they paired this wine with chocolate. Now if that's not a way to wind down the day I don't know what is! I also had the pleasure to visit the Louis Martini winery on my honeymoon to California. If you ever get a chance to visit this vineyard, Go! You will not be disappointed. These people make some fantastic red wine! This one runs about $12 to $20 retail. Sam's Club has it now for $11.78!

Whitehaven, Sauvignon Blanc, 2008

I love, love Sauvignon Blanc wines in the summer. They are light, crisp and refreshing. Every time I serve this wine at an event at the boutique I have women commenting on how delicious it is! Its a fruit forward wine with apples and a little lemon tartness. Perfect with spicy food or at a back yard BBQ. The guys at my favorite local wine spot, Wine Warehouse turned me on to it. They usually have it in stock for around $14. Toast the end of summer with this gem!

"Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.” 
-Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Trend Tuesday - Act Like a Girl, Fight Like a Girl, Dress Like a Girl

I don't know about the rest of you, but today is really feeling like fall for me. Kiddos are back in school. The weather is iffy. Makes me want to go rake leaves (something I've never done), and eat a freshly picked apple (I don't even like apples). 

But since I'm feeling like it's fall....I'm going to talk about a fall trend I'm seeing in a lot of the fashion mags this month...frilly, lady like styles with just a touch of coy and sexy. I'm definitely not what you would describe as "girly" or "frilly" but if I's a few things I would be in my closet in a heartbeat!
I'm in love the flowy, bubbly shape of The Ellipsis Dress from ModCloth. With just a touch of retro, it's an updated, 1950's debutant look that I just adore. 

Frankly, the idea of an actual corset just scares the living daylights out of me....but I think I could possibly manage to face my fears with these corset inspired tops from Anthropologie...

And my personal favorite...

I'm one of those very unfortunate, short-waisted women who has a VERY hard time finding any sort of dress or top that flatters my natural waist instead of accentuating the fact that I really don't have one. Lucky for me, girly fall fashions are all about faking an hourglass shape with waist cinching styles...

Traced Twirls Dress from Anthropologie $158
The Marion Dress from ModCloth $54.99

The color of this Betsey Johnson dress is a bit much for me, but I love the contrasting black band which breaks up the bubble gum pinkness AND creates a waistline...

Evening Sweet Caroline Strapless Dress from Betsey Johnson $425

Delmy Zip Vest from J.Crew $128 
And my absolutely personal favorite..... 
Reina de la Fiesta from ModCloth $89.99

And of course...what better way to dress up something simple than with a few well placed, girly accessories...
Unicorn Princess Heels from ModCloth $119.99

The Antique Mall Necklace from ModCloth $23.99 

Docile Bloom Bracelet from Anthropologie $30

Happy Shopping Everyone!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Finds - Off to Market!

We're headed off to the Atlanta Apparel Market in just one week!

Can we tell you how SUPER excited we are to see what's new in the wonderful world of fashion?! We can? Well we are SO excited, we've already got our suitcases packed! We really wish we could take all you ladies on our big buying spree, we mean seriously, how fun would that be?! But since we can't we our offering you something even better. Big discounts and deals on in store merchandise!! Yes that's right, pretty much everything in the boutique has been marked down 20-70%! We gotta clear some space for all the new goodies.  So help us make room!

Was: $63.00
Sale Price: $50.00

Was: $40.00
Sale Price: $30.00

Was: $40.00
Sale Price: $25.00

Was: $50.00
Sale Price: $35.00

Stay tuned for highlights from our Atlanta market trip!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Trend Tuesday - Not your Grandmothers Lace

Lace embellishments are one of fashions key players in fall trends for 2010. When done right lace can be feminine and sexy. Too much lace especially black lace will have you looking like a your ready to go on stage at the Moulin Rouge. In contrast, also be careful when donning white lace. White lace implies bridal so unless you are hitting the altar wear it with caution. 

 Marie Claire suggests that when wearing lace, "Don't overdo the froufrou: Wear one thing lace and accessorize minimally." which we think is a great suggestion. We don't want to look like we are wearing our grandmothers old tablecloth...

Here are a few of our favorites...

Dress for success...

 Discovered Lace Dress - Anthropologie - $158

 Dress Come True - ModCloth - $47.99 

 Last Train Out Dress - ModCloth - $74.99

Veil Veil Vanish Dress - ModCloth- $74.99

 Damson Lace Blouse - Anthropologie - $99.95

Whites Done Right

Just Say Bow Top - ModCloth- $44.99

 High Tea Blouse - Anthropologie - $98

With lace bottoms, be sure to keep the top simple...

 Tatted Tides Skirt - Anthropologie - $148 

Water you Waiting For - ModCloth - $54.99

Happy Shopping!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Finds - We all scream for Ice Cream!

We're sure you'll agree with us that nothing beats the summer heat like a big scoop of ice cream! Because we're nice, and generous people, we decided to take one for the team and embark on a taste testing tour of  some local South Tampa ice cream, gelato, and yogurt shops to satisfy our taste buds. Monica really had to twist Jen's arm to participate in this assignment!

Yogurt Naturally

Our first stop was Yogurt Naturally on MacDill Avenue. One of the major perks of this place is the drive through!! Perfect solution to a rainy Florida summer afternoon. We ordered our yogurt, a small cup of peanut butter fudge for Jen and a medium cup of strawberry cheesecake for Monica. We didn't catch the individual prices but the price for one small and one medium was $6.75. Pretty reasonable price for an afternoon treat.

 The chocolate  in Jen's yogurt was of the deep, rich variety with peanut butter chunks or slices as an accent. Overall she thought the two blended together nicely. Her only complaint was that there were a few bites that had that crystalized, icy taste, like it had been sitting in the freezer for too long. Monica's was very flavorful with nice pieces of strawberry and cheesecake. The cheesecake did taste slightly artificial but still satisfied her sweet tooth
Visit them at either on of their two locations

 3906 S Macdill Ave 
Tampa, FL 33611

4004 Henderson Blvd
Tampa, FL 33629

Pane' Rustica

Our next stop on our ice cream taste testing adventure was Pane Rustica for their gelato, which we heard they get from the gelato place on Bay Street at International Plaza. We each got a small cup of gelato that was filled to the brim and then some! Monica had strawberry with chocolate chips and Jen ordered the peanut butter. The price for our 2 small cups of  heaven was a somewhat more expensive, $7.50 but the serving size was very generous, so we don't feel that the price was unreasonable. Jen's peanut butter had that great authentic peanut butter taste with real peanuts sprinkled within. Monica loved the crunch and flavor the chocolate chips added to the strawberry gelato.  Both agreed they loved the creaminess of Pane's gelato as well as the serving size, a nice generous scoop.


Our final contender was Berryisms on Dale Mabry Hwy. This frozen yogurt cafe has a limited selection of flavors but their topping bar is by far the largest! Everything from good ole rainbow sprinkles to large fresh blackberries. We had to take advantage and of course each added a topping to our yogurt. In typical chocolate lover fashion Jen chose chocolate with peanut butter chips and Monica got the wildberry with rainbow sprinkles. This treat set us back the furthest as 2 small cups with toppings was $8.50. Still not too bad considering the price of a Starbucks latte!

Unfortunately this was Jen's least favorite. She found the yogurt to have a fake chocolate taste and the texture too grainy. Plus it made her stomach feel a little out of sorts. On a bright note the peanut butter chip topping was super yummy! Monica enjoyed her wildberry yogurt and although it wasn't very "berry" tasting the consistency was light and it had a nice tartness to it.

Overall, we of course totally enjoyed our ice cream taste testing adventure and we're wondering why we didn't think of this idea sooner. Of course....after three days in a row of yogurt and gelato, regardless of how low fat or fat free it is...we're probably going to be paying for our indulgence at the gym all next week....but that's was SO worth it!!

Happy Eating!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trend Tuesday - How to Sparkle

We really wanted to name this blog post "How to NOT sparkle like a Las Vegas Showgirl" but we really felt that was just too long a we refrained.

Anyway....something we're seeing a lot of in magazines and in stores is an influx of glitz, not only for night, but for everyday wear too. The question we wanted to name this to add a little glitz to your glam without going to far? Here are a few suggestions we've come up with to answer that question...

Focus on soft neutrals. Pairing glitz with muted fabrics allows the "sparkle" to pop without being overwhelming. Think denim, soft greys, pinks, nudes, blues and greens. This also makes your "sparkle" more daytime appropriate.

glitter and jeans

We've professed out love of the denim jacket here and we think it totally fits here when you're trying to play down your glam a little bit. We're not really feeling the whole "bootie" as a shoe trend, but we gotta does look pretty darn good in this mix...

jean glitz
Think outside the box, but keep it simple. Work clothes can be sooooo booooring. Here's a simple way to take a basic white blouse and black skirt, and jazz it up a bit with some embellished, glitzy shoes. Still totally work least in our opinion...

work glitz

Every woman knows the importance of owning a little black dress....the problem is that, EVERY woman knows the importance of owning a little black dress. It's hard to find one that has that wow factor to differentiate itself (and you) from every other black dress wearing woman out there. Search for something a little extra next time you're looking to replace or add to your LBD collection...

embelished LBD

And sometimes, you know...all you need is a little bit of glitz and sparkle on your fingers, ears, or wrists to make getting out of bed every morning worthwhile!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Finds - Book Worm

I don't know about you all, but I'm starting to feel the lazy summer months drawing to a close and the rush of the holiday season rapidly approaching. And while I absolutely love fall and the holidays, I find, starting in September, I have less and less time to indulge in the little "me time" things that are so essential to my sanity. 

For me, "me time" generally consists of just about anything where I can have a book in my hand. Pool, beach, couch, car (obviously when I'm not driving), coffee really doesn't matter.  And so, I thought that, as you hopefully embark on those last summer vacations, I'd share with you some great reads that I've come across this summer that you can hopefully lose yourself in as you relax before the the madness begins...

Usually I avoid those "Must Read" books that everyone else is talking about, mainly because I'm contrary and don't like other people telling me what to do....but, nine times out of ten, once I get over my stubbornness and break down and read those "Must Reads" I love them...go figure right? Well The Help by Kathryn Stockett was no different. I sat down and read this book, all 451 pages of it, in three hours one night. 

Set in Mississippi in 1962, this book, narrated by three different women, focuses on what happens when the Civil Rights Movement begins to infiltrate a small Southern town steeped in the tradition of racism and sexism. Alternatively heart breaking and hilarious, it's an extremely interesting fictional look into what it was like to be a woman, black or white, in the South in the 1960's. This was by far, my favorite book I read all summer!
I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley is a hilarious compilation of essays that explores the challenges of being a twenty-something woman. Crosely covers everything from hiding her childhood toys under the sink to the perils of moving in NYC to the crappiness of entry level jobs to being a bridesmaid for a less-than-good friend. Witty and honest, Cake is totally relateable no matter what age you are.

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah follows two women as they embark on a friendship that spans 30 years and weathers love, loss, and betrayals in only the way true friendship can. The interesting thing about this novel is that neither of the main characters is particularly likeable. Instead of creating a hero and a villain, Hannah instead writes two characters that are startlingly human with their faults and foibles that you will find yourself alternating between wanting to hug or smack upside the head.

Happy reading ya'll!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Trend Tuesday - Belts Galore

Since their inception, belts have always been an extremely useful accessory to any wardrobe. They have been used for anything from a decorative piece to add to your outfit to something that helps hold up loose pants, to a police belt which carries an officers tools of the trade.

Over the past few years we've seen an increase in what might be called free standing belts. Women have been using them to create structure to their outfits and accentuate flattering parts of their bodies. 

According to Lucky Magazine, "Adding a belt under the bust line accentuates the smallest area of the midsection."  Something that Oprah does very well with her red belt from the July cover of O Magazine.

We love how you can also use belts to break up what could be a dress with an overwhelming, obnoxious pattern.

Besides adding structure and defining the waist belts are also used as statement pieces. How awesome would this jeweled belt look with a basic black or silver cocktail dress? It's a great way to add a little sparkle!

We're also really loving the idea of gold accessories with your LBD for the holiday season - I know...we're just as surprised as you are that the phrase "holiday season" just came out of our mouths as well...but this Tying it All Together Belt from Mod Cloth will definitely live up to its name...

Leopard and cheetah prints are back for fall. Play with this trend by incorporating a skinny animal print belt with your LBD.

  Marina Rinaldi Leopard Print Skinny Belt at Saks

Belts are also an inexpensive and easy way to rock the latest trends without breaking the bank. Paired over a white boyfriend tee and jeans this military inspired belt looks great slung on the hips....

  WCM Military Inspired Belt at Bloomingdales

If we learned anything while researching for this blog post, it's to not be afraid of a belt. Like stripes, it may take a bit of trial and error when it comes to width, style, and location but they really are a very useful accessory when it comes to defining a waistline, drawing attention to a flattering part of your body, or adding a bit of oomph to an otherwise basic LBD.

Happy belt shopping ladies!!