Fashion Challenge Ends So Let The Shopping Begin!

Polka dots galore!
Polka dots galore!

If that Banana Republic package filled with 50% off bargains doesn’t show up until next week, then I will have done a decent job not buying any more clothes in January for my challenge.  Damn those seductive emails tempting me with great deals!

Go Seahawks!
Go Seahawks!

How can one resist??  Having gone through 30 days and not worn all the clothes in my closet is a wake up call.  First, I have too many clothes.  Not too many shoes, of course, because there is no limit to how many shoes a person should have in my world at least.  Second, my daughter needs to come and visit me soon to edit my wardrobe and take some outfits home to Boise with her so I can shop again.  It’s all about sustainability and recycling–I’m so “green” I could be Kermit.  Come see me Hannah and, oh, bring along Mia too!!!  Nai Nai needs some Mia time.

This week was all about Super Bowl prep and so I broke my fashion rule not to wear football jerseys to work.   Yes, I caved to peer pressure.  Sue me!   Friday was the company tailgate party complete with Seahawk face painting, fried chicken/potato salad and 12th man dress up contests so, in order to retain my employment, I bit the bullet and wore my China version of Wilson’s jersey to fit in.  I even decorated my boss’s office with Seahawks themed party goods–it looked like a green and blue acid trip.  She loved it!  Score points for me!

Travelling woman-all you need is a scarf and necklace and pretty overnight bag!
Travelling woman-all you need is a scarf and necklace and pretty overnight bag!



I also got to travel to Dallas and enjoy 80 degree sunny weather (for the few minutes I wasn’t working inside a stuffy conference room).  Not that I would ever live in Texas but, hey, at least it’s not cold and rainy.  Not that I don’t love you Seattle but the winter here is gloomy.  Working fourteen hour days and travelling calls for my comfy Toms wedges and size 2 black pants-yep, I’m not delusional and totally realize they must have been labeled wrong but it still feels good.  Still, somehow I’ve lost a little weight not living on carbs like I did in China (didn’t have to worry if it was rat or cat if it was a bakery product there–or at least you hoped)– lots of fruits and veggies here in the good old USofA.    I am loving the huge salad bar at work when I actually take a lunch break.  Chopping up all those veggies is too much work at home so I appreciate it being done for me to enjoy.

This weekend it’s all about the Seahawks hopefully showing that the team that has good karma wins because they don’t cheat.  Yes, I’m calling out the Patriots for their lying, cheating and other bad karma-deserving behaviors.  Seattle will pull together as a team, never stop trying and believing in each other and rally around Russell Wilson.  I BELIEVE!  Go Hawks!

Fashion Challenge of the Week-Tax Prep Outfit

Busy week filled with challenges, both work and fashion.  What exactly does one wear to work on taxes??  January is all about dieting and taxes–oh boy what a fun month!  Trying to squeeze into those tight jeans and squeeze out some money while you’re at it.  I.  HATE.  TAXES.  Having to track down all the forms and document my crazy messy financial life for the last 12 months is HELL.  This year my taxes will be super complicated with living in China AND the US, several rental properties, selling some land and starting two businesses.  Wait, what’s that loud noise….I think I just heard my accountant’s head explode.  Luckily, I have company assistance this year and then next year we go back to Thom’s childhood friend Ronnie who always has done our taxes.  I wish everyone luck as we all wade through trying to make sense of it all.  DAMN, Where’s my wine???

Plaid jacket accented with turquoise long silver necklace
Plaid jacket accented with turquoise long silver necklace
60's Throwback with sweater vest, skull scarf and burgundy jeans
60’s Throwback with sweater vest, skull scarf and burgundy jeans

So, fashion was fun this week as I get to the end of the month of my fashion challenge.  Yes, I do have too many clothes and look forward to my beautiful daughter Hannah visiting so she can raid my closet and take some with her.  More room for new stuff!  Let the shopping begin.

It’s been good to push myself out of my rut of wearing the favorite stuff week after week.  I’ve enjoyed seeing how I can combine new pieces with my endless supply of scarves and necklaces.  Starting my new online business, Decorate Your Neck, is a lifelong dream realized.  I look forward to placing my Spring order soon and bringing even more fun and affordable necklaces and scarves to customers everywhere.  I’m still working on a marketing plan but know that this is the business I was always meant to run.  No one loves accessories more than me!

One day I put together a sweater that I found at a thrift store with my burgundy skull scarf from my store and favorite burgundy jeans with studded shoes.  My boss remarked that I was channeling the 60’s, which was slightly insulting, but whatever… she’s the boss, right?  I’m all for people wearing whatever they feel good in and not judging so I’ll just take that as a backhanded (way, way back) compliment and move on with my fashion life.  I wore jeans ALOT this week because I was in meetings where everyone was very casual.  I’m looking forward to rocking the heels, skirts and pearls next week.  Watch out, Dallas, here I come!  I travel for a couple of days, back for a week to end the month and then off to sunny Scottsdale, after the Super Bowl where the Seahawks WILL WIN.  Those Patriots have all kinds of bad underinflated karma blowing in their direction so I’m fairly confident that the honest team will prevail.  GO HAWKS!
Red accents never go wrong with belt, necklace, scarf adding intereszt
Red accents never go wrong with belt, necklace, scarf adding interest
Classic white shirt with animal print belt for a casual Friday outfit and spiced up with China necklace
Classic white shirt with animal print belt for a casual Friday outfit and spiced up with China necklace

Fashion Challenge is a Challenge

Days 14-18 of the Fashion Challenge were a challenge.  No excuses but between a trip to Canada, being assigned an additional “stretch” assignment on top of my other job, blah/blah/blah….it didn’t leave time for writing, one of my true joys in life.  So, I’m back now and ready to rock the fashion challenge in the upcoming week.  Today, however, I didn’t even get out of my PJ’s except to throw on my Seahawks jersey to watch the most amazing football game ever.  Lesson reinforced from the come-from-behind story of the Seahawks is that you must never, EVER give up.  Russell Wilson crying and praying on the sidelines made me tear up as well and his inspirational post-game discussion highlighted how, despite playing truly horrible for most of the game, he kept a positive attitude leading his team to the win when it would have been easier to give up or make excuses.  I hope the Seahawks do win the Super Bowl just to recognize their teamwork and dedication.  Oh, and we hate the Patriots and Tom Brady as well.  Arrogance doesn’t play well with me.

Wearing my green custom made shirt from China!
Wearing my green custom made shirt from China!
Animal prints are appropriate with my favorite animal, Izaak
Animal prints are appropriate with my favorite animal, Izaak

But, on to fashion.  I don’t have any fashion tips to share today except to say that EVERYONE needs to have a “PJ only day” once in awhile and not bother with getting dressed or leaving the house.  Though I did work all day on my new project, at least I was able to do it in my own beautiful cozy home surrounded by my love and my puppies and comfy as all get out.  But earlier in the week after I made my way back from Canada, I did manage to dress appropriately wearing new fashion outfits from my too-packed closet.  I especially loved wearing the green knit shirt that I had made to order in Shanghai.  For only $20 US, I took in my favorite Michael Kors shirt and they replicated it for me with a few modifications in the fabric/colors I picked.  I only got green and black and wish I had gotten more colors while I was at it.  It fits like a glove and is so flattering that it is my “go to” shirt to make me feel good for important meetings.  Of course, coming home to my puppies at the end of the night and cuddling makes all my stress go away.  I highly recommend “puppy therapy” if you are having a stressful day or just need some unconditional love.  When life gets too busy and you forget what’s important, the wagging of a tail and nuzzle of a cold nose will set you on the right path again.  Life is short but puppy love knows no bounds.  Thank goodness for dogs!

Lucky Day 13 of Fashion Challenge-Back in the U.S.A.

Back in the USA!  After a few days in snowy and ridiculously cold weather in Canada, I’m wondering why ANYONE lives there… really???  Parkas and big thermal boots would have to be your fashion statement for months on end…. OH.  HELL. NO.  If there is ever another trip to Canada in my future in the winter (which I certainly will try to avoid) then, note to self, pack some F*@king Boots.  I packed my one of a kind, expensive, handmade boots not my ugly Uggs.  Mistake, big time!  They had smooth leather soles that didn’t work too well on the ice and snow.  My only other packing choice of shoes were heels.  I’m an idiot.  So, I walked carefully and looked forward to getting back to warm Seattle.  At 50 degrees, it is like summer down here vs. Edmonton’s North Pole-like experience.  Brrrrrr…….

Of course, Izaak is the best part of this picture not the outfit.  He is a big hunk of cuddle muffin who likes nothing better than laying his head on my neck so he can feel my pulse and get cozy.  I do miss all my guys when I travel.  It sounds glamorous to those that don’t have to do it very often but life on the road is challenging at best.  Last night as we raced to Vancouver’s security and then customs to get back to the U.S. only to stand in line fretting if we would make our flight (we did by 2 minutes) I kept my co-worker calm when the TSA dude let through a whole group ahead of us because there flight was leaving 5 minutes before ours–these days if you complain too loudly, they will just ban you from the flight for being contrary.  Watch your words and action and always be polite… you get more with honey than vinegar!

Izaak missed me!
Izaak missed me!

So, first day back in Seattle, I brought out the stripes with animal print accents in the form of a warm Banana Republic sweater with a classic black skirt and tights.  Best part of the outfit was the chunky and clunky necklace that turned the outfit into interesting vs. boring.   It makes crazy noises when I walk but I like it.  Sometimes, you just have to walk loud and proud!

I have a standing desk at work now so the Rockport stiletto booties only lasted part of the day and then I had to change into flats to finish it out.  Always be prepared with flats just in case.   I am hoping that standing most of the day will be healthier for me in the long run vs. sitting…. can’t be worse, right?

Just got back from the gym and now settling in to watch American Idol (yes, I’m one of THOSE!) and get more work done.  I know I shouldn’t work so hard but I always feel I need to work harder than anyone else to be successful.  Probably not true, but I have a family to support, so off I go!

Day 10-11 Fashion Challenge: Seahawks then Canada

Serious Pie & Biscuit heaven
Serious Pie & Biscuit heaven

No rest for the weary this weekend!  We kicked it off with the dogs getting a hearty walk around Seattle Center where the 12th Man Flag flew proudly over the Space Needle.  It’s so cool that this icon and the Seattle Center is our backyard basically where we walk the dogs (“we” means Thom every day except on the weekends when I’m home to help!) and the dogs like it too.  Well, to qualify that comment,  Thor doesn’t really like to walk that far if it’s raining or cold or really anything adverse at all but on that rare dry day in Seattle, he’s totally up for a long walk with his brother.

So, after walking down to South Lake Union, we had a delicious brunch at Serious Pie & Biscuit where we joined my co-workers to celebrate a teammate’s birthday and everyone gorged on biscuits with every topping you could want:  Banana/PB&Honey, Beef Brisket, Eggs, Brussels Sprouts, etc.  All delicious!  The waiter could not have been nicer recommending the High Noon cocktail for me and it went down well with my veggie egg bake.  But enough about food and on to fashion!

I'm IN and supporting the Seahawks to another Super Bowl win!
I’m IN and supporting the Seahawks to another Super Bowl win!

Of course, I had to rock the Seattle Seahawks jersey to brunch and after to watch the Seahawks win convincingly.  I just love their enthusiasm and teamwork.  I hear from folks around Seattle that the players spend ALOT of time doing charity work and are not brats like other football stars.  Go Seahawks!

After lounging in my jersey on Saturday, it was off to Canada on Sunday for a few days of work.  Lucky me!

Travel Day--comfy jacket and big scarf to keep me warm in Canada
Travel Day–comfy jacket and big scarf to keep me warm in Canada

Only 3 degrees and with recent inches of snow, Calgary is a nice city but damn it’s cold.   I’m staying downtown by their version of the Space Needle.  Most of the stores were closing by the time I got to walk (slide!) around downtown.  Silly me-I didn’t check the weather really and didn’t wear my trusty Uggs like I should have.  I love my one of a kind, designed by me handmade boots from Shanghai so I wore them, thinking that because I am a TSA pre-check traveler I wouldn’t have to take them off and who knew that snow would be everywhere!  Not me!  So, not only did I not get to go TSA (Canada!) and had to take off my boots but I will now slide around Canada for a few days.  That should be highly entertaining but I doubt that I’ll share photos when I end up on my ass in a icy parking lot.  But, hey, I’ll be looking good!

The rest of the travel outfit included a comfy print jacket that is really like wearing a blankie along with a big soft scarf.  I almost got bumped off for credit but unfortunately the flight wasn’t that full.  I love those free credits!!!  Hoping for a bump on the way home.  You got to give it to Alaska Airlines for not only offering free wine on the flight but, to celebrate the Seahawk victory, they offered free vodka as well.  What’s not to like about that perk???  Amazingly, I did not partake of the free booze and opted for water only.  Doing work tonight at the hotel so have to keep my senses around me.

Can’t wait to return to Seattle and my boys.  I’m hoping the puppies take it easy on Thom this week and they miss me as much as I will miss them.  Here’s to a happy Monday and some thawing in the great white North!

Day Nine-Finally Friday!

Cheers to Friday!  Unlike most others at the office today, I didn’t sport a Seattle Seahawks outfit.  No, I wasn’t staging a protest or taking an anti-football stand.  I just don’t feel comfortable wearing a football jersey to the office.  I’m not judging others-more football power to them all but it’s just not my style.  I’ll wear my skirt and pearls, thank you very much, and still root for the Seahawks!

Cheers to Friday!
Cheers to Friday!

So besides the gorgeous grey and white pearl necklace that I got for practically nothing at the Pearl Shop at the AP Market in Shanghai (seriously $15 or less for real pearls!), I was also so happy to wear my custom made shirt that has a seriously flattering neckline that makes even me look good-MIRACLE SHIRT!  When it works, duplicate it!  My favorite Michael Kors shirt wasn’t getting any younger so before it died, I took it to the South Bund Fabric Market in Shanghai while we lived there and had them duplicate it, custom made to my size, and picked the colors/fabric and altered a few other items to really make it one of a kind.  The result was the most comfortable and good looking shirt that I own, all for $20 US.  BARGAIN!  I just wish I had more made while I was there.  I got one shirt in black and one in green.  My friend, Patti, loved mine so much that she went while she was there with us and got one too.

Paired with my comfy stripe knit skirt, tights and my classic Frye boots, it was the perfect Friday outfit–work and then dinner out at a local Thai place to celebrate a new challenge given to me at work today.  Busy times ahead but, for now, I’m ready for the Seahawks to win on Saturday and, yes, I’ll be wearing my football jersey which I find totally appropriate for a weekend ensemble.  Pictures to come–have to decide what scarf matches my Seahawks shirt!

Day Eight Demands Double Sweaters

One sweater was just not enough today. was cold and it was dark this morning as I lay in bed and contemplated the day ahead.  What could I wear that will make me happy AND look good?  After putting on the animal print sweater and wide leg cuffed pants, I just wasn’t warm enough so on went the funky grey sweater vest as well.  Double protection against the chill.  It kept feeling like Friday all day but no, it was only Thursday and tomorrow is not Saturday.  DAMN.  But my Banana Republic sweaters did comfort me all day as I raced from one meeting to another.  Busy, busy!  Though, I have to admit that I did miss wearing a scarf all day but you have to let that neck breathe once in a while so today was my neck’s day off from sporting a soft fashion accessory.  So sad!  Tomorrow, it’s back to wrapping my neck up and decorating it with a lovely something, something from my scarf collection.

Double sweater warmth today!
Double sweater warmth today!

I did get compliments on my Spectacle Necklace that I sell in my online store, which is great validation that I bought the right stock.  My peer loved it so I just took it off and gave it to her.  Probably slightly weird of me to do that but I like to surprise people and give unexpected gifts.  I  hope she really did like it because it’s hers now!  So, when I got home I added a long silver tassel necklace that I can’t really wear at work because it is so long that it gets stuck on my magnetic part of my tablet keyboard.  Hello Melinda–are you stuck on your Surface???  Why, yes, I am!  Awkward!

Want to buy a Spectacle Necklace for your very own so you can get compliments too?  Here you go:

Spectacle Necklace  Available at Decorate Your Neck for $16
Spectacle Necklace
Available at Decorate Your Neck for $16




Day Seven Wearing My Favorite Scarf

I’m sad that I won’t be able to wear my favorite scarf again until my self imposed 30 day Fashion Challenge is over.  Poor me!  Scarves have always been an important part of my “happy outfit place” so much so that this particular scarf was gifted to me by my team who knew me so well and understood how much I would love it.  They so thoughtfully picked it from one of my favorite stores, Madewell, and it has pictures of Paris and London on it because they knew that my dream was to live abroad.  Now, I have never got to even go to those lovely cities yet but little did I know at the time that I would live in China one day.  I cherish this scarf and it looks so damn good to boot.  Score!  And I WILL go to London AND Paris this year…. can’t wait to FINALLY see them.

MacDowell Scarf!
Madewell Scarf!

I dug out my Ugg  heeled booties that were so warm and cozy on a cold foggy Seattle day.  I’ve had these forever and sometimes forget about them but they look good with a skirt so I’ll have to put these to good use while it’s cold.  Pairing my animal print skinny belt (another Banana bargain!) with a denim shirt, I added my wrist beads from China to remind me of my great adventure and off to work I went!  After getting home, my puppy Thor jumped into my arms so he could get a cuddle and be in the picture.  Now, it’s off to the gym to get a little exercise after sitting all day.  I do miss my long walks to/from work in Shanghai for sure.  Once it gets a little warmer, I look forward to getting off the bus at a stop farther away than my close one just so I can get in a little walking.

But, for now, it’s cold and wet here in Seattle so I’ll struggle through the next couple of months until we can get back to our walking habits from China.  I do miss our strolls to explore new places and look forward to walking all over Seattle…. when it gets a little warmer.

Day Six Fashion Challenge-Classy Yet Sassy

So, what do you wear when you have to catch the 6:40 a.m. shuttle for a “what the Hell were they thinking when they scheduled it this early” morning meeting?  Well, first, you take time the night before to plan out your outfit so you don’t look like a fashion “don’t”.  Seriously, I have been lazy and not done this in the past and ended up looking not so good and that’s being too nice.  I also learned the hard way to do that all important bathroom mirror check when I get to work to avoid wearing my dress backwards (yes, for an important meeting)and, yes, that really happened.  Now I am a little more aware and try to always take a moment to check for major faux pas before facing the boss.  I have caught myself sporting only one earring, holes in tights, etc. and managed a quick wardrobe tweak to fix quickly before I embarrass myself AGAIN.  Live and learn!

Banana Republic both classy and sassy
Banana Republic both classy and sassy

But this morning I had prepped the night before and purposely picked my new Banana Republic black sweater (50% off!) that was light but warm with a cutout back detail that was highlighted by the white shirt underneath.  Now, this was no ordinary boring white shirt.  This was my custom made, fits like a glove, French cuff cotton shirt that I designed in Shanghai, adding print details to the collar and underside of the cuffs.  I love it and only wish I had bought a few more while I lived in Shanghai.

Add in the dragon cuff links that I bargained hard to get for less than $10 at the South Bund Fabric Mart in Shanghai and the bold turquoise Banana Republic necklace that always garners major compliments (bought last year on sale) and I was feeling good despite the early call.

Classy black pants from Nordstrom’s and my comfy Dansko studded heels made this a great outfit for a very long work day.  Now, off to plan my outfit for Day 7 so I look decent despite another early call.  Good night!