Uncomplicated Style with J. Jill, and the Worst Photographer Ever

I’m obsessed with easy fashion because for years, I was certain it existed but somehow eluded me, like Paris Hilton’s intellect. I mean, “easy fashion” surely couldn’t be an urban myth, yet why couldn’t I grasp it? It’s supposed to be simple and uncomplicated. Still, I get confused. I’m not sure what goes with what or how to mix and match and number one – not wear the same thing all the time because a stylish friend once put an outfit together for me and it’s reached uniform status.

 

I’ve done a lot of research on the subject and I’m not kidding. I’ve since learned that there are neutrals – gray, brown, olive, black, and navy – that can be worn with virtually any color. I’ve discovered that black doesn’t always have to go with black accessories, that denim is not my only go-to pant, and that brown and black together isn’t violating some kind of fashion code (in fact, it can be downright cutting edge).

 

Since I’ve worked to grasp some fashion basics, I’m a little better with putting outfits together. I even wore gray skinnies with a denim shirt and tan booties the other day. TAN BOOTIES. With gray. It can be done. (But you probably already knew that.)

 

In the spirit of paying forward what I’ve learned about uncomplicated style, I share with you what I now know (based on hundreds of hours of poring over fashion websites and a lot of error in my trial):

 

1) Buy pieces that can be worn with at least three other things.

I absorbed this little tidbit over and over before I actually implemented it. For many moons, I bought things I loved but could only wear with one shirt or pair of pants. However, I also learned that I probably could wear what I bought with more than one thing if I used a little imagination. For instance, print pants can also be worn with print shirts (if one of the prints is more subtle than the other, like pinstripes with florals). If you buy an item you can envision with at least three other pieces in your closet, you are the queen of mix and match.

 

2) Do not underestimate the power of accessories.

I never spent my money on accessories. I went for the “bigger” thing (in surface area) like shirts and dresses. Smaller pieces such as earrings and belts seemed a waste of cash. Then, it sunk in: entire outfits can change by adding the right necklace, belt, and/or scarf. The other day, my friend wore an emerald green tunic with tribal-print inserts on the sleeves, a medallion, and a faux fur vest. And it was amazing. Still cool when she took off the vest, but exponentially SHAZAM when she kept it on. Also, the fur vest-less look was dressier, and the be-furred-vest look was funkier. Different vibes, same pieces.

 

3) Buy quality basics that can be dressed up and down.

I buy inexpensive, trendy stuff to punch up outfits, but I want my basics (the black pants, the sweater coat, the boots) to be quality because I’m going to wear them a lot and they provide the canvas for the rest of the stuff I put on my body. I need the fit, fabric, and function to be top notch because they’re the foundation. Also, quality basics do double duty: they can be dressy or casual depending on the accessories. This means they need to last extra long and be in timeless styles and materials.

 

4) Get some pieces that can be worn in a variety of styles (i.e. belted, untucked, layered).

This tip is a combination of the three before it. The key to easy style is to complicate it – in a simple way. Let’s say you buy a shirt that can be worn with a minimum of three other pieces in your closet. Then, let’s say you can change the look of those three outfits by donning a necklace, layering a jacket over it, and/or wearing a fur vest. THEN let’s imagine you can also belt that shirt, untuck it (or half-tuck it – still not sure about that trend), and wear a tank under it. Those are like 12 different looks (someone else do the math) for one shirt. And that’s super-maximum-velocity-turbo-uncomplicated style.

 

5) Look other places for pieces.

Like you, I have my “shops.” And at the same time, I’ve found the most wonderful things at stores I never imagined would have what I want or need. I recently shopped J. Jill for this post and I didn’t know what to expect because J. Jill was one of those places I didn’t have in my usual suspects lineup, but I found my quality basics there in spades and I never would have figured that out if I hadn’t stepped outside my “zone.”

 

So here’s where the rubber meets the road. When I took a look at the J.Jill site for the purposes of this piece, I focused on its Pure Jill line because it included a line of neutral colored basics that met all my prerequisites above. I found the following essentials:

 

  • Kimono Sweater
  • Tee
  • Pants
  • Flats

 

If you’ve at all been following my expert advice (I can hear you!), you’ll know that those pieces above are a) mix and matchable b) can be dressed up or down c) changed with accessories; and d) worn with several other things in your closet.

 

I bought the Pure Jill Ribbed Kimono Sweater because it was super quality, a neutral color, and styled on the website so I could get more ideas on how to wear it (but I already knew! said the defensive still-learning fashion neophyte). Also, there’s an online stylist you can chat with as you’re making purchase decisions (said the REAL experts).

 

So here’s what I did. I got the sweater and attempted to show you how to mix it up with accessories. Except that my pictures are horrible and so are my thighs. But I will forge on.

 

This is the sweater with “skinnies” and my tan booties:

 

 

And then here’s how I “accessorized” with a scarf. You see the funky difference, right?

 

 

 

 

 

This same sweater can be worn with leggings and skirts and all manner of three-items-in-your-closet. And don’t forget to accessorize.

 

If I bought more from J. Jill, this is what it would be:

 

(in order:)
Pure Jill Marled Topper

Pure Jill Suede Slouch Boots

Ankle-Length Leggings

Woven Trim Short Boots

 

 

Just FYI. Oh! And fun fact: my birthday is in 10 days. But that’s so not even related to this post pretty much.
Meanwhile, here’s a little something special from J. Jill:

 

30% off a single full-priced item from 11/5-11/24 using code: JJSTYLE (use when ordering). Offer valid through November 24, 2013, on a single full-priced, in-stock item, excluding markdowns. Discount taken at the time of purchase in stores (outlets excluded), at JJILL.COM or via catalog. For retail store purchases, this code must be mentioned. Limit one coupon per person for one-time use only. Full-priced UGG® brand styles excluded. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer, except the J.Jill credit card discount. Discount not valid on previous purchases or gift card purchases and is exclusive of sales tax and shipping fees. No cash value).

 

Look, in all honesty, I’m still getting the fashion thing down, but I think I’ve embraced that it’s about keeping a few tips in mind while you naturally gravitate to what turns you on. Because if what you wear doesn’t reflect YOU, there’s no point in wearing it.

 

This was a sponsored post on behalf of The Motherhood and J. Jill. All opinions are my own. Unfortunately?)

Anatomy of a Swag Bag, II

meandromy2

 

Me (the blonde) and Romy (the exotic dark-haired beauty)

Neither one was included in the swag bag.

Photo from JennKL Photography

 

Sometimes a girl’s gotta break up the monotony of Big Jerks and hack parenting with a post about fun stuff she likes, you know?

 

This is that post.

 

But first let me tell you, that I would write not a THING about this stuff if I didn’t truly love it.

 

And foreshadowing: One of these things changed me for the better. In that it helped my skin not look like the backside of a monkey.

 

So my raves for this month came aptly enough from an event Romy Raves threw back in January, called Face to Face LA. As she is wont to do, Romy organized a class act party for social media chicks complete with amazing food from Heirloom LA (Belgian waffles with jidori chicken and blueberry maple glaze? That’s all I got to say about that) and dessert from Magnolia Bakery (I was face down in the banana pudding. Ask La Jolla Mom) and spa services and giveaways and general coolness.

 

And then if that weren’t enough, Romy gifted all attendees with a swag bag of epic proportions, containing the products she loves. and which I have since grown to worship. Some of those coolios are as follows:

 

Therapon Skin Health Skin Renewal Kits and NuPeel

 

media

 

Did you know about my skin? Let me break it down for you: It sucks. I’ve used everything on the planet to make it less sucky. Sometimes products work, sometimes they don’t. But Therapon? Really changed my skin. Here’s the thing: my skin is oily but dry but zitty but wrinkly but that of an adolescent but that of an 80-year-old. I started using the Therapon cleanser THE NIGHT I RECEIVED IT and my skin felt more “balanced” instantly. I continue to use the whole renewal system and my complexion has improved considerably. It isn’t too dry, it isn’t too oily, it isn’t too sucky. I really and truly find this system amazing for my skin. Maybe if your face doesn’t suck, you won’t like it as much. But Therapon really is a product I will go back to again and again.

 

I like that I’m not only cleaning with the system, I am also exfoliating and moisturizing and hitting all the skincare bases with a minimum of products. There’s also a Therapon product called NuPeel, which a manicurist used on my hands, making them smooth and less spotty-looking. Naturally, I apply this peel on my face. It does the same thing.

 

I cannot recommend Therapon enough. Any product that makes my skin more palatable is a winner for me.

 

Xtreme AMPLIFeye

 

amplifeye-226x300

 

AMPLIFeye is a drug-free lash strengthener that uses natural ingredients. I like this, because the competitive lash strengthener on the market? Terrifies me. I’m convinced it will kill my corneas. As such, AMPLIFeye will be the only lash fortifier I use. I’ve been using it for more than six weeks now and I see lash sprouts! This is good. Just don’t apply this to places where you don’t want hair.

 

Repechage Lip Rescue Kit

 

rr90

 

Remember about my skin? I got lip problems too. And my lips are BIG, so the problems are BIG. Issues such as dryness, fine lines, and corpse lip plague me. Repechage Lip Rescue downplays my torment. The kit comes with a lip exfoliater that you leave on for 30 seconds, a moisturizer, a massager (rub it over your lubed lips a minute or two) and a plumping gloss. I like how supple my lips feel after this process. However, after I use the plumping gloss, my lips could eat Manhattan.

 

There were a million other products in the swag bag I could go on and on about, but I highlighted my top three favorites. If you want to check out the full swag line-up, go here.

 

But wait! At the same event? I won this in a giveaway:

 

rbcir1jas_full

 

It’s made out of recycled rice bags!

 

Good times.

 

You might also like Anatomy of a Swag Bag, I

 

Stuff I Like: Anatomy of a Swag Bag

The objects listed below, while provided free in a swag bag from Mom’s Night Out recently, are included of my own volition because:

 

a) They saved me time

 

b) They made me look efficient or otherwise put together to people who don’t know better

 

c) They delivered coffee into my mouth at high velocities

 

And while the swag bag held all manner of widgets, whatsits, and whosits, I am only posting about my absolute favorites.

 

product-line

 

Boogie Wipes: There’s a whole lot of mucous in my house because the girls have had colds since 2007. They’re getting a lot better about blowing their own noses, but the most unattractive booger mustache usually remains. And because we’re always out of toilet paper, the girls must hack away at the crusty ‘stache with Bounty Extra Thicks. Boogie Wipes allows the Toots and Booger (not named that for nothin’) to blow their noses with a delicate saline wipe infused with essential oil of grape. The wipes also come in other scents, including menthol, which is MY favorite because it reminds me of my childhood when my dad used Vick’s VapoRub to build our first house.

 

image387

 

Skoy Cloth: The swag literature said these cloths are European, and I believe them because the minimalist flower drawn on the cloth looks very Europeaney and Ikea-esque. This cleaning cloth right now is my numero uno dishtowel because I was heartily amazed at how well it absorbed the mucous detritus spilled about my sink. Plus, you can microwave the cloths to disinfect them and use them again and again. I’ve had my swag Skoy Cloth for a week, and except for a minor incident where my husband ripped off a corner to see what it was made of, it’s holding up very well. Also, as a family that goes through 8,402 paper towels a day, I am grateful for a clean-up product that is good for the environment. As for my husband, I think I have to get him a science kit so he can indulge his curiosity about the inner workings of things without destroying my European flower cloths.

 

prod2floral

 

The Tote Buddy: You all probably have a pretty good idea about me by now. And those ideas most likely include words like “hot mess of unorganized mess sauce,” and “blonde.” Am I right? So it won’t surprise you to know that when it comes time to pull out my reusable bags at the grocery store? I rifle through my purse like a crazy person on acid and instead of environmentally friendly canvas bags, I withdraw 87.5 tampons and a Mac lipstick I thought I lost in the bar bathroom at college. So it’s a godsend that the Tote Buddy stores those reusable bags, cleanly organizing them all for withdrawal at your local store. I love the design on my swag Tote Buddy and I’ve already used it several times. That’s not to say that a wayward tampon plunger didn’t make its way into the Buddy, but at least I had my canvas bags where I needed them WHEN I needed them. I also have to admit that I used to Tote Buddy to hold Toot’s jellyfish report, and it was brilliant for that, too.

 

Hey, “Toot’s Buddy!”

 

I love me some plays on words.

 

2510-9961_m

 

The To-Go Coffee Cup: First of all, white and brown is so the new pink and green. Second of all, coffee.

 

The End.

 

P.S. This cup insulates your coffee and allows you to bring God’s brown nectar with you everywhere — to the kid’s school, to the library, to a tampon-whipping-out party at the grocery store. I would also like to add that my husband “investigated” this product too. Opening this, and twisting that. Feeling its heft and how well the cup rested in his palm. His conclusion? The cup doesn’t “close.” And I’m hear to tell him: “Quarter-turn lid sealing mechanism.” Close it does, Dr. Lamey Pasteur.

 

Now would someone please tell me where I can get science kits for adults? This man needs something to play with. (Leave it alone, leave it alone.)

 

So that about sums it up for Stuff I Like Day. Just a few additional notes: Sweet Funky Vintage is the most adorable kid’s clothes site in the universe.

 

hopeshroomsbiga

 

I still love the Theresa Rose Etsy shop.

 

il_430xn142220313

 

(Use code MNOsd10 for a 20% discount.)

 

AND? The best for last? I won this:

 

2763ta-2t

 

…in the Mom’s Night Out raffle. Except in a beautiful maize-y yellow, which everyone knows is the new turquoise.

Also, somewhere out there, some Mom’s Nightian has a photo of me excitedly clutching this tote, exactly like Ed Grimley used to clutch his crotch.

 

0000001752_20060919151158

 

I’m one classy dame.

 

Stuff I Like: Wearing My Kids Around My Neck

I went to dinner with a friend the other night and couldn’t help but notice the new enormous diamond ring on her finger.

 

Wow that’s beautiful!” I said. “Truly.”

 

A rock of monumental size, the diamond sparkled like a thousand very expensive stars that cost a lot of very expensive money.

 

She blushed a little, and said, “It’s from my husband for our 15th wedding anniversary. He said to get whatever I wanted and I chose a ring.”

 

Another friend, the one who asks anything even if it’s inappropriate (this time it wasn’t me), then said, “How many carats is that thing?”

 

Turns out it was almost six carats and so I, the one who also asks anything even if it’s inappropriate, asked, “Holy mackerel! How much WAS it?”

 

That question went unanswered. Turns out one of us has some class.

 

Meanwhile, after dinner, I rushed home and confronted my husband: “Can I have a six-carat diamond ring for our 15th wedding anniversary?”

 

And HE said, “I’m going to get you something from the heart. I hope it’s OK with you if it’s not a six-carat diamond ring.”

 

Then it was my turn to blush. His answer is why I married him. On our wedding day he gave me a journal with an inscription that read, “Every year on our anniversary, I will write in here why I’m glad I married you.”

 

So fine.

 

No diamond for our 15th anniversary.

 

But I think I found something that I want for Mother’s Day.

 

Something a little like this:

 

804fc264c163c9a55d3a452bba028c4bimage300x222

 

Or perhaps this:

 

nametagnecklace

 

Or maybe if I were really good this year, THIS:

 

defd4580efefe2a3168459435635dd2cimage300x299

 

But without the photos. I’d substitute six-carat diamonds instead.

 

Just a little superficial humor.

 

I might also ask my husband for this:

 

6765f408e7eaf315d00ff6e5c9ff631aimage300x330

 

…But instead of the kids’ names I’d have inscribed on each charm: No. Diamond. Ring.

 

Just throwing some more Real Housewives humor your way.

 

Anyway, all of this is from HollyMarie Jewelry and every piece is handmade and a keepsake.

 

And way better than a diamond ring.

 

If you think so too, and want to put something from the site on your Mother’s Day gift list, shipping will be free until May 1 if you mention “San Diego Momma.

 

If you do order something, come back here and tell me what it was and how much it cost.

 

Just a little inappropriate person humor.

 

Stuff I Like: Easy Dresses

I can’t stand choosing separates. I don’t know what goes with what and so tend to wear something like what I wore today: off-trend gray capris, shapeless yellow tee and a baggy puce-y sweater. With moccasins.

 

Moccasins that had flowers on them.

 

Please do not send the fashion police to shoot me in the face.

 

That’s why I like dresses. It’s one-shot dressing. Just pull the thing on and DONE. This pleases me.

 

I still find that I need help with accessorizing, but let’s get to that in a minute. Because I want to show you this first:

 

bluethrift.jpg

 

It’s an Anthropologie dress I found at a thrift store last month. It still had the $118 tag on it and everything. I paid substantially less than that for the dress. Thrift stores? Good for the soul, the pocketbook and the marriage.

 

Now for this.

 

silly.jpg

 

Can’t take your eyes off me, can you?

 

I’m awful bright.

 

Got a lot going on.

 

Also, I will thank you to not say a thing about my roots or how I look like Courtney Love.

 

If Courtney Love wore peasant dresses.

 

fullonbabee.jpg

 

Here is more of me in the dress.

 

Put that lascivious tongue back in your mouth.

 

So I ordered this dress from Eshakti. They said I could order anything I wanted and the coolest thing was it would be made to order. You input your measurements, desired length, and so on and your piece comes CUSTOM MADE.

 

They have a lot of cool stuff on the Eshakti site. Lots of beautiful dresses. Neat looks. Like this one I almost ordered:

 

cl0018736v

 

Or this one:

 

cl0018952v

 

 

(Apparently I like puce.)

 

So adorable things, you know? So adorable, that you MAY be asking why I ordered this:

 

dopey.jpg

 

I was trying to step out of my comfort zone, see. And I like the dress, I do. First of all, it fits great. Because it was made JUST FOR ME. I could even adjust the sleeves if I wanted. (If I could do it over again, I would order without the bottom ruffle.) But I have no earthly idea what to wear with it. Would a necklace be too much? Long earrings? White gloves? HELP ME!!!!!

 

Oh but wait. Here’s what LA Stylist Mom suggested: turquoise earrings, no necklace, and brown leather toe-ring sandals. LASM is great by the way, you should read her.

 

But meanwhile, anyone else want to weigh in on how to accessorize my eShakti dress?

 

Maybe these additional photos will inspire you:

 

pickingup.jpg

 

(Picking up rug lint in my eShakti dress.)

 

gettingtheoven.jpg

 

(Running to get the phone in my eShakti dress.)

 

jack.jpg

 

(Um. Don’t got nothin’ for this one. In my eShakti dress.)

 

ablur.jpg

 

(Coming to get you! in my eShakti dress.)

 

So what do you think?

 

Please save me from the flowered moccasins.

 

Stuff I Like: Kiehl’s Musk

557_l

 

I have big pores. That must be why nearly every fragrance I’ve ever tried has sunk into my skin never to be smelled again. It’s frustrating: I POUR perfume on and 3.5 seconds later it’s as if I washed it all off with a fire hose. No scent remains. It’s weird. Where does it all go? Perhaps the perfume is absorbed by my vital organs. I bet when I’m autopsied, my liver smells awesome.

 

Of course, I eat a garlic clove and can’t escape the noxious smell cloud for days.

 

I find this imbalance of scent retention upsetting.

 

However, I recently discovered something that gives me hope for a successful perfume implantation:

Kiehl’s Musk.

 

I must tell you that I love musk. Not the Jovan kind or the husband-just-home-from-a-workout variety, but the real, musky musk scent of bergamot and whatever the hell musk is…What is musk? The Kiehl’s website assures me it’s not procured from a bull (or any other animal), so that’s heartening, but still…musk? Wha-? I should Wikipedia it.

 

In any event, I spritz this musk on ad nauseam and continually get compliments. People smell me! And not the Garlic Me, but the Musk Me of Sensuality and Bergamot. Or whatever the hell musk is.

 

I highly recommend it for bull-loving, big-pored people like myself.

 

Stuff I Like: Face Slime

{{Mamarazzi Knows Best won!}}

 

Here’s my newest favorite thing:

 

il_430xn124000595

 

The above is part of a skincare line developed by a bloggy friend who suffers from super-sensitive skin, rosacea and “general dermatological malaise.” When she contacted me to ask if I’d give some of the products a trial run, I practically begged she send it all immediately because I want to try everything! everything! in the free and third worlds that may help my zitty, oily, dry yet greasy, flaky yet slithery, unctuous skin.

 

After visiting her site, I selected Face Slime #5, which is “excellent for combination and troubled skin” (that’d be me) and contains Moroccan rhassoul clay to absorb oil and dirt. (Me and my oily, dirty face are so sexy.) I also tried Slimes #2 (w/almond) and #4 (w/oatmeal).

 

I used the products religiously and ended up liking Face Slime #5 the best, followed by #4, then #2. I used the slimes as cleansers mostly (they come as powders and you just add water to make a cleanser or a mask), and the #5 especially made me feel like it was an oil absorber and pore decongester all in one. Also, my face stayed non-oily until after lunchtime, which is a major epidermal feat for my skin. An added bonus was that my face felt smooth and clean.

 

I’m totally adding Face Slime #5 to my skincare repertoire, a lofty line-up that includes toner, moisturizer, and prodigious amounts of prayer.

 

In case you wondered, the Face Slime face masks are 100% natural (and edible even!) and made with organic essentail oils.

 

Finally, if you would like to own one of these Face Slime masks for yourself, my friend was nice enough to offer a giveaway. To enter, please visit her site, check out the Slimes (and while you’re at it, peruse the whole line of products that are awesome) and then leave a comment here telling me which Slime you would like to slick on your face. I’ll pick a random winner on Monday, March 29 at noon!

 

May the zitless skin Force be with you.

 

UPDATE: GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED! Winner selected by end of day.