Fashion Friday: Edition let’s talk about spring trends

I’m over at my sister’s house right now babysitting my sweet nephew, Luke, while she gets a few things done. Like taking a shower and brushing her hair. I brought my computer because I thought it would be a great opportunity to work on Fashion Friday and it totally would have been if we had any idea how to get me on her wireless network.

I also managed to break her T.V. which is something I manage to do every time I visit. It really is a shame because it’s a very nice flat screen television that makes watching Regis and Kelly a delightful experience, but I have no idea how to work it and I always push the wrong button on one of the six remote controls.

And, while I’m making confessions, I’d also like to say that I have no idea how to work her baby swing. It says it swings eight different ways on fifteen different speeds, but how that actually happens is a mystery to me.

Anyway, I’m glad I’m here because Luke and I have been discussing all the trends for spring. He’s a little unsure if the striped look with a dinosaur emblem is going to take off.

But he’s positive that the hottest look for spring will be a sweet, sweet mullet.

His Uncle P will be so happy to hear this news because he was all about sporting a sweet mullet back in the late 80’s.

Sadly, I’ve only known him since he got rid of the party in the back.

The mullet isn’t for everyone though. So with that being said, here are a few other trends for spring.

1. Denim

Denim is everywhere right now. If the trend continues, it may just be a matter of time before we’re all back to wearing denim shirts paired with Santa Fe inspired wrap skirts with loafers and socks. Man, that was a good look.

But I’ve always been a fan of denim. There were about eight consecutive years of my life (okay, ten) where I always purchased some sort of denim dress and/or shirt.

And this year there are a plethora of denim items to choose from. Old Navy has a great dress and/or tunic made of denim’s stepsister, also known as chambray.

Gap also has a cute chambray drop-waist dress but it has some questionable pocket placement that may not work for everyone.

But there is still plenty of good denim to be had. There are so many great denim shirts that it makes me wish I’d saved one of the eighteen I used to own.

You could always go with a denim jacket. Or a fun skirt. Or (Jillian Michaels help me) denim leggings.

I hear they even make something from denim called jeans.

2. Neutral colors

Think soft shades of sand and taupe because that sounds better than beige.

I think this top from Nordstrom is so soft and pretty. It would be great paired with jeans or with nice pants and a jacket for a dressier look.

I love this dress even though I’d have to wear something under it. Or over it. And I also like this silk shirt and this ruffled tunic.

This outfit from Banana Republic really shows off how you can incorporate neutral pieces into your wardrobe without looking too plain and washed out.

And I’ve always been a huge fan of neutral colored shoes like these or these. They really elongate your legs and look great paired with dresses or skirts. But you can totally wear them with jeans, too. I don’t discriminate.

You may also want to find yourself a great neutral handbag. It will go with everything and eliminate the need to constantly switch purses. Not that I ever take the time to do that because what if I forget to move my wallet? Or worse, my lipstick?

3. Embellished tees

It all seems a little vague after the cold, wet winter we’ve had (Did you not see the five flakes of snow??) but if memory serves, it gets really hot here in the summer. And when it gets really hot there’s nothing better than just a nice cotton t-shirt or tank. Bonus points if it’s actually cute like this one from Boden.

You can go with something like this or this ruffled scoopneck tee. This one is really cute and I love this one from J.Crew.

Or if you’re a tank top kind of girl, there’s this petal trim tank, or a rosette tank, or this gorgeous garland tank.

4. Wedge heels

I seriously can’t count the ways that I love wedge heels. Maybe it’s a residual effect from a childhood spent wearing Yo-Yos or maybe it’s just because they come in so many cute variations like these from Piperlime.

And how about these darling ones in hot pink? Hello summer.

Love these colourblock wedges from Boden and that they’re British and spell color with a u. Speaking of color or colour, how cute are these bright orange ones?

This is totally off the subject, but does anyone have any thoughts on these?

I’m seeing these everywhere and I’m conflicted. On one hand, kind of cute. On the other hand, “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

So I’m torn.

5. Printed skirts

I think it was last summer that I declared it to be my summer of the skirt. The only problem was that I didn’t really have enough skirts to make it through the summer.

Oh but this year it’s going to be different because the skirts? They are plentiful.

I love this printed whirly skirt from Old Navy.

There are polka dot skirts, scenic skirts, and floral skirts.

There also happen to be some really cute plain skirts too. Nothing wrong with a little less is more.

Which is advice that would have served me well many, many words ago.

We’ll save the next five trends for next Friday. A sequel!

Y’all have a great week.

The post without a proper title

Did I mention that it snowed here on Tuesday? Because it totally did. It snowed.

If you look closely, you’ll see that I was able to get a documented photo of all five snowflakes.

Then on Wednesday, just one day after the big snow event of 2010, it was a sunny and gorgeous 60 degrees outside. So when I picked up Caroline from school and she asked if she could go play on the playground for a while, I immediately agreed. What I didn’t foresee was that when I told her it was time to leave, AN HOUR LATER, that she would declare it THE WORST DAY OF HER LIFE.

Then we still had to come home and get her homework finished. Which proved to be similar to a root canal but without all the fun and the pain medication.

From there, the day just spiraled downward because she was working on an extra credit book report about George Washington and one of the questions was, “What did you learn about the main character in the book?”

She wrote, “He had a brother”.

Well, sure. That’s what he’s really famous for. His brother.

The point is that I don’t really have the strength to do any more than list a few items that I feel compelled to mention.

1. After my post on HEB yesterday, I felt like there was a little misunderstanding. It was not meant to put down the store brands at all and I certainly don’t feel like I’m above buying the store brands. (That’s not totally true. I’m definitely above buying the HEB canned tomatoes with diced green chiles. There’s a reason people refer to Rotel as if it’s an entity of its own and not just a name brand.)

I enjoy some of the store brands. I find their cheese slices to be delicious.

The issue isn’t whether or not the name brand is better than the store brand. It’s about the packaging similarities. If you’re proud of your HEB brand, then own it with some original, unique packaging instead of making me feel like you’re trying to trick me into buying it.

That’s all I’m trying to say.

Next time I’m just going to stick with my thoughts on Sleepless in Seattle.

2. I bought a new lipgloss this week that is great if you don’t mind the sensation of your lips being on fire. It’s Maybelline XL Volume Lip Plumper in Tantalizing Toffee.

I was going to link to it, but I can’t even find the exact one I bought, even when I look on Maybelline’s website.

I bought mine at HEB. Maybe it’s not really Maybelline, but their store brand.

3. My friend Shaun Groves has worked so hard to put together a huge benefit concert for earthquake relief in Haiti. If you’re in the Nashville area, there are still a few tickets available.

But if you’re far away from Nashville, then you can watch it live here on February 27th. I am such a fan of technology when it’s used for good and not to drive me insane.

4. The Bike Rodeo is Friday. I haven’t mentioned this, but my dear friend AJ was the reigning Bike Rodeo champ for four years during elementary school. A fact that she shared with me when she dropped by on Sunday. She really wants Caroline to carry on her legacy and even suggested that we might want to do some two-a-day practices to prepare.

Clearly she is overestimating the levels of my patience.

However, P and I did take Caroline up to the school for a practice run on the course yesterday. She wasn’t nearly as concerned about doing a figure eight as she was with why we wouldn’t let her ride down this huge hill that would have surely rocketed her straight out into an intersection.

Obviously we are mean, uncaring parents who don’t want our child to plummet down a hill at sixty miles an hour.

5. I don’t have a five. I just hated to end on four.

Wait. I just thought of something. Don’t forget to click over here if you haven’t already entered the giveaway for a prize pack valued at $175.

I’ll be back tomorrow with Fashion Friday. It’s all about the trends for spring and summer.

Here everything used to be better

There is nothing I really try to avoid more than stirring up some controversy. It makes me feel all itchy and uncomfortable. I don’t know how to handle all the opinions and thoughts. Which is why I rarely bring up anything controversial. In fact, over the years, the only controversial subjects I’ve brought up are the velour jogging suit and my general dislike of Sleepless in Seattle.

I’m not saying that Meg Ryan wasn’t precious in the movie. She totally was. It’s just not my favorite. If it was your favorite, then I’m truly sorry. Sorry you have bad taste in movies.

See how I made a little joke because the controversy makes me nervous?

Anyway, I rarely see the point of stirring up anything here. I mean what are the odds that we’re all going to agree that Bo Duke was the cutest Duke boy? Actually, those odds are pretty good because it was really no contest between he and Luke. And I’m not even generally a fan of men with blonde hair.

But none of that has anything to do with what’s really been weighing on my heart.

I need to talk about HEB.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, HEB is a huge grocery store based in Texas. Some might say they have a monopoly and/or stronghold on the South Texas market and those people would be right. The letters are one of the original founder’s initials, so you say H. E. B. They also have their own clever marketing campaign that uses the letters to declare “Here Everything’s Better!” I don’t know what those marketing folks are getting paid but clearly it isn’t enough because that is pure genius.

And it used to be true. Everything was better at HEB. The sky was bluer, the aisles were brighter, the clerks were friendlier. It was my happy place.

Before I had Caroline I never really paid any attention to the grocery store. Obviously I must have shopped for food on occasion because I don’t remember P and I foraging in the backyard for nuts and berries, but we were young married people without a child and our grocery list basically read like the total opposite of the suggested food pyramid. We were fueled by high fructose corn syrup and artificial dye with a cheap bottle of wine thrown in for good measure.

But then I had Caroline and grocery shopping became an event. I made actual lists with things like diapers and formula and vegetables and dairy products. We’d go to HEB several times a week and were always greeted by our favorite manager, Dwayne, who doled out the HEB Buddy Bucks to Caroline like a crack dealer making sure he lured in a new loyal customer. “HEB” was one of her first words, quickly followed by “Dwayne” and “Buddy Buck”. He’d bring us balloons, made sure I knew what was on sale, and always ensured everyone was getting great customer service. I even wrote a letter to HEB about Dwayne and it’s not very often that I write an actual letter and mail it instead of just drafting something in my head for my own amusement.

(Dear Gap, I regret your decision to put pockets on the side of what would have otherwise been a really cute dress/tunic. No woman wants extra bulk in her hip area. And if she does, then I hate her. Love, Melanie)

It was inevitable that Dwayne moved on. In words from Don McLean’s song Starry, Starry Night, this world was never meant for one as beautiful as Dwayne. Except he didn’t include Dwayne in the lyrics. And Dwayne didn’t pass away, but was instead promoted to a position that took him away from our local store.

I’ll admit that I was disheartened by the loss of my favorite HEB manager. The grocery store experience just wasn’t the same, but people move on and I understand that. Everything was fine until HEB added to insult to injury and quit carrying my beloved Tyson skinless, boneless roasted chicken breasts. How was I supposed to deal with the loss of Dwayne and handling raw poultry all at the same time? It was too much to bear.

And, yet, I persevered. Mainly because there isn’t anywhere else in this city to grocery shop unless you count Target and Walmart. Which I don’t.

That’s the way it’s been for the last three years. I grumble and complain about HEB, but I continue to shop there because they do have lovely produce and also happen to have a store less than a mile from my house. But then two pivotal things happened.

The first life-changing moment occurred when I almost accidentally purchased a bottle of HEB’s Bravo detergent instead of Gain because the bottles look exactly alike. It’s very deceptive. And had I ended up with the bottle of Bravo, I might have been tempted to return to the store and have a spaz. (That’s right. I just said “have a spaz”.)

Exhibit A:

But it goes deeper than that. See how they make the powdered detergent look like the Tide box?

So because I am all about the research and the conspiracy theories, I began to notice a few other products that are labeled to look eerily similar to the popular brand name products.

Oh. I know you aren’t getting deceptive with my chip selection.

Et tu, Cheerios?

(By the way, I took these pictures with my iPhone while trying my best to look like I was just texting or checking email. I was totally paranoid about getting thrown out of the store because it would have ended like the scene from An Officer and A Gentleman where Richard Gere yells at Foley “I GOT NOWHERE ELSE TO GO. I GOT NOWHERE ELSE TO GO!)

The other thing that happened was Gulley’s confession that she’s been doing some grocery shopping at Walmart. It’s like I didn’t even know her at that moment. But she said she was tired of not finding various name brand items that she prefers to buy and there was an entire incident involving a lack of Philadelphia Cream Cheese that completely pushed her over the edge.

But, conveniently, they had HEB Cream Cheese packaged in a very similar silver box.

And I think she might have shed some tears as she shared a tragic story about buying the wrong enchilada sauce.

I know that some people don’t mind buying the store brands. They are less expensive and can be a little more budget-friendly. But I am not one of those people. I don’t play any sort of grocery game or clip coupons or take advantage of the weekly “Combo Locos” at HEB. I probably should, but I don’t. Mainly because in the past this has led me to have three boxes of Keebler crackers that I’ll never eat or two bottles of Ken’s Steakhouse Caesar Salad Dressing when I’m not even familiar with Ken or his steakhouse.

And, honestly, there are some HEB brand items I love. You can’t go wrong with their marinated fajita meat or any of their baked goods. Their produce is gorgeous and always fresh.

I just want my Tyson chicken breasts back.

And to be able to shop for my laundry detergent and cream cheese without having to double check that I’m buying the brand I want.

And for them to please move the sushi counter away from the produce.

That’s all.

I would ask for Dwayne back, but I feel that he’s probably in a better place. By which I mean the corporate office, not heaven.