Pretty Blue Rose

life musings and inspiration


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Wednesday Wisdom: Christmas Starts in July!

For many many years I got away with a last minute approach to Christmas. Although I love to be prepared and stuff, I was the girl who would do most of her Christmas shopping December 23rd-24th and come up with fabulous gifts!! (at least no one told me otherwise).

But now that I’m an adult (I do forget that sometimes…) being a procrastinator during the holidays makes doing adult things like sending Christmas cards, getting gifts for others, you know–being thoughtful, a source of stress.

So last year, we barely made the requested dress code for my daughter’s holiday play (I didn’t read the cover letter sent home) and I forgot to give the teachers cards with their gifts. Gifts weren’t wrapped until Christmas Eve, and…sigh you get it! Part of me says, just let it go Ms. Perfectionist, but there is another part of me that knows it’s about better planning.

We are stressed from back to school (which is August in Georgia–yuck!) through Halloween and through the New Year–but since we always manage to get through it. But do we do anything different the next year to make it easier?

My solution and my resolution for this year is to start thinking about and planning for Christmas in July. Yes July!

I’ve always had the mindset that Christmas shopping should be done year round, so I have a gift drawer but it’s kind random–I need to step it up a bit. There are always last minute things creep up in the holiday season (unexpected house guests, needing last minute gifts for people you just met, or parties you’ve been invited to).

So the solution to an easier holiday season is to do what you can do early. No one will know if you write your holiday cards in July (just don’t send them!!). No one would know if you took Christmas pics in July ( I’m more diligent about exercise in the summer, no holiday weight yet…hmmm that may be a great idea!!) just don’t send them. I can see my family traveling to some photography studio in Christmas sweaters in this heat to have our pictures taken? (well maybe we change into the Christmas garb at the studio…)

Christmas in July

 

Admittedly, July is almost over, but writing this has reminded me that the second half of the year goes quickly, so I am going to start planning. We are hosting Christmas this year so I can start working on and testing the menu. I can schedule for our pictures to be taken and start writing the list for gifts.  What can you start doing now?

I’m starting to wonder if this is where the term Christmas in July came from…

Hmmm…

Well safe travels to everyone traveling. I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer.

Best,

A. G.


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Style: In BeTweed

I am a huge fan of tweed, which is a rough, unfinished woollen fabric. It is made in either plain or twill weave and may have a check or herringbone pattern.

Tweed is super comfortable and I just cannot say enough good things about it. Check out some of my favorite looks:

Having some fun with work and tweed.

The black and white almost grey looking tweed is a great staple. It’s good with jeans, dress pants and skirts.

Tweed and Coach

Tweed Pencil Skirt

Jeans and tweed, yes indeed!

Tweed Biker Jacket

My tweed pants, similar to those below, are really a favorite of mine. I really get happy when I realize enough time has passed and I can wear them to work again.
Mustard Tweed

I don’t own a pair of tweed shoes yet, but I’d love to. The blue tweed shoes below are sick!

Tweed Shoes

This monochromatic look incorporating tweed could work for the office or the weekend.

Tweed in Lavender
Stay stylish and enjoy the weekend (I feel spring in the air!),
A. G.


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The Lazy Shopper: Target (part 1)

Quick recap on the Lazy Shopper Series: We are busy. For various reasons shopping is usually not fun. And it’s annoying when you think you have a several new outfits, but you only end up with 2 because the pieces you bought weren’t considered in the larger context of your wardrobe.

My Lazy Shopper Series seeks to address those shopping issues by picking pieces from one store and putting together multiple outfits to show you how they all work together. My first stop was J. Crew and that was a pretty popular (and admittedly expensive) post. So let’s move to the other side of the continuum and head over to Target (face it, you’re already there for cake mix and towels (or toys!) anyways…). I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Ok yall, I had way too much fun with Target. I really like the way their stuff is looking this spring season. So this collection has over 15 looks ranging from weekend casual to work wear for late winter through late spring .

Here’s my challenge:

1 store

all items are $30 or less (yes really!!)

10 clothing items

5 accessories (including shoes)

Check out my picks:

Pretty Blue Style: Target's One Stop Shop

Shopping tips:

Remember I’ve said blazers are a great staple, silver shoes are a must do, and wedges are my favorite shoe. White, navy, and camel are my neutrals for this collection and my two accent colors are rose and teal.

So let’s see what outfits my selections get us:

Pretty Blue Style: Target's One Stop Shop (pt 1)

So above, I used the navy and white sheath dress, that’s a bit more on the casual side and I dressed it up with each of the blazers. Notice, I used the navy shoes with the rose colored blazer to make sure the blazer was the focus. In the center, I matched the camel colored jacket and shoes. The ruffles make the camel blazer less formal. And to the right, the teal blazer is offset with silver. Again when you don’t know what shoes to match with an outfit, chances are silver will work. The addition of the silver bangles makes the silver shoes look purposeful rather than accidental.

Pretty Blue Style: Target's One Stop Shop (pt 2)

I was really feelin’ the teal A-line skirt. The teal wedges were selected because I thought they kept the skirt playful. In the third outfit from the left, the teal skirt allowed me to introduce the print shirt. The navy background is neutral and the teal and camel colors work with my color palette nicely. The navy pumps dress up the shirt and make it work friendly, but the teal and camel colored wedges would work as well.

Pretty Blue Style: Target's One Stop Shop (pt 3)

Hands down this navy pleated skirt is my favorite piece in this collection. It’s only $20 and there are 7 different colors. (I’m that girl that when I do like something and find a good fit I get it as many colors as I can afford– this skirt would be one of those cases…) The left three outfits are for work and the one to the right (my favorite) is a cute weekend outfit. The wedges make the pleated skirt more casual. Looove it!

Pretty Blue Style: Target's One Stop Shop (pt 4)

I only selected one pair of pants for this entire collection and they were the light teal color so that they went with the shirts that the teal skirt works with. To the left, I’ve chosen a semi-monochromatic look. Different shades of the same color family (teal). I’ve been doing that more lately and I like it. See my purple version here.

Although I’ve only shown the camel colored blazer with the jeans, all of them would work (just remember if you pick the rose colored blazer either keep the shoes neutral with silver or match the jeans and pick the teal wedges). Lastly, I brought back my trusty print shirt and dressed it up with some navy patent leather pumps. I would tuck the shirt in and it could work for a early spring casual Friday look.

I like these outfits so much, I was really about to just buy everything. Since I did the hard work of making sure everything worked together, shouldn’t I reap the benefits?

What do you all think? And since I was so in love in my Target finds, I’m working on a part 2 (I really had such a hard time only picking 10 pieces that I just did another collection!)

Happy shopping and enjoy the weekend:)

A. Genise


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Pretty Blue Style: Michelle Obama

Regardless of your political preference, the First Lady of the United States or FLOTUS looked fabulous in her coat dress from designer Thom Browne (from my hometown!!!)
Check out a few looks that I love from Mrs. O.
2013 Inauguration Ceremony - Michelle Obama Is Wintry Perfection
I’m loving the bob she has below, and the blue, well you know Pretty Blue Rose love blue:)
First Lady Inaugural Style - Will Michelle Obama Wear A Nicole Miller Gown?
Her hair is super cute! The hoops are youthful and the print on the dress is fabulous!
Michelle Obama - White House Correspondents' Dinner.
I am such a fan of sheath dresses, and Mrs. O can surely wear one! The navy and red ensemble is spot on!
Michelle Obama - American Dream
OK, the curly do is one I really like. The smokey eye and pink lip compliments the one shoulder blue gown beautifully. And the belt is right up my alley!
michelle obama
Although Mrs. O hasn’t worn this particular dress, I love it and think it would look wonderful on her!
Mrs. Obama
Enjoy the weekend:)


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Go Fly a Kite!

Sunday was such a beautiful day in my neck of the woods. It felt like a balmy fall day. The sun shining, the sky was clear (you can see the moon in the first picture–my daughter loves that!) and the wind was perfect for flying a kite…so that’s just what we did.

I usually watch my hubby and daughter fly their kites, but on Sunday I joined in for quite a while. I felt such a freedom and peace flying my kite. (no judgement that we lost three kites to the trees!)

P.S. I didn’t wear my “fake uggs” with that outfit all day, I just wore them for play.

I actually wore my black knee high boots to church with my J. crew skirt, a 7-year old cotton shell from target, and a corduroy jacket from H&M. I call this look the “Purple People Eater”, but I think it worked:)

Keep Flying and Being Fly,

A. Genise


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Pretty Blue Star Style: Janelle Monae

When I first saw Janelle Monae, I was intrigued.

An image of Janelle Monáe

She seems like a humble artist who is about the music…And heck, she’s very talented! I love her style, and thus far, I’ve always seen her looking fabulous.

Monae always wears what she calls her uniform: usually a jacket and pants mostly in black or white and her hair is done up in a fifties-style quiff:

Kinkspiration! Janelle Monae

During an acceptance speech, Monae spoke candidly about her family and why she wears a “uniform”:

“When I started my musical career I was a maid, I used to clean houses. My parents—my mother was a proud janitor, my step-father who raised me like his very own worked at the post office and my father was a trash man. They all wore uniforms. And that’s why I stand here today in my black and white and I wear my uniform to honor them,”

In the spirit of Pretty Blue Rose, she went on to say:

“This [award] is a reminder that I have work to do, I have people to uplift, I have people to inspire,” she said

“And today I wear my uniform proudly as a Covergirl,” she told the audience referring to her deal with the cosmetics giant.

“I want to be clear young girls, I didn’t have to change who I was to become a Covergirl, I didn’t have to become perfect because I’ve learned through my journey that perfection is the often the enemy of greatness. Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes other uncomfortable.

Sigh, so I’m a huge fan of her philosophy and her style. Cheers to you Ms. Monae!

Check out my outfits inspired by her:

Pretty Blue Star Style: Janelle Monae 1

Pretty Blue Star Style: Janelle Monae 2

Keep uplifting and inspiring others–this is the work we are all called to do,

A. Genise


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Pretty Blue Style: 5 Considerations for Buying Women’s Winter Coats

Winter is officially here and it’s ridiculously cold here on the east coast. (I’ve even been able to play in the snow when we traveled to PA for Christmas!!)
I’ve held off on a “winter coats” post in part because I didn’t want to acknowledge the need for a winter coat, but being in denial of winter won’t keep anyone warm.
I wanted to give you my thoughts on my favorite types of winter coats, the colors that give you the most mileage (surprisingly not black!) and different options for accessorizing. If you’re not a fan of coats with color (hopefully this post convinces you otherwise), I’ll show you how brightly colored scarves, hats, and gloves can add some fun to neutral coat colors.

Pretty Blue Style: Women's Winter Coats

#1 & 2: Style & Fabric.
Generally, I think the most versatile women’s winter coat is a knee-length, single-breasted wool coat like the blue, purple, and grey coats featured above. This style of coat works well with pants and most skirts and dresses for many different occasions. It’s almost universally flattering and can be found in almost every store and every price point. Wool is often the best material for a warm winter coat because it is breathable, while helping you retain your own body heat.
If you only wear pants, a pea coat is another good option (the double-breasted red coat at the top of the post) because those coats tend to be shorter and most likely won’t cover a dress or skirt.
#3: Size
Size is one consideration folks tend to forget about. There is nothing worse than having a cute winter coat that is too small when you have winter layers and sweaters on. Make sure that your winter coat is a bit larger than your regular size so it can accommodate several layers of shirts underneath while still buttoning properly. For me, my long winter coat doesn’t accommodate several layers, but my navy blue peacoat does.
#4: Color
Just because the winter months are dark and dreary does not mean that your outerwear needs to look that way. Although many think a black coat may be a versatile and safe choice “match everything”, I say lighten up your mood with color that is still versatile enough for everyday.
There are lot of colors out there that are far more interesting, yet play a similar function to a neutral shade like black. Colors like blue, plum, red, and grey coats can be great colors to consider purchasing in lieu of black or brown.
#5: Accessories
To increase the versatility your winter coat, consider updating your hats, gloves and scarves rather than purchasing a new coat when you get bored with it. If you don’t have a brown or black coat, you can go for bright accents or even neutrals–they will both work! Here are some styles I put together for inspiration.
Pretty Blue Style: Winter Coats and accessories

Breakdown:
#’s 1 and 2 show the blue and plum colored coats with bright accessories for those in a playful mood, where as #’s 3 and 4 use neutral accessories for a more serious look. See below for how I styled pink and grey coats.
Pretty Blue Style: Winter Coats 2
Practical tips for taking care of your coat:
Once you have found your perfect winter coat, please take good care of it! Dry cleaning a few times during the season is a good idea, and be particularly vigilant if your winter coat is a light color. Always hang your winter coat on a quality hanger (that will preserve the shape of the shoulders.) At the end of the season, check for loose buttons and small tears, especially tears in the lining and have them fixed before next winter. There is nothing worse than reaching for your winter coat and remembering it’s unwearable.
Stay warm and enjoy the weekend,
A. Genise


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Wednesday Wisdom: Lessons from the movie “The Women”

After all of the Thanksgiving sickness, my daughter now has an ear infection…fun!

When she gets sick she tends to hang all over me, which means I get sick too.

This past Monday was a sick day where I actually sat still. When I was awake I ended up watching TV– usually HGTV, but even that got old.

I stumbled on the movie The Women, and I recalled that I liked that it when I saw it in the theater, so I watched it.

The Women Poster

Quick synopsis for those who haven’t seen it:

The Women tells the story of Mary Haines (Meg Ryan), a clothing designer who seems to have it all – a beautiful country home, a rich financier husband, an adorable 11-year-old daughter and a part-time career creating designs for her father’s venerable clothing company. But when Mary’s husband enters into an affair with Crystal Allen (Eva Mendes), a sultry ‘spritzer girl’ lurking behind the Saks Fifth Avenue perfume counter, all hell breaks loose. Mary and her BFF Sylvie’s relationship is tested to the breaking point while their tight-knit circle of friends, including mega-mommy Edie Cohen (Debra Messing) and author Alex Fisher (Jada Pinkett-Smith), all start to question their own friendships and romantic relationships.

So at the end of the movie, after Meg Ryan and her BFF made up, after Debra Messing’s character has a baby boy (the only male in the entire movie!!), and Meg Ryan starts to move towards reconciling with her husband, this amazing song comes on as the end credits are rolling. After feverishly searching for the song (imagine googling “song during end credits of The Women movie” didn’t work!? ), I found the song.

It starts out: “Yesterday wasn’t easy…” and that just had me!

The next verse starts out: Suddenly it gets clearer….better days are drawing nearer. There’s nobody to stop us now.

It’s called Count on Me by a talented artist named Lucy Schwartz. (Click here for lyrics to this song)

Here’s Lucy just singing plainly. No flashing lights, no drama, just a voice and a piano. (no judgement on the xylophone playing, my sister and I would joke and say that’s what we’d have to do–with no singing if we were in the video.)

It’s just an uplifting song. (Digression: I am always surprised at how such great talent is not more popular. Oh well, she has a new fan in me.)

The song is basically about friendship, about having someone to lean on when it’s hard to move forward. But it also talks about how storms clear up so quickly. The day after a snow storm is usually sunny and clear. It’s just hard to remember that when the storm in right on top of you.

Watching Meg’s character come into her own was so empowering and inspiring.

I know for me, I am making alot of empowering decisions that I just think are crazy, totally counter to my risk averse personality. I feel like I am at a fork in the road like Meg’s character was. The safe path I’ve been on is to the right, and the entrepreneurial risk taker, dreamer, go-getter path is to the left. Watching how Meg’s life went from a hot mess to magnificent is a great reminder of how life works when you hang in there long enough to pursue your dreams.

In the meantime, it’s just one foot in front of the other, one day at a time and sometimes, (to be honest) I’m counting the hours until my dreams manifest. I am grateful for the lessons I am learning now, because they are ordained and will carry me through to greatness–as your lessons will for you.

Thanks to my sister and my good girl friends who are supporting me, to those I “can count on.” You will be blessed greatly.

And in true pretty blue fashion, here are some outfits inspired by the movie:

The Women

 

Alexander McQueen dress, $3,865 / Hervé Léger body con dress / Cutout dress / Black Ruche Detail Shrug, $16 / Tabitha Simmons platform high heels / Giuseppe Zanotti stiletto heels / Schutz heel boots / Long chain earrings / Kenneth Jay Lane chunky jewelry, $86 / Sorrelli vintage earrings

Best,

~A. Genise


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Pretty Healthy/Style:Post-Thanksgiving Routine

Let’s get this “admission” over with.

I did it and I’m fairly sure you did too: OVERATE!

I thoroughly enjoyed my 7 or so crescent rolls, my mac and cheese, and mashed potatoes. I was grossly full and very happy! I had a great time joking and laughing with family and despite a sick child (103 temp!) Thanksgiving was a blast!

Post Thanksgiving, I squeezed into the only pair of jeans that fit me, and when I needed to switch it up, I unbuttoned the cargo pants that didn’t fit for the car ride home. (no judgement please—I wore a long t-shirt to cover it up!)

So, in the aftermath of Thanksgiving and before I indulge again for Christmas dinner, I’d like to get back on track. No crazy stuff, all reasonable adjustments.

Starting today (if my cold isn’t horrible–come on you KNOW I got sick from the kid breathing on me all week!) I am vowing to do my 15-20 mins of yoga/pilates in the morning.

I will continue with my Zumba (and water Zumba?!?) 2 nights a week.

I’ll need to get back to working out with my You Tube videos and not let myself “relax” on the weekend.

Most importantly for me, I will return to my more disciplined eating style. Although it’s not for everyone, I’ve found that as I get older refined sugars/carbs hate my body. So all the exercise in the world does me no good because I’m lethargic and miserable when I eat certain foods.

With all that said, let’s focus on style. What can I wear to get me through this week? (Disclaimer: I am not one to have several different sizes of clothes in my closet because it forces me to self-correct a bit sooner if I over indulge. It removes my safety net.)

Below are some ideas for outfits that can help camouflage the post holiday bulge while it’s “working it’s way out/off”:

1.Once again, blazers. (unbuttoned of course!). A good tailored blazer cinches the waist.

Pretty Blue Style: Post-Thanksgiving Work Outfits

Wool jacket / Knit blazer / Apt. 9 / J.Crew wool jacket


2. Dresses

I know it seems counter-intuitive, (at least it did to me), why on earth would I want to shove myself into a dress if I’m not feeling “myself”? Well, because the dresses I am proposing have a little give, and will be flattering. There’s nothing worse than working all day in ill-fitting pants. You get the permanent button mark on your belly (because they were way too tight!)

Pretty Blue Style: Post-Thanksgiving Work Outfits
Dress / Banana Republic dot dress / Banana Republic pleated dress / J.Crew fitted cocktail dress

Wrap dresses are especially great, if they aren’t clingy.

Pretty Blue Style: Post-Thanksgiving Work Outfits

3. Patterned Blouses

Loose and flowy tops are perfect!

Pretty Blue Style: Post-Thanksgiving Work Outfits
Sheer top / Sheer top

4. Peplum

It hides just the right spots.

Pretty Blue Style: Post-Thanksgiving Work Outfits

stay inspired and enjoy the journey!

A. Genise


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Pretty Blue Style:7 Men’s Casual Wardrobe Staples (Fall/Winter)

Dressing a man can be tricky.

I always need to build in extra time to make sure my hubby looks presentable (read: ironed and matching). We can talk all day long about how to look good as women, but if the dad, boyfriend, hubby or brother in your life looks a hot mess, when you go out together you’ll be a luke-warm mess (at best).

Now I’m not talking about how JLo “made over” Ben Affleck (if you don’t remember the golden tan, bronzer, and the perfectly styled hair, look below for a reminder)

I’m talking about more of an understated make over that allows the man in your life to look like himself, just only more refined.

Given my goal, my selections for 7 key pieces for a man’s wardrobe are:

Pretty Blue Style: Men's Casual Saples (fall/winter)

1. Oxford/Button-up Shirt

The oxford shirt is an invaluable item in both casual and professional settings. If you keep it subtle, it’ll withstand fashion trends.

2. Jeans

Blue jeans look good with nearly everything from a blazer and loafers to a T-shirt and sneakers. Again, avoiding trendy styles (for example, purple skinny jeans) and sticking with basics ( worn-in straight legs) will make this staple more versatile.

3.Loafers/Boat Shoes

Because of their minimalism, they will never go out of style. They can be dressed up with a blazer or kept casual with some khakis.

4.T-shirts

T-shirts are a wardrobe staple all year round. A thin T-shirt under a sweater makes these pieces useful even in the fall and winter.

5. Blazer/Sports coat:

A good blazer can be used in numerous situations and can often make mediocre looking ensembles respectable (yall know I love me some blazers!).

Your blazer can be worn at the office with a matching pair of suit pants, or to a casual weekend dinner with a pair of jeans.

6. Sweaters

Kind of a no-brainer. My suggestions are to keep them simple for maximum versatility. I am a fan of argyle and v-necks.

7. Khakis

Provides a nice alternative to jeans that can be dressed up or made more casual. I (strongly) prefer the flat front style over pleated khakis.

Just a few combinations from the wardrobe staples I selected above.

Pretty Blue Style: Men's Looks (fall/winter)
Pretty Blue Style: Men's Casual Saples (fall/winter)
Pretty Blue Style: Men's Coats (fall/winter)