Saturday, December 18, 2010

Great news about our friend, and a Christmas video!

How y'all doin'?  That little image to the left remarkably resembles me this week (sans heels) -- I have been moving a mile a minute and finishing everything up before houseguests begin to arrive!

Just whizzing by the 'puter on this busy Saturday-before-Christmas for three quickie reasons, y'all!

First, I really want to send a (((((((HUG))))) and shout-out to our beautiful friend Dina over at My Superfluities.  I was very, very glad to hear that she's safely at home recuperating and taking care of herself.  That news is the answer, I know, to the prayers that so many of us sent up to the good Lord!!  Can I speak for us, JCAs?  Dina, we miss you, we all adore you, and we can't wait to hear that you're feeling 100% like your energetic, sassy, stylish self again!

Okay, second, I promise I'll be back soon with OOTD.  This week's been crazy, as I said, and I've generally not been wearing anything new or especially interesting.  Like other gals I've been putting my Ankle Stretch Toothpick Jeans (in the Twilight wash and the Amore wash) through a heavy get-dressed-quickly rotation, along with the adorable Tartan Perfect Shirt and similar combos of a perfect shirt with a cardi or a cashmere henley and boots.  Preppy, predictable for me and not too thrilling, but always wicked cute and comfy in a pinch, ya know?

And third, from my heart to yours, I wanted to share a really wonderful 5-minute YouTube video for the holidays.  The "star" of this video is the young pastor of a church in Ohio that one of my dearest friends attends.  But don't be fooled by that -- this is no ordinary "pastor video" and you won't hear a sermon.  Trust me -- grab some hot chocolate and prepare to smile!  Whether Christmas is your holiday or not, you can't help but feel the infectious joy and spirit of the season in this video, and you'll want to share it with your friends, too!

Happy holidays, everyone -- be back soon! MWAH!

P.S.  Could I ask a favor, glaydies?  If you see this post, please pass along the good news about Dina, and this fantastic video, to other JCA's!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ho Ho Ho ROTD: a GREAT Soup Recipe!

Happy Saturday morning!

Okay, who else besides me is s-l-o-g-g-i-n-g through the Great Holiday To-Do List this weekend! :-)

DH is away on a quick guys' junket with friends, so my trusty sidekick Eddie and I are holding down the fort here at Casa UNC, and we're in full-on decorating mode.  Being an interfaith family we gear up for Hanukkah and Christmas, and since Hanukkah came early this year those decorations have gone up and come down already.  I am way behind schedule decorating for Christmas, though, since I lost an entire week right after Thanksgiving snuffling around feeling crummy with a wicked head cold.

But Eddie and I are making good progress and we've got our system down.  I decorate and he watches and occasionally chuffs and yarfs with an approving opinion.  The Christmas candles are in the windows, I've made my wreath, hung it on the front door and rigged up our spotlight for it, and a family of lighted reindeer are festively grazing in our front yard.  Oh, and the tree is patiently waiting, naked but fragrant, in its stand until DH gets home tomorrow -- he'll string the lights and we'll put the ornaments on together.  God bless my adorable Jewish hubby, who gets such a sweet kick out of decorating a Christmas tree!  I'm taking a break shortly to have lunch and hit Kohl's (her fave place) with one of my best BFFs from high school.  It's a holiday Saturday tradition for us and I can't wait!  Later on, today's remaining projects are a mantel and the banisters/balusters on the staircase.  Pictures coming soon!

Instead of an OOTD (I'm in schleppy clothes right now and am changing for lunch into an outfit y'all have seen), I thought I'd post a ROTD -- Recipe of the Day.  This is a fantastic and truly insanely simple Rachael Ray soup.  The picture at left shows it garnished with Rachael's homemade Cheese and Herb Puffs, which I haven't tried, but I'll post that recipe for you, too -- they look yum-o, as she would say!

This soup was really good the day I made it, but 24 hours in the fridge made a HUGE difference to the depth of flavor.  I served it with turkey sandwiches and a simple green salad -- so homey and delicious!  And by the way, it's not a thick soup -- it's hearty, but it's one that you could sip in a mug if you wanted to.  Another yum-o idea.

Hope you enjoy, everyone!  Ho Ho Ho!!!

Rachael Ray's Roasted Garlic and Roasted Tomato Soup
Link to video of Rachael making this
  • 2 heads garlic
  • EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling plus 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 plum or Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise (I used a whole container of Campari tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, such as chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, parsley (To this, I added 2 Tsp dried Italian herbs mixture)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large can Italian tomatoes or crushed tomatoes (I used a large can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes; Muir Glen would be good, too)
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock (I used Kitchen Basics chicken stock)
  • A generous handful of basil, shredded or torn
  • I used Low-Sodium stock and regretted that b/c the finished product tasted a little flat to me, so I added 1 heaping tsp "Better Than Bouillon" chicken-flavored bouillon.
Yields:  Serves 4.

For roasted garlic:  Preheat oven to 425° F.
With a very sharp knife, cut the top (pointy) ends off the heads of garlic, drizzle with EVOO and season with salt and pepper.  Wrap them in foil and roast til soft, 40-45 minutes. 

If you've got one oven, this can be done ahead of time -- just keep the garlic wrapped in foil and set it aside on your countertop.  If you have two ovens, you can roast the garlic and tomatoes at the same time (on separate timers!)

For roasted tomatoes:  Preheat oven (or reduce heat in oven if you've just finished roasting the garlic in your single oven) to 300° F.  Arrange the 24 halves of tomatoes on a cooking rack set on a baking sheet, so heat can circulate around the tomatoes.  Drizzle with EVOO and season with salt, pepper and your herbs of choice.  Roast for 2 hours.

While the garlic and tomatoes are roasting, sauté the chopped onion in EVOO (one turn around the pan) until soft and caramelized slightly, about 10 minutes.  Set aside.

From here, you have two prep options:
  1. EITHER:  Unwrap garlic and squeeze the cloves out of the paper husks (it should come right out very easily.)  Discard husks.  Place roasted garlic cloves, 1/2 to 3/4 of the roasted tomatoes, the onions and the canned tomatoes into a food processor or heavy-duty blender, and purée until smooth.  Pour this tomato base into a pot with the chicken or veggie stock and stir to combine, then heat through. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.  (I used quite a bit of black pepper as we like a little "bite".)
  2. OR:  Unwrap garlic and squeeze the cloves out of the paper husks (it should come right out very easily.)  Discard husks.  Place roasted garlic cloves, 1/2 to 3/4 of the roasted tomatoes, the onions and the canned tomatoes directly into a pot with the chicken or veggie stock, and use an immersion blender (I call mine my "boat motor") to combine and puree, then heat through. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, chop remaining roasted tomatoes and stir into soup to give the soup some texture. Serve in shallow bowls. Garnish with Cheese and Herb Puffs or fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and additional chopped fresh or dried herbs.  Great with grilled cheese or turkey sandwiches and a simple salad alongside!

Rachael Ray's Cheese and Herb Puffs
Link to video of Rachael making this
  • 1 cup water 
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, parsley
  • 1 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded
Yields: Makes 24-30 puffs
Preheat oven to 400º F.
In a medium saucepot over medium-high heat, combine water, butter and salt.  Heat until butter has melted and water is boiling.

Add flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Stir until mixture begins to create a dough ball in the center of the pot and the dough is completely pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 2 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. On low speed, add the eggs to the mixture one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl well after each addition and beating until the bowl feels cool (the mixture should be very smooth and silky).  Add in the herbs and cheese after the last addition of the eggs.

Transfer the mixture to a large Baggie and cut half an inch off of one corner to create a pastry bag.  On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, squeeze the mixture into small rounds and bake until golden brown and puffed, about 25 minutes. (If you're not into piping, I think you could also easily create small rounds by hand, simply using a teaspoon and WET hands.) 

Rachael says:  These can be made a day or two ahead of time and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.  If they feel soggy when you take them out, pop them into a 400º F oven for a couple of minutes until they crisp up again.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

IRL OOTD: Mixing Warm Tonal Neutrals

Thank you ALL so much for the ri-DUNK-ulously flattering comments on my recent IRL blog pix!!  Especially coming from the sophisticated eyes of the JCA community, your compliments are so deeply appreciated by this little old middle-aged mama!  Seriously, you're inspiring me to spiff up a bit each morning, eat my Wheaties and get to my cycling classes! :-)

Today's outfit was thrown together quickly because I've had (and am having, but blogging on my Hot List!) a wacko day.  But I'm happy with it, because it reflects one of my favorite ways to dress.

Sorry about the exposure on the pix, but hope you'll be able to get the color-combo idea. :-)

This ensemble combines a slightly surprising blend of J. Crew warm tonal neutrals including:
All of these blended tones are tied together by the accessories, starring (once again) the Bayberry Washed Wool Scarf (2010), a piece that I would now pay 3X FP for because it's turned out to be such a workhorse.  I'm sure you're all getting just a wee bit weary of seeing me wear it, actually.  To wear this scarf today, I wove it around last year's very long Crystal Cadence Necklace, then looped the combined scarf-necklace into a soft, controlled knot.  Echoing the necklace, I added the Heirloom Flora Earrings a/k/a the 2009 "J. Crew Says Thank You for Devoting Your AmEx Card to Us" earrings.

I also added a loose belt for a pop of soft color reinforcing the colors in the scarf, and as "waist jewelry" -- see my Polyvore set for today for an explanation of that concept.  This belt is truly vintage J. Crew and I have no clue what it's called or when I bought it; I can tell you I've had it for at LEAST five years and I'd bet longer.   It's a rich burgundy-wine patent leather skinny belt, and the patent leather is broken up by segments of antiqued gold thick chain links.  Terrific piece.  And although the pic above weirdly makes it look like I've got a spare tire over the top of the belt, IRL the effect isn't like that at all -- it's a slimming, waist-enhancing little belt.  I swear. ;-)

And as for my shoes, they're a find, too.  Last year I was whizzing thru DSW one day and spotted a pair of EXACTLY THE SAME COLOR BURGUNDY PATENT Nine West penny loafers (a style called "Winogreen") in my size on the super-sale rack.  Super comfy, too.  Whoo baby.  There were only four appropriate words:  Welcome to my closet!

Close-up of the scarf/necklace combo and
shoes.  Socks are a sort of pale-oak color lightweight wool -- too chilly to go without them today!!! :-)


Aw-ight, outta here. Cycling class at 6, dinner to throw together first.  Ciao cuties!!!


Monday, December 6, 2010

BRRRR!!! IRL OOTD featuring the Caramel Arrow Sweater-Jacket

Holla to all y'all!  Which, by the way, is the proper plural form of 'y'all', for those of you longing to speak better Southern. :-)

Most people make New Year's resolutions; some keep them; some fail to keep them; some, like me, avoid them altogether.  But I got my first iPhone recently and it inspired me to make a Thanksgiving resolution of sorts: that I'd try my d*!$%mnedest (1) to find a place in my house where I could take pix of myself with my fancy-schmancy new phone-that-does-everything-except-drive-me-to-my-appointments and (2) with IRL pix in hand, to start actually blogging on my blog. 

Hence, y'all, I'm tryin'.

It is cold here today, by our thin-blooded standards and I'd wager by anyone's -- right now, Weatherbug informs me that it's 33.9 degrees, and it's windy, too.  This morning our bossy senior citizen Bichon Frise, Eddie (see below and at the bottom of my blog) even hesitated to take his quite fur-clad self outside for a potty break.  Watching Eddie this morning I couldn't help but think about what my mom would have said.  She was a true Steel Magnolia who had a perfect one-liner for every occasion -- often slightly inappropriate, always delivered with a serenely confident straight face.  Mama never seemed aware of being off-color or funny, which just made her funnier.  About today, she would have said "Honey, bundle up, it's as cold as a hooker's heart out there!"

What better day, then, to layer up with my luscious Arrow Sweater-Jacket in the Heathered Caramel color!  Here's my OOTD, minus my Tall Classic UGGs in Chestnut, which I wore while I was out and about earlier.   I changed shoes when I got home to my toasty house.

OOTD 12-06-10
featuring the Arrow Sweater-Jacket
in Heathered Caramel (size Small)

I am also wearing:

  • J. Crew Merino Turtleneck from 2008 in Bright Peony (size Small)
  • J. Crew Dressage Belt in English Saddle (size Medium) (See it styled wonderfully on Slastena here) -- I liked the way it added some "finish" at my waist over the turtleneck, and I wore it as you would wear "waist jewelry" -- loose and drapey -- not cinched as if it were holding up my jeans.  Little added short-waisted-girl trick there. ;-)
  • J. Crew Bayberry Washed Wool Scarf (sold out but worthy of stalking) -- and since the product page seems to be wonky and the picture isn't showing, below is a closeup of this versatile, soft and lightweight but warm piece.
Hairdo courtesy of Pebbles Flintstone.  There isn't much else that fine, flyaway hair like mine will do on such a cold day, so I don't fight it.

The fab Bayberry Scarf.

Polyvore for the day.

And I'll leave you with a shot of my old doggie enjoying the early evening in his favorite position and favorite chair (on what we call his "chair sheet") by the fire.  Everybody all together now:  AAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

IRL OOTD 12-04-10 Black, Grey & Holiday Red

Darkness has fallen (in that sudden THUD! way that winter darkness comes) and the holiday lights are twinkling at my neighbors' houses, inspiring me to get my decorating mojo cookin' tomorrow!

This weekend one of my BFFs (who makes gorgeous vintage-glass garden art) was working a gigantic craft festival selling her beautiful wares, and I had the great pleasure of manning her booth with her this afternoon.  There is nothing like an arts 'n crafts show to get your holiday juices flowing!  This one was called the "Apple Annie Festival" (who knows why) and was held at a big Catholic church in a nearby suburb.  The place was hoppin', and I was really pleased to see that people were buying, not just looking.  Maybe the economy really is inching its way around the corner, Mr. President!  In any event, the atmosphere was warm and communal and holly-jolly, and it was fantastic to see my dear friend's special pieces selling like hotcakes!

Today's ensemble features last year's black A-line Wool Bungalow Skirt, a piece that I've really enjoyed a lot.  This is a size 6, which gives me room to pull it down a bit.

For a day like this when I knew I'd be bending, stooping, standing for a long time and even hauling bulky things to people's cars for them, this little skirt was a no-brainer.  It's super comfortable; a very decent length even when bending and stooping; fresh, perky and unwrinkled even after hours of wear.  You can still buy this skirt in the Factory version right here (I am seriously thinking about getting it in the Cabernet color since I missed out on last year's lovely Garnet color).

And you could sub in any number of things from the current J. Crew inventory to get a similar effect, such as the Wooltown Skirt or the equally cute Wool Bell Skirt (currently at a nice sale price, especially in the versatile Heathered Aluminum).

Also wearing:
  • Heathered dark grey tights from Nine West that I picked up last week at the mall on a 2 for $15 sale.  I had planned to inaugurate the lovely J. Crew Wool-Blend Ribbed Tights in Urban Grey, but listen to this -- they snagged on the band of my wristwatch as I was putting them on.  For the first time.  BIG snag.  BIG.  I know they didn't cost me an arm and a leg, but come ON -- the FIRST TIME I PUT THEM ON?? Sigh.  So out came the new Nine West substitutes, and I must say they are super great tights. 
  • J. Crew Vachetta Grommet Belt, size M, in black, from earlier in 2010.  Factory version still available right here.
  • My much-loved, ridiculously comfortable black suede Pirate Boots a/k/a the Nine West Frollic from Fall 2009 (often available on eBay, as I've linked here).  I wore them scrunched down to bootie height today, but often wear them full height over jeans or cords.
  • A very old but awesome J. Crew bateau-necked 3/4 sleeve very soft cotton knit sweater -- anybody have a clue what this one was called? It was also made in navy and I would love to stalk eBay for it, because I've had this one for at least four years and it looks brand new with bright white and fresh holiday-red stripes despite having been washed probably 35 times.  Oh J. Crew, bring back this quality!  This year's crazy popular Vintage Bateau Top in Dark Pewter would be a great sub for this kind of look, as I've shown in my Polyvore for today.
  • Gold hoops on my ears and a couple of very good David Yurman knockoff long necklaces (see links on my Polyvore set to the real items).  Love his stuff -- casual and sporty.  I have several real Yurman pieces, but I also have, and loooooooove, a very good knockoff lady. You didn't hear me say that, right? Never, ever would I wear my real stuff to do what I did today!
  • And finally, although it is VERY difficult to see in this picture (sorry sorry sorry), I also wore a black, grey and red plaid cotton gauze scarf from Target -- one of those $14 finds that makes you just grin all day.  Similar here, here and here.  Here's a closer look at the colors (taken right here in my office under way better light than my full-length mirror):

Dinner beckons. Have a nice evening, everyone! Polyvore set for today:


Thursday, December 2, 2010

IRL OOTD: Under the Weather with J. Crew, featuring Zip-Side Sweatshirt

Hello everybody!  My second attempt at IRL photos of myself comes to you from another bright but quite chilly day, and one on which I woke up to find that Zicam, Vitamin C and I have lost the little battle we've been waging against an oncoming cold and sore throat.  Ugh, right?

I'm working on a project at home today and had no place that I absolutely HAD to go.  So when I got dressed (which almost didn't happen at all, because lemme tell ya, some flannel jammies were looking real good), the ONLY requirement for me was that whatever I put on had to ooooooooooze comfort.  And this outfit does the trick nicely, I think.  Plus, I'm pretty pleased with myself (honk honk sniff sniff) under the circumstances for being uber-comfy whilst also nodding to the "let's all wear sweatpants as if they were jeans" trend.  Suhhhh-WISH -- score for me! :-)

Lemme tell ya a bit about what I'm loafin' around in.  And my apologies for the quality of the pictures.  I plead the Sudafed effect, y'all.  I was finding it ridiculously hard to hold my iPhone and myself still at the same time, so I'm posing a bit goofy, and it didn't help matters that I'm wearing navy and charcoal grey today in not-great lighting.  But I'll show ya what I got, okay?

OOTD 12-02-10
"Under the Weather with J. Crew"
  • J. Crew Zip-Side Sweatshirt in Heather Charcoal (on sale in a few remaining sizes for $39.99 in this color and $24.99 in "dark cloud", which is really a heathered athletic gray -- plus 25% to 30% off depending on your ride-along skillz!)
This French Terry item got mixed reviews from the JCA community, but I found it on a super-sale rack a while back for, like, a dollar plus a discount.  So it screamed "Try me on!", and I like it a lot.  Lightweight and slightly fitted (I got the Medium), and wicked comfy.  It looks very cute with a Perfect Shirt peeking out from under it, too.  There is more contrast between the navy pants and this sweatshirt than you'd think from my pix.
This can be seen better in the picture below, and was another lucky find, on sale early in the season.  It's 72" long and made of a gauzy wool and cotton blend, so it's warm but not itchy and very easy to work with.  By the way, a big thank-you to Sparrowsandsparkles, from whose wonderful blog I learned how to tie the version of a four-in-hand knot shown in my pix.  I use that technique ALL the time, and every time I tie a scarf that way I know for sure that some other woman is going to stop me and ask me how to do it.  Awesome little trick!

  • J. Crew Ultraknit Weekend Pants (from 2009) in Navy, size Small (Polyvore link here; similar 2010 version available here in Navy and other colors-- same wonderful knit but without the elastic cuff on the bottom of the pants, in Navy and other colors)
I wish I'd bought these last year in every available color.  And I wish I had a nickel for every time I've worn or washed this pair.  They've stayed true to color and have held up beautifully.  I personally prefer the elasticized bottom cuff because it makes them very easy to tuck into boots (as I've done today), but I like this year's version, too, and I suppose it's still available in every size and every color only because it's not on sale.  With the current promo, I'm tempted to tell Santa to bring me another pair!
Y'all read my UGGs testimonial yesterday.  This is my second pair, and I just love 'em.  Size down one from your regular shoe size for this Classic version.

So that's it from Sneezeville for today! Stay warm, y'all, and don't forget to cough into your elbow, sneeze into a soft Kleenex and Purell Purell Purell!!! 

Oh, and my Polyvore for today is below.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

IRL (!!) OOTD: 12-01-10 featuring Marled Wool Shawl-Collar Cardi

Oh how I love this cardigan, J. Crew's Marled Wool Shawl-Collar cardi from the October '10 rollout.  It's toasty, not itchy, flattering and very well made.  The fit is TTS to a smidge large.  I am a size 6 or 8 (most often 8) in J. Crew jackets and I took a Small in this cardi.  On this blustery, brilliantly blue-skied day, I can't think of a more perfect yummy piece to pull out for an afternoon of Santa errands!

Hold onto your hats, kids, because I have finally found a spot where I can take IRL pictures of myself (a weird skill, can I just say?) and so, with great fanfare, here ya go -- not fantastic quality because the lighting in my "spot" isn't great.  I'll keep working on that!

OOTD 12-01-10

J. Crew Ankle Stretch Toothpick Jean in Twilight Wash, size 29 (from early 2010, but lots of similar options are available -- IMHO, a dark but warm blue wash like this one looks best with this cardi)

J. Crew Marled Wool Shawl-Collar Cardigan in Camel, size Small (sold out in both colors, but look for popbacks)

J. Crew Smooth Leather Belt in Weathered Wood, size Medium (sold out in this caramel-y color, but this is an AWESOME belt, glaydies, and the basic black is on sale for $19.99)

J. Crew Ringspun Candy "Licorice" Tee, size Medium (I could have taken the Small too; this piece is one many of y'all will remember from Holiday 2008.  I bought it on eBay about a year ago for a song from a seller who clearly had no idea what he/she HAD!  And if you're an XS, here ya go -- one's currently listed on eBay:  Current eBay listing for XS Licorice Tee)

UGGs Classic Tall in Chestnut, size 7 (I'm an 8 in most shoes and I think UGGs Classics reliably run one size small).  I do not know for the life of me why I waited years to buy a pair of UGGs, but believe me, once I did I went running back for another pair real soon.  What an INSANE idea these shoes are -- it's like wearing bedroom slippers to the mall.  Warm slippers, at that.  I. am. sayin'.  For comfort like this, I'll happily accept the fact that UGGs + my skinny legs = an unmistakable resemblance to Daisy Duck.

And rounding out this outfit, I just tossed on some big gold hoop earrings (you can't see 'em behind all that hair) and one of my handy necklaces from Forever 21.  Being the mom of a college student and a college graduate (oh yikes -- translation: there is just no flippin' way around the fact that I am on the downhill side of middle age), I always feel a bit conspicuous in F21 amongst all the teenyboppers and young moms.  But it's worth braving all that youthfulness to get their ridiculously useful and cheap jewelry.  This necklace is typical -- it has faux crystal fireballs and faux resin beads in caramel, pale grey and peach, all on a super long gold-toned chain-link single strand that can be doubled, or worn piled up as a bracelet.  I believe I paid about $6.00 for this baby last year at the mall.  What a find for the 2009-2010 J. Crew color scheme, huh?

My Polyvore for today:


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

HURRY!! 24-hour TODAY show "Steals and Deals"

Hey everyone!

I promise (cross my heart) to re-start my blogging.  But that's not why I've dashed to the computer today, y'all.

A small favor, please?  If by chance any of my Followers read this (and I can't imagine why you would since I've sunk without a trace), please share a link to this post with others in the Crewniverse.  And bless your little Follower hearts for hangin' in there with me.


The TODAY show has brought back their wildly popular 24-hour holiday "Steals and Deals", and there are some crazy-good deals including Gemma Redux necklaces for $39 (they each retail for around $400), and a beautiful basic Ann Taylor merino v-neck cardigan for $24 (retail is $78).  And there's more.  Check it out here:

TODAY Show's Holiday Steals and Deals

I'll be back soon with an update on life and fashion in the always-some-shade-of-blue household of JCAUNCMom and my wonderful hubby, UNCDad a/k/a "I Went to Duke So Why Did BOTH of My Sons Go to Carolina??". :-)  Ciao!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

OOTD and Product Review: Medallion Foulard Skimmer Pant

Hey everyone!

I am, truly, the world's worst blogger.  Every day I pinky-swear I'm gonna find time to write.  And every day I also swear to myself that I'm gonna find a spot in my house where I can photograph myself in a mirror, so that you all can actually SEE me in a few of my outfits.  (I say a few because I am self-aware enough to know that I -- unlike so many of you impressive JCAs -- will nevah, evah be disciplined enough, or find the time enough, to snap daily or even frequent pix of my lil' ensembles.)

But y'all can see how bad I am at honoring my own pinky-swears. :-)  It sure is a good thing that I'm not making promises to myself about anything life-altering, don't ya think??

This afternoon I've found myself with a bit of extra time -- which I really ought to be using to get dinner started or to photograph some for-sale items for the weekly exchange.  Hubby (known in these parts as FAH -- short for "Fun As Hell", which he most definitely is) will just have to deal with salad and leftovers.  And you'll have to remain in suspense about what I've found in my closet to which you could say "Well, welcome to MY closet!!"

Because, IRL pic or not (and it's a not, again, sadly), I have a Polyvore, at least, of today's outfit, and a product review, even!

The product of the day here is the Medallion Foulard Skimmer Pant, now available only on popback but lately on sale, ridiculously, for $19.99.  I say ridiculously because, glaydies, these pants are da bomb.  Stalk them, girls.  I'm tellin' ya.

I tried on the solid-colored Skimmer Pants earlier in the season at my B&M since, being a nicely obedient little J. Crew customer, I listened when The Crew told us the Skimmers were this year's answer to last year's wonderful summerweight cocktail capris and cafe capris.  And they were, indeed, terrific -- they hug the derriere in a flattering way, with cute rear pockets that add a little sporty interest to yo' tushy, and they're a versatile 26" length.  But I kinda pigged out on last year's similar styles, so I passed on buying any of the solid colors.

Then one day recently I was playing on Polyvore looking for ideas (instead of writing in my blog, yeah, I know, I know) and I ran across this classic white-shirt set from the fabulously fashionable itztru:  Itztru's Medallion Foulard Skimmer Pant Classic White Shirt Look.  I had never noticed these pants before, but I thought they were interesting and itztru mentioned that she'd bought them for $19.99!  This, of course, piqued my interest even more, so I clicked on over to JC to read more about them -- and discovered them still on sale for that price, and not even FS.  So naturally I added them to the always-growing pile in my shopping cart, and when we got the last EXTRA20 I bought them for $16 and change.   Loooooooooooove it.

The fabric is what makes these Medallion Foulard Skimmers very special.  I don't know what mill JC bought this luscious cotton from, but I'm betting it's one of the best.  The cotton is silky and crisp at the same time, and has a lovely, subtle sateen finish.  The foulard print's small and also subtle, and the scale and colors of the print work beautifully across a surprising array of my tee shirts and sweaters.  And the fit, as I mentioned, is very nice.  And TTS, by the way.  Today I inaugurated them with a whole day of errand-running and they still look crisp and pretty fresh after all these hot, humid hours in and out of my car.

So here's the Polyvore of my OOTD, which, I must say, exactly reflects my personal style.  This is the kind of look you'll see me in five days out of seven.  The other two days I'll maybe throw in a smidge of ruffled-something-or-other.  Because how can you be a true JCA and not wear a smidge of ruffled-something-or-other?? :-)


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Back to Basics: Revisiting Finding Your Best Colors

Hey y'all, I'm back from our safari trip to Africa and enjoying catching up on your blogs.  I've put 150 trip pix on my Facebook page, so if any of you are on FB and would like to be my FB friend to look at pix (among other fine reasons :-)), please e-mail me at!  Sneak peek:

The Mosela-sela Pride
18 lionesses and juveniles, Madikwe Game Reserve, May 2010

On to today's topic which has jolted me out of my post-vacation lurking laziness.  Hope y'all will find this interesting and fun!

One of my new favorite bloggers, Sue from ReBloomer, has a really thought-provoking post today called Are You In a Color Rut?  If I can paraphrase her, she's feeling pulled and tugged and a bit confused by the "colors du jour" in the fashion industry and especially by the invitingly-named colors at J. Crew. 

We all want to look "fresh" and at least current, if not trendy or faddish.  But we also want to look our best, right?  So with the rag trade in general and our favorite "What recession??" retailer in particular trying to tell us what colors are fashionable, what colors should we all be buying?
Big ol' thanks to Sue for bringing this up, because this issue hits a bulls-eye with me.

Back in the day when I sold expensive clothes, my clients would walk into our showroom and be knocked flat by the display.  We had 600-ish new pieces every season, and we arranged them beautifully, so it was just too much to take in, like some lavish buffet when you're hungry.  Our clients didn't know where to start, and my job was to help them instantly screen out the things that weren't even going to be worth a look for them.  We'd start by identifying pieces that weren't going to be flattering in proportion, shape or pattern.

Then we'd screen out the "wrong" colors, and of course to do that we had to zero in on the RIGHT colors.  For new clients, here's how I'd help them do that.

(1) Find the color palettes that work on you the best.  You'll have a primary and a secondary.  Despite the fact that it was a worked-to-death concept fifteen years ago, the whole "seasonal colors" idea really is legitimate.  There are four basic color palettes, and the "seasonal" labels of Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer work just fine for identifying them.  Everyone has one primary palette, and a companion/secondary season (Fall with Spring, Winter with Summer) that will also look good, just not quite AS good.

(2) Stick MOSTLY with your primary and secondary color palette when shopping, and this will build the most mix & match into your closet.

(3) Use colors outside your primary/secondary palettes ONLY for accessories or for a splash of color but keep those "outsider" colors away from your face!

There are several ways to go about figuring out which ones are your primary and secondary palettes, but I have always had great success using this simple method.

All you need to do is figure out is whether you have warm, yellow or peach undertones to your skin or cool, pink or blue undertones to your skin.  Everyone has one or the other, even people who are quite pale or quite dark.  And the only tools you need to determine which one you have are these:  A sheet of white computer paper and your own forearm -- UNTANNED, please!

Go someplace where there is strong, natural light. Now flip your arm over so that your palm is facing upwards, and lay your arm onto the white paper. Look closely at your forearm and compare your skin to the paper. Do you see yellow or peach? Do you see pink or blue, or even violet? If you're not sure, ask one or two other people to look and tell you what they see.

Once you know whether you're yellow-peach-warm or pink-blue-violet-cool, identifying your color palettes become really easy.

Warm, peachy-yellow undertones to your skin equals Fall and Spring color palettes. They're all colors that look like they've had a bit of yellow added to them. So you're talking about a buttery yellow (versus a lemon yellow, which is Winter/Summer), a yellow-y, watermelon-y coral (versus a pinky coral), an orange-y red (versus a blue-red), a yellow-y eggplant purple (versus a cool blueberry-pie purple) etc. Fall colors (which include all of the October leaf season landscape colors) are stronger than Spring colors; you might say that Spring colors are Fall colors with a bit of baby powder added to soften them up.

Choosing which of these two palettes is your "primary" is subjective, and it will depend upon how strongly colored and dark your hair and eyes are, and how pale your skin is.  Your primary and secondary can change from time to time, too, if you're prone (like me) to experimenting with your hair.  Just to give you an example, I'm a natural auburn brunette with hazel eyes and naturally pale, freckly, definitely yellow-undertoned Irish skin. So the best colors in my closet are the ones in the Fall/Spring palettes. When I'm wearing my hair darker, I can carry off the Fall colors beautifully -- warm olive green, strong honey-glaze yellow, true orange, warm chocolate brown, blazing autumn red. But if I've blonded up my hair quite a bit (as I periodically do), then the Fall colors are too much -- they overwhelm my face and I look better in the Spring palette. Say, a peachy coral instead of a strong orange. As my "blonder self" I can still wear my Fall colors, but I need to keep them away from my face.

By contrast, if you have cool pink-blue-violet undertones to your skin, you're going to look better in the Winter-Summer palettes. The Winter colors are clear, strong and cool. Think gem-stone colors, like a blue-red the color of rubies (or American Beauty roses), or the icy royal blue of a sapphire. 

And again, the Summer palette is the Winter color family with baby powder added to kind of "pastel" them out. If these are your two palettes, then, again, whether your "primary" is Winter or Summer will depend on the strength of your coloring.

Oh, and one other related thing. Fall/Spring gals generally look better in gold-toned jewelry (warmer). Winter/Summer gals look better in silver-toned jewelry (cooler).
The real beauty of finding your primary and secondary color palettes is discovering that you can wear some version of almost literally every color. If you've been told that you can't wear yellow, hogwash.  Everyone has a yellow that she can wear -- the trick is just figuring out whether that's lemony or buttery.  Every gal has a red -- some orange-red, some blue-red.  Every woman can wear some version of blue. 

You see this isn't rocket science, right?  And the simple truth is that when I practice what I preach and stick to those Fall/Spring colors, I look better with far less effort.  Period.  But here's the wrinkle.  I like many colors that I don't wear well at all, and lately I've been way too lazy about practicing what I preach about colors and I've made way too many purchasing mistakes.  Why?  Because I've been letting myself get wowed and wooed by the way items are styled in the J. Crew catalog.  And I'll confess that I've been even more influenced by the way things look on other JCA's.

As dumb as this seems when I write it down and think about it, the fact is that when I see a wonderful outfit in colors that I like on someone with a build similar to mine, I think "Oh wow, I could definitely wear that!"  I get all excited (especially if there's a sale going on) and I ignore the important "Yeah, but can I really wear those colors??" part of the equation and I order the outfit without trying it on.  And I end up taking at least some of the outfit back to my B&M because the colors don't do a thing for me, even if the garment shape works just fine on my body shape.

If I had a nickel and a gallon of gas for every time I've returned something because the colors looked somewhere between "Meh" and "Yeegads" on me, I'd have enough gas to drive to New York and enough money to -- well, treat my son the MTV Intern to lunch in Manhattan.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The View from the Saddle: Ovarian Cycle 100-Mile Ride!

Very happy, totally recovered cyclist here reporting in!

Ovarian Cycle Saturday was an amazing experience. I've never done anything so exhausting and yet with such an emotional high. What a day!!
Registration at the host gym opened early and we were greeted with a terrific goodie bag with an awesome T-shirt, towel, a bike jersey (if you'd raised above a certain amount of $$), a lot of coupons and a fabulous "Hope and Promise" makeup kit from L'Oreal (the event's major sponsor and a huge supporter of ovarian cancer research).  The event room was a huge, 2-story-high basketball court with an indoor track circling the ceiling level and six racquetball courts "ringing" the room at the floor level. There were almost 200 cyclists riding the whole 100 miles in our event, and the event staff had tied a balloon to each bike.  Most teams had creatively decorated their bikes, too. Our team had attached bouquets of beautiful silk springtime flowers onto the front our bikes and we’d tied teal ribbon bows onto our handlebars. I can't tell you how festive and really thrilling that gigantic fleet of bikes looked! Everywhere there were floating teal, pink and white balloons, and banners with each team's "Honor Roll" lists, a giant Ovarian Cycle sign and huge silver stars on the walls symbolizing the fact that this event was helping women "reach for the stars" in the search for reliable early detection tests and cures for all gynecological cancers.

I’m telling ya, this event was planned out to “T” and “I” perfection. 
Those volunteers really took care of us and were ready to do anything they could to make the ride more fun and comfortable for the cyclists. Throughout the day, they walked among the bikes while we were riding, bringing us fresh towels, picking up our trash and recyclables, and offering us water, Gatorade, PowerAde, orange slices, bananas, peanut butter sandwiches, crackers, power gels and energy bars. And one of the adjacent racquetball courts was filled with tables of water, drinks and food, too --- available not only to riders but also to family and friends who came to watch and cheer, so in addition to the performance food that the cyclists would prefer to grab there were brownies, pizza, chocolate chip cookies and all sorts of other treat foods. While I wouldn't ever plan on doing an all-day ride this way, you could theoretically have shown up with your clothes and shoes and been A-okay on food and hydration. The provisions were THAT generous.

Along the back wall there were also silent auction tables -- lots of very cool stuff -- and there was a masseuse doing complimentary 10-minute neck and shoulder massages. Ahhhhhhhh!

We started our ride at 9:00 sharp, and the day was basically formatted like 6 hours of spin class. We had a different instructor each hour, and 5-minute breaks once an hour to dash to the potty, change clothes, eat, fill water bottles, stretch, etc. Almost all of the music rocked, the instructors were great, and there was a lot of variety in the ride -- even if the scenery didn't change much. :-) We did seated and standing sprints, jumps, seated climbs, standing climbs, etc. Just about the only thing we didn't do that's a "regular" item in spin class was anything really slow and heavy, and I’m sure that's because to hit our mileage goal we needed to be riding pretty fast all day. Each instructor set the pace for us, and if you kept up, I think you'd have been pedaling at an average of around 15 to 18 mph, with sprints thrown in here and there.

The day ended with Eminem's "Lose Yourself" -- what a great cycling song — and that last couple of minutes was unbelievably emotional. My sweet hubby and DS #1 a/k/a Journey Boy came for the last 30 minutes and stood with a lot of other riders' family and friends on the sidelines, cheering us on. Looking around me, I could see that every single rider in the room had found one last ounce of legs and wind for that last song, and we were all standing out of the saddle, hill-climbing on cadence with that thumpin' bass beat at a pretty hefty resistance -- heaviest of the day for me! -- and singing at the top of our lungs. As the song ended we were all whooping and high-fiving. Then they played “We Are the Champions” and we shouted out that chorus together while we cooled down. The lump in my throat was the size of a baseball.

All day long there were photographers snapping shots of the ride, so I will post some pictures when they become available.  (The picture shown here is from the 2009 event held in the same facility, just to give you a "flavor".) But trust me, you do NOT want to see pictures (nor do I want to show pictures!) from the last hour or two — all of us were soaked through and looking bedraggled by then, and I had lost count of the number of bandannas I’d gone thru. I don’t think I’ve ever been so ready for a hot shower, y’all.  I scrubbed and shampooed and held my face under that wonderful spray until the hot water ran completely out!

I am so, so proud to have been part of this awesome event. I raised more than $3,200 for ovarian cancer research -- can you believe it?? -- and finished the biggest athletic challenge of my life feeling strong and like I could have kept going.  Unbelievable for this little middle-aged mama!

Thank you all again so much for everything you did to encourage and support me. It means more to me than I can express, and I’m incredibly grateful. I'll definitely do this Ovarian Cycle ride again next year, and if OC’s doing a ride anywhere near your city I encourage you to give it a try. You can write to me and I’ll walk you through a training and nutrition schedule. And I promise you will thank me!!!  :-)


Thursday, April 22, 2010

One Day to Go!!!

I am leaving as soon as I hit "PUBLISH POST" to hit the gym for one more short but intense training ride, dear readers, and then I'm done with my training -- just tomorrow, a rest and fuel-up day, and then Saturday morning it's finally time for the Atlanta 2010 RIDE TO CHANGE THE FUTURE™!

My thanks again to the wonderful Gigi of Gigi's Gone Shopping, who surprised me earlier this week by thoughtfully including a shout-out to me and to this cycling event (which benefits ovarian cancer research) in her daily blog post.  I've been really delighted and moved to find donations from JCA's at my Ovarian Cycle home page.  You are all, truly, a lovely crowd of fine, strong women.  Thank you so much for including me in your midst, and for supporting my "century" ride! 

And, of course, you are also fashionable women, so what kind of JCA would I be if I didn't make at least SOME effort to be well-dressed for my 100-mile ride?

Thus, my Polyvore set of what will be going in my gym bag. :-) 

It's not too late to donate to Ovarian Cycle, by the way, so if you're of a mind to chip in a few dollars towards the search for a reliable early-detection test for ovarian cancer, just go here and look for the "Make A Donation" box on the left column.  I'll appreciate every dollar!

See y'all on Sunday, when I'll tell you, I'm sure, what an amazing Saturday I had!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, Rock and Roll

As bloggers go, I'm a Model T auto.  I sputter along, occasionally I pick up a little cantering, not-quite-galloping speed for brief intervals, but then I conk out and have to be re-cranked.  I do so admire you sleek, Maserati-style bloggers whose words of wit, wisdom and fashion advice appear freshly and dependably on my Dashboard every day.  And this post, sadly, will do nothing to enhance my reputation in the universe of great, fun fashion bloggers.  Fashion's not on my mind today.  (Well, not much -- I'm sure I'll do some ritualistic J. Crew Weekly Exchange and Spring Sale Section browsing later.)

Nope, what's got me cranked and cantering happily today has to do with August 1, 1981.  And MTV.  Stick with me here, I promise I'll connect the dots.

It turns out that August 1, 1981 (8-1-81 -- this had to mean something in the world of numerology, right?) was an auspicious day in the unfolding life plan of one young Atlanta lawyer who would grow up to be JCAUNCMom.  I didn't know that, of course, and I don't remember the day at all, truthfully.  (Heck, I don't remember last MONTH, truthfully.  Menopause sucks.) 

But I'm sure that it was hot as blazes, that you could cut the air with a knife, and that I had arrived at work sometime around 7:45 a.m. faithfully dressed in my earnest little John T. Molloy Dress for Success uniform:  a stiff, starchy, button-up-the-back cotton blouse, a string of pearls, a navy/gray/black conservative suit (pencil skirt just above the knee, no pants -- not allowed for young lady lawyers for a loooooong time), L'Eggs suntan-colored pantyhose and Etienne Aigner closed-toe pumps in black, navy or burgundy.  I was one year out of UVa Law School and had been a junior trial law associate at a giant downtown law firm for almost one year to the day.  I had just turned 26 years old.

Dot number one.  (Huge dot.)  On August 1, 1981, my husband-to-be came to work in the same department at my firm.  I could tell you that bells rang, birds chirped and choirs sang when we met each other, but that would be taking just a smidge of artistic license.  The truth is that I don't remember the day we met.  I can tell you that I thought he was adorable and that within weeks we were buddies -- we had lunch together a lot and compared dating tales of woe, and by late November we'd tiptoed sideways into our first date, both of us petrified that this would ruin our friendship.  But see how wrong we were?  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Dot number two.  At 12:01 a.m. on August 1, 1981 on one lone Northern New Jersey cable system, a brand new television channel rather quietly made its broadcast debut.  It was MTV -- Music Television.  What you see above is the original, iconic MTV logo, which changed colors often but otherwise stayed much the same for nearly 30 years. (*** See footnote.  Seriously, I wrote one, lawyer-style.)  Another weird my-life coincidence:  Among the few thousand lucky cable customers who could see MTV that first midnight was my future brother-in-law, then a night-owl and music aficionado college student.  I'd betcha $20 that he actually saw Music Television go live.  Remind me to ask him.

Check out this link on YouTube, dear readers.  It's the debut of MTV and the very first-ever music video broadcast ("Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles -- save that one for trivia night for sure).  For those of you who are anywhere near my age (shout out, Meno-'Mazing Girls!), I'm sure that watching this will jar loose a visceral memory of the original MTV logo (man stepping onto the moon), the fantastic original MTV guitar-riff theme music, and those six simple words that would forever change music for us all, from an audio-only event to an audio-visual event:  

"Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll."  

The guy who posted this on YouTube also posted many other links to hours and hours of that first day of MTV.  You will not, will NOT, believe these archaic videos.  Laughable now, but to us -- my gosh, BANDS SINGING THEIR SONGS ON TV!! I highly recommend spending a little time with a cup of coffee browsing and smiling and watching history unfold. 

Because it really was history, on a scale much grander than the my-husband-to-be-entered-my-small-world kind.  For you youngsters out there who only know MTV as it is today -- mostly non-music programming filled with reality TV shows -- I can only tell you that the original MTV truly was revolutionary stuff on an order of magnitude of, say, "I Love Lucy".  It was modeled after broadcast radio, so the format was simple: 24/7 music videos, a few commercials, and, anchoring it all, a team of young, hip, oh-so-cool "veejays" (and yeah, MTV coined that term) who introduced the videos.  To those of us who were young adults in the early 80's, the original MTV VJ's were rock stars in their own right.  Who, amongst my age group, doesn't remember Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson and Martha Quinn??

Today, MTV is just one of a veritable battalion of "child" and "sister/brother" channels owned by Viacom, including MTV2, MTV Hits, MTVu (aimed squarely at college students), MTVTr3's (in Spanish -- as in 'uno, dos, tres', get it?), VH1, Comedy Central, Palladia, Nickelodeon -- the list is long.  To watch music videos in the old-school MTV wall-to-wall style, you have to be lucky enough either to get MTV Hits on your cable/satellite system or to tune in to one of the other sibling channels during a "block" of music videos.  And even then, there's no J.J., no Martha, no Mark, no Alan, no Nina freakin' Blackwood.  Oh sure, there's good stuff to watch, but today's sophisticated videos cannot remotely compare to the original MTV programming in plain old sheer titanic value -- it's like comparing the pebble-sized impact of today's fine "Saturday Night Live" cast with the asteroid-sized impact of the original SNL Not Ready For Prime Time Players.

Yes, 8-1-81 was a very cool day indeed.  And who knew.

Now you're thinking "Fascinating little history lesson, honey, and so glad you were an MTV fan, but, um, today's not August 1st so whazzup with this post?"

Glad you asked, since that gives me the opportunity to connect the dots for you, and grin,  and brag.

My darling boy with his cousin (visiting from U-Delaware, go Blue Hens) in Chapel Hill last fall.

Dot number three.  (Also huge.)  I am thrilled to share breaking news:  My DS#2, a/k/a Blues Boy, child who owns half my mama heart, distinguished UNC-Chapel Hill Communications Studies/Media Production/Electronic Journalism/Creative Writing student and all-round fabulous fellow, is going to be...

...interning this summer for the Production Department at MTV Networks in New York City. 

!!!!!!!!! I know, right???? We are so excited for him!!!  He will be one of the busy go-to, go-fer guys assisting the squadron of ridiculously young MTV staffers who write, plan, produce, edit and air the content -- including original music videos -- for several of the MTV family of channels.  He'll be living in the NYU dorms, he'll be riding the subway to work like a real-live New Yorker, and he will be having, I know, the time of his life.  And making contacts that will be invaluable in launching his own young career.  Who knows -- maybe we're witnessing the "birth" of a future J.J. or Mark or Alan.  Or Chevy Chase or Dan Aykroyd.  Or Jon Stewart.

Dot number four.  I love this one.  Guess when Blues Boy will have his last Friday at work, his last weekend hurrah with his new friends and colleagues, and move out of his dorm to come home?  You guessed it.  It's the weekend of Friday, July 30th... Saturday, July 31st... and Sunday, August 1st. 

Now you tell me that's not cosmic dot-connecting. :-)

*** Footnote, lawyer-style: 
In February, 2010, in recognition of how much the content of its flagship channel had changed, MTV retired the words "Music Television" from its logo.  This news created barely a ripple in the media.  But speaking on behalf of my generation, I say let's have a moment of silence.  In honor of Music Television, and those cheesy videos, and that kickin' theme music, and J.J., Alan, Mark, Martha, and Nina freakin' Blackwood.  Rock on.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

For Sale 4/12/10

Just one item this week, but a beauty!

NWT, size 8 Victoria cami in Golden Olive, as pictured.  $65 shipped (this is exactly what I paid for it, and shipping's on me. :-))


Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Lovely Jaipur Perfect Shirt

Happy springtimy Saturday, JCA's!

I popped by my neighborhood B&M this week to return something and was stopped in my tracks by the slim, beautiful new Jaipur Perfect Shirt

It's always fun to find a print that you can immediately envision with quite a few things already in your closet, and this one was calling out to everything that was caramel, khaki, pecan, papaya, plum, guava, berry and denim blue.  So then, of course I had to grab it and float thru the store creating mental outfits (this is called Advanced Rationalizing), and oh, how pretty it is with this spring's soft terracotta and ginger pieces! 

As if to seal the deal, there was one -- just one -- lovely, lightweight merino ethereal ruffle v-neck cardigan hanging on the sale rack, marked to $39.99, and lo and behold it was (a) my size and (b) light berry. LUSCIOUS with this shirt and the new terracotta Scout chinos!

So I said "Welcome to my closet!" and the sweater and the chinos (along with a totally necessary, way cute little braided belt in salmon) came home with me. It won't bother me one little bit if you wanna welcome these pieces to your closets, too. :-)

Here's the Polyvore of my new fave ensemble.  My sweater's different, as I mentioned, but I do love the one pictured in my set.

Have a great -- and of course fashionable -- weekend, everyone!

Friday, March 26, 2010

JCAs, I'm cycling 100 miles and would love to have your support

Hi my dear JCA friends!

Be forewarned:  This post is NOT fashion-related in any way, because it has to do with the use of chamois-padded cycling shorts which, I think we can all agree, are not a fashion item anywhere in this galaxy. :-)

You may have noticed that once again I've been AWOL from blogging.  But I've got a REALLY good reason. I've been quietly investing increasing amounts of time to training for the biggest athletic challenge I've ever set out for myself, and I'm ready to tell y'all about it. 

I’m going to take part in a really exciting and important event, glaydies.  And I'm asking (hat in hand) for your encouragement and, if you can do it, your monetary support.

On Saturday, April 24, 2010, I’m going to be indoor-cycling 100 miles in this year's Atlanta RIDE TO CHANGE THE FUTURE™ benefiting Ovarian Cycle, a wonderful 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of and funds for the fight against ovarian cancer.  

Since 2004 Ovarian Cycle’s indoor cycling events like this one have raised $645,500 for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, the Ovarian Cancer Institute and the Norma Livingston Foundation, all of which are working on the development of a reliable, early-detection screening test for ovarian cancer.  This is critically important work.  Ovarian cancer remains a deadly threat to women in large part because only 25% of cases are diagnosed in the early stages when treatment is most effective.  This year more than 20,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and the statistics tell us that 15,000 of these women likely will lose their lives to this disease.

I'll be riding my "century" (100 miles) with some good friends from my weekly spinning classes.  We call ourselves “Team Pedal Pushers" and we are riding together because, sadly, we've all watched friends or family battle ovarian cancer or a related cancer. Many of you, I'm sure, have had the same awful experience.  

I'm going to cycle in honor and celebration of my beautiful Texan friend Virginia Tate, who I get to see every summer at a fitness weekend I attend.  Last summer she wasn’t able to attend our annual event because she was battling fallopian tube cancer, a rare and frightening malignancy that's very closely related to ovarian cancer.  Thankfully, she’s had a complete recovery.  I'll be thinking of her radiant face all day long as I'm pedaling through a "virtual" Georgia!

My goal is to raise $2,500 to support Ovarian Cycle's important mission, to honor Virginia's courage and the miracle of her recovery, and to honor all of the countless women we all know and adore who have fought so bravely against terrifying gynecological cancers.  I always hate asking for money, and in these tough economic times I know that I’ve set an especially ambitious target for my fundraising.  But I also know that every dollar will help bring us one step closer to important breakthroughs in the detection and successful treatment of the family of ovarian-related cancers, and that means more happy endings like the one my friend Virginia is living today.  

So I'm asking for help from everyone I know, and it occurred to me that I should include you, darling JCA's. You are intelligent, joyful, generously-spirited women, and I'd be so pleased to have your support for my ride.  I will deeply appreciate any donation you can make, big or small.  Your donations are fully tax-deductible, and if you prefer to keep your IRL name private, you may donate anonymously.

And if you're not in a position to donate right now, then just cheer me on, and please keep Ovarian Cycle in mind for future support when you're feeling able to contribute.

Please click on this link to go to my Ovarian Cycle home page, where you can find more information about Ovarian Cycle and can make a contribution if you like:

JCAUNCMom's Ovarian Cycle Atlanta RIDE TO CHANGE THE FUTURE™ 2010 Page

One more important thing:  Whether or not you’re able to donate money, please be sure to write to me at if you’d like to tell me the name of any woman you know who has faced an ovarian-related cancer.   It would be my privilege to ride in celebration of your loved ones, and I’d like to add their names to Team Pedal Pushers’ Honor Roll of the courageous women for whom we’ll be cycling.  

And could I ask this of you?  If you're a Follower here (and there aren't many of you, but bless your little hearts for hangin' in there with me), please pass along a link to this post to anyone you know who might be interested in supporting Ovarian Cycle's vital work.  

Thank you so much, everyone!! Now, off to meet the team for a 2.5 hour afternoon training ride -- huff puff!!! :-)