Monday, January 22, 2018

More J Crew Sale Picks

There are still some good bargains left at J Crew although the sizes are dwindling.  There have been so many great bargains this past week on coats, pants, shirts and sweaters.  I have added coats and shirts to my wardrobe, basics, keepers, items I know I will wear for years to come at bargain basement prices. 


Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Beating the Winter Doldrums

It's January and spring is not even in sight.  This has been one of the coldest winters on record and it can be difficult to find the silver lining at times.  So how do you beat the winter doldrums? What can you do to keep that spring spark going, to make you feel like you're doing something productive in the middle of winter?

Do a Make-Up Reboot
I love trolling the cosmetics counters at large department stores, sampling the face care products and make-up this time of year.  Finding a new ritual, a better moisturizer or new make-up colors for spring makes you feel rejuvinated and refreshed.

Spring Clean Early
I've been reorganizing my closets this month and have pulled out old pillows, linens, clothes and sent them to Goodwill.  This is not my closet by the way but I am impressed....

Do Linen Reset
I ordered a new set of sheets from Peacock Alley this week (greatly reduced) and have a new cotton blanket coming for spring.  I love these towels

Finish Those Small Decorating Projects
I finally ordered white birch logs to put in my living room fireplace.  I added a few plants to the house in various rooms to add a bit of color.  And I painted an old chest with chalk paint last weekend.  This week I am tackling rugs.  Finish up those little projects on your "to do" list to make you feel like you have accomplished something.

Visualize Success
If it's too cold to go out and ride, then pull out your old horse show videos and think about riding. Go online and find videos of top riders and watch them hone their craft.  I heard that the injured Andy Murray is at home watching the Aussie Open and it's making him want to return to the sport after hip surgery. Use this down time to improve.  Watching the masters at their craft is a great way to improve.

If All Else Fails............

Are these not the cutest needlepoint bunnies ever?  It this does not make you want to finish a few needlepoint projects.......  

Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

J Crew Sale Picks

My promise not to shop has not held up well in 2018 due to the fantastic mark downs at J Crew.  I have found some real bargains lately and you really can't do much better than this.  If you need some basic staples like coats, white cotton shirts and khakis, now is a great time to shop.

This tie front cotton shirt is $12.50 to $22 depending on the color.

This New Balance Vest is $32, great for running.


This cute deer shirt is less than $25:

This adorable skirt (perfect for Valentine's Day) is less than $30.


This black embellished cardigan is less than $35:

This coat is less than $125.  Love this color too!

Shop til you drop!  These are some great deals.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Trending Thursday

Thank god it's almost Friday and this deep freeze is going to end, at least temporarily.  It's Thursday and that means it's almost Friday!  So what's going on?  Lots of stuff is going on....

The Sail to Sable Warehouse Sale

There are some incredible bargains right now at the STS Warehouse sale. Clothing is 60 percent off and there are still some great selections like this lovely coat. Use the code Warehouse2018.  Shop the sale here.

Danielle Rollins Clothing Line
I love Danielle Robbins' style and have followed her decorating projects for years.  She has a great clothing line (readvexpensive) but it's fun to see what she comes up with. If nothing else, she's a great inspiration for women entrepreneurers.  See her website here.

Tory Burch Sandals
It's so hard to think about wearing sandals when it's five degrees but I love these sandals from Tory Burch.

The Playoffs
It's playoff weekend in the NFL and if the games this weekend are as good as the ones last Sunday, well, it'll be a treat. You have to pull for Minnesota after they upset New Orleans with that hail Mary play with one second left on the clock. Wow!  That one will go into the record books.  Sunday - stitch and watch football!

The Aussie Open
The first major of the season started this week and there have been so many upsets it's hard to keep track. The US women are not faring well so far, and we all miss Serena Williams but it's a great tournament and I watch every evening after dinner.

Is J Crew Done?
I keep hearing about stores closing everywhere, their web site has slashed prices to the bone.  Layoffs?  What's going on?  It's so sad to watch this brand implode, I was such a fan for so long.  Maybe a reboot?  Let's hope so. There are some great bargains out there still like these Liberty pajamas.

Plaid Top
I love this plaid top and it's been reduced so much, it is worth trying it.  Wear it with black jeans or velvet for the holidays next year.  We all love a bargain!

Palm Beach Vibe
I love the Palm Beach look and at this time of the year it's so refreshing - bright colors, trellis, pink, sandals, green grass and the bright sun!

Have a sunny day whereever you might be!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Riding Coat Dilemma - To Tweed or Not?

The riding coat dilemma recently popped up - what coats are appropriate for the show ring?  Can you wear the lovely tweed coats you often see in fox hunting photos from England?  The answer really depends on where you show and at what level.  Also, most horse shows are not held in cold weather and it would be uncomfortable to wear heavy wool during warm weather. 

Those lovely tweed coats are worn during "cubbing season" - the "pre fox hunting season" that falls typically between Labor Day and Thanksgiving here in the US.  This is the informal fox hunting season when you and your mount are getting in shape and preparing for the more formal fox hunting season.  You won't see the pink coats (the red ones) until the winter.

Here in the US, in our horse shows, you don't see tweed coats much in the show ring unless you are showing at a very "informal" show, maybe a local show.  We have a show in Virginia locally run by a Ruritan Club and it would be appropriate to wear a tweed coat there but it's also held in August so it would be dreadfully warm to wear tweed.

But riding coats have come a long way in the last ten years.  There are so many options, price points, materials, that it has become mind boggling to me.  I wear only one brand, Grand Prix, mostly due to fit and sizing.  I have older wool Grand Prix coats that I wear when I show in cold weather.  In warm weather the newer techno-fabrics coats come out.

 Here are some options for horse shows:

RJ Classics is a good brand, a basic show coat that can be worn for years.  This is a "hunter" coat to be worn in the hunter or jumper ring.  Classic styling, good for equitation classes.  

Another good option, well-priced, basic coat from Ariat.  Hunter, jumper or equitation ring.

A fancier, more expensive, maybe more trendy model, this one is suited for the jumper ring due to color and extra bling that is not a welcome sight in the staid world of hunters.

Another coat for the jumper world (due to color).  You would not see a stock tie in the hunter ring either.

Another value-priced hunter coat for the show or equitation ring:

So this great old photo of Jackie Kennedy riding in her tweed at a horse show in Virginia, likely would not happen today with one exception.

This photo of Ellie Wood Baxter riding at Upperville in her tweed is recent (in the last 10-15 years).  There is an invitational class there (you have to be invited to ride in it) and tweed is accepted!  I believe Ellie was in her early 90's when this photo was taken.   She is an amazing woman and sadly no longer rides (due to her eyesight).

It's lovely to see tweed on a horse.  But it's for fox hunting.  Hope you have tweedy day!  Stay warm and safe out there.  We have snow in Virginia.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Custom Needlepoint Handbags

I made the trek yesterday to one of my favorite spots, Chuck Pinnell custom leather in Crozet, Virginia.  Chuck is a master craftsman (Martha Stewart is a big fan) and he made riding chaps for Jackie Kennedy, Kelly Klein and others.  I've blogged about Chuck's work before (see an earlier post here).  This trip was made to drop off two belts. What I discovered yesterday was a fabulous custom needlepoint handbag that Chuck showed me.  Pictures don't do this lovely creation justice.  It was beyond beautiful.  

The leather is a bright blue, very substantial with navy trim. This is a small bag, a perfect size to hold a wallet, a phone, a few cosmetics and keys.  The customer had selected a lovely fabric to line the inside of the bag and there is a zipper pocket and the Pinnell logo.  The crasftsmanship is superb.

I think you could select a number of canvases to work into a bag like this.  You could also make the bag bigger if you wanted one that you could use every day.  But this bag is indeed an heirloom.

Chuck showed me two other bag styles that you could work into a needlepoint piece:

I'd take the center piece and make a needlepoint insert for each side.  He can also make these bags larger or smaller and the colors of leather he has in his shop - it would amaze you.  Here are some possible ideas for an insert:


The possibilities are endless.
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