Mellow Yellow

Though we technically moved back to DC at the end of June, between finding an apartment (and within a mere two business days!), moving our stuff out of storage, unpacking, and going on vacation, we had not prioritized anything other than nesting the new flat. Last weekend before a trip to Bed, Bath, & Beyond, we made time for brunch. Any occasion is the right occasion for Farmers Fishers Bakers in Georgetown. Ironically, I have been on numerous occasions with different friends and family, but before Saturday, never my husband. It is a buffet brunch so an outfit without a static waistband is crucial. Never forget the time I wore skinny jeans to Farmers Fishers Bakers brunch.

I scored this fantastic vintage Lilly Pulitzer frock via eBay back in June. Thanks to the tag, I dated this dress to the 1960s. Vintage Lilly Pulitzer has been my style obsession of this past spring and current summer (see here and here and here and here) and though I am still attempting to decrease my shopping and keeping a discerning eye on my consumption, secondhand shopping is my weakness because with it comes a feeling of scarcity.

When I buy a vintage item, I cannot help but wonder about its provenance. Not whether or not it is actually vintage; I know my Lilly Pulitzer labels well enough to determine an item’s approximate age. Rather, I think about the woman or women who owned it before me. Who was she? Where did the former owner wear it? Did any formative events happen to her while wearing it? More importantly, did she accessorize it with a gin martini?

I love the a-line cut of this dress because these days, I am quite the pear shape. Elevating the comfort of this dress, especially during the dog days of summer, are the dual vents on either side. Not only do they make the dress roomier, but this feature of the design make it quite the ventilation system.

I linked several yellow vintage Lilly Pulitzer dresses below. As always, exercise diligence when it comes to sizing (I always ask for measurements, if they are not posted) and item condition.

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One Foot in the Wave

These are some of the last photos we took on a walk after our last brunch in Monterey. I cannot believe how quickly the time passed.

I felt beyond lucky to not only have spent three months out west with the husband, but also to have the privilege of taking a break from work so I could genuinely enjoy myself and our new town. Back in February, I was sharing our spring plans with a friend and her husband and he pointed out that having an expiration date to our time out west would probably be the only way that I would actually be able to relax – for the first time in twenty-three years, if we are being honest – and not put pressure on myself to find a job in my field.

In lieu of spending my time at work, I spent my time doing yoga and pilates. I looked at my studio attendance and was shocked to see that in two months, I took 41 yoga classes and nineteen reformer classes. I also started running again, a hobby that I used to enjoy. I am still working on liking it, even though I look forward to it everyday.

Lack of job equals lack of stress on the eight-to-five (more like six-to-six) front. A break could not have come at a better time. Last November through the middle of February was especially brutal. Sixty hour weeks were my norm in preparation for as submitting a project proposal. Three months later and after I left the east coast and my job, I received the best news that I had gotten in a long time. The business development director of my old company texted me to share that my old company was finally awarded the contract.

Now, I am as hungry as ever to get back to work.

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A Midsummer White Dream

The summer prior to getting married, I did not cash in on wearing the color white nearly as much as I should have. Going into the summer I had full intention on copying Natasha’s (Big’s second wife, also known as “the idiot stick figure with no soul” to Carrie and her girl gang) wardrobe from season three of Sex and the City and yet in a iconoclastic move, I recall wearing tons of punchy colors.

While the Bradshaw Boys and I agree that Natasha was an unjust casualty (“Now this tooth is a completely different color than this tooth.”), they are the only other people with whom I have discussed sympathy for the character. Even the costume designers communicated Natasha’s “vanilla” personality by always outfitting her in white, save for the scene in which she delivered the tooth comment in a tone so icy, Anna Wintour felt the chill somewhere in the Condé Nast offices. In that moment, Natasha was dressed in the chicest pink shift. A signal that the character took a turn? We will never know because that was her last appearance in Darren Star’s iconic series.

I subconsciously channeled Natasha when UK-based retailer Figleaves (last discussed here) gifted me a few items for the last holiday week. A long torso swimsuit was necessary, as I find going up in sizes is not a particularly great strategy for a six foot two inch frame. Past results have been tragic.

I do not think I own enough pajamas. That is actually a complete lie. I can count five sets and I am not even in my apartment, let alone my closet, right now. I stand by the fact that wearing a full pajama set just makes me feel like I have my life together.

It is just good manners to wear some sort of outfit (beyond the swimsuit) when food is being served. This cover up was perfect for jumping out of the pool for a sandwich or guacamole.

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Freedom of Beach

Our time in Monterey is coming to an end and we are making the most of our last three weeks on the peninsula. We are looking forward to next cross country road trip and our subsequent relocation to Washington DC. I spent the Obama years going to graduate school within the Beltway and subsequently working in the District. After growing up in the Deep South, that 2008 move was a welcomed change and I will always look back on that time, just being independent for the seemingly the first time in my life, ever so fondly. As stoked as I am for returning to the east coast, I will miss the mellow pace of the west coast.

My only regret is that we will be moving to the District just in time for peak humidity and heat, rivaled only by that on the Mississippi Gulf Coast but minus the sea breeze. {I distinctly remember the heat of the summer of 2013. I walked to and from work in Georgetown, including a hiking up Book Hill in the mornings. That August was as hot as the devil’s hole.} Until then, I will be making the most of our time on the Pacific and the associated temperate weather.

Previous generations of this particular polo style were too boxy for a 6′-2″ frame. I love that this version was long enough for my torso. The shorts are from the Vineyard Vines by Target collaboration and are unfortunately long gone from the online store, as of about twenty minutes after the collaboration went live. In addition to liking the stretch patchwork fabric (so much so, that I purchased the boy version of the shorts for three of my nephews), the higher rise and ever-so-slight longer inseam of the shorts is ideal for a taller gal.

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Pack a Bag: Hotel Boulderado, Part II

for Part I…

Hotel Boulderado was the ideal place to take a eighteen hour pit stop while we were in Colorado. The hotel historian, Laurel, gave us a tour of the property and with that, copious insight on the history of the hotel.

The historic plans of the residential floors were slightly different than the floor plans of today in that they were customizable to guest budgets. For example, adjacent, semi-private (between two guest rooms) bathrooms could be unlocked and included in the overnight package or they could be locked off from the guest room. In the case of the latter, guests would use the floor communal bathroom. This is one of the ways the floor plan has been changed; these days all guest rooms have private, in-suite bathrooms and some even have living spaces and balconies.

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Hotel Boulderado hosted us in one of the suites which included a balcony and living room. The layout was one that was conducive to natural light exposure, in that both the living room, bathroom, and bedroom had windows. The layout allows for a reduction in electricity by way of minimizing the need to switch on the light.

Official green initiatives of Hotel Boulderado include the following:

• Award-Winning Recycling Program
• Environmental Protection Agency certified as a WasteWise Partner
• Partners for a Clean Environment member
• TripAdvisor Green Leaf Program Silver Level
• 60% post-consumer waste recycled paper used on-property
• Monthly energy audits conducted
• Boulder Community Food Share participant

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Sincerest thanks to Hotel Boulderado for sponsoring our stay.

 

A Beautiful Day for Croquet

I stumbled upon this frock on eBay and immediately added it to my online shopping basket. I had not seen the dress before and I knew that if I waited, I would not see it again. Perfect for the fourth of July, it screams Americana Fest.

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Aside for checking for the historic label, the not-so-secret way of identifying if an item is a Lilly Pulitzer, is finding the label of the iconic namesake within the print of the shift. In the case of this dress, I have found it in three locations in the print, two of which are shown in the above photograph: 1) bottom half of the dress on the far right in red and white with the script running vertical and 2) in the red and white square tile in the middle of the dress just below the collar under the solid blue row of 45 degree squares.

In addition to the items in this post, more vintage Lilly Pulitzer is linked below in a variety of sizes. Always check measurements against the listings and when in doubt, go up a size.

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Pack a Bag: Hotel Boulderado, Part I

The husband and I stayed at Hotel Boulderado in Boulder, Colorado on our east bound cross country roadtrip. In the early twentieth century, citizens of the town imagined Boulder as the Athens of the west. In true Field of Dreams fashion, in order to bring tourism to Boulder, eventual shareholders collaborated to build a luxury hotel where guests would stay. You could say they the shareholders were playing the long game in that they were not particularly excited about their hotel earnings; rather shareholders with looking forward to dividends brought to Boulder via a robust tourism economy.

At the time of its establishment, words such as “Grand” and “Palace” were often incorporated in hotel names. Rather than follow the statue quo, shareholders of the hotel selected Boulderado, as it referenced its home city and state and there was not any other hotel with that name.

As with many Historic Hotels of America, this one is on the National Register of Historic Places. Per the National Register of Historic Places application for the Hotel Boulderado, the property qualifies as such under the Architecture, Community Planning and Development category, and the Entertainment / Recreation subcategory. A combination of Mission Revival and Italian Renaissance styles, the project was designed by Redding, William, & Son (the designer of much prominent Boulder architecture) and built by Geranson & Beckstrom.

 

A full day on the road calls for cocktails. Before our dinner at Spruce, we went to the basement bar at Hotel Boulderado, cheekily named License No. 1. Because Boulder was built in a dry county, the basement bar activities were covert from the opening of the hotel in 1909 until 1969. That year allowed alcohol licenses, of which the eventual License No. 1 bar received the first in the city. The cocktails were next level. I had the Old Fashioned and my husband drank a mezcal concoction called Mezcal Medicine.

We started the next morning with breakfast at Spruce. I pregamed roadtrip day three with a lavender mimosa and a Belgian waffle topped with fresh fruit and my husband indulged in huevos rancheros and copious mugs of coffee. Breakfasts like these make me want to make more time in mornings to sit down for a meal.

 

Sincerest thanks to Hotel Boulderado for sponsoring our stay.

Beach Therapy

The husband and I are making the most out of our last days on the Monterey. Between packing up our home (even though it was only for three months, anywhere feels like home when my husband is there), we have a bucket list of items to do prior to leaving the peninsula next week, including visits to the Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey Aquarium (we only live next door to it), more walks to the beach in Pacific Grove, and so many restaurants.

Pacific Grove has the qualities of which non-Monterey residents probably picture Monterey to be, at least by Big Little Lies standards. While Monterey is next level beautiful, Pacific Grove is just a few degrees more serene and less touristy. It also has the best beach which is very walkable from our house. It is on the top tip of the peninsula and kind of a peninsula of itself. As I was venturing out to Pacific Grove earlier this week, the sun over Monterey disappeared and a mist over PG emerged. Gone was the sun, replaced by the moodiest of midday clouds. It was the Wes Anderson of summer weather.

I already packed up a ton of my outfits in preparation for our cross country move. I decided that the vintage Lilly Pulitzer shifts should not be packed in my duffel bag; they are better off saved for my east coast antics later this summer anyways. Lately it has been polo shirts and chino shorts. The shirt is from the Vineyard Vines by Target collaboration and is long gone. The shorts are from J.Crew (last seen on the blog here). I recently retired all of my three inch inseam shorts. I think it is best to start covering up, as I am moving into my mid-thirties. To be honest, I probably should have been wearing the five inch inseam shorts all along. Lesson learned.

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THIS IS NOT A DRILL: Lilly Pulitzer for the Tall Girl

Lilly Pulitzer newly released long length shift dresses and shorts. This is a God send for the tall gal who previously may have felt a bit over exposed in the standard sizes shifts.

No longer!

The first shift is available in 34 inch length, 37 inch length, and 40 inch length. The other shift is available in 36 inch length, 39 inch length, and 43 inch length. Both shifts are available in size 00 through 16. Each come in a different print and have the signature white trim, albeit in different patterns. It is everything I love about the signature Lilly shift, albeit in sizing optimized for my frame.

The shorts are available in three, five, seven, and ten inch inseams from size 00 to 16. The shorts are available in two prints; they are the same ones as the shift dresses.

Lilly Pulitzer offers free shipping and free returns. Should you have reservations about your best size, try a few and send back what does not work.

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Frock On!

I broke the seersucker rule left and right this year. I think it is a consequence of moving to the west coast where rules are a little more relaxed and weather is a little warmer.

At 6′-2″, I was a bit concerned that this frock would not be long enough to wear without feeling self conscious about the lack of length of the dress. I found that as long as it is a touch roomier and pair with a flat pair of shoes (proportions are everything, people!), I felt great about the dress and about myself in the dress. I highly recommend going up a size in the style; while I wore a medium in the knit dresses, I required a large in the static fabric dresses. The shorter length will be especially great for keeping ventilated in the east coast city humidity – hint about our next move – this summer.

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Sideways

While Jamie and I were in Palm Springs, I found the most fantastic vintage store adjacent to the place we had Sunday brunch. The Frippery is a vintage lover’s gold mine.

Post-brunch, I dragged Jamie and my maid of honor who was also in Palm Springs, in the store. While Jamie went out on a mission for cold brew, Amanda graciously waited for me to seemingly try on dress after dress, giving me the honest feedback. In addition to scoring a dress, Amanda discovered several concert buttons circa the 1980s: Adam and the Ants, The Cars, The Clash, and the Stray Cats. (The latter reminded me of Bret Easton Ellis’ The Informers mom character wondering what a stray cat was.)

About the dress: I do not know the brand and I do not care. The acid color fever dream of the print was enough to sell me. I love that it is cut generously though the midsection. I know what you are thinking and before you say it: It is not a maternity dress. I carefully inspected the cut and can confirm that there is not extra fabric at the stomach; it is simply a trapeze cut dress.

After Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Atascadero, and Monterey, Jamie and I concluded our friendship roadtrip in Napa.

My husband and I are members of several wineries but our favorite is Gundlach Bundschu; we even celebrated our engagement weekend there. After the friendship roadship wine tasting, we wandered the grounds. Though my husband and I used to visit all the time, it occurred to me that we had only been there in the winter. Running from the car to the tasting room without considering walking the grounds was standard. This time, we walked the grounds and am kicking myself that we had not explored it sooner.

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Tanks a Lot

About three weeks ago, I was introduced to Figleaves. It seems that the online retailer also has a private label of which offers – drumroll s’il vous plaît – long torso tank suits. I am thirty-something and feel as though I have aged out of the two piece swimsuit market.

Sidebar: My husband and Jamie were making fun of Juicy sweatpants last week. I kept it to myself , but circa 2003, I had a Juicy Couture bikini with “Juicy” emblazoned on the bottom. Let’s file that under cringe worthy; however I stand by the principal that if you cannot laugh at yourself…(Also at the time, I did not pipe up about the swimsuit in question because I was sure they would mercilessly give me shit about my late teen swimsuit selection.)

UK based-Figleaves began as an underwear retailer and one of the first e-commerce retailers on the scene in 1998 in an effort to provide a more inclusive product selection. In the past twenty years, Figleaves has since expanded to pajamas, swimwear, and activewear, exclusively online. I was impressed with the range of styles for every woman: larger bust, mastectomy, maternity and nursing, longer length, plus size, shaping, and athletic.

Figleaves sent me a longer length tank suit. I loved that rather than a tie back neck, the suit has is an adjustable band. No poolside wardrobe malfunctions here! The regular price of the suit is 55 dollars, but I have found it to frequently be on promotion since it has been on my radar. In addition to this tank suit, the print / colorway is also available in another tank style, several swim separates, and caftan and coverup options, all of which are linked below.

My taste has thankfully evolved since the Juicy Couture bikini of 2003.

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