Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Anthro Reviews and new loves

I was all excited when Anthro's January catalog came out. Nothing I wanted! I'd be able to save some money! Except .... I ended up falling in love with a bunch of older items. Sale goggles make everything look better! But it's all good, because some more expensive items ended up falling off my in love list, so I think I'm still saving money. Technically.

Yes, more yellow pictures.

This seems to be the current blogger dress favorite right now. For good reason, too. This is a gorgeous dress! I was initially put off by the Girls From Savoy label (their stuff did NOT fit me well at all last year) but I figured it was worth a try. And lo a behold, their stuff works this year! Or at least this dress does. I intially took my default size 4 for unknown brands, but had to size down to a 2 in this. It's very light and silky and easy to pull on, no zipper. The side elastic cinches make it easy to put on and it nips in the waist without having to look for a pesky belt or sash. The shoulders pull in tightly at the neck though, and it's going to show off bra straps, so you'd have to go strapless for this dress. This is a winner though. It's high on my "must have or cry sadly" list.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Streets of Provence

When I first started traveling, I was really set on seeing Big Things. I still feel that way about some of the travel destinations on my list, like Rajasthan in India or Beijing in China. But I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve seen a lot of stuff, and now I’m finding that a lot of my time on trips is now spent on enjoying the Small Things of a different places, like the food or the way the buildings are styled.

Provence would be pretty different in the summer, I’m sure. In late November, things were pretty quiet and cold. We got some nice scenic views, but for the most part, we focused on the charm of the cities and towns. I love the little streets in the “Old Town” neighborhood that each city seems to have. There’s no way Americans could squeeze their SUVs through those tiny roads, but the French seem to manage okay. These guys don’t feel the need to redo something that’s okay the way it is. They’re all fine with the faded pastel blue window shutters, no need to tear it down for an ultra-modern townhouse.

Here are some street shots of places I visited last year. Hope you enjoy!





Saturday, January 15, 2011

The horses of Fashion Farm

Not my horses, although I thoroughly wish they were!

Remember the beautiful September 2010 Anthropologie catalog, with the very strong equestrian theming?

I fell in love with it instantly because I love horses, although I'm only a rinky dink once-a-weeker showing a very bad Long Stirrup and training at home with equally bad 2'3" courses. :D Well, the inspiration behind Anthropologie's equine love is probably coming from the Urban Outfitters CEO, Glen Senk. He's a AA circuit hunter rider and has his horses under the name of Fashion Farm. (Explanations: The AA circuit is the top circuit for hunters/jumpers in the US. The hunter classes are subjective judging classes where the basis of judging falls mostly on the horse itself and how well it jumps it's rounds - it's been said the scoring is 80% horse, 20% rider.)

Glen Senk, UO CEO, and Dynamic, showing at the 2007 Winter Equestrian Festival in the 36-50 Adult Amateur Hunters division.

Sandy and Japayla, schooling at the barn. Hrm. One of these things is not like the other.

I'd like to own a horse one day, but it's vastly expensive and even if I won the lottery, I don't know anywhere near enough horsemanship to be a good owner. (No idea about feeding. I know the very very basics about tack. No idea how to check for lameness in a horse.) So in the meantime, since the Winter Equestrian Festival just started up this weekend in Wellington, FL, I've been following the results there as eagerly as I follow my Chicago Bulls or Bears. The WEF is a two month show and most of the big name hunters and jumpers from the US are in Florida at this time (although a lot of the west coast riders and horses stayed on the west coast and are over at the HITS Thermal circuit in California). So while I follow my usual riders at WEF - the top riders (McLain Ward, Beezie Madden, Eric Lamaze), some up and coming riders I've been impressed with (the Jaynes from Our Day Farm, Maggie and Charlie, Nicole Shahinian-Simpson), and the the girls from the Horsepower series a few years back on Animal Planet (Brianne Goutal, Chelsea Moss, Maria Schaub, and some others that kinda were on the show - Jessica Springsteen and Addison Phillips), I've added Glen Senk and the Fashion Farm horses to my list as well. They're lovely! (I suppose if one can't buy a horse, one can buy clothes that eventually go to fund a horse as well ...)

Glen trains under Scott Stewart, one of the top hunter riders and trainers in the US. Glen is competing in the Adult Amateur Hunters 50+ division at WEF and has already gathered in a red ribbon (2nd) with Highland Park this weekend. While Glen competes in the Adult Am's, Scott Stewart competes the Fashion Farm horses in the other hunter divisons. Scott is a wonderful hunter rider and I love watching him ride.

Okay, I think I basically made this entire post just so I had a reason to post this following video. I was looking up examples of a handy hunter hand gallop. Handy hunter is a hunter class in which a horse has to show off maneuverability and rideability. The course will include elements such as trot jumps, hand gallops, and tighter turns than a basic hunter class. A hand gallop is a controlled gallop used in competitions. This is similar to what is asked for in equitation classes (classes where judging is on how good a rider's position is and how well they ride their horse) and there are frequently discussions on the horse forums I frequent about what constitutes a hand gallop, is an extended canter a hand gallop (NO) and riders blowing the hand gallop and crashing into the fence. Scott Stewart was recommended as a rider who does a lovely hand gallop and looking on youtube, I found Scott at the USHJA Hunter Derby Finals Handy Round, mounted on Summer Place, a Fashion Farm horse.

Sigh. 'tis a lovely sight.

ETA: Oops, was looking at WEF results and saw a horse named Summer Place showing with Pony Lane Farm and Maggie Jayne. Checked USEF and looks like Fashion Farm sold him to PLF. No worries, Fashion Farm also owns a horse named Another Place!

Mission 101: Resolutions for the obsessive goal maker

I’ve never been very good about resolutions, making them or keeping them. It’s not because I don’t like have goals. I love having goals. But I hate setting myself up for failure, and I feel like that’s what most resolutions do. It’s always “start doing something really difficult.” Inevitably, you fall off the bandwagon sooner or later – probably well before the end of January – and then you give up and resume old habits. How many people have had New Years resolutions that actually resulted in lasting lifestyle change?

Travel A-Z Goal

When I first stumbled upon Mission 101, also known as “101:1001” or “101 Things in 1001 Days,” I knew I had a good fit. 1001 days is a long time, nearly 3 years. Enough time so you can make several attempts at a goal, even if it involves something that only happens once a year. 101 things is a lot of things, which means there can be a nice mix of lighter and heavier goals. One of the goals I’m having the most fun with is pictured above, Travel A-Z. It’s not a goal that has a real point, just kind of a travel scavenger hunt that displays nicely. On the tough side, I have things like “Organize a family reunion” and “Complete the 30 day yoga challenge.” Will I complete all 101 goals? I’m a year in, and I don’t even have all 101 goals written! But at the end, I will have a list with many things crossed out, a testament to the productivity of that time period, even if I don’t finish everything. It’s also interesting to see which areas I do well in and which areas I completely neglect.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Need to save some money! - and some reviews

Well, it's been a long few weeks of sales at Anthro. I'm especially glad the 25% sale is over. I really need to save money, and it's so easy to justify buying stuff when it's on super super sale! I'm glad nothing really caught my eye this week. I liked the Femme Fisherman Cardigan, but it was a bit scratchy, and I didn't love it enough to buy at $70. I still love the Karelia coat, but I can't justify it when it's nowhere near warm enough for an Illinois winter. And I have serious issue making myself pay over a hundred dollars for a sweater, so no Gathering Harvest /Best of the Bunch cardi for me either. Sniff. My wallet thanks me, anyways.

I did however buy a couple of small latte bowls and a $9.99 AG khaki in moss! They're super comfortable and if you're looking for some cheap pants now, it's a good time to get them at Anthro. (It's also apparently a good time to get an Exbury Gardens cardi, apparently. Last week, there were two or so sitting at my store. Walked in yesterday and there had to be 30+ on the racks. WTF?)

My iphone is all about the yellow shades. Apologies. I need to remember to bring my actual camera more often. :(

Everybody and their mother has reviewed this, and it's easy to see why. It's a bright happy dress that will lift your spirits up after nothing but pounds and pounds of gloomy ice and snow. Moulinette Souers sizing has confounded me lately (see Lucillae dress from the last post) so instead of my usual 2, I grabbed a 4. And ..... we're going back to a 2 next time. The 4 is big but I think the 2 will fit perfectly. I liked this dress a lot. It's a very light dress - I'm thinking summer moreso than spring. I think I'll bite if this goes on sale.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Late holiday loot

This is my mail sale loot, delivered while I was on vacation. And a more normal set of pictures of the Light the Sky Chemise.

Light the Sky Chemise  Light the Sky Chemise
Light the Sky Chemise
with unidentified sale cardie and Tweed Magnificent Sash
The dress looks more normal in this pic without the spotlight on my tan lines. :)