Why There’s No Shame in an Awesome Staycation

 

Family. Pie. Fight.

 

Every time I mention those three words together, people do a bit of a double-take.

You did what?

A family pie fight. We filled like 100 pie crusts with pudding and Cool Whip and put down a tarp in our backyard and went at it.

That’s awesome!

It was.

pie fight 2
And gross. Awesome and a little gross.

 

pie fight

The whole thing was my dad’s idea – something he wanted to do for quite a while.  And it was glorious, I tell you. Something you dream about in your childhood made reality.  That, that, is an example of exceptional staycationery.

The staycation gets knocked a lot. Why is that folks? It represents two very good qualities: thrift and an understanding that fun ought to be a priority in your life. It’s always an option to say you don’t have the money, therefore you’re not doing anything fun this summer, but staycationers still find a way to make it work. I respect that. I love that, even. Plus, it’s an opportunity to do something so unusual that you’ll never forget it.  I love Disney World as much as the next gal, but no one oohs and aahs when I say I’ve been there. Mention that I’ve thrown a pie at my mom, however, and folks are intrigued. Play it right, and you’ll be talking about your staycation for years to come.

Some guidelines:

1.) Don’t worry about imitating an experience you can’t afford.
There are exceptions to this, of course.  If your kids want to create a waterpark in your backyard, then absolutely make that happen.  But for the most part, think about things you or your family have always wanted to do that either time or your own rules have not permitted. Maybe this is finally the summer that you will try every sno-cone flavor on the menu, or go to the top floor of the highest building in your city.

2.) Determine ahead of time how much time you can set aside.
The more the merrier, of course, but knowing just how much time you have to work with can make or break a staycation.  Rushing through your Pauly Shore film festival because you’ve got work in the morning is going to be a real mood killer – commit to whatever time you can, and choose an activity that fits it.

3.) Research what your town has to offer.
It’s as simple as Googling “free fun in ______”.  Look at the city website for event schedules, hit up blogs that list activities, and always, ALWAYS ask on Facebook. 🙂

4.) Remember, attitude is everything!
Saying that something is too weird or too dumb is just weird and dumb.  Give each idea a fair chance! You don’t have to do everything you come up with, but don’t worry about an activity turning out a disaster – those are memories, too! And ones that you can have a good laugh about, to boot.

Some ideas:

Go to a storage auction. (Don’t scoff. You know you want to.)
Give geocaching a try, and hide a cache of your own.
Hold the “Glowstick Olympics” one night, with bowling, a water balloon toss, glow-in-the dark charades, etc.
Go to a specialty foods store and try something new!
Parade of Homes, y’all. It’s more fun than you might guess.
Turn your house – or backyard, or both! – into a giant fort.
Family food fight (see above)
All Night Game Night – have prizes for winners, and make sure to stock the kitchen with grab-n-eat food and paper plates, ’cause nobody’s gonna want to function the next day.

Those are a few to get the ball rolling – what are some great staycations you’ve had? Planning any for this summer? We’d love to hear!

Black & White Summer Wishlist

In informal continuation of my summer trends posts from a while back (1, 2, 3), I will be putting together guides/wishlists of trends that I love throughout the course of the summer. Today’s wishlist is about the “all-white” trend and I just about die over it! I’ve never seen an all-white outfit that I haven’t loved. They just look so clean and crisp. If I had unlimited funds, I would go buy this entire outfit right now! I If you’re brave enough (all-white can be daunting… and dirty), try out an all-white outfit for a day and let us see what you come up with (upload a picture of your outfit to instagram with the hashtag #ourunqualifiedopinion).

BlackWhiteSummer

(1) Open Back Blouse // (2) Citizens of Humanity Destroyed White Denim

(3) Michael Kors Gold Chain Watch // (4) J. Crew White Bangle

(5) Julianne Hough Colorblock Wedge Sandal // (6) Straw Short-Brim Fedora

(7) J. Crew Crystal Necklace // (8) J. Crew Black Leather Belt

(9) Olivia & Joy Blue Satchel // (10) Essie ‘Butler Please’ Nail Polish

Our Guide to Surviving Summer TV

I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit how much television Ben and I watch.  It is a lot.  (I will say that our number of regular shows has decreased over the years.) In fact, our entire courtship was spent watching seasons of Lost and 24.  We’re romantic like that. So for people who loves television as much as we do, May brings the excitement of season finales and the sadness associated with the fact that TV is lame during the summer.  So now I find myself scouring Netflix for shows to fill my time as I wait for fall.

Last week Sarah and I had an in-depth discussion regarding the shows that were fantastic and cancelled far too soon.  In an effort to help feed the unhealthy media addictions of other (misery loves company) here is our list to help you get through the summer dry season.

better off tedBetter off Ted

Ben and I loved this show and were heartbroken when it was cancelled.   Wikipedia describes the plot as, “Better Off Ted revolves around the employees of a stereotypically evil company. The company, Veridian Dynamics, experiments on its employees, twists the truth, and will stop at nothing to achieve its goals. It has been mentioned that Veridian has swayed presidential elections, created killer pandas and robots, weaponized pumpkins, and that there are only three governments left in the world which are more powerful than Veridian. Although not promoted as such, and rarely the focus of storylines, the show’s frequent references to futuristic technologies, killer robots, sentient computers, etc., places Better Off Ted at least partially in the science fiction genre.”

It is hilarious and smart.  Portia De Rossi is fantastic and the scientists are my favorite,

veronica marsVeronica Mars

It’s a show that’s hard to properly recommend to people, Veronica Mars.  The premise never sounds as good as it should: “She’s in high school in a small town and her dad’s a PI and she
helps him and she’s solving her best friend’s murder” sounds a little juvenile. The fact that it aired on UPN and then the CW isn’t exactly a point in its favor, either.  But listen, it’s a smart
show.  More than that, it’s a smart show that’s still incredibly…dishy? I can’t think of the right word at the moment, bear with me. It’s fast-paced, you see, and witty in the best way. The people are all abnormally pretty and they live fantastic lives loaded with scandal and intrigue.  It’s a soap, yes, but a soap that gives you street cred.

pushing daisiesPushing Daisies

First things first about Pushing Daisies: the cast. I don’t know how to talk about this cast, really, without gushing. Everyone, everyone in this show delivers such on-point performances that everything else might be irrelevant if it wasn’t great, too. If you’re the kind of TV viewer who gets very invested in the characters, then do yourself a favor and put this one in your Netflix queue. And there’s even more to love! The production design – holy moly. So stylized and cheerful – the perfect counterpoint to the show’s dark humor. Also, it has Kristin Chenoweth.  She plays Olive, the love-sick waitress who (thank goodness) bursts into song throughout the series. In case you need anymore convincing, check out the clip below.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tROjj3krsuE

All on the lineAll on the Line

Okay, not a cancelled show, it’s true, but I would say an under appreciated one. And it’s a reality show, at that! Joe Zee – the Creative Director of ELLE, among other things – mentors a different designer each week in hopes of getting their line picked up by buyers for stores like Nordstrom and Anthropologie. It doesn’t feel forced or rehearsed in the slightest, yet the combination of beautiful clothes, artistic temperaments, and legitimately high stakes makes this one a real keeper.

ReaperReaper

Basically Sam is a 21 year old who found out that his parents made a deal with the devil (Ray Wise.  Amazing).  The deal plays out that Sam will become the devil’s bounty hunter and send demons back to the underworld.  Sam’s slacker friends help him out in an effort to keep the devil from taking the his mother’s soul.  Hilarious and easy to watch,  This show does not require any additional thought.  Perfect for summer.

FireflyFirefly (Synopsis by Ben)

This show is the quintessential space western. Now for those of you whose eyes just glazed over, the space part is a means to an end. It is a smart, well written show by one of the best in the business (Joss Whedon). And for those worried about watching a show that was cancelled, the movie gives a lot of resolution.

suitsSuits (Not cancelled so hop on board)

Ben loves this show.  Here is his recap “The premise of suits has been done a million times. A brilliant but underachieving person (Mike Ross) finds themselves in a position where they need to keep a big secret to live an improved life (working as a lawyer for a major NY law firm). This show stands out due its solid cast of characters, snappy writing, and the fact that every single person in the office is way better looking than they should be.”

Studio 60 on the sunsetFinally, any series by Matthew Perry.

Seriously.  Ben and Tracey love all of his shows but they all seem to get cancelled. Go On, Mr. Sunshine, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip are all great shows.  Give ’em a shot.

And just in case you’ve missed out on some current shows, here are a couple you can catch up on.

  • Revenge
  • Nashville
  • Downton Abbey
  • Call the Midwife 
  • Sherlock (BBC)
  • Doctor Who
  • Arrested Development 
  • Scandal

 

Summer Must-Have Trendies: Part 3

SummerTrends

This post may seem long, but that’s only because it’s long. But this is the third and final part of my Summer Trends series, and guys, I definitely saved the best for last. I am SOO excited about this one. Today, I’m featuring prints. And it was almost impossible for me to narrow it down to the 7 prints that I did. There are so many fun prints to chose from — and they are everywhere. Just about any clothing store you go in will have some sort of print to chose from. So just pick your favorite (or favorites… my favorites happen to be all 7) and get shopping. Stat!

I love prints because they are so versatile. You can use them as neutrals. Or you can use them as statement pieces. Prints can stand alone in an outfit, or they can be paired together (oh yes, I did just say that two different prints can be paired with each other… just stay with me, I’ll get to this). Since I have seven different prints below, I’m going to write just a little bit about each one to help you on your way to including prints in your summer wardrobe (although I’d be surprised if some of you don’t already have at least one of these in your closets).

1) First, stripes. O.M.G. Stripes. Stripes are my all-time, number-one favorite. Vertical or horizontal stripes. Even as I sit here typing this, I am wearing a striped shirt (which isn’t surprising considering that probably 50% of my clothing items have stripes on them). Even before my husband was my husband, he and his little sister would make fun of how many striped things I owned. (If I was ever shopping with his sister, she’d pick up anything and everything with stripes and say, “This looks like something you would wear, Erika!” Hardy…har…har, Bethany. Har.) Selecting only 4 striped items to include below was just about impossible — there are so many great striped things to chose from. I couldn’t find it online, but H&M has this great stretchy, striped t-shirt that is right around $5. I have 2. Just, make your way to your local H&M and buy yourself one, now! Since I already included striped pants in my first summer trend post, I didn’t include them here, but they’re definitely still on my list. Just know that if it has stripes on it, you should probably just buy it. Immediately.

2) Leopard is my next favorite. I love what a little bit of leopard does to an outfit. But, leopard-wearers beware! Too much leopard can look trashy. Or too Jersey Shore-ish. (Those two adjectives are synonyms, aren’t they? I did love me some Jersey Shore though—don’t judge.) Someone once told me (as I was wearing leopard shoes) that leopard belongs in the bedroom and nowhere else. I respectfully disagree with her, the ignoramus. I have 2 leopard-print scarves, 2 pair of leopard-print shoes, a leopard-print belt, a leopard-print cardigan, and a leopard-print skirt. I think as long as you keep it classy, and use it mostly as an accessory, then leopard is a wonderful addition to any outfit. (Hint: I love wearing leopard and stripes together.)

3) Floral is lady-like. Floral is beautiful. Floral is very summery. Floral is definitely huge this summer and every girl should have at least one floral item in her closet. (Hint: I also love pairing floral and stripes together.)

4) Polka dots are fourth on my list. I’m not as crazy about polka dots as I am about stripes and leopard print, BUT I do own several polka dot items. I’m dying over the pink, polka dot, peplum top I included below. It’s gotta be as close to perfect as a top can get. (Hint: I love polka dots and stripes together. I know—shocker! Polka dots and leopard OR polka dots and floral would each also look great together.)

5) Graphic tees are huge this summer. If you don’t have one, get one! All the tops I included below are pretty inexpensive (thank you, Forever 21) and they’re all so super cute. I now own 3 and am so excited for all the outfit possibilities I am going to get out of them! A graphic tee and striped shirt. A graphic tee and blazer (not included in this post). A graphic tee and floral jeans. A graphic tee and leopard belt. Get it yet?

6) Camo. The one thing I don’t have in my closet yet, but definitely something that’s on my shopping list. I’m drooling over the camo destroyed jeans (see last week’s post for more destroyed denim options). (Hint: I’d love to pair a graphic tee with some camo jeans. Or, you guessed it, camo bottoms with a striped shirt.)

7) Last, but definitely not least, tribal prints. I included a maxi skirt, because what says summer better than one of those babies? And those wedges?! How could you just not adore them? Tribal prints are so fun and so must-have for this summer. Since most of the tribal prints are so busy, I’d say you’d probably be better off just pairing them with a neutral.

Prints

STRIPES: (1) Shirt // (2) Skirt // (3) Shoes // (4) Sunnies

LEOPARD: (1) Belt // (2) Shoes // (3) Scarf // (4) Shirt [sale!]

FLORAL: (1) Jeans [sale!] // (2) Shirt [sale!] // (3) Skirt // (4) Necklace

POLKA DOTS: (1) Shirt [sale!] // (2) Pants [sale!] // (3) Jacket [sale!] // (4) Dress

GRAPHIC TEES: (1) Love // (2) Anchor // (3) Mickey // (4) Blessings

CAMO: (1) Jeans // (2) Shoes // (3) Shorts // (4) Shirt

TRIBAL: (1) Skirt // (2) Shoes // (3) Shirt // (4) Earrings

And, in the interest of preserving the tradition from the past two weeks, here is a selfie shot where I paired two different prints: gingham (not featured in this post; it was originally, but I thought I had too many items already) with stripes.

IMG_0019

While this next “trend” may not actually be a trend, I am including it in this post because we had a request to. And we give our clients what they want, gosh darn it! And because, this is a series about summer, and there’s nothing better to include in a summer series than swimsuits. And because a lot of these swimsuits are pretty trendy in and of themselves.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure (gentlemen, beware!), as I was searching for these swimsuits, I searched with the idea in mind that the wearer would have little in the way of chestal endowment. (Pretty sure I just made up the word “chestal” since it’s being underlined in red whenever I type it.) I figure, I fit into that category myself (thanks, mom!), so below are some ideas (“The boob tip”) for those who, like me, have no boobage to speak of, but still wanna look hot (“The trend”) in their swimwear.

1) The trend: the cutouts. The boob tip: this suit is padded (a must! for anyone with a small chest) and it has a strap  that goes around your neck to keep it up. (This is the suit I own, so I know it works for the no boob thing.)

2) The trend: It’s mint. The boob tip: It’s a push-up swimsuit.

3) The trend: Chevron! The boob tip: It’s padded (see #1 above) and it’s got a sweetheart neckline, which outlines curves, giving the allusion that you do actually have boobs.

4) The trend: Gingham (a print!) The boob tip: It has a sweetheart neckline too (see #3 above) and padding (see #1 above).

5) The trend: It’s a print! and it’s bright! The boob tip: Its drawstrings make it cinch around your waist, making your waist appear smaller and accentuating your chest. Plus, it has padding and a strap to go around your neck (see #1 above).

6) The trend: Teal ikat (a print!) The boob tip: Sweetheart neckline and padding (see above), plus there’s a neat twist on the bustline that would accentuate the shape of your bust.

7) The trend: Bandeau The boob tip: It’s a bandeau top, so it accentuates the bust area. Plus this particular suit has an underwire, so it’s basically a push up, and that’s never a bad thing for us boobless.

8) The trend: Polka dots!! The boob tip: The entire suit is ruched so it gives the allusion that your bust is bigger than it actually is. Plus, that neck strap is never a bad thing!

ModestSwim

(1) Kenneth Cole One-Piece with Cut Outs // (2) Mint Ruffle Push-Up One-Piece [on sale!]

(3) Fuschia/White Tankini* // (4) Gingham Swimdress [on sale!]

(5) Ruffle Drawstring Tankini Top* // (6) Robin Piccone Teal Ikat One-Piece

(7) White Bandeau Tankini Top* // (8) Ralph Lauren Polka Dot Scrunch Swimdress

*Bottoms sold separately

Summer Must-Have Trendies: Part 2

SummerTrendsYou guys. I am sorry for the overload in this “part 2” post. (Except, really, I guess I’m not). I have been internally debating ALL week on whether to talk about pastels or to talk about neons. And then, just last night, I decided, why limit it? This is my post, and I’ll do what I darn well please with it. Insert hashtag thatsthebeautyofblogging here (for Sarah’s thoughts on that, see this). So, today, we’re talking about both pastels and neons. And also, distressed denim. Because I love them all. And I think they are all great for this summer.

You can do so many things — I repeat, sooo many things — with these three items. The outfit possibilities are endless. All three trends can be worn together. Or they can all be worn separately. Get crazy with it. There are no rules in fashion. You could pair some distressed denim with a bright neon shirt, a white or neutral blazer (not featured here), and some pastel shoes/belt/accessories. Or you could pair some pastel skinnies with a neutral shirt and a neon cardigan or neon pair of shoes/belt. Seriously. I could go on and on. And on and on. So I’m just going to stop and let you guys do the rest of the imagining and putting-together-of-outfits yourselves.

And once you come up with something incredible (because I know you all will), share it with us! Email it to us or post it to Instagram with the appropriate hashtag (#NeonOpinion #PastelOpinion #DistressedOpinion). If we get enough outfit pics, we’ll feature them in a future post! Until then, here are the guides to help get you started…

Pastels

(1) Yellow Pencil Skirt // (2) Blush Bellflower Skirt

(3) Mint Skinny Jeans // (4) Blush Pink Jeggings

(5) Polka Dot Chambray [on sale!] // (6) Yellow Chiffon Short Sleeve Shirt

(7) Blush Cashmere Sweather // (8) Mint & White Striped Shirt

(9) Hinged Pastel Bangles // (10) Lavender Spiked Clutch

(11) Mint D’Orsay Pointed Flats // (12) St. Lucia Lilac Essie Nail Polish

(13) Mint Candy Apple Essie Nail Polish // (14)  Starter Wife Essie Nail Polish

(15) Borrowed & Blue Essie Nail Polish

Neons

(1) Coral Knit Zipper Jacket // (2) Neon Lime Cashmere Sweater [on sale!]

(3) Blue Boatneck Blouse [on sale!] // (4) Neon Azalea Gingham Button-Up

(5) Neon Colorblock Cardigan // (6) Zippered Tie-Die Neon Tee

(7) Lime Skinny Denim // (8) Yellow Stripe Strapless Maxi Dress

(9) Neon Pink Skinny Jeans [on sale!] // (10) Teal Cutout Maxi Dress

(11) Neon Pink Pencil Skirt // (12) Joie Blue Tank Dress

(13) Yellow Cap-Toe Slingback Heels // (14) DV Orange Sandal Wedge

(15) Steve Madden Green Sandal // (16) Pink Pointy-Toe Heel

(17) Teal Sandal // (18) Neon Green Quilted Patent Crossbody Bag

(19) Pink Skinny Leather Belt // (20) Bright Coral Infinity Scarf

(21) Bobbi Brown Neon Lip Glosses // (22) Fuschia Bow Wrap Bracelet

(23) Neon Yellow Stone Necklace

DistressedDenim

(1) Light Distressed Cropped Denim // (2) A&F Destroyed Boyfriend Denim

(3) Black Acid Wash Skinnies with Rip Details // (4) Acid Wash Destroyed Mini Shorts

(5) Paige Denim Destroyed White Skinnies // (6) 7 for All Mankind Oceanside Destroyed Skinnies

(7) Paige Denim Blossom Destruction Skinnies // (8) J Brand 811 Salem Distressed Skinnies

And since I included a few of these last time, here’s another shameless selfie-mirror shot of a time I paired a neon yellow shirt with a pastel-blue-striped sweater.

IMG_0491

Summer Must-Have Trendies: Part 1

SummerTrendsMuch to my husband’s dismay, I really, really like clothes. Dress to express, that’s my motto. Expressing myself and how I feel in that moment is my main motive when putting together outfits, and I personally believe it should be everyone else’s too. (Unless your main motive is simply because otherwise you would be naked. Then, by all means, just get dressed, and it doesn’t matter why.) Clothes have a way of expressing who you are, what you do, what you like, what you don’t like, how you feel. And so on.

If you put on your Sunday best for church, you’re expressing your desire to worship or be reverent and presentable. If you put on some cut-off shorts over a swimsuit, you’re expressing your desire to be at a pool or a beach. If you put on a slinky, sassy LBD and some super-high stilettos, you’re expressing your desire for some dude attention or a girl’s night out, perhaps dancing (although if you do that in said super-high stilettos, bravo to you and the balls of your feet!). If you put on sweats, you’re expressing your desire to be lazy. (Which, by the way, is what I express 3 or 4 times a week. Ain’t no shame in it. No shame at all.)

Now, before I go on, you should know: I am by no means a fashion expert. Far from it, in fact. But for some reason, Tracey and Sarah have got it in their minds that I should be “The Opinion” on summer trends for this here blog. When they first ran the idea past me, I was skeptical, since my opinion truly is an unqualified one. But then I figured, what better platform to express my unqualified love of clothing than on a blog entitled “Our Unqualified Opinion” and if I really love clothes as much as I claim to (and I really do) then why not share that love with anybody who happens to be reading?

So here you have it. Part 1 in a series I am doing through the month of May that will highlight my favorite trends for this quickly approaching (yay!) summer. These are the items that, in my mind, you should all have at least one of to look slammin’ this summer!

StripePants

(1) B/W Vertical Striped Jeans // (2) Ivory/Blue Striped Skinny Jeans

(3) Blue/White Striped Overall // (4) Harem Taper Trail Striped Pants

(5) Haute Hippie Tuxedo Stripe Jeans // (6) Citizens of Humanity Stripe Cut-Off Shorts

(7) Joie Stripe Skinny Jeans // (8) Warehouse Bold Stripe Skinny Pant

(1) Multi Color Block Flat Sandals // (2) Tan/Metallic Color Block Flat Sandals

(3) Camel/Black High Rise Strappy Heel // (4) Nude Studded Gemstone Strappy Sandals

(5) White High Heel Sandal w/Ankle Straps // (6) Anthropologie Woven D’Orsay Skimmers

(7) Sam Edelman ‘Trina’ Leopard Sandal // (8) ASOS Heeled Sandal with Metal Trim

(9) Sixtyseven Taupe Peep Toe Strappy Wedge // (10) Chinese Laundry White Ankle Cuff Heels

And, in an attempt to make myself seem just a little bit less unqualified than I feel, here I am, attempting to rock the two trends above (you’ll have to excuse the selfie-mirror shots; sorry, I’m not sorry).