Sunday, 23 December 2012

Baby love

Those who follow me on facebook will know by now there have been some changes in the Parsons family. We are expanding!

I know the blog has been awfully quiet of late and whilst I’m not claiming morning sickness of Princess Kate proportions, sadly I did have 10 long, nasty weeks of constant nausea, occasional vomiting and general nastiness. Let’s just say it was enough to put anyone off getting dressed up and parading in front of a camera each day and coupled with (yes another) international move, blogging has taken a very firm back seat for a while.

It’s now December and we are happily setting into our new home and new life in Canberra, Australia and I just recently hit the momentous half way mark in my pregnancy, I’m now 21 weeks!

singlet top/ sportsgirl /skirt /french connection/ wooden beads/ old

One thing I’ve learnt already (which I had clearly placed in the same amnesia  filled corner of my brain as those horror filled birth stories) is that dressing well while pregnant is HARD. At our 19 week scan a few weeks ago I watched the sonographer struggle with what she described ‘a moving target’ and I liken this to my struggle each morning to walk out the door looking stylish and presentable. The bump (and erm.. associated cleavage)  is constantly changing and growing, making staying stylish so difficult. One day, a top can look fab, it shows just the right amount of bump, then a mere week later, tight and uncomfortable and relegated to the post pregnancy pile.

So please, whether you are pregnant or not (some style rules are universal!) I’d love you to follow me for the next 20 weeks and beyond as I continue my Style Journey.


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

My favourite jeans

Today I thought I’d pay homage to something very special to me… a discovery that changed my life for the better. I'm talking about Gap* jeans. 

The pair I'm wearing below are nothing special, just a medium wash ‘boyfriend’ style but they belong to an ever growing collection of Gap jeans, I've got them in pink, blue, grey, black, with ankle zip, dark wash, light wash… The reason I love them so much? They fit perfectly, they are affordable (today’s pair for example cost a purse friendly $59), they never create an unsightly muffin top, they are super comfortable, they never need shortening and their styles and cuts are always bang up to date. 

jeans / Gap / ballet flats / Nine West

cardigan / Loft / singlet / TopShop / beads / Glassons

Over the past year I've been slowly but surely adding to my collection, sadly there are only two Gap stores in Australia (now that is CRAZY!) but rest assured.. I have plenty to keep me in denim for the next few seasons.

  Do you have a fail-safe favourite denim brand?

* It may be hard to believe but Gap did not pay me for this post :-)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Virginia Beach

I'm guest blogging today for the lovely Clare at Understated Classics, please head over and check out her fabulous blog :-)

When Clare made a shout out for a guest blogger I was an eager volunteer, I’m pretty new to the blogging world and I've never been a guest blogger before.. So, here goes...

I’m an Australian lover of shopping, style and fashion. In August 2011 my husband and then two year old son, Max left Sydney, Australia for the adventure of a lifetime. We spent 12 amazing months in the UK, living in a beautiful English village and travelling through France, Poland, Belgium and Italy before arriving in Maryland, USA, for our final 3 months away from home. 

Today, I’m coming to you from Virginia Beach, VA, this week my hubby is stationed at the Navy base here, so Max and I decided to tag along. I grew up in Australia on the sunny Gold Coast, and Virginia Beach is about as similar to it as I’ve found in almost 15 months away. Sadly, today the wind was blowing and the skies were grey but I could easily imagine the sun shining, the cocktails flowing and the crowded beach in the height of summer and boy, did it remind me of home.

top / banana republic / jeans / levi's /scarf / zara / bag / marks and spencer

shoes / Clarks

I’m a fairly savvy packer, so when we travel I tend to stick to mix and match basics in my favourite cool shades of navy, pink, green and grey.  My ‘must haves’ include skinny jeans (today I’ve stuck to classic dark blue but coloured jeans are also a staple), stripes and a fun and cheerful scarf. Add an ever practical cross body bag and comfy shoes, such as these metallic brogues and I’m ready to go. Sadly, my husband heard the word ‘beach’ and thought ‘shorts’ and shivered his way up the boardwalk before declaring Virginia Beach might be best viewed from the car…

I could talk  (preach?) about travel packing for days.... Do you have a packing strategy or are you are 'throw it all in the bag' and go kinda gal?

Friday, 5 October 2012

Hair today, gone tomorrow..

Please excuse the non-outfit related post (although I am liking the coral/ blue /tan combo below) as today I am tackling an issue far more serious..

Do you have a fear? Something so terrifying that it keeps you awake at night? I do, and tomorrow I'm facing that fear. I'm getting a haircut.

It only takes one terrible haircut to develop a lifetime of hairdresser terror and sadly I've had a lot more than one shocker. Partially, I blame our crazy lifestyle that’s seen us skip through numerous addresses this year alone, it makes building the vital bonds needed for a great hairdresser/client relationship all but impossible. 

After 12 months in the UK, I finally found an amazing hairdresser (after countless nightmares) just before we were due to leave. I briefly considered holding out until we return home to Australia, where I can hopefully call upon personal recommendations (anyone know a great hairdresser in Canberra?), however, we have been invited to a Navy ball next weekend and there is no avoiding it, my dodgy home colouring efforts and split ends need the kind of help only a professional can offer.

top / MNG / belt / Target / jeans / Gap majorca blue ankle zip

So wish me luck as I go under the knife, err scissors, at 9:30am tomorrow morning… and stay posted for photos.

Do you have a fear of hairdressers? Tell me your worst haircut/colour ever..

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Rock Star

Clearly I am not a rock star… yet this morning when I got dressed my husband remarked ‘Ohhhhh… You’re looking very Rock Star today’. Nothing says rock star like black jeans, a printed t-shirt and dark sunglasses, it’s a pretty easy look to pull off. I'm not usually a t-shirt kinda girl, but if you look closely you'll see exactly why I chose this one, the fact it goes best with black jeans, therefore making me look far cooler than I actually am, is an added bonus.

t shirt / MNG / ankle zip jeans / Gap 

ballet flats / Joe Fresh

My ballet flats are from Joe Fresh, picked up on our recent trip to New York city, I think they finish the look off perfectly (sadly I don’t have any biker boots or a tough looking leather jacket). So how did this Rock Star fill her day? A morning at the local shopping centre and an afternoon on the couch with a good book.. Cause that’s how I roll ;-)

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Summer to Fall

A funny thing happened while I was busily reworking those summer classics… Fall (as they call it here in the Northern Hemisphere) suddenly arrived..

I spent last week in Minneapolis at the Mall ofAmerica with my parents (yes, a love of shopping is genetic in this family) and it was freezing. Thankfully Maryland isn’t so cold, but it’s certainly turned from maxi skirts and singlet tops to cardigans and jeans.

cardigan / Loft / top /Old Navy /jeans/ Levi's / scarf / Gap

While at MOA (as the locals call it) I picked up this cardigan from Loft. It’s a colour I’ve been coveting for a while now; almost all the style bloggers I follow seem to work it into their looks. It’s in the yellow family, but a little deeper, maybe a cross between a bright chartreuse and a deeper mustard. I think it works well with neutrals such as navy, black, white and grey as well as brighter shades like the pink and neon scarf I’ve teamed it with today.

My favourite thing about this new purchase? It just says ‘new season’ in one simple piece. Everything else is old (last season or older) but this colour brings it bang up to date.

What colour are you adding to your wardrobe this season?

Monday, 17 September 2012

New York, New York

I'm a city girl through and through, so it’s no surprise really that I heart NY. I know plenty of people who love the mountains and clear, fresh air but give me a bustling, smog filled city any day…

The problem I have is that when I go to a big city it can be a bittersweet experience; I don’t want to be a camera wielding, comfortable shoe wearing tourist. I want to be a local, I want to be childless (sorry Max!), free of responsibilities (sorry Jason!), flawlessly stylish with perfectly highlighted hair and in an awful hurry to be somewhere awfully exciting.

doughnut plant / strawberry fields / shirt by topshop /view from the high line / birkenstocks /street art / bergdorf goodman / fifth avenue /brooklyn bridge / fashion walk of fame / view from rockerfeller

Having said that, of course we had a fab time in New York.  What an amazing city so full of contrasts. It feels like you could explore it for years and still find something new every single day.

The highlights? The High Line, an abandoned railway turned into an elevated inner city walkway, the ‘Top of the Rock’ observation deck, lunch in a Brooklyn deli followed by a stroll over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Fashion? It’s eclectic; from the polished Italian ladies with their perfectly coifed blonde bobs to the Lady Gaga-ish eccentrics, it’s an anything goes kind of city where no  particular style stands out.  

Shopping? Joe Fresh was well worth the cross city wild goose chase (you’ll agree when you see my new ballet flats), Topshop in Soho for a little bit of British and of course my US favourites Gap, Madewell and American Eagle Outfitters.

So, tell me, do you love the city like me or are you more at home in the countryside?

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Take me out to the ball game

Have I mentioned how much I love my denim shirt? You might remember I picked it up a few months ago from Topshop and it has become a real favourite (I also wore it here). It’s lightweight and a great alternative to a denim jacket. You can wear it buttoned up as  shirt or throw it over pretty much anything and you’re good to go. It is part of recycling my summer staples challenge, but really it’s a no brainer, I wear it all the time.

shirt/ topshop/ stripe singlet/ h&m/ jeans /gap ankle zip in majorca blue

Last night we went to our first every baseball game with some other Aussie friends. Here are some pics of Max (in his very large t shirt) just before he high fived the players as they entered the field. Jason was chosen to throw the first pitch.

I’m giving my challenge a rest for a few days as we are off to New York tomorrow… Stay tunned xo

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Printed Pants - Take 2

Yesterday I set myself a challenge to re-work some spring/summer staples, so I thought this morning I’d dive right in.

top / Warehouse / pants / Zara / sunglasses / FCUK

necklace / Target

shoes / dolce vita by DSW

Remember these Zara printed pants? They really are so comfy and have become a bit of a go-to item to throw on with a singlet top and thongs for a walk to the shops. I’ve tried to mix it up today by pairing with a pale lilac shirt. I was worried this could make them look even more pyjama-ish than normal, so I added a simple necklace and some sparkly shoes.

While I’m enjoying day one of my challenge, I’ll admit it took me a little longer than normal to get dressed this morning. However, I did come up with 2 other new looks to try out as well, using my other printed pants worn here (stayed tuned for them!).

Today we are sprucing up the house and making a quick trip to Target.  My mum and dad arrive to stay tonight after a few nights in Memphis… Wish us luck with the geriatric visitors!


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Home Sweet Home

We are home from Vegas today, after a quick stopover in Baltimore yesterday. It’s amazing how great it is to be home, especially considering our current home is only temporary and has only been home for 3 short weeks.. Max has spent the morning vegging in front of the TV (no judgement please!) and I've been catching up on some pottering, one of my all time favourite pastimes.

denim shirt / topshop / dress / fat face

Summer here in the US seems to be endless; every day the sun shines and we hit 30 plus temperatures. While it’s lovely, and reminds me of home on the Gold Coast, it is starting to pose quite a style challenge. Whilst contemplating my coffee this morning (in my new Las Vegas mug) I came up with this challenge to help stretch out those summer/spring time basics.
You've seen all these items before but my challenge for the next 5 days is to mix them up and wear them differently;

  • The printed pants 
  • The denim shirt 
  • The maxi skirt 
  • The coloured jeans 
  • The peplum top 

Stay tuned and wish me luck! 

Monday, 3 September 2012

Vegas Baby!

So Vegas hey? It has to be one of the most famous, talked about cities in the world? My Vegas loving friend said ‘I have a feeling you might hate the place’.  Well I didn’t hate it, but to be honest, I just didn’t get it. 

Here’s the thing, there are some brilliant ‘Party’ cities in the world; New York, Barcelona, Rio (I’d imagine) which is exactly where I’d go if I wanted a fun holiday full of hustle and bustle. There are also some beautiful resorts (Thailand springs to mind) where I’d go if I wanted lots of sunshine and to sit by a swimming pool. So as a non-gambling (I save my pennies for shopping), too old for nightclubs kinda gal, I found it difficult to see an attraction through all the tackiness, the poker machines and the grotty underside; the crime, the rampant prostitution and drugs. 

Having said that, we still had a great time, especially spending time with my mum and dad, seeing them bond all over again with Max (after a year apart) warmed my heart. We ate some fantastic (albeit insanely unhealthy) food and drank some amazing cocktails.

Fremont St, Downtown Las Vegas
Fremont Street Experience

One of the highlights was Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas. Historically, this is where Vegas all began; it’s a street with more lights than Christmas and a cool, somewhat crazy, vibe.

How about fashion? Well remember that saying about ‘Less is more’? It usually refers to ladies who have a chic, simple, sophisticated style. In Vegas, the meaning is more literal. The casino’s don’t have dress codes; so it’s short shorts, singlet tops and thongs all the way. We actually saw a girl walking down the strip in a bikini at 11:30pm.  

top/ Gap / belt / Target / skirt / h & m

I loved this outfit;  including a new pink skirt from H & M. Total outfit cost (excluding my Birkenstocks) was under $40. I also loved the dry heat, my hair stayed straight and frizz free all day.
Paris Casino
Excalibur Casino
We had a night out (thanks Nanny Rose & Poppy) and hit Rio (a Casino) and the strip. I'm wearing a leopard print Oasis dress, which I hope captured the Vegas vibe without being too tacky. We didn't make it to a show, but checked out some of the free shows in and around the Casino's. A highlight? The showboats at Rio (see picture below).

dress / Oasis / shoes / Dune
Yup, that's a moving showboat, suspended on the ceiling.

So tell me have you been to Vegas? Did you love it or hate it?

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Statement Necklaces

You all know how much I love a scarf, but on the days when I give my (erm..rather extensive) collection a well deserved rest, you'll usually find me wearing a statement necklace.

Here are some pointers for getting the look right;

  • Firstly a word about scale. If you are small boned and petite don’t overwhelm your frame with anything too large. Small frames look best in delicate, fine necklaces whereas larger frames can pull off more ‘chunky’ pieces. Not sure what scale you are? Compare your wrists to that of your friends; tiny wrists indicate you are small scale, larger wrists equal large scale. Mediums (like me) are somewhere in the middle. Remember a taller person may still have a delicate frame.

clockwise from top left /pale blue beads / market / white bubble necklace / Enya via Amazon / blue glass beads / market / bird necklace / market / long silver circles / fcuk/ green bib / Enya via Amazon
  • Create contrast; pair a plain simple t-shirt with a chunky necklace and wear with jeans for a polished casual look.
  • Think outside the square; markets, charity shops, Amazon and are where you'll find unique pieces.
Bib necklace / Zad @ Amazon
  • For work, try beaded collars or lariat style necklaces to add polish to your look without being impractical or OTT.
Orchard & Pearl necklace / Dangling Jewelley @ Esty 
Beaded collar / Asos
  • Keep the rest of your accessories minimal. As a rule, I don’t wear earrings if I'm wearing a necklace; if you do, make sure they complement each other without being ‘matchy matchy’.

Most importantly… Have fun, statement necklaces are a brilliant way to jazz up a simple outfit, throw one on next time you do your grocery shopping!

Linking up with Marion Berry Style

Monday, 27 August 2012

Mellow Yellow

I’m a people watcher, quite obsessively in fact. I’ll watch anyone, for any reason but my favourite thing to watch (of course) is what everyone is wearing. When we were at the Crab Festival the other week I spotted a lady wearing blue and yellow and thought she looked fab. While I have tonnes of blue in my wardrobe, yellow was in short supply so when I spotted this scarf the other day I snapped it up.

scarf/ Old Navy / top & jeans / Gap / shoes/ birkenstocks

It got me thinking about colour. Yellow is always associated with sunshine and happiness and rightly so, it’s hard to be sad when you’re wearing such a vibrant shade. Popular opinion would have us believe red, on the other hand is exciting and raunchy, grey; business-like and black is sophisticated and sombre. Pink is girlie, blue is calm, brown is homely and purple, like red is a little sexy.

So over to you, do you think colours (and there wearers) take on these traits? For me,  wearing yellow is certainly a mood booster, as for the rest, I have to say, the jury is still out..

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Not coloured jeans

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 6 months you’re sure to be aware that the biggest trend of right now is coloured jeans. In fact, you probably have a pair or two sitting in your wardrobe.

The problem with coloured jeans (and patterned, for that matter) is that they won’t be around forever and while denim is long lasting, trends sadly are not. So while I dearly love my collection of coloured jeans (three pairs at last count) and plan on wearing them for many months to come, for now, no more, enough is enough!

top /Gap/ pants/ H & M/ belt & necklace / New Look/ shoes / birkenstocks

So today, I’m not wearing coloured jeans. The weather in the US at the moment is warm and after a year of inclement UK weather (i.e. rain, rain and some more rain) my summer wardrobe stapes are sadly lacking. You all know how much I hate baring my legs, so on a recent shopping trip I went in search of some non-denim pants to see me through the summer months. I found these gems at H&M. They are lightweight, cornflower blue, almost like chinos but straighter through the legs (most ‘chino’ style pants are tapered at the ankles which do nothing for a pear shape!). I’ve rolled the cuffs close to my ankle to lengthen my legs.

Practical, comfortable and a lovely colour, I hope these pants continue to be favourites 
long after my coloured jeans have been sent to the charity shop in post trend shame.

Confession time, do you have a coloured jean addiction? 

Let’s go to the Mall*

Ahhhh Shopping, what’s not to love right? But we all know that shopping can be a stressful experience and looking at unworn clothes hanging in your wardrobe can be downright annoying. So here are some fool proof tips to get the best from your shopping trip;

  • You know how people tell you to never go grocery shopping hungry? Well it’s the same with clothes shopping. Never shop when you are ‘I’m-going-out-in-3-hours-and- I-have-nothing-to-wear-and-I-MUST-find-something-amazing-NOW’ desperate. Sure, sometimes you find  a gem, but most of the time you end up with something  completely impractical which you’ll only ever wear once.  Chances are you already have something amazing in your wardrobe, spend your time there instead of rushing around the shops and save your pennies for a more relaxing shopping trip.

  • Shop alone or with a good (and stylish) friend. If taking children with you is unavoidable buy yourself some peace and quiet by making sure they have lots of snacks (the unhealthier the better), lots of toys, something electronic like an iPhone and set aside a few $$ for a new toy (I find a match box car works a treat). Bribery is key here, don’t be fooled, they are on to you and know you want to ignore them for an hour or two. (These tricks will work equally well should you need to take a husband/boyfriend but what works best is to leave them somewhere with beer and sport).

  • Shop for outfits, not separates. We’ve all fallen into the trap of buying a lovely new top only to come home and find it goes with nothing. Unless you are buying a dress, make sure your new purchase  will go (well) with at least one other item in your wardrobe, or else be prepared to buy a skirt, pants, shoes and accessories to go with it. Do not fall into the trap of thinking, I’ll just wear it with jeans.. boring.

top /Lauren Conrad for Kohls /pink jeans/ Gap/ tan flats/ Next

So as you can see, Jason, Max and I checked out Tysons Corner Centre in Vienna yesterday (just outside of Washington DC) and while I didn’t pick up any new threads, I  do have a shiny new iPhone  to show for my time, just perfect for future shopping trip distractions.

Do you have any fool proof tips for a successful shopping trip?

*Title inspiration for my fellow ‘How I met your Mother’ fans, thanks Robin Sparkle.