Thursday, March 31, 2016

ChicWish Flamingo Fun Flare Dress Review

     This is my first order from ChicWish.  I've been admiring for months and finally decided to take the plunge with this adorable Flamingo Fun Flare Dress.  I've actually never been a fan of flamingo...anything, but something about this called my name.  I placed my order on February 28th and was notified before purchase that this dress would not ship until March 5th.  No problem, I don't mind when I know in advance.  I also received a 30% off coupon for my first order.  However, since this dress was already on sale for 15% off, I only received an additional 15% off.  Again, not a problem.  I appreciate any little extra thing that a company does to help out their customers.  
    The dress arrived on March 22nd and looks just as lovely as the website photos.   The bodice was a bit too loose for me around the bust, but the waist and arms were spot on.  The skirt has a layer of tulle to make it much fuller and then an underskirt under that.  The waist is a tiny bit awkward as the belt is only sew down along the bottom seam so it needs to be tied securely or it will fall open.  And with all this skirt, it was a beast to iron.  But, once the ironing was done, it stayed wrinkle free.  Overall, this dress looks great and feels great.  I've very happy with my first shopping experience at ChicWish and have plans to purchase an adorable little skirt as soon as my budget allows.
Shop the Look:
Flamingo Dress by ChicWish
Jelly purse from Ebay
Earrings from Claire's
Shoes from ModCloth

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sakura Season At Last

    The cherry blossoms have finally budded in our neighborhood and this brief and beautiful week is cause for a nationwide celebration as people everywhere take an afternoon with friends and co workers to sit beneath the trees and drink in the beauty of the sakura.  We decided to make the trek up to Sakurayama, Cherry Blossom Hill, to enjoy our afternoon and it did not disappoint.  I'm hoping to venture out to a few more spots this week before the blossoms fade away for another year.  I'm wearing my new ChicWish Dress (review to be posted tomorrow) and it elicited quite a few stares.  Color seems to be a very scary thing to most people here, so I expected some sideways glances.  It's ok, I love my dress and I'm going to wear it as much as possible.

Believe it or not this is only two thirds of the entire staircase to the top of Sakurayama and I ended up walking it three times.

Shop the Look:
Flamingo Fun Flare Dress from ChicWish
Shoes from ModCloth
Earrings from Claire's

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Little Bit Country: ootd

    I grew up on a farm in the mid-west.  I never thought of myself as a cowgirl type, not even when we had cows.  But, "country girl" was a title I wore proudly, though I never thought about it applying to my sense of style.  To me the title applied to a skill set and a frame of mind which I've taken with me even into the "big city" here in Japan.  We just got the word that we'll be staying in Japan quite a bit longer than expected and while there is so much to love about this country, it's been ages since we've been home and we had our hearts set on the simpler things in life like seeing this year's new batch of kittens born, building a chicken coop, and planting a garden.  I didn't set out to put together a rustic inspired outfit, but with home so much on my mind today my clothing reflected the mood I'm in.  It's funny how clothing does that.  When I looked in the mirror I thought maybe it was time to get back to my roots and apply that beloved title to today's outfit.
    I like odd things and this dress fits the bill.  Its mix citrus and bland colors and its labyrinthine criss-cross top (I frequently get lost and tangled up trying to put it on) make it one of the more usual and difficult (literally and figuratively) pieces of my wardrobe.  Fortunately, I love a challenge.  I wanted to create a casual look with this dress, because even if we aren't heading home anytime soon, I have a million places to go today.  So, the first thing I reached for was my denim jacket to dress down this dress.  I grabbed my new Shoedazzle boots because they're surprisingly comfortable even with the heels and also because nothing else was working.  I don't know if I love this outfit or if I'll ever wear it again, but it was great for today.  It was easy and comfortable and casual.  I definitely know why boots and jean jackets are a staple of the stylish and practical country girl's closet.
Shop the Look:
Jacket is old and from Old Navy
Boots are from ShoeDazzle
Dress is by Anthropologie purchased from ThredUp.  Use this link to save $20 off your first purchase

Monday, March 28, 2016

Thinking Pink: ootd

    My winter clothes are heading for storage soon, so I want to make the most of them while the chilly weather lasts.  This little wool skirt from H&M has been one of my staples for the past few months and I've worn it several ways to bring out the darker colors in the plaid like the burgundy or the purple which you can see here  But, since it is officially spring it's time to think pastel pink. 

Shop the Look:
Tights and heels from ModCloth
Top is old from Forever 21
Cardi is old from Target
Skirt is H&M from ThredUp  Use this link to sign up and save $20 off your first order at ThredUp

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Designer Crush: Monica Bacon & OhMeOhMy Clothing

     Like your clothes to be quirky, girly, original, unique?  Me too, and I am head over heels for Monica Bacon's designs at OhMeOhMyClothing   With classic styles and adorable fabric, what's not to love?  Monica says, "I began sewing things like coin purses and stuffed animals as a child. In high school I began teaching myself how to sew clothing. I would never use patterns. I'd just look at pieces of clothing and then tried to create them myself. After many failures I began to make things that were wearable. I loved it! Most of all I just loved having an idea and making it reality."  
    After taking a break from selling her designs on Etsy to finish her education, she is back in full creative force.  "I've begun designing my own fabric to sell and make dresses in. This is something I've wanted to do so long and it's so exciting to finally make it a reality! I have so many hopes for the near future.[...] There's so much to be excited about and I'm so thankful to all the amazing Etsy people who made this possible!"  I'm really excited to see what's in store for Monica and OhMeOhMyClothing.  And now for my favorite part:  Let's look at the clothes!

Find these lovely dresses and more at

Friday, March 25, 2016

Larmoni Bulldog Dress Review

    Afirst time purchase from a shop called Larmoni.  I've been browsing this shop for about eight months.  I like their style and their prices, but have held off on making a purchase.  The reason for my hesitance was that their dresses seemed like they would be wrong for my height and shape.  
    When I saw a dress from their shop for sale on Ebay with the listing describing it as extremely short and high waisted, my suspicions felt confirmed.  I have a long waist and a small chest.  Short waisted dresses hide my shape.  They make me look childish and heavier than I am.  I'm also 5'6" (and, hello, I'm someone's mother), so I need enough length to cover my backside and retain my dignity.  
    After so many cute styles selling out, curiosity finally got the better of me and I decided to try just one dress to see how it fit.  It was tough to decide where to start, but the bulldog dress stole my heart more than the others, so I settled on that one.  
    The measurements were a little confusing.  I wear an extra small, but according to their numbers I couldn't figure out if I needed a small or a medium.  I contacted customer service and provided my height, weight, and measurements.  Although their reply was prompt, it wasn't terribly helpful.  They advised me that either size would work fine.  I chose a medium since it had some extra length.  The order shipped quickly, but no tracking number was provided and it took a little over three weeks for it to arrive.
    As expected, I'm going to have to take the dress in about two inches on the bodice...guess I should have listened to my gut and ordered a small...but then I would have lost an inch in length.......hmmm.  As far as the length goes, this is more of a skater style dress, so the skirt is quite a bit shorter than I normally like to wear, but still cute.  It will be great for summer, but maybe a bit too short for these breezy spring days.
    The quality of the dress is pretty decent, especially for the price.  It's a light weight cotton and the skirt is lined.  I'm happy with the dress and I'm already trying to decided which dress I'll get next.  Larmoni offers a discount on your first purchase of 15% off, and I wish I had bought two dresses while I had that discount.  My only caution on shopping with this company would be to closely compare your measurements with theirs before buying.
    I always do my photos in natural lighting provided by a large window in my room, which is why I'm almost always facing the same direction in my photos (towards the sunlight).  But, since the weather decided to cooperate today I ventured out for a few photos under the trees just so that you can see the dress in outdoor lighting.  More outfits with this dress and from Larmoni are on the way!

Shop the Look:
Bulldog dress by Larmoni
Charter School Cardigan in Red from ModCloth
Peter Pan Blouse from Forever 21
Flats from Seychelles

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Peplum & a Pencil: ootd

    "What's a peplum?" my friend asked with a sneering curl on her lip.  "It's a little overskirt on a blouse or a dress that flares out," I replied.  "You mean like from the 80s?"  The sneer was now more prominent.  "Yeah, they had them then, they've been around for ages and they're really flattering."  My friend was unmoved and unlikely to try a peplum anytime soon.  Oh, well, it's her loss.  While it's true that the 80s touted a peplum as part of it's larger than life style, when I say peplums have been around for ages before that, I truly mean it.  
    The word peplum is derived from ancient Greek word for a type of womens wear and the form we know today was in use as early as the 1930s and 40s.  Despite having been around so long, a lot of women don't seem to know what they are.  Even my spell checker is throwing up red squiggles at every mention.  If you haven't tried this fashionable frill delay no longer.  It's is so feminine and chic and really great for curves.  I especially love a peplum top with a pencil skirt.  It creates a very striking silhouette.  This outfit is all from ThredUp and the entire cost head to toe was $35.50 (8.50 top + 6.00 skirt + 21.00 heels).  If you're new to ThredUp, use this link to save $20 off your first order

Shop the Look:
Forever 21 Peplum Top
Express Pencil Skirt
Enzo Angiolini heels

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tiny Flowers: ootd

    So much for waiting for the spring buds to open, I'm breaking out the florals now.  I bought this sweet floral shirt dress and bright blue cardi from ThredUp (use this link to sign up and save $20 off your first order because I thought they'd be comfortable around-the-house clothes.  Turns out that with these comfy oxford flats it's a pretty great outfit for running errands and hanging out at the park too.  I made one small modification to give it a little more pop; I changed out the plain white buttons for glossy corals.  I wish I could have found some little rose buttons in the same color, but my local sewing supply shop turned up nothing.  So, since I did happen to have just the right number of plain buttons here in the perfect color, I settled on them for now and used coral roses for my earrings instead.

Shop the Look:
Dress & Sweater from ThredUp
Shoes by Not Rated
Earrings are handmade by me, but I love these from Peachtree Lane

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Waiting For Cherry Blossoms:ootd

    Spoiler Alert:  This post does not contain cherry blossoms.  Hubby had a short day at work and, since the sun was shining, we decided to make the rounds to all our favorite parks to see if the buds are opening.  I was hoping to fill this post with photos of sunshine and flowers, but, sadly, nothing is blooming yet.  That's OK, because each day gets a little warmer and we want to really be able to enjoy the season when it comes.  Plus, the anticipation is part of the fun.  I can already see a tree or two on the hillsides in the distance, so I know it should be any day now that every avenue is bursting with pinks and whites and those little snowy petals are blowing in every breeze.  This is truly my favorite time of year in this beautiful country. 
     It was a casual day, so I wore one of my favorite casual dresses.  If you've read my blog for a few months, you've probably seen me wear it already, but I wanted to say a quick word about the cardigan.  I own lots of cardigans; I'm a bit of a sweater junkie.  So, as someone who has tried a bizillion different brands, I have to say that August Silk is one of my favorites.  They're very reasonably priced;  I usually find them for about $20 at my local mall.  They're consistent on sizing and length, and they don't pill up or get holes like many of my Mak B. cardigans have.  Plus they have endless color choices.  That's all for my fashion advice for this post.  Hopefully I'll have cherry blossom pics to post soon.       

Monday, March 21, 2016

Fashion with a Heart: Sew Powerful

Calling all crafty fashionistas!  I've just heard about a site called Sew Powerful and their purpose is to combat poverty through sewing.  I'm still pretty new to sewing with a machine, but I'm hoping to contribute to this project in a few months when I've gained a little confidence in my abilities.  If you're interested in helping out, learn more at

© Bleu Avenue. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.