Fashion and Beauty

Rent the Runway Sale

January 12, 2016

Rent the Runway is having a clearance sale of some its top items. Happy Tuesday to me! For those of you not familiar, Rent the Runway is a website that you can rent designer dresses, clothing and accessories from for a fraction of the retail price — it’s a great business idea and answers the awful question “What on earth do I wear?” in a cinch. But be forewarned — these accessories and clothing have all been used, so although the description says the items are “like new condition,” they are also final sale. “Like new condition” is a wide category in my opinion. 

The designer gowns are sight to see certainly, but I think the real standouts of this sale are the accessories. Check out some of my favorite picks below.

 

Rent the Runway Sale

 

one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine

Beautiful stuff right? I also love this tote bag, which I have been eyeing for some time. And those Loeffler Randall bags above are just so beautiful. Wilson, I may have done something bad. Please don’t be upset.

Home Living

Investment Piece of the Month

January 8, 2016

Oh yea remember when I used to do these? Me neither. I’m a bad blogger. It always used to annoy me when bloggers would whine and say self-deprecating things like apologizing profusely for not posting on their blog in a while, but now I understand. I do feel some sort of obligation to the three people who read this thing. Hey mom! 

Back to spending too much money investing. January’s Investment Piece of the Month is this badass desk calendar:

2016 Botanical Calendar (Desktop Calendar) | Inslee By Design

 

calendar

It’s awesome and the exact way I recommend to beat your winter post-holiday blues. Or at least that’s how I did it. That and three one dirty martinisPaying $56 (plus shipping) is ludicrous for a desk calendar, but I do believe this one will make me very happy all year long, so that’s worth it in my opinion. Just look at how pretty it is! And that cute little bamboo stand…  I also love this cell phone case and these cocktail napkinsBootyful. 

Happy Friday!

Fashion and Beauty

Need a Cocktail Dress? And An Email Blunder

January 7, 2016

So yesterday my friend Maggie and I exchanged emails about our next trip abroad for this year (with our men in tow, of course). Last year we went to Spain and had a grand ol’ (olé!) time, and this year we’ve set our sights on Greece. Visiting Santorini is on my bucket list, and not that I’m trying to kick the bucket anytime soon, but why wait? Carpe diem! 

Maggie and I already decided on where we want to visit while in Greece, but were having one teeny problem: Wilson. As previously mentioned, Wilson is a diehard UNC fan. If given the opportunity, not only would he dye his hair Carolina blue, he would sleep on the floor of the Dean Dome every night, with or without a pillow. His dedication to his alma mater is nice, but at times it can be challenging. Like when you are trying to plan the trip of a lifetime to say, Greece, and Wilson refuses to go when everyone else would like to go because he would miss the first UNC football game of the season.

And this isn’t just any game, according to Wilson. Heavens no. This is UNC vs. UGA, two of the oldest public universities in the nation. This is THE GAME OF THE CENTURY. The time for redemption, for victory, FOR GLORY! Wilson despises UGA almost as much as he despises Duke, and for a few reasons: 1) My family loves Georgia and roots for them in a most obnoxious manner; 2) He believes Georgia fans are delusional; and 3) We live in Georgia and it drives him bonkers how much more devoted and passionate UGA fans are for their football program compared to UNC fans. We are, after all, a basketball school. 

These and many more reasons (don’t ask him unless you want your ear stained) are why we have to move our Greece trip to another time, and I was less than pleased. Maggie wasn’t overly enthused either, but is much kinder than I am and wouldn’t come outright and say how ridiculous Wilson was being. But don’t worry, I did that and then some. And then I accidentally sent the emails to him.

For your enjoyment:

From: Maggie
Sent: Wednesday, January 06, 2016 8:50 AM
To: Jones, Anna
Subject: RE: hiiiii

I’m so excited about Greece. When should we go? I liked that we came back on a Saturday after Spain. It was nice to have that day to relax before 
coming back to work.

From: Jones, Anna
Sent: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 9:13 AM
To: Maggie
Subject: RE: hiiiii

Yea we will definitely need some time to adjust on the way back, at least a day. The problem is Wilson is messing everything up with that stupid 
UGA game. I’d like to do Labor day, but then if we leave on Labor day if we did 10 or 11 days we’d come back on the 15th, and we’d technically 
have to work on Friday… Although maybe that wouldn’t be so bad if we had the weekend to recover? Idk. What do you think?

ANNA JONES

From: Maggie
Sent: Wednesday, January 06, 2016 10:15 AM
To: Jones, Anna
Subject: RE: hiiiii

Ugh, yeah that game is messing it up! Tell him he can watch it on tv J It’d be nice if we could do it like Spain where we left the Wednesday 
before Labor Day, then took the entire next week off. I just don’t know if I can swing taking two full weeks off of work since that is 
technically our busy season. So it’d be nice to only take one full week. What other holidays are there?

 

Here’s where I really f*(&^% up.


From: Jones, Anna
Sent: Wednesday, January 06, 2016 10:53 AM
To: Wilson Jones
Subject: FW: hiiiii

I’m going to tell him he’s messing things up and being selfish. I can’t do July 4th because I have to work and after Labor Day isn’t a 
great time for me either. Let’s see how this goes.

In the meantime, please look at how gorg Amal is:
http://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/red-carpet-dresses/g4358/amal-alamuddin-style/?slide=1

ANNA JONES

 

From: Wilson Jones
Sent: Wednesday, January 06, 2016 10:59 AM
To: Jones, Anna
Subject: RE: hiiiii

Message received. Thank you.
We can go Labor Day if that’s what the three of you want to do.

Wilson Jones


From: Jones, Anna
Sent: Wednesday, January 06, 2016 11:12 AM
To: 'Wilson Jones' <wjones@programmanagers.com>
Subject: RE: hiiiii

Hehe oops. JK. Sorry. But I was really going to tell you that anyway. I hope you enjoyed the photos of Amal.

ANNA JONES

 

Wilson, I’m sorry. I’m an ass.

Here’s hoping that my stupidity gives you a laugh and perhaps makes you feel less electronically clumsy. Because I felt like a total fart afterward. My bad. 

Anywho, now for the real reason of this blog — this dress:

dress 2

dress / shoes

This is a fantastic dress by For Love & Lemons that I got on sale and then some on Shopbop. If you need a swanky dress that will make you feel fantastic, this is your answer. The only trick is getting the dress on and off — because of the delicate netting the garment could tear easily, so consider yourself warned. Trying to get this thing off after far too many cocktails used the same amount of deliberation and concentration employed by our forefathers in the creation of the Constitution. While they might say they had a far more arduous experience in doing so, I believe the effort I put forth in disrobing was worthy of an Oscar, if not the Nobel Peace Prize.

I’m still waiting on my call from the committee. Either committee.

Give me liberty, or give me dress! Or something. 

Fashion and Beauty

The Flannel Shirt Fiasco

December 16, 2015

I have something rather upsetting to say. I’ve begun wearing the same outfits as Wilson.

Womp.

Yes, it’s true. Turns out, guys have a very easy and comfortable wardrobe, and I’ve been quite in to that lately. My mom said she read somewhere that the longer a couple has been together, the more they begin to resemble each other. Well, it’s happening. Case in point: Thanksgiving 2015. I dressed myself in my new flannel shirt tucked into jeans, a leather belt and comfy loafers. Because, after all, Thanksgiving needs to be comfortable and, well, forgiving. I thought I’d done a fine job at both of these objectives with my outfit until I came downstairs to find Wilson in the same freaking clothes. It was like I was looking into a mirror except I’d grown a tad taller and had a Natural Light in my hand.

What the *&^%.

It’s happening, I thought. We’ve been together nearly eight years and are already beginning to dress alike. Imagine what will happen when we are together for 40 years? Will we go to the same hairdresser and I’ll say, “I’ll have what he’s having?” In 50 years, will they even be able to tell us apart? We do, after all, have the exact same hair color. Mine has just been (thankfully) chemically altered to “blonde.”

Thanksgiving was certainly a day of giving thanks, and also one of questioning my life choices. Indeed, this flannel shirt-matching-my-husband business nearly stirred up an existential crisis at my ripe age of 28. What does it all mean if we are just going to be the same… 

But alas, said crisis was averted thanks to dear ol’ Wilson. He jogged back upstairs and put on a pair of gray corduroys so I wouldn’t have a shit fit. He’s a kind soul, that Wilson. We still essentially wore the same outfit, but at least my fears of physical assimilation were quelled. For the moment. 

Now undoubtedly SST is filled with hyperbolic stories and phrases (present prose included), but this flannel shirt really is killer. It’s also 30% off too.

flannel 2

buy here

See? We really did have on the same stupid outfit. So upsetting. I’m a hop skip and three years from shopping at L.L. Bean exclusively (have you seen those deals!?) and no one will read this blog unless they want to learn how to pull off menswear and in an all-too-real way. I cringe at the thought. 

In other news, Birdie was spayed last week and has been royally pissed off ever since. I don’t think she minded the actual surgery, its the horror and embarrassment of the cone of shame she must wear for another four days that is really making her angry AF.

mad birdie

Do you see the look in her eyes? Pure unadulterated disgust. She probably thinks I look like Wilson too, and not in a good way. 

Does anyone else think their dog judges them…

Fashion and Beauty, Home Living

Holiday Gift Guide from Small Southern Biz

December 9, 2015

Shopping small is all the rage now, and it is nice to think that your purchases are going to help local entrepreneurs. All of the below items would make great stocking stuffers and are either made or sold by great Southern businesses. Check it out!

 

Made in the South -- Stocking Stuffers

 one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine

#2, King Bean coffee is delicious. #4, how cute are those cheese stick things? #6 this salt is actually from the coast of South Carolina and #9 this hot sauce is the bomb.

Only 16 more days until Christmas…

Fashion and Beauty

Cyber Funday

November 30, 2015

Online shopping is the greatest gift and curse to any shopaholic for obvious reasons. The convenience, expediency and ability to sip wine while shopping clearly makes it by and large much more fun and valuable to society than shopping in person. And with the gift of free shipping and returns, the world is at your fingertips.

I think Cyber Monday is what Charles Dickens was referring to when he wrote, It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Before you go nuts on the internet buying up every possible deal you can (and there are plenty), remember these rules:

1. Remember your Christmas gift list. Before buying something for yourself, think about the gifts you need to buy for others. Should you be allocating your money to those gifts instead? Or conversely, if the item is a gift, will the recipient really enjoy said item or is it just a good deal and you are being a cheap ass?

2. Do you need this item? Obviously you don’t really ever need anything, but if your leather boots are looking more like something that belongs in a cattle ranch as opposed to at a casual brunch, that would be something you “need.” If you have three other pairs of leather boots already, you’re probably good to go. No need to be gluttonous. 

3. Which leads me to the third point — do you have something like this already? Or if the item is a gift, does the recipient have something like this already? Don’t let the good deals get in the way of smart purchasing.

Ok now we’ve gotten that boring BS out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff. All of these items are great deals and would be perfect Christmas gifts for the special gal in your life or as a treat yoself moment.

 

Cyber Monday Sales

 

 one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight

Clearly I have booties on the brain. I bought those pointy-toed booties already ($63!) and the PJ set, both of which I’ve been eyeing for a bit. I’ll let you know how they work out. 

Sales to remember:

J.Crew 30% off everything and 40% off all the J.Crew items in this collage as well as some great other stuff too. Code MONDAY.

Shopbop up to 25% off with code GOBIG15.

Nordstrom has great sales and extra 25% off select items too.

Happy shopping!

Fashion and Beauty

Christmas Gift Idea #1 — Driving Moccasins

November 17, 2015

The holidays are almost upon us, and planning ahead for gift giving is key for staying on budget. And for staying in your loved ones’ good graces. 

One shoe that every self-respecting lady (and gentleman) must have is a driving moccasin, and they also turn out to be an easy Christmas gift too. Driving moccasins are one of life’s greatest inventions as they are the equivalent of pajama jeans in terms of comfort except kosher to wear in public and — bonus! — fashionable. Pajama jeans obviously do not fit into either of the latter categories. While primarily more casual, driving mocs are not just for driving — these shoes fit right in at home, work, or out on the town. Chameleons for your feet. 

But don’t buy just any driving moccasins for your loved one… why not design them yourself? Pick the color of the suede, stitching, and tread through M. Gemi, a fantastic Italian shoemaker. They are a tad pricey — $198 — but I think this would make a great Christmas gift.

 

Custom Moccasin - M.Gemi


shoes

M. Gemi has a great selection of shoes — love these, these and these — so go on and poke around. They make good quality items that transcend seasons and trends, which is always a good thing.

And for the man in your life, Wilson loves these driving shoes. On sale! Great color leather and very comfortable per ol’ Wilson.

More gift ideas coming soon. I’m now trotting off to find a mimosa to pour in my coffee mug. Wish me luck. 

How to Speak Southern

A Bad Case of the Why Mes

November 11, 2015

Last week I had a shitty week. A shit-tay, shit-tay week indeed.

First of all, I was as sick as I’ve have been in a long time. Besides the time I had the swine flu (remember the swine flu!?!) this is the worst I’ve ever felt. Achy AF, sore throat, nasty cough, runny nose, the works. I was a real peach. And as a sudden sickness usually does, this one came on at the worst possible time. Not only did it ruin a perfectly good trip to NYC, but this is the busiest time of the year at my job, and I really did not have time to be sick. But sick I was.

And then they came — the dreaded, awful, WHY MEs!?

Why did I have to get sick now when I have a mountain of work? Why did my trip have to be ruined? Why did I get a parking ticket and a flat tire at the same time? Why did I have to feel THIS bad? WHY ME?

I threw myself a pity party of epic proportion. Everyone was invited. No one showed up but Birdie. 

I spent nearly a week in bed feeling sorry for myself. Every time I coughed my disgusting cough, I moaned. Every time I sneezed, I whimpered. I even started to tear up at the doctor’s office when they took blood because I thought I may faint. I was a sorry sonofabitch.

After taking another swig of my almost-lethal cough medicine one night — this stuff was so strong you could smell it from a mile away — I tucked myself back into bed and began to think. Thinking is a powerful thing. I barked another gross cough and recalled a story I think of from time to time.

When I was in high school, a friend of mine had a little sister who was diagnosed with cancer. She was 13 when diagnosed. The cancer spread throughout her tiny body so quickly and so aggressively that even the strongest of chemotherapy couldn’t quell her cancer, and she died. It was terribly, horribly, painfully sad. Still is. I can’t even imagine the pain the family went through. The looks on their faces at the funeral was something I will never forget. But before she passed away, she was a part of the Make a Wish program, and her wish was to raise enough money so that all the other Make a Wish kids’ wishes in the Charlotte area would be granted.

Let’s pause on this for a second.

A child with cancer wanted all the other children with cancer to have their wishes granted. That would make her happy. Her heart was so full and so grateful that she wanted to share her love with others, making their hearts full too. She used her situation to benefit others, and the impact she had was powerful. Giving without abandon, without thought of yourself — that is the true meaning of selflessness. If given the chance to do anything in the world, would you make that same choice? Would you choose giving to others over meeting your favorite celebrity, or going to Disneyworld, or taking a once in a lifetime trip? I cannot honestly say I would. But this little girl did. She made the choice to think big and love big, and never once did she say, Why me?

Whenever I’m feeling particularly sorry for myself, I often think of this little girl. And she gives me something too — Perspective. Perspective and I have been speaking different languages for a few days now.

I share this story with you in the event you have a case of the Why Mes. It’s only human for us to feel sorry for ourselves from time to time, but it’s how we rise above these feelings that makes the difference.

After thinking about this little girl, I then made a list of 10 things I’m grateful for. This is something my sister says she does sometimes to re-calibrate her thinking and to realize just how lucky she is. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. My roomies, Wilson & Birdie
  2. My family
  3. My friends, near and far
  4. Ear plugs
  5. My health
  6. Trashy reality TV
  7. Living in the USA
  8. The pumpkin bread my mom made me
  9. My job
  10. Good chapstick

Obviously not all of these are as serious as others, and they aren’t necessarily in order (sometimes ear plugs are first, quite frankly) but these were things I was grateful for a that moment. And then my old friend returned — Gratitude. Good to see you ol’ chap. 

Life is unexpected, and changing, and, at times, challenging. But my little slice turns out to be quite sweet, running nose and disgusting cough included. And on this Veteran’s Day, I’d like to add one more thing I’m very, very grateful for — the service men and women who have made and continue to make the ultimate sacrifice so that I can have those 10 things for which I’m grateful. Thank you. Home of the free, because of the brave. 

Make your list of 10 things. You’ll probably realize you have many more than just 10.

Home Living

Decluttering the Bar Cart

October 28, 2015

I love small living spaces, which is a good thing because our apartment is teeny. It’s plenty of space for Wilson and I (and Birdie), but not much else. The apartment boasts a total of three closets, one of which is the kitchen pantry, leaving the other two for Wilson’s and my clothes. And that’s it.

I’ve managed my storage dilemma mostly by getting creative — using bookcases and chests of drawers everywhere, storing things in unlikely places such as my car’s trunk, and then shoving everything else under any available covered floor space. Don’t you dare lift our guest bed’s skirt. It’s dangerous down there. 

But over the past year and a bit of living in our apartment, it’s become increasingly cluttered. The odds and ends stuffed haphazardly underneath our guest bed are starting to slowly leak out onto the floor. We’ve begun using well-intentioned corners of various rooms as places to keep strangely shaped necessities like bags of dog food, coolers, Wilson’s golf clubs, and, most recently, his third-row car seats. We’re storing stuff in the car, remember?

Sounds like we need to throw some shit out, right?

Wilson — it’s your worst nightmare — WE’RE GOING TO START GIVING THINGS AWAY.  

Wilson hates going through his stuff and giving things away. He is, how you say… an absurdly ridiculous pack rat. And because I’m OCD AF, this is a source of friction for us that is solved mainly by me throwing stuff away when he isn’t looking or paying attention. Once he finds out I’m throwing stuff out, he’ll go through it (without me knowing) and then pull his most beloved items and stow them away in (yet another) corner unbeknownst to me. Until I find it six months later. 

I think every couple goes through this — one is the crazy person who likes to throw things away and then the other one likes to keep everything down to their dog’s teeth because it all has a story… But true story — some rando in the park the other day told me I should keep Birdie’s teeth as they fall out as a memento. I’ll let you imagine what my facial expression looked like… 

Anywho, back to our freakish clutter. One place I really noticed our mounting muddle of odds and ends was on our barcart. While barcarts are great for storage, things should be stored here strategically, and, more importantly, stylishly. Obviously. Ours was doing neither. See the evidence below.

full clutter

A real mess, huh?

before top

This barcart was doing so many things at once it was having an identity crisis.

bottom before

 

Shots! Shots?

bottom again berfore

 It was a complete mess and it was bothering the shit out of me. So I took everything off, dusted piece by piece, stored most of the lesser-used bottles in the pantry and then added some different pieces I had laying around to switch up the look.

full thing

 Ah much better. Less clutter, more space, less dust. Only the necessities — vodka, gin, bourbon, ice bucket, glasses. Boom. Done.

birdie approves

 Birdie approves. And by approve I mean waiting for me to not be watching her so she could take all of my neatly-pressed cocktail napkins and strew them across the apartment. Such a jerk. 

bottom

 cocktail napkins / martini glasses / cocktail shaker / lucite bar accessories

top after again

Crystal low ball glasses / crystal decanter / tortoise ice bucket / ice scoop

cocktail napkins

full thing

 Now that the barcart is done, I’m thinking about attacking Wilson’s closet next. Beware things that go bump in the night. In the closet.

Home Living

Blue Apron — The Best Lazy Cooking Money Can Buy

October 22, 2015

You know, life can move a little quickly. And by a little I mean a lot. One day you’re in college where waking up early meant anytime before 10am, and drinking heavily on a Tuesday was a social necessity, and you ate chicken fingers and french fries and a diet coke, because, after all, a diet coke has no calories. Next thing you know you’re a young professional with an actual profession, and there are more photos on your Facebook page of babies than there are of jello shots, and your idea of cleaniness involves Lysol and 409 instead of the back of your sleeve.

The transition into — gasp — adulthood is a strange and bizarre one. I am reminded of the scene in Home Alone when Kevin McCallister is standing in front of the bathroom mirror after showering, brushing his teeth, flossing, and finally shaving his hairless face. He remarks to his reflection with a sense of accomplishment and pride on his meticulous dedication to his physical appearance, noting his particular care in washing all his body’s nooks and crannies, as if washing the nooks and crannies of one’s body is obviously the mark of an adult. He then pours a handful of after shave into one hand, rubs his hands together, and then slaps the liquid on his face — the immediate daggers of alcohol into open, youthful facial pores are brutal on poor Kevin and he screams in shock and pain at the after shave’s astonishing, agonizing sting, not unlike the swift slap of adulthood. Whenever being a grown up sucks, I imagine this scene and laugh. 

Even though growing up does stink from time to time, it does have certain perks. Like being able to have food delivered to your door with little to no effort put forth — all you do is set up a profile online, enter your shipping and billing info, and bam! Subway meals are delivered. This may be more of a credit to today’s technology, but bear with me now. 

Meet my cardboard best friend Blue Apron (don’t worry she recycles very well). Every week for $60 (for two people) Wilson and I receive a box full of individually packaged ingredients to prepare three delicious meals. The box includes all ingredients for the recipe — all you need is cooking utensils, salt/pepper, and olive oil. Each delivery also comes with a step-by-step recipe to guide you through the cooking process and even has pictures. The pictures are the best. The recipes take an average of 25 to 45 minutes to prepare, depending upon how overserved you are during the cooking process, and the meals really are scrumptious and restaurant quality.

Don’t get me wrong though —  just because everything is pre-packaged and spelled out for you, you do have to cook and sometimes you will cave and order from foodpanda but just keep trying. Once it becomes a habit it will get easier.  As Wilson put it when we first began our Blue Apron subscription:

“Step 1: Thinly slice 15 different vegetables. Step 2: Delicately sear the meat and try not to overcook. Step 3: Burn everything. Step 4: Call Domino’s.”

Wilson isn’t much of a culinary enthusiast, but since using Blue Apron for six months he’s turned into quite the cook. He can now expertly smash and mince garlic, chop an onion, and fry a myriad of things.

To further convince you that Blue Apron is incredible and cost effective and that you should subscribe immediately, I took some photos of last week’s dinner prep of some sort of tacos.

ingredients

The beautifully fresh ingredients from the box.

This whole Blue Apron idea upsets my dad to no end — the idea of someone spoon-feeding you (no pun intended) meal after meal week after week is lazy in his opinion. Being a real adult according to dear ol’ Dad means getting up at the crack of dawn, driving 45 minutes to work, working a full day, driving 45 minutes home, going to the grocery store, and then cooking a full meal once you get home. And since his idea of adulthood is my personal hell, it’s a good thing I have Blue Apron. Dad, agree to disagree. 

prepared ingredients

Oh look and here they are all chopped and organized and pretty. Can someone please teach me how to operate a camera? This photo is just bad. 

Another bonus of Blue Apron is there is no waste. Each meal is perfectly portioned for two people (or four if you choose) and there are no extra leftovers that will sit in the fridge for a week or two until they grow hair. It’s pretty great.

dry ingredients

The dry ingredients.

mix

The dry ingredients having a party together.

onions

Some onion pickling happening here…

pickled onions

And here…

ingredients prepared

 Taco innards getting ready for insertion into said taco.

I should add that if you are picky, Blue Apron is not for you. The recipes are all delicious in my opinion, but unless you like a variety of foods, you should probably just stick to my Dad’s way of doing things and grocery shop just for yourself. BORING

doggie

My sous chefs. Wilson chops, Birdie licks up any spills. We are very efficient at the Jones household.

birdie

Where’s my plate!?

the necessities

The other sous chefs.

plates

The finished product. The recipe instructions even include how to artfully plate your dish, which I love. So fancy. 

tacos ended

If anyone would like to try Blue Apron for free, please leave a comment on this post and I’ll send you some free meals I have to give away. I want to spread the good news of Blue Apron with all of my peeps so don’t be shy. I only have five to giveaway so don’t dilly dally. 

Happy Thursday!