Monday, February 4, 2013

Shopaholic vs The Closet...

If you're anything like me, an impending vacation is the perfect excuse to shop...even if you live in California and happen to have a year round summer ready wardrobe.

At least once -- okay, maybe three times -- a week, I stand in front the gigantic (and full) closet that sold me on my apartment and muse about having nothing to wear. Nothing except the four options I've already tossed on the bed/chair/yoga mat/fill-in-the-blank because they just don't fit my mood that day. And certainly none of the mini, midi or maxi dresses I have hanging next to blouses in any given cut and color. And somehow, on each and every occasion, I end up giving up after a half hour of this and getting dressed in 2 the same old faithful combination. I take comfort in the fact that I've heard some variation of this a million times from my girlfriends. Safety in numbers.

As women we tend to have multiple personalities when it comes to fashion. And unfortunately, the personality that goes shopping isn't always the same one that ends up standing in front of our closet. Thankfully, at some point during this whole process, the clothes strewn around your room start eyeballing you sadly like Andy's neglected toys in Toys Story 3 and you start to reconsider and remember some of the good times you've had. 

Either that or you can't actually afford a completely new wardrobe.


Either way, let me introduce you to Polyvore

Also known as fantasy football for women. 

I stumbled on this site while looking at more fashion specific posts on Pinterest. In this cyber playground, all the key players are already available to you, awaiting the jacket or accessory to breathe life into it before it can be unleashed, ready to tackle your next outing. They catalogue every of the moment trend and help you layer your way through the days of the week and every season without breaking the bank. 

You can literally type in any item (keep the search broad to get the most similar options) and see the multitude of ways your little black dress, white skirt or colored denim can be worn.

Take the chambray shirt, for example. A key staple in the Fashion Hall of Fame. Whether you've got the $19.99 Target version or Madewell's $70.00 incarnation, Polyvore has a way to style it. Below are two versions from users on the site.

As an admitted shopaholic, I can cop to owning about 90% of some variation of the items in each of these pics. The neutral wedge, hobo tote and cross body bag. At least one basic tank and dress in a pastel or blush and medley of complimentary accessories to go with them. I love all of them separately yet, I've never happened to have worn these items together. 

And that's the beauty of Polyvore. It's like the dress up doll you had as a kid... there are a million different combinations but now you can compare notes and garner inspiration from other players.

I love styling and accessorizing and judging by how often my friends let me dress them for dates and events, I'm fairly good at it but we can all use inspiration and fresh ideas from time to time. And it keeps our personal style from stagnating and our style education evolving.

Every education has learning materials and this one is strongly visual...

A Quick Lesson In Polyvore

Step 1: Visit the site and find the search feature in the upper right hand side of the page. Type in any item you own that you want to refresh, aren't sure how to style or maybe a pricier invest piece that you're considering buying but aren't sure would integrate well into your existing wardrobe. 

For example, I recently picked up a pair of coral lace shorts. I found a similar pair by keeping my results a little more vague with "coral shorts".

Our starting piece...minus the lace.

Floral Sheer Top, Coral Shorts & Blazer.
Normally, I'd go with the staple white tank, aforementioned chambray shirt and flip flops or a silky mint shirt and wedges if I wanted to dress the shorts up a bit. However, to mix things up, I checked out some other user created looks and found an edgier option that I love but wouldn't have thought of myself. Personally, I'd throw some heels into the mix!

Step 2: Gather more inspiration within the outfit. I also happen to have a similar sheer blouse to the floral one pictured here. Each collection on Polyvore allows you to click on the individual item within the look and from there you can see what else it's been styled with, pretty much allowing you to play dress up doll with several different items in your closet at a time.


Floral sheer top + my barely worn teal skinny jeans = a brand new outfit for $0

Floral Shirt + Teal Skinnies
All of which totals a very happy and fancy looking you. 

Now, I'm not telling you not to shop. That would be sad and hypocritical of me. I'm just telling you to shop in your own closet first and supplement your wardrobe from there. If you didn't know what you liked, you wouldn't buy so much of it. This site just helps you figure out how to stretch your wardrobe farther and shop smarter.

The key here is not having a million things that go with one other piece in your wardrobe but making your favorite pieces more versatile and taking them from season to season.

Don't shop out of frustrated impulsive need. Shop out of well thought out want

Now, go play. And then, finally... go shop :)

This shopaholic is off to pack!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Red Carpet Round Up...

Staying true to my last entry, I started my Sunday with a run. A friend of mine that was prepping for a trip to Aruba had decided to deviate from her Pilates regime and add something more cardio heavy to garner faster results. She recently lost over 10lbs and gained the ability to run for 30 minutes straight using the Couch to 5k Program. We're talking zero to thirty in about 7 weeks. Amazing!

I decided to try it out and nailed the first run and will be back for more on Tuesday. Feeling accomplished, I ended my Sunday back on my couch, watching the Golden Globes 2013 red carpet & show for the real point of awards season -- the fashion and the funny!

The Hollywood Foreign Press gets my first award, this one for Best Hosting Choice. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were brilliant and hysterically funny and why the heck did no one think of this sooner? SNL is like award show hosting bootcamp and while I love Jimmy Fallon, the boys club needs to move aside! Their humor was spot on and enjoyed by everyone... unless your name happens to be Taylor or James. 

Which brings us to our Most Awkwardly Funny Moment, when Amy Poehler noted Best Director nominee Katherine Bigelow's knowledge of torture, something she apparently picked up during her 3 years married to fellow director, James Cameron.

More SNL alum made appearances on stage, snagging my award for Most Entertaining Presenters. Kristin Wiig and Will Ferrel brought their A game and more than a few giggles with their unique and hilarious film synopses ranging from The Quartet to The Silver Linings Playbook, for which Jennifer Lawrence snagged Best Actress and Most Flack for a Pop Culture Reference that she cracked during her acceptance speech. Looking at her newly nabbed statuette, JLaw quipped, "What does it say? I beat Meryl!"

For those of you who aren't pop cultured or don't have the amazingly funny oldie but goodie, First Wives Club, in your DVD collection, go rent it! Jen's joke was a reference to the film starring Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton where Bette's character says to Goldie's character, "You were a good actress once, you won an Oscar!" Picking it up, she reads, "I beat Meryl...that's what it says?!"

Too bad Ms. Streep, who was home with the flu, wasn't there for a reaction shot. She would have gotten the joke. But probably not Jennifer Lawrence's choice of her Dior haute couture dress which included a Madonna-esque silhouette along the bust that brought attention to her cleavage for all the wrong reasons. Not cute. And in no one way better than or nearly equal to the simple but stunning red Calvin Klein sheath she wore to last year's Oscars for her nomination in Winter's Bone

If you're gonna do red. Do it right.
Best Dressed in Vivienne Westwood

Like Jennifer Garner who flaunted her hot mom bod and Neutrogena campaign worthy skin in a stunning dark red Vivienne Westwood number. We'll start the list of best dressed stars with her and also give Jen kudos for having the Best Accessory of the Night -- devoted and totally besotted hubby and Best Director winner, Ben Affleck.

They made this Boston girl very proud! And on top of being absolutely adorable, pick up honorable mention for Longest Ongoing Thank You Speech in the history of awards season, along with Argo producer, George Clooney.

The other ladies rounding up the Best Dressed List:

Sofia Vergara, went for a black sparkly number, forgoing her usual jewel tones but sticking to her favorite silhouette. The Modern Family start is usually a Carolina Herrera or Marchesa faithful, but this time opted for unknown designer Michael Cinco who made his US debut at Miami Fashion Week last year.

Best Dressed
Anne Hathaway is no stranger to white. But despite her and stylist Rachel Zoe's flare for the elegantly dramatic, she went simple this year in a pristine white peplum Chanel. To be honest, the hair made this look for me. Very Audrey Hepburn. If only she could be as elegant and understated in her acceptance speeches.

Another perennially best dressed and Zoe styled star is Kate Hudson who wowed in an Alexander McQueen black and gold stunner. That neckline was amazeballs but I kind of wish we could have seen more of it under all that hair.

Honorable Mentions
Honorable Mention goes to Emily Blunt in Michael Kors. A month ago she couldn't have gotten away with this color but it's amazing what some blonde highlights and a sunny vacation with hubby John Krasinski, Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux can do for your complexion. Sleek, pretty and the right way to do a classy cutout on the red carpet. Take note, Halle Berry!

Another honorable mention who narrowly missed the best dressed list is Jessica Alba in a breathtaking dusty coral-ish confection by Oscar de la Renta. My heart cries for her and whoever let her walk onto that red carpet with that muppet themed clutch. Lady Gaga is not someone to be taking your fashion cues from, girly. 

That brings us to the Worst Dressed List. I was fully expecting to have Golden Globe winner, Lena Dunham, on this list but she managed to locate a bra for this event or at least a dress with a built in corset. Needless to say, the Girls were winning in more than one arena last night. Her eggplant hued Zac Posen gown was a safe and borderline mediocre choice. But for her, this is a step up from the ill-fitting and unflattering duds she's quickly become known for. Now, if only she could find some shoes she could walk in...

Another star who made a slightly better but equally safe eggplant choice was Taylor Swift in DKNY PR. But she belonged at the Golden Globes about as much as she belongs at the Country Music Awards so let's move on, shall we?

The Worst Fashion Offenders of the night:

Worst Dressed
The Newsroom's Emily Mortimer who made headlines even Will MacAvoy couldn't ignore in an aluminum foil inspired get up by God knows who. I scoured the internet to investigate but given the circumstances, it's probably best not to advertise. 

New mom Sienna Miller took the nursery straight to the red carpet in floral Erdem, a British designer who tailored a little too literally to the English rose.

Halle Berry do I say this nicely? Trashy in Versace. We know you have a rocking body without having to have it shoved it in our faces. I'm missing the Marchesa clad Halle of yester-year. Remember how classy she was? Before she started airing all her dirty laundry with her baby daddy in the tabloids.

And rounding out the list with another floral atrocity is Elementary's Lucy Liu. This whole concept was an epic fail on designer Carolina Herrera's end and on top of being tacky, completely overwhelmed Liu's petite frame. 

We've obviously seen worse and better in year's past but awards season has really just begun. Short of Ben Affleck's Best Director snub, I'm excited for the Oscars and to see what everyone will be wearing.  

Which looks did you love or loathe on the red carpet?   

Saturday, January 12, 2013

New Year, Same Old Resolutions...

New Year, new weight loss commercials?

Every time I turn on the television or get one of my magazine subscriptions in the mail or scroll through my twitter timeline everyone is talking about harnessing your inner skinny girl for 2013. You've seen the commercials... You have Marie Osmond fitting into her old leotard, whether or not we really needed her to do that. Then there's Jennifer Hudson and Jessica Simpson, breezing down the street separately talking about their food and their fitness (in heels, nonetheless) and miraculously making their way into the same coffee shop, on the same street, where they will undoubtedly order a point friendly skinny latte.  

These ladies look great but let's step away from the TV and the glossy ads for a second and let's get real. In a few weeks, the Resolutioners aiming to live up to the ideology representative of these commercials and presently crowding your local gym will thin out. But not in the way that they hope or that you'd imagine. Instead, they'll eventually get sick of hunting down spots in the parking lot at LA Fitness or their new workout gear will have lost its luster and they will be back to parking their tushes on their microsuede couches.

I don't say this to be cynical. I say it because we've all done it, myself included. And the majority of us will continue to do it. At least until we dissociate ourselves from the idea that the number on the calendar has anything to do with the number on the scale. We do not want to be thinner/toner/tighter because it's 2013. We want it because we wanted it in 2011 and 2012. And if you still want it and haven't accomplished it, its because it was more about the presentation and less about the motivation.

There's no shame in that. There's more of a camaraderie actually. We're all Resolutioners at heart. Ones with every intention to eat better, swear less and see our friends more. I started my list a little earlier this time around. I wish I could say that it was out of a desire to be kinder to my body or my self esteem. But it was more like the threat of rocking a bikini for a week on the high seas. You see, my friend, Steph, and I are embarking on a Caribbean adventure in a few weeks and it wasn't until we paid the balance for our cruise right after Thanksgiving that reality -- and panic -- set in.

We're going on a vacation, after the holidays, where swimwear is a prerequisite.

Cue the low carb grocery run and the love/hate relationship with Jillian Michaels. And now fast forward to January. I am a little toner and about 4 to 5lbs lighter depending on what time I compulsively weight myself. This is something I'm only slightly embarrassed to admit mostly because if you own a scale, aren't a size 0, and have ever gotten yourself 'ready' for vacation/wedding/reunion, you've so done this, too. But anyway, 12 days into 2013 and with a little more than a month left to go before Steph and I set sail...something kind of clicked. 

There is more to this losing weight business than looking good in a bathing suit. Crazy, I know.

Let's tick off just a few of the other perks, shall we? Health. Self esteem. Stress relief. Glowy skin. Energy.

I actually feel better when I don't rely on fast food and my hospital night shifts are much easier to get through when I have extra energy from working out. And I generally tend to beat myself up a lot less. Hell, sometimes, I even feel downright accomplished. Not just from the euphoria of that number inching it's way down on the scale. But because the number of times that I chose to do something good for my body shot its way up. There is beauty in big numbers, ladies.

And there's also a beauty in not looking like every other skinny bitch in the magazine. If you do, then all the power to you and your amazing self control or God given genetics. Me and my Kardashian-esque curves salute you as we truck through the next four and a half weeks with this newfound perspective and the realization that there are bikinis I'll actually fill out in ways the unrealistically skinnier version of me never could. The grass is always greener on the other side, even when it's your inner stick-thin supermodel watering it.

This Resolutioner is going to vow to be healthy and to do something for my body and not to it, with however many workouts I can reasonably squeeze in between curing childhood cancer. Yes, they'll still involve more Jillian Michaels and less carbs than I would normally subject myself to...but I can be kind to myself and realistic at the same time. And I hope you all do the same.

If the calorie burning doesn't help, maybe the karma will ;)

Friday, January 11, 2013


Hi guys, welcome to my blog! 

Beantown - October 2012
In a nutshell, I’m a Boston bred 20-something who has been in LA for pretty much my entire adult life, or as long as I’ve been paying off student loans. there a difference? Anyway, my day job and main source of income for paying all those silly adult bills is as a pediatric oncology nurse. I love it and can explain to you the ins and outs of chemo and immunology but this is my escape from all that and a place where I can talk about life beyond the cinderblock walls of the hospital. 

When I originally sat down to write this blog, I tried to simplify the packaging. One topic in a Pinterest inspired mason jar with a fancy label slapped on. However, given that my life is anything but one dimensional, it wasn’t surprising that nothing fit quite right and that jar runneth over pretty quickly. My friends, who have been encouraging me to start this blog for the past few years, will tell you that I’m a jack of all trades, master of several. And thus The Girl’s Guide to Getting By was born.

Christmas in LA with my dog, Lily
As I’ve pretty much stated in the About Me section, it’ll be a mashup of everything I love, how to, where to and what not to do…at least in my opinion. You can take it or leave it. As long as you leave here mildly entertained, I have done my job.

There are, of course, a plethora of topics that I can’t speak to with enough color or humor to do them justice. Fortunately for all of you, I have many talented and fabulous girlfriends to help me out. As The Girl’s Guide progresses, you’ll see their pages featured and even some guest bloggers pop up on occasion. 

Ever since nursing school, writing has been my happy place so thanks for indulging me & I hope you enjoy the ride!

<3 Joy