It's a very gray and hazy winter morning which I figure is the perfect time to touch on the It color for the coming seasons.  A while back Pantone (the universal color gods) deemed Honeysuckle the Color of the Year for 2011.  And it's gorgeous.
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Why do we care?  Because the colors that Pantone chooses will show up everywhere.
From fashion to business marketing and design to paint and home furnishings.
There's a whole intricate system behind how the Pantone group chooses the popular colors and that gets organized and communicated out to the world.
Now, you can obviously wear any color you want, but I find it interesting the thought process behind the choices.  Definitely influenced by what's going on in the world.  Here's an excerpt of what Pantone has to say about Honeysuckle -
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A Color for All Seasons
Courageous. Confident. Vital. A brave new color, for a brave new world. Let the bold spirit of Honeysuckle infuse you, lift you and carry you through the year. It’s a color for every day – with nothing “everyday” about it.

While the 2010 color of the year, Turquoise, served as an escape for many, Honeysuckle emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life.

“Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum. The intensity of this festive reddish pink allures and engages. In fact, this color, not the sweet fragrance of the flower blossoms for which it was named, is what attracts hummingbirds to nectar. Honeysuckle may also bring a wave of nostalgia for its associated delicious scent reminiscent of the carefree days of spring and summer.”
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I often choose what I'm going to wear based on color and how that color affects my mood.  Or the mood I WANT to have. And since it's a color I already like, I can get behind the "brave new color for a brave new world" mantra.

I don't know how the Honeysuckle color is translating to individual monitors, but it's a lovely reddish-pink. In all it's varying degrees of intensity it could flatter pretty much anybody.

I really like this cardigan from Gap.  Might have to add it to the new wardrobe list.

What are your thoughts? Love it? Hate it? Jury still out?
 
 
We all know it's easy to shop for things when they are currently "trendy." You're able to find variations in many more stores and at many more price points.
With retro still having it's fabulous moment - such is the current case for mid length, calf length, below-the-knee, knee length skirts! So get 'em while they're hot and easy to find. I'm sure the mini's will be mounting a comeback attack soon.
Below are some options and style tips.
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Decade-by-decade skirt - Anthropologie


1 - Know your measurements!
If you're shopping online, never assume that where the skirt hits the model in the picture is where it's going to hit you. Most models are much taller than the average woman. Check the fit description. Most sites give the actual measurements of the garment - at the very least length.

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embellished skirt - Dillards


2 - Think ahead!
There are options available right now for everything from spring/summer to fall/winter and all the associated events. Check your closet. Are there items you'd like to replace or holes you'd like to fill with these skirts? Did you have "nothing to wear" to a party this last Christmas? Grab something fancy and you'll be set for next.

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leather full skirt - Topshop


Just had to throw this one in because it's so very Louis Vuitton fall runway at a fraction of the cost!
I am DYING for this skirt!!

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Diane von Furstenberg Marta skirt - Bloomingdales


3- Be conscious of fit!
If you're 5'1" and super petite, avoid longer skirts with too much volume as they can overwhelm your frame - making you look shorter and wider. I'm 5'6" with hips that don't hide so I like most of my longer skirts to sit higher at the waist.



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Manolo Blahnik

4- No frumpy shoes!
You don't have to go high heeled with these skirts but you sure as shootin' can't go clunky-chunky-frump-a-dump! A vast offering of kitten heels is cropping up with this resurgence of lady-like proportions. A longer skirt begs for a pointed toe to keep the leg-line long.

You can find this length right now in business-ready pencil skirts, casual knit skirts, full skirts, circle skirts, tiered skirts, dresses... and so on!  To quickly find some options for this post I hit shopstyle.com and stylefind.com and searched "calf length skirts."
 
 
I'm not an awards show watcher. I just like looking at the pictures afterward to see the pretty evening wear and check if anybody managed something modest. There were a few, some good, some ok, and some not so great. Let's look...
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Tina Fey in L'Wren Scott
The neckline is too low, but the sleeve detail is nice. The creasing makes it look to tight around her thighs.
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Tilda Swinton in Jil Sander
I'm a big fan of the white-shirt-with-ball-skirt look but not THIS particular pairing. The shirt is too billowy for a skirt with this much volume at the waist. And the lack of accessories makes the whole look very unfinished. A gorgeous necklace or chandelier earrings and she would have been set. But Tilda Swinton rarely does accessories.
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Scarlett Johannson in Elie Saab
Again, the neckline is too low but everything else is lovely.
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Melissa Leo in Marc Bouwer
I had to look up who Melissa Leo is and haven't seen anything she's done but the dress is great and looks great on her. She's 51!
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Leighton Meester in Burberry Prorsum
Meester screwed up this dress. Burberry styled this dress by scrunching the sleeves up to the elbows and adding a wide black leather belt. It looked AWESOME! Minus the edgy belt and tweak to the sleeves, the muted print falls flat. Would have been gorgeous had she worn it the right way.
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Hope Davis in Bibhu Mohapatra
This dress is a good example of trying too hard. I like the black lace over the colored cap sleeve, but the pleated part over the left side seems unnecessary. I'd have liked it much better with one more layer filling in the neckline and no pleated overlay down the front.
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Emma Stone in Calvin Klein
There were a couple of gowns I had to research. Most often, when you see something this modest from the front - it's backless. Anne Hathaway and Angeline Jolie wore such gowns. But apparently this Calvin Klein is not. Hurray! There were other pictures of her not looking so washed out but I wanted a full-length shot and this was it. Pretty fabric in the other pictures. I'd have added one cuff bracelet or super thin and simple lariat necklace but otherwise she was smart to keep the accessories simple.
 
 
As I mentioned in the post about my first new pair of boots, 2011 is going to be the Year of The Wardrobe.  Here is the second pair of boots I bought for my -50 pounds reward.
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Enzo Angiolini Saylem black riding boots
Where my camel colored boots are girly, these are tough.  The ankle straps give them a  motorcycle cop vibe over plain riding boots. Love them!
Now, this is still not a weight-loss blog but since it's January, and millions of people are trying to stick to New Year's resolutions to lose weight and get in shape, I thought I'd share a few things I was surprised to learn on my own journey to skinny. 
You may have lost weight if...
  1. ...you smash your nose into your knee.  When you carry more than just a handful of extra pounds, you get used to flinging your body around with a certain bit of extra effort. And muscle memory is VERY powerful. Especially when it's cemented over many (too many!) years. When you do finally lose those extra pounds it takes a while for your muscles to make new memories.  So if you're sitting cross-legged on the floor folding a few loads of laundry and you notice a sock a little way away and you launch yourself forward with more force than is now necessary, lifting your legs at the same time, and smash your nose into your knee - you may have lost weight. And you may have lost a lot of weight if you do it twice, with the same knee, within 20 minutes. Not that this has ever happened to me! I'm just saying, muscle memory is powerful and you may have lost weight if your muscles forget you're not fat anymore.
  2. ...you suddenly believe in phantoms.  My husband and I were watching The Biggest Loser a few months ago and one of the girls went up to weigh in.  I said, "She looks so great! I think I'll be close to her shape in another month or so."  My husband responded, "Um, honey? You're quite a bit thinner than her." I didn't believe him for a second but sure enough - she was 40 pounds heavier than me. My husband picked one of the guys he thought currently had the same shape - he chose a guy 45 pounds heavier. We were so shocked and had a good conversation about what we were really seeing in the mirror. It's like the pounds we've lost are taking it personally. Like we murdered them and their ghosts are still trying to hang around our waist, hips and thighs. Many times we see our real selves but we also see our former fat selves an awful lot. So you may have lost weight if you also have phantom pounds you need to exorcise!
  3. ...you need a remedial shopping course.  I obviously like shopping. My hobby is a style blog, for heaven's sake. As I study great style I ingest a lot of info about how best to dress different body types but the rules ingrained deepest in my psyche are those pertaining to my own body.  Some of them no longer apply but I'm still shopping by them.  Sort of.  I'm so close to my goal weight and am chomping at the bit to rebuild my wardrobe. To curb that craving I've done a little "pre-shopping" or "size scouting."  I've hit a few stores just to browse and try things on.  Out of habit I keep reaching for the apparel that suits my old fit-and-flatter rules.  While the sizes technically fit, the styles no longer flatter! You may have lost weight if you also find yourself in the middle of a Banana Republic with a silly dumbfounded look on your face giving yourself a brain cramp about what to choose next.  Like me, you've been shopping by certain rules for so many years it's going to take serious effort not to reach for the old options and waste your time. And I am SO ok with that. It's utterly thrilling to be wearing these smaller sizes and applying wonderful new style options I couldn't wear before.
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I've received several emails asking how I lost the weight. My husband and I liked the program so well we became health coaches for it. After struggling for years we're definitely paying this one forward!
See the sleek new teal blog button over there? That's our information site - YouLookSoSkinny.com. We named it after the compliment we receive the most! If you'd like personal information just leave a comment or click the Email Me button. 

 
 
I'm a firm believer in doling out kudos when they're deserved.  And the following round of applause and thank you is VERY well deserved.

It's no secret I'm a Shoeholic.  As I've said before, 1 dress + 14 pairs of shoes = 14 outfits. A month or so ago I spotted these shoes on the White House Black Market site
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"What adorable new shoes!" I thought. But new they were not.  I'd somehow missed them in my regular perusing of that site and they were now nearing the dreaded "Sold Out" status. The site only had a size 10 available.  But it was love at first sight (they're slingbacks with a hidden platform!) and I wanted them as my reward for the next 10 pounds I had just lost. A nationwide manhunt ensued.  I naturally tried the Utah stores first. Nothing. Then, based on the salesperson's recommendations, I started calling certain other stores, arching up through Idaho, Washington, and Oregon before finally hitting pay dirt with a store in California.

Now - WH/BM does deserve a teensy thumbs down for not having integrated inventory so that the style # of the shoe could have been searched, telling me exactly where it was (or wasn't) and saving me significant phone time.

But they get a HUGE thumbs up and standing ovation for having some of the nicest, most helpful, supremely courteous staff of any store.  And that's saying a lot. 
Every. Single. Employee bent over backwards to help me find these shoes; whether it was simply suggesting the best stores to target or actually taking my number, calling the other stores in their state THEMSELVES, and calling me back.  One outlet location in Oregon or Washington called me almost 4 weeks later to say they'd found a pair in my size, just in case I hadn't had any luck yet.  The store has style, and not just on the racks.

A funny twist to the story - the first store I found who sent me the shoes actually sent me the wrong shoes.  They'd misunderstood what I was looking for and sent me these -      
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Delightful in their own right and I kept them as my reward for the first 10 pounds I'd lost and hadn't yet rewarded myself for.  How could I not considering both shoes were on final sale and... drum roll please... cost only $29 each.  That's right! More than $100 less than their original price. I love a good sale.  And the price made the heroic actions of the WH/BM folks even more commendable, considering they weren't trying to score a large ticket sale.  It was a chump-change $29 sale. I'm guessing the company puts a lot of stock in training their employees to understand the value of creating happy, lifelong customers.  And considering I have a whole new wardrobe to buy this year... it was a very smart move.  
 
 
Welcome 2011! We're glad you're here. 
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I had a good 2010. Our little girls growing so fast made the year fly far too fast.  And I had a rough start to 2011- my twins went to nursery and my first went to primary.
If that confuses you, let me explain. No. Is too much. Let me sum up. (movie?)

In our church the children get to go to Sunday School classes while the adults are in other classes. They learn and sing and generally have a lovely time.  The Primary is for kids 3 through 12 and nursery is for kids 18 months to 3 years.  Yesterday was Peanut's first Sunday "with the big kids."  I walked her in to the front row (peeked on her several times after that) and she had a blast. I couldn't deal with her being so grown up. 

Now, she's been going to nursery for more than a year so sending her off to the big kids class wasn't nearly as traumatizing as my twins going to their first nursery class. We kept them out of the 18-24 month group to avoid the petri dish of illness that comes from the sharing and gnawing of toys.  But there's no gnawing with the 24-30 month group so we're good.  They have the same wonderful teacher Peanut did last year and they had a great time. Mommy had to hold back tears.

But enough sniffling.  You can't stop the New Year from coming so welcome it with open arms!  As I mentioned when discussing my new boots, 2011 will be the Year of Wardrobe. I'm so close to my goal weight I can taste it!  Yummy. 

I've already started my research because as much as I love studying fashion, style and what flatters - I've never dressed this particular body.  Hell, I've never even seen this body. It's a whole new set of hips in this new year!
Hope you'll join me for the ride. I'll be asking for your input and thoughts.