We had the biggest microburst hail and rain storm I've ever seen here Monday night.  It tried to take over our driveway and destroy our basement.  Actually, it tried to do that to several houses in our neighborhood where the storm drains simply couldn't keep up. 
So I'm very behind on things I would like to post.  I still have a ton of clean up work to do, but need a little break.  So today, let's check out more of Kate's awesome outfits from the  her trip to our side of the pond. For the first post of her looks, click here.
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Catherine Walker dress and coat
Love this! I fell in love with coats-matching-dresses in Doris Day movies.
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Alice Temperley blouse
The girl's gone country! I sometimes chuckle when Europeans try western, but they both actually did alright! William finally doffed his blue suit.
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Issa dress LK Bennett wedges
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Jenny Packham dress
There has been MUCH hoopla made over Kate's use of sheer stockings (nylons, pantyhose, whatever your generation chose to call them.) While there appear to be certain standards for royal dressing that she is adhering to, I think she mainly just wants nice looking legs without the fake tan orange glow. Her sister Pippa is also wearing them a ton and it has sparked a MASSIVE upsurge in sheer stocking sales. I don't often think to wear them in summer but I have a pair of Donna Karan's that are exquisitely sheer, never sag around the ankles or knees, and make my legs look great. Plus, they're slightly control top so they help my hip area as well. Bonus.

A note of warning if you're going to wear them.
These are NOT tan colored stockings. They should be sheer in a color that exactly matches YOUR skin tone. You're simply trying to make your legs look smooth and even-toned.  You are NOT using the stockings to simulate a tan.
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Diane von Furstenberg dress
And finally, a lovely DVF dress. I swear, is there anyone that von Furstenberg dresses don't look great on? Double love the sleeve length on this dress.
 
 
In my Stylish Renovation post two days ago I shared the amazing beautifulness that is my new wood floor.  Sigh.  We wake up every day, see the floor and say, "That is a DANG good lookin' floor!" We love it.  Each night this week we've said, "Goodnight, beautiful floor."
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As you read in that post, I escaped to the Nordstrom Anniversary sale with my girls.  Mr. Darcy and I couldn't decide whose job would be harder; helping put in a new floor or wrangling three toddlers in a crowded department store.  In the end, the Summit men were so efficient my husband mostly watched the floor materialize before his eyes so the harder job was mine. That's what Chupa-Chups sent from Grandpa are for!
Before I show you what the sale brought us, I must give you a little back story. When we saw the movie Inception, Mr. Darcy and I kept saying, "That's a great shirt!" any time Tom Hardy (Eames) appeared on screen. They just had a little somethin' somethin' and I've been on a major hunt for Eames-like shirts ever since.
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I found about 10 but took my favorite 2.


Zagiri dark brown shirt with really cool side paneling.  This fits much more trimly than shown on this model, which is good.

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Thomas Dean Stripe shirt.  This is much more vibrant than the picture shows. It has a really great mix of oranges, blues and grays.

As for me, I beelined straight for the boots.  As I mentioned last fall in The Boots Zip, a whole new world of shoes opened up to me with my weight loss.  My now trim calves have found utopia in a world I could only watch from the sidelines in the past.  I alternated between the two pair of boots I bought last year nearly every day of fall, winter and spring. I've added two darlings to the family.  
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Cole Haan "Jalisa" black dress boots. 
Black dress boots were at the top of my list. I love that these do not have a leather wrapped heel, which gets destroyed so easily. I've put them on 10 times since last Friday.
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Vince Camuto "Bilco" over-the-knee boot in this gorgeous brandy color.
The sales guy said, "Look, you can fold them down too." No way! I love them at their full height. They hit right at the middle of my knee cap so there's no Puss-in-Boots vibe. These boots fit so great around the ankle. My size had to be shipped to me and they arrived an hour ago. I'm  wearing them right now. They're awesome. They have three rows of mini studs up the back that you can see in this picture of the Coal color. 
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Next on the shopping list is two new pair of skinny jeans to tuck into these lovelies. I shrunk out of the ones I bought last year. I knew I would; they were only an interim size so I had grabbed a pair on sale at Old Navy. Turned out to be hud. Stretched out the instant I bent my knees. Looking back now, I wore them so often and was so infuriated by them, I'd have been much better off investing a little more in higher quality.

It's mopping day. I get to give my new floor some love. And the girls have a couple friends coming over so I better take my boots off before my feet start sweating.  Sigh.  I'm sure I'll wake up every day, see the boots and say, "Those are DANG good lookin' boots!" Each night I'll say, "Goodnight, beautiful boots." Or maybe I'll just go ahead and wear them to do the mopping. They sound so fierce on my new floor.
 
 
Our babies aren't babies anymore (sniff!). It's sad, how fast they grow up, but when they start to grow up, you can get new flooring put in! How's that, do you figure?  Well, when my husband and I bought our house, it was in the framing stage so we were able to make some tweaks and choose the flooring.  Hoping to start a family soon after purchasing it, we put carpet everywhere except the kitchen and bathrooms.  Even in the dining room.  We have a great room floor plan so the kitchen flows seamlessly to the dining room then living room.  With crawling babies we wanted as much soft flooring as possible. 
Here's how our dining room/kitchen looked until Thursday night.
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vinyl kitchen floor, carpeted dining area
Now that the girls are almost 4 and 2.5, the need for soft surfaces to crawl on is no longer a necessity and we've been planning for a while to put in wood flooring.  As luck would have it, our next door neighbor owns his own wood flooring business! We had long put off getting an estimate, fearing a bid of multiple thousands of dollars that would just disappoint us and kill the dream of new floors.  But Mr. Darcy bit the bullet one day while I was out of town and was happily shocked to learn the project was well within our budget. Samples were viewed, wood was chosen and before we knew it, we were ripping up carpet...
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Mr. Darcy. I love watching him work.
... and vinyl.
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Then in went the beautiful new boards.
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CJ and his wicked nail gun.
Here is the gorgeous new floor I came home to Friday afternoon.
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Where was I? The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale started Friday so it was the perfect place to escape with my girls while the men did the floor.  Toddlers and tools do not mix.
I'll show you the delicious pieces I procured at the sale in the next post.  Boots are involved! For now, I'm just happy to gaze at this beautiful new floor.  Many thanks to Mr. Darcy and the Summit Flooring men!  As luck would also have it, Summit is about to launch a brand new website, so I'll share the link to that in the next post as well. The phone number is 801-592-4928.  If you live in Utah, are dying for beautiful new floors and would like an excellent referral, these guys are it!  Colton is so meticulous I swear he goes over things with toothpicks and Q-tips. Mr. Darcy is incredibly handy and loves a good home project, but when he saw all the measuring, re-measuring, and re-re-measuring to get the floor in absolutely perfectly, he was glad we hadn't tackled it ourselves.
Thanks again, Summit!
 
 
The Prince and his new bride have been touring our side of the world.  The ever elegant and simple Kate has, in my humble opinion, been making some great choices. Let's look.
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Reiss Nannette dress, Anya Hindmarch fan clutch
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Issa London dress, Queen Elisabeth II’s Maple Leaf Brooch
There have been many different types of events on their tour, from casual to dressy to ceremonial. Every look I've seen pictures of so far has shown a modest hemline to the knee, and sleeves. Brava, Princess!!
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J Brand skinny jeans. Don't know the labels for the blazer, blouse or wedges.
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Erdem lace sheath dress
I've seen how this Erdem lace sheath dress looked on the runway, she had more lining added for more coverage. No doubt about it, this woman knows the power of a tailor.
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Erdem sheath dress
I'm just showing one picture of each look, but there are tons of shots out there. The lace shoulders on the dress above are filled in for coverage.
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Alexander McQueen sweater dress paired with Prada pumps
This sailor sweater dress is BY FAR my favorite.  Oh, how I drool.  If I had the cash, I would get this in a heartbeat. Dang you, McQueen for sticking at a price point beyond my reach.
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Catherine Walker dress, Hobbs clutch, Tabitha Simmons heels
Some fashion critics have ragged on her for being too modest. (We get that all the time, don't we?) They equate modest with boring.  They say she's dressing too "safe."  "With a figure like hers we should be seeing more skin!"  I say, "PLUG YOUR EARS, PRINCESS!" You keep fighting the good fight.  She knows what fits her body and looks good on her.  As I've said before, she's not out to shock anyone or push any envelopes just for the sake of rebellion.  She's very respectful of her title and position in the world and I absolutely applaud her.  Prince William, however, could try a suit color other than navy.
 
 
The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale preview mini-mag hit my mailbox the other day. 
On page 11 was this.
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Trina Turk skirt $129
a-line skirt
IN THE NEWEST
SHAPE AND
LENGTH, IT'S
THE SKIRT THAT
REALLY WORKS
I always love seeing things that modest dressers have always worn suddenly hailed as the "Newest Shape!" "Newest length!" Yep, it's a knee-length skirt. How refreshingly novel!

As I admonished you in this post about midi skirts, get 'em while the gettin's good!
It's much easier to shop for items when they're a hot ticket in style "trends."  When the rest of the fashion world is going gaga over mini skirts, knee length won't be as prevalent in the stores.  I may get this skirt. I really like the slightly a-line shape and the slightly 60's mod styling.  In a sturdy stretch ponte knit it'll last for-absolutely-ever.

Remember, the Nordstrom Anniversary sale is NEW fall season items at sweet sale prices. Here are a few other things I'm digging from the preview.
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McGinn boucle' jacket $229
Fantastic blazer. And I swoon for anything that smacks of Chanel (at a price I can afford.)
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Vince Camuto boot $159
Gorgeous brown tall boots.  Because as I mentioned last year... the boots zip!!
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Mackage wool coat $389
Because I shrunk out of all my coats last year and I love the asymmetrical closure and cool leather and knit sleeve details.
But I want it in black.
 
 
I frequently encourage you to cast a wide search net when you're hunting for items to round-out your wardrobe.  I certainly have my favorite stores, but I peruse lots of other places for new and interesting pieces. Shopping only from one or two places can often result in a wardrobe in a rut. So today, I'm reviewing the top 4 sample sale sites that you should definitely be checking out.
To join any or all of the sites (each is free) click on any logo below.

You might be asking - what in the heck is a sample sale site? Have you ever heard of designer sample sales in New York and L.A.? Did you see "Confessions of a Shopaholic?" The scene where all the women are let into the before-unknown warehouse location and duke it out for the few samples of highly coveted items? That was fairly accurate, and  these internet sale sites are the same concept, minus the fisticuffs. 
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  • In general has the lowest price point and least exclusive designers
  • Usually has the most daily sales for a great variety
  • Feature Sales- Women's, Men, Kids, Home, Experiences and the just-launched Travel section

Featured today on ideeli...
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Bass Loves Rachel Antonoff cream/pink saddle oxford heels for $65 instead of $109
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  • Mid-range price points, lowest number of daily sales
  • Great mix of high end with mid-level brands
  • Sales feature - Women, Men, Home, Travel, and Local Picks for Boston, NY, Philadelphia, Seattle

Featured today on Rue La La...
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Robert Rodriguez orange pintuck skirt for $69.90 instead of $242.
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  • Best offering of beauty items for women and toys for children
  • Next to highest price points and designer offerings
  • Sales feature - Women, Beauty, Home, Kids, Men, Getaways

Featured today on Hautelook...
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M by Marcus printed silk roll-sleeve blouse for $49 instead of $198.
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  • The original luxury sample sale site
  • Usually has the highest price points and most exclusive designers
  • Great for investment, own-it-forever items
  • Sale Sections- Women, Men, Home, Children, Gifts, Jetsetter, City, Taste

Featured today on Gilt...
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Pink Tartan stretch silk knit wrap dress for $159 instead of $395. Yowza!
A few other tidbits about these sample sites -
  1. They're a great way to branch out and discover new brands and styles, all on easy to navigate, secure sites
  2. You get incredible bang for your buck.  If you're going to buy a skirt, why not get the best you can, for less? I'd much rather wait for a great designer skirt to pop up on these sales than settle for lesser quality or style at the same price.
  3. There are new sales daily, usually starting at noon Eastern time. Hot designers and items go fast, watch out for those virtual fisticuffs!
  4. There are smartphone apps for each site, making giving the sales a quick glance at your convenience more than easy. You can also get email reminders about what sales will be featured that day.
  5. With so many different looks and designers in one place, they're a great way to grab a little outfit inspiration, even if you're not looking to buy anything new.