Friday, January 14, 2011

Playgrounds & Lollipops - The Future Of?

It's been almost a year since I started Playgrounds & Lollipops, and if I've discovered anything about myself, it's that I'm not a very good style blogger.  I should essentially have close to 50 posts in the archives but instead I have less than 25.  Yes, you could blame it on the fact that I am a mom of 2 young children, I work full time (although that wasn't always the case), and for the most part, my husband is the only one that can take my pictures.  When he gets an emergency call from a client, I feel a little silly asking him to stop and take my picture before he goes and rescues a computer from its untimely demise.  Priorities right?      
{Top - local boutique Tullemoss (hand-wash only grrr! Be careful to read tags before you leave the store); Jeans - Gap; Shoes - Simply Vera by Vera Wang for Kohl's' Earrings - The Rusted Chain}

You could blame it on a lack of inspiring scenery.  Here's me standing in front of my house, or here's me in my house.  No graffiti walled backgrounds, no beautiful meadows.  Just me and the chain link fence that outlines the school across the street.  Or me and my brick wall.  You get the picture.
 See the stroller striding moms in the picture below?  They gave me the weirdest looks as they walked by.
 But the truth is most of the time I feel downright silly and ridiculous standing in front of the camera.  I don't know how to pose, do I look at the camera, do I not?  Where do I put my hands?  What are my readers going to think of my outfit?  In fact, who do I even think I am, thinking anyone wants to see my silly outfit?  In fact I feel silly even blogging about the superficial world of fashion sometimes.  Let's face it, there's a lot more important stuff going on in the world than talking about clothes, no matter how good they can make a tired momma feel.  The insecurities I guess never stop, even when you're close to 35.  Funny that I never feel this way when I'm about to reveal my soul or share a recipe
When it comes down to it, I guess I'm disappointed in the direction that P&L has taken in the last year.  I never intended it to simply be a "look what I wore" type of series, but it quickly became that and for one reason or another I didn't know how to change directions.  My hope for P&L was that it could be a series that gave moms a little inspiration to think of fashion outside of the box.  To try something new, shop at a store you wouldn't have thought of stepping into, wear a hat you didn't think you could pull off.  If there's one thing I know my style isn't, is fussy.  I wear a top, a pair of jeans and shoes.  That's it, nice and simple.  No complicated accessorizing, no avant-garde pieces that hurt your brain thinking of how you're going to wear them.  Whose got time for complications right?  So whether you think you can wear exactly what I'm wearing isn't the point, but rather, can the outfit equation be replicated for your body type?  Absolutely.
Flattering Jeans + Cute Top + Ballet Flats + Simple Earrings  =   You're Set!
I also had hopes of providing all this insightful shopping advice along the way because if I am going to admit I can do anything right, its shopping.  I have become quite a savvy shopper in all my years of experience both personally and professionally.  I've learned to find my style, build a wardrobe that I like and I'm proud to say I've never put my family in debt in the process.

Before I go on and get myself into an irreversible depression for the day, I turn to you my readers and ask, what type of posts would you like to see going forward as it relates to fashion?  As superficial as I sometimes feel blogging about fashion, it's what I do, it's what I love, and it's what I know.  So you're stuck with it being a somewhat regular topic on here, in addition to my family and food :)  Would you like to see styling tips, shopping tops, before and afters of other moms?  What do you despise about your wardrobe, what would you like to change about it?  Do you hate shopping and prefer to just buy a few pieces online, so would online tips be helpful?  Want to learn how to quickly navigate through the mall with 2 small children in tow and still find what you're looking for?    

I'm just throwing ideas out there, but would love to hear what you have to say.  So would you help a lady out and be honest (but not brutal)?  Please, if you can take a couple of minutes to comment, even if you normally don't.  It's a new year and as you can see I'm already making some big changes in my life.  I want to make some changes here on the blog as well.  I don't want this blog to just be a journal of ME, but a space that can be useful and helpful, even when it comes to a silly little thing like clothes.  
Project 2011 is going great so far.  In the last two weeks my only purchase has been new foundation at my local beauty supply store with a GROUPON!  I have to admit that after the gluttony of December, it's been easy to avoid shopping.  Come March & April, it's going to be a different story.  The One Warm Coat Drive is a huge success and we still have a week to go.  We've gathered at least 100 coats, sweaters and sweatshirts.  God is good!  Have a great weekend everyone.  It's supposed to be close to 80 degrees here so the sunny forecast has got me in the mood for soft nail polish colors, wispy tops, and eating on patios.


  1. Andrea, really really admire and appreciate your honesty. I had a similar "breakdown" about who cares what I'm wearing & why...and even stopped posting for like 3 weeks. I say do what you want, write what you want, photograph what you want. It's all good. It's all harmless.

    Oh, and for the record, I love reading your posts. I love your style. I love your personality that shines through your photos and your words.

  2. qI actually find your style quite refreshing and the thing I like about your style posts is how you put simple items together.

    My downfall in my wardrobe is colour. I tend to by greys, black, white, navy.. all staples but for some reason just have a hard time buying colour so this is the year I'm going to introduce more colour.

    I love style tips on how to add to your already wardrobe, how to depart with clothes in your closet, what NOT to wear.

    I heart fashion but I think since I had my daughter I have to get rid of stuff that I hadn't worn while pregnant and no longer will wear. i need ideas on clothes I can wear to work but are functional at home with a 1 year old.

    ok and maybe someone to do my laundry hahaha `

  3. Okay asked for it! I really enjoy your P&L posts. Although I get a lot from your other posts, I thing your P&L are the thing I consistently relate to the most. And I don't view it as a "look at me" thing. I see it the same way as I see Lindseys WIWW posts - "REAL" gals who have their own style and DON'T look or pay the price like the Real Housewives of (insert city here).

  4. I love these posts. They have truly motivated me to think twice about my yoga pants on the days when I am no where close to the gym. I love how you instinctively know how to put pieces together. I am a look at the mannequin and copy kind of girl.

  5. Hi. I'm one of your readers who does not comment on blogs. Ever. For anyone. But your post touched something inside of me today and I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. I look forward to when the Google reader shows you have a new posting. I have begun to feel more comfortable in my own fashion choices. Thank you.

  6. First I want to say that you shouldn't apologize for blogging about fashion. In a world full of negative junk it's fun & refreshing to read about something light; like fashion.

    As far as what I would like from this series: exactly what you've done thus far. Maybe more "work from home" type outfits. But that's just me personally, as I never go out. Maybe a tutorial on how to dress for different body types and list several outfit ideas for each? I struggle with finding stuff for short waist, longer thin legs, chesty.

    I love your blog. There are only 4 that I check every. single. day. You are one of them.

  7. I LOVE your P&L posts. Please keep them going, or some version of them, anyway. Like you, I am a working mother of two small children but my work style is definitely casual so I get a lot of inspiration from your P&L posts. I've been trying to pin down my "style" lately and I think I would describe it as "polished casual" and I think you really embody that.

    One thing that I think would be interesting is picking a particular item from your wardrobe and showing how to style it three different ways. I chose three as I'm trying a new rule that everything I buy has to be able to be worn three ways so that I can expand the flexibility of my wardrobe and buy really functional pieces. I feel like doing this, I can justify spending a bit more money on particular items.

    As for blogging about fashion, I think if each one of us were able to put ourselves out there a bit more confidently and authentically (due to fashion choices or whatever other reason), the world would be a better place. I think you help your readers do that. Thank you! -Another Andrea

  8. I can completely understand how you would feel odd standing in front of a camera and documenting outfits.

    But think of me, who wears TOMS, ripped jeans and adopion tee shirts everyday! I need all the help I can get!

    I think a good direction to go would be for what the heck does a mom wear for the everyday kid chasing stuff? When I worked I could put together a decent pencil skirt-top-heels getup but now I'm lost! It has to be something comfortable but not frumpy. And if you have any suggestions for things that can be worn in playground sand that would be fantastic.

    Oh, and how about jeans? What jeans hide this God awful mommy pouch I'm sporting???

  9. i love your blog. if i want to hear about how much the world sucks, i'll go check out CNN.

    a little fluff and wardrobe is a good thing.

    find some friends with different body types and style them. i love the idea of before and after.

    as a mom of grown children, slightly overweight/negative body image, but in youth ministry… how do dress cool without being too trendy or looking too young. how to be hip and almost 50?

    love you. love your honesty. love your style.
    pfsh on the stroller pushers. next time offer to take a picture of them. ha!

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  11. i know i may not be your target demographic, but i love these posts! and i honestly think they're just about perfect as is, but i'd also like to see posts about outfits for particular body types or events. and, i'd even like to see what items you might buy from what store. meaning, if there's a sale at gap, i'd love to know your thoughts on what might be worth purchasing. compared to the rest of us, you're a pro! it'd be like having a shopping assistant... and who doesn't want one of those??

  12. I love all your posts, and would be honest if I didn't...constructively and with a kind heart. I also love a girl who owns her blog and lets her post flow out of a creative heart. I follow your blog because I love your sense of self, your desire to be a voice for the working Mom, your transparency in the journey of being a vessel, and cuz your rad. The only advice I can give on your P&L posts is maybe to include budget friendly options (not saying you don't) just to help the fashion challenged on a budget girls. XO

  13. I like it how it is right now too Andrea. I like how you include the pictures of you laughing or not getting just the right shot to remind us that you do this for fun and it makes you happy! It comes natural to you to know about this stuff - it doesn't come naturally to others and it's fun to read about what other people enjoy. It's nice too that it's not a very life changing, political, "save the world" kind of enjoyment. It's reminded me a time or two as well, that I need to branch out a little in where I shop!

  14. Andrea:
    I must say that reading your post today was interesting for me. I have to admit, that when I found your blog, it had nothing to do with fashion (fostering to adopt, remember?), and I was disappointed when I didn't see more posts like those. And I rarely looked at the P&L posts.
    That being said, I have come to look forward very much to the P&L. I would say that you've had a singular influence on me pulling myself out of the yoga pants/tshirt mode and placing myself in a more stylish place. I have tried that hat (and hats ;) ) I didn't think I could pull off. I have tried to be more me in my fashion choices--a little more dressed for every day, instead of sloppy. I've even found myself wandering around town wearing something that I later thought was too much and shouldn't be wearing, but I was really glad I'd taken the chance.
    In fact, today I wore my walking shorts with tights, boots, and a belted sweater. And I thought, "Maybe I should take a picture and post it like Andrea, so she can see that I'm changing?" Of course I didn't much for the same reason that you hate to pose.
    I think guest posts or almost guest clients who come to you with fashion ideas or issues would be fantastic. You could show your expertise on different types and styles.
    And I volunteer to be first! A personal shopper/dresser! What I've always wanted (well, second to a personal chef).
    Is that enough honesty? Is it long enough to qualify as a guest post?

  15. I really enjoy reading P & L and it has inspired me to up my game! I'd love seeing before and afters. Depending on the styles of the season I sometimes have a really hard time finding flattering clothes I like. (Remember the super-long bohemian-ish tube top dresses of a couple summers ago? Those were a nightmare for someone short and curvy, with a small waist and ample bum.)

    Finding the right pieces takes me a *lot* of time and I have to try on lots of clothes. It's frustrating more than enjoyable, but I like looking good, so it's worth it.

    So, maybe tips, tricks, and advice for those of us who have a hard time finding clothes we love.

  16. It is your blog - do what YOU know! And what YOU like. Personally, I stink at fashion but for whatever reason... I LOOOOVE your P&L posts. If you still enjoy doing them, I say keep up the GREAT work!!!!

  17. oh my word my head is spinning with ideas, all from your encouragement and advice to trudge on ladies! Thank you, thank you to each and everyone for taking the time to write your thoughts on this series of mine. after working a 11 hour day today, I lack the energy to properly address each of you the way I would like to, but please know that each one of your comments made me smile, and many of them gave me a new idea. I can't wait to see how this all works out, because I think it can be fun!

  18. Well I see that you have a bazillion ideas and that makes me HAPPY! You know how much I relate to P&L and I don't have kids. This is the area that I connect with YOU on. I love your energy, the pics and I am OBSESSING over your outfit in this post. :)

    Everyone had great ideas. I am sending encouragement. To post what you want, to not apologize for it and to dress like the fashion rockstar mom you are!

  19. i completely agree with janna and jenni. i love these posts, too. they've encouraged me to "own" my own style more and step out of my usual shopping box. i like the way you describe the lines and elements of the clothes, you're like our own version of stacy and clinton of wntw.
    i take what you describe and then try to find it in my price point.

    and the pictures of you...cute and real which makes you relate-able instead of fashiony.

  20. I think tips would be great as well as some trend right ways to adapt the latest and greatest from the runways. Like a chic way to bring in color blocking that seems to be a big trend for Spring. I think you encourage us all to put a little extra effort in and that it doesn't have to cost you a bundle. I NEVER shopped at Ann Taylor Loft before, but it is now on my radar after seeing some of the cute and super good deals you've gotten there. So I guess tips on stores where to buy and get the goods at a good price would be nice info.
    I love the top!!!

  21. I really liked the posts you did sort of "educating" us about fashion vocabulary. Maybe something like that would be less stressful, because it wouldn't have to be a photo of you, but you could share your fashion wisdom by basing a post on some fashion term that none of us know but would enjoy learning.

    And, hey, 25 posts is still a bit of inspiration every other week or so! We'll take it!


  22. I'm a mom of 2 small kids and I love fashion - it's a creative outlet for me but I have very little time to actually make my outfits fashionable, or even to shop much. I flip through magazines and love seeing creative outfits, but don't know how to interpret them into a Mommy lifestyle. I was so happy to come across your blog to see mommy-friendly outfits for inspiration. So many days I have 2 mins to throw something on, look at my clothes and say forget it, I'll just wear my workout clothes! I say blog about all those things you wrote about in this post. And more cute, playground friendly, but not trying to hard outfits! Oh, and I would feel the same way you do about taking pics of yourself in outfits, but don't worry about it. Obviously people like it or they wouldn't read your blog! Thanks for doing what you do!


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