Oh the Weather Outside is Not Exactly Frightful…

SWAK jacket 3

Merry Christmas, or Frohe Weihnachten, as they say here in Germany!

It’s Christmas Eve, but you wouldn’t know it except for the decorations around town. Germany is in a week long stretch of GRAY skies and RAIN. Not so pretty! Normally, I’m not a huge fan of snow, but it would be nice to see something glittery white for Christmas morning!

Despite the grayness, it is mild enough to still rock some fall styles.  This denim jacket from SWAK Designs is actually quite soft, and how refreshing it is to get a jacket that fits comfortably when buttoned up around the bust! You busty gals know what I’m talking about. It’s tricky to find something that doesn’t make you look like a box!

SWAK jacket 1

SWAK jacket 4

Forever 21 Plus leggings and skirt, Just Fab boots.

 

I’ve discovered a new site to obsess over – Sephora! How many of you have ordered beauty products from them? THREE FREE SAMPLES with an order? Plus when I bought just $30 in product, they threw in ANOTHER sample. Speaking of product…

Josie Maran Argan Oil for Face has CHANGED my skin. I only use a little bit all over after cleansing, and my face has never been softer or glowier, EVER.  This may be oil, but I don’t feel greasy and no breakouts at all! Check out my skin – I am wearing just a little CC cream as foundation:)

SWAK jacket 5

Not bad for a 40 something chick, hmm?

I hope you enjoy your holiday, and blessings to all of you. I will share in a few days what Santa brought me…so excited! Hope you share your surprises as well!

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xx Melanie.

Working It, Holiday Style

Hello and Happy Holidays!
I apologize for not blogging lately, but last week was CRAZY busy! The Hubby finished a class, my vocal students gave a terrific vocal recital, we started sorting out items for moving, AND we went to the Hubby’s Christmas party! Lots of activity going on, to say the least!
Let me tell you about this Christmas party. The invite said “business casual,” but as you can see, people turned it out! Even the guys were weeerking it!
One of my favorite looks of the evening was this Jackie O inspired dress and hat! LOVE IT!
Jackie O

I say these two fine gentlemen make the “Man of Style” section! Check out the kilts!

Man of Style 1Man of style 2

Of course, I can’t leave out my own Man of Style. The Hubby looks sharp in his black Express shirt and hot red tie! I kept it more simple in my INC sweater tunic and H&M faux leather skirt. I got to debut my new rhinestone earrings by Bijou Brigitte (a bargain buy at 4 euro!).

Xmas Party

Xmas selfie

arrow earring

Are you done with your holiday preparations? Ha, I am so not! Still  tree to put up (yep, a slacker) and a few gifts to buy.

However, I hope not to be slacking on future posts! I’ve got a number of new beauty products to try out and review this week, so stay tuned!

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xx Melanie.

Creating New Traditions

One of the main challenges of being a military family (especially overseas) is finding new ways to celebrate holidays, which normally includes family gatherings. Being in Europe has definitely given us fantastic opportunities to experience Christmas in different cultures (we spent last year’s Christmas in Paris!), though the Hubby and myself can’t help but feel a bit lost without our normal family traditions.

Before we moved to Germany, we’d spent the last Saturday before Christmas at an annual family gathering on Hubby’s mom’s side of the family. This is a BIG family; so large in fact that every year the party is held in a high school gym and recreational center! Lots of food, white elephant gift exchanges, book trading, and time with Santa would fill the day. Then on Christmas Eve, we’d celebrate with the father in law’s family; not nearly as many people, but still boisterous and fun. Many times, Hubby and I would then spend late Christmas Eve with my parents and open gifts with them the next day. My dad, who is a wonderful pianist and organist, would ask me to sing for the morning service at church, and I would usually sing either “O Holy Night” or “Ave Maria” as a tribute to my late mother who always sang those classics.

The Hubby and I haven’t quite created our own traditions yet. We’re still in the first few years of married life together, so every year since we moved has been a bit different in what we do. One thing that we do is make calls home to family, to wish them well and see if they like their gifts. Though hearing their voices is wonderful, there is nothing like seeing faces light up in surprise, or feeling the warm embrace of a “thank you.” It is a bit bittersweet.

With every passing year, I find that Time is the best gift anyone could have or receive. It is fleeting, hard to get, and priceless. Some people may find family gatherings cumbersome or obligatory, which is understandable. However, once that chance to gather is gone, it cannot come back or be replaced.

I hope in the next couple of years, the Hubby and I will be able go home during the holidays and revisit those traditions. I miss my father’s playing of classic carols on the piano, the mounds of paper to clean up after gifts, the silliness of our niece and nephew, the excited chatter of family.

Here’s to a wonderful holiday to all – be it Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa.

Swarovski Christmas Tree

Swarovski Christmas Tree

 

Leggings -Forever 21 Plus, sweaterdress -H&M, wrap -Charlotte Russe.

Leggings -Forever 21 Plus, sweaterdress -H&M, wrap -Charlotte Russe.

 

 

Running from Krampus and Feelin’ Fierce!

People in Germany know how to celebrate the holidays. There’s always plenty to do, from strolling through a festive Christmasmarket, drinking a hot mug of Gluhwein, to enjoying an old time horse and carriage ride, like my hubby and I did. Every city and village has its own vintage holiday charm, such as the view I took in from our carriage ride:

All lit up like a storybook!

All lit up like a storybook!

However, Germany (and the surrounding countries such as Austria) has an unique way of getting their little ones to behave during the holidays. He is the Krampus, a beast like character who visits homes with Saint Nicholas during The Feast of St. Nicholas on December 6th. This is also known as Krampusnacht. Children leave their shoes out and if they have been good, the next day the shoes will be filled with candy and small gifts. But if they have been misbehaving, Krampus fills the shoes with coal! Many areas (especially in Innsbruck, Austria) hold Krampus parades. People compete to be the scariest Krampus, and even chase others around! Scary!

Don’t think I’d want him visiting my house!

At the Christmas party my hubby’s squadron held, there was no shortage of fierce fashion! I LOVE that people like to break out the finery! Check out Sissi in her gorgeous black dress with the feather detail on the top!

So stylish!

So stylish!

Her watch is amazing, too – check out the sparkling detail!

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Another friend, Sandra, pulled out all the stops and wore this gorgeous full length sequined and chiffon gown. Check out the bodice!

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Gorgeous!

Gorgeous!

I decided to pair my Forever 21 Plus peplum dress with faux leather detail with a boyfriend jacket from Charlotte Russe. I love the sweetheart neckline on this dress!

Working the LBD!

Working the LBD!

Flower ring and necklace by Charlotte Russe.

Flower ring and necklace by Charlotte Russe.

Of course, it isn’t just we ladies who like to dress up. The Hubby looks pretty dapper as well! Check out those shoes!

Rockin a vintage inspired look!

Rockin a vintage inspired look!

Although I love fashion, what I cherish the most during this time is having my husband home. He was deployed for 6 months this year, and I am thankful he is safe and doing great. My heart goes out to those military families who have a loved one deployed during the holidays. It’s not easy being apart as it is, and the holidays make that separation feel especially long and lonely. I encourage everyone to make the season a bit brighter for our military families, wounded warriors, and deployed service members.

Here is to a wonderful 2014! Cheers.

Fun Find of the Day

One of my favorite blogs to check out is Plus Model Magazine, an online publication for curvy gals that includes fashion, news, and beauty tips. Today’s issue included an “OMG I need that for Christmas!” find: the Jessica Simpson Leopard Print Moto Jacket, available at Macy’s.

Leopard print is HOT this fall & winter, and as one who loves this print, I especially like the look of this jacket! It’s not over-the-top in leopard, has some edge, and yet it is sleek. Maybe Santa will put it under my tree!!!

Plus Size Fashion Find of the Day… Jessica Simpson Leopard-Print Moto Jacket From Macy’s http://p.ost.im/RxDeUL via @Plusmodelmag