Sunday, November 29, 2009

The last bit of my 11/14 Last Chance finds

I am back on the interwebs! Pardon the interruption; the hubs and I have spent the last few days packing, moving and unpacking (our house sold — and we've relocated into an apartment). 

"A Life Fulfilled: Atlanta" will literally be "Atlanta" for a little while, as the apartment is in the Virginia-Highlands. The plan is to spend the next few months saving and house hunting — then we'll hopefully be back in Decatur in a jiffy.

Here's the last of what I found at Last Chance (Decatur) two weekends ago. Given it's nautical pattern (that's a black and white stripe), gold buckled belt and shoulder pads, I thought this Danny and Nicole dress would be a fun one to take home with me.

The details.

It's sad to see the yard that no longer belongs to us!

And an antiqued-looking shot for fun.

Dress: Danny and Nicole ($10 at Last Chance in Decatur)
Necklace: made at the Bead Shoppe in Avondale Estates (just a multi-shaped chain I made into a necklace) - $14
Shoes: Nine West platform pumps (via Ross) - $25

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pre-Thanksgiving Crazy Boot Wednesday

It may feel like a Friday... but it's still a (Crazy Boot) Wednesday... Thanks to the office ladies who participated in the fun. We were double up on participation last week.

(The boots third in from the right belong to my company's owner/CEO)
Sorry, AJ. Didn't mean to block your awesome wedge boots!

And e-mailing in from Tifton, Georgia, is a little man named Will. Check out Will and his super rad, super tough cowboy boots:


Monday, November 23, 2009

Pho Dai Loi 2: Vietnamese Comfort Food

Last weekend, I was feeling bleh and my usually chipper girlfriend Megan was feeling a little under the weather. We decided some comfort food was in order, but not the Cracker Barrel or Boston Market variety. 

We were thinking a visit to Buford Highway was just what the doctor ordered.

Based on a comment from Eat Buford Highway, we headed over to Pho Dai Loi 2 (near the intersection of Clairmont Road and Buford Highway). This little gem was abuzz with activity despite our later lunch arrival time. A host directed us to a table, pushed menus in our hands and asked us what we wanted to drink. Tea for me, please.

The scene: Pho Dai Loi 2 on Buford Highway

We ordered (shrimp) spring rolls to start. We spent the next few minutes checking out the scene. The patrons of this cafeteria-esque restaurant ranged from families and solitary veterans to college kids and what looked to be a pickup soccer team. And I don't know what this observation means exactly, but I saw more designer purses in that one-hour time frame than I did in Lenox Mall the week before. Hmmm. Interesting.

The spring rolls weren't much unlike those from my C'om experience in the recent weeks past, with the exception of these being more heavy on the lettuce. I could eat the dark brown peanut sauce on shoe leather (mmm... I think it's that good) but Megan felt overall "meh" about the flavor of the sauce. (I realize "meh" isn't a very technical term, so let's just pretend it basically equals "take it over leave it" or "so so.") The rolls weren't super special to me (and I couldn't taste the shrimp that well), but the price was noteworthy: a super minimal $2.95 for two large, fresh rolls.

Megan and I both knew what we came for entree-wise: the pho (pronounced "fah"). Not knowing which of the traditional, brothy, noodly creations would be most satisfying, I asked the waiter for his recommendation. He suggested the pho tai nam (#9 on the menu) because it came with both flank and round steak. I went for the medium-sized portion ($5.95). All of this talking about noodles, steak and broth got Megan thinking that the pho tai nam would be a good choice for her as well.

Our soup entrees came out of the kitchen almost immediately. I'll have to be honest in saying that I was rather overwhelmed at first; I expected bursts of spices and meaty flavors but mostly got a chicken brothy flavor, even after I added some of the garnishes served on the side (sprouts, lime, Thai basil, etc. — I held off on the jalapenos). 

Can you see that the thinly sliced beef is still just a little rare? It's cooking a little more in the hot broth (thank you, Megan, for pointing this out).

That's when my yapping did me a favor (you see, I'm quite the talker, even when I should be eating).

Like a nice tea, the longer the hearty rice noodles steeped in the lime juice, basil and other accoutrements, the better it tasted and the more infused the flavors became. Mmmmm. And the aroma that accompanied also felt comforting. The whole experience reminded me of eating a fresh bowl of chicken noodle soup, but of the Vietnamese variety. 

Megan and I agreed on the meat though. We preferred the the slightly tougher flank steak to the chewier, fattier round. Next time, I'll order just the round.

My lovely dining companion... Miz Megan.

The verdict: you hit up a pho spot (like Pho Dai Loi) not so much for the flavor but for the comfort and the warmth — and you can't beat the price. The popularity of this place also shows its strength as a Vietnamese staple on BuHi.

Pho Dai Loi 2
4186 Buford Hwy NE
AtlantaGA 30345

(404) 633-2111
Yelp site:

Savvy Shopping Tip: Stamps

Ever realize you're out of stamps — then remember that you would rather stab yourself with a sharp pencil than wait in line at the post office during your lunch break?

Well, then I think you Atlantans (and others in the southeast) will appreciate this tip: You can buy books of stamps at QuikTrip with no markup in price. That's right... QT keeps books of stamps in its registers for lazy patrons just like you and me. Pump that gas — and just as speedily as you can grab a 49-cent fountain drink, you can snag a book of stamps.

The more you know...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Audience Participation Friday - a.k.a. Fierce Shoe Friday

Thanks to everyone who e-mailed me photos of their fierce shoes (or brought them into work for me to photograph) for Audience Participation Friday. I asked, "What's the most fierce pair of shoes you own?"

For some of these shoe obsesesed and foot fashion mavens, it was tough to pick just one pair.

A Life Fulfilled Atlanta's choices from her closet (why am I writing in third person?):

I do love these patent leather black Nine West heels I snagged at Ross. They're a good balance of feminine and edgy. (Sorry for not having a better picture of the shoes themselves!)

These are one of my faves for now. I picked up these bad babies (BCBG Girls "Dania") at the Junior League of Atlanta Belk shopping event. Their relatively conservative shape is offset by the purple and the suede look. Yum!

From Kat in D.C.:

"#1 - They are Steve Madden knockoffs of these fabulous Alexander McQueen booties. I bought them on preorder online and thank god I did because mcqueen is now suing and you can't find them! The best part is that the sides unsnap and you can zip up the shoe into a full ankle boot! They're insanely comfortable and everyone always comments on how great they are."

"#2 - I stumbled across these in the clearance section of DSW while waiting for a table at the Cheesecake Factory — and they just happened to be my size! One buckle was broken and now the second one is too, but it doesn't keep from wearing them anyway. At the time, they were my highest heels, topping out at 5 inches! One night we were out and I noticed a couple staring at me nonstop, and I started getting self-conscious. Finally they called me over to let me know they were just admiring my fabulous shoes!"

"#3 - THESE are now the highest heel in my closet. They are bebe knockoffs of the insanely expensive YSL tribute pump. They have been impossible to find in black so as soon as bebe restocked, I jumped on them. Thanks to their 2-inch platform they dont feel like 6 inches, but they def make me a giant! I added an additional photo for this one so that you can see how crazy the heel really is."

From Mb in D.C.:

"My manolos!! Big surprise that these are my faves. NOT. For a steal at $120 at the secondhand shop, Mercedes Bien [in Adams Morgan], I just couldn't say no. They get so much use whether at work or play. And the comfort is worth every penny. Even at retail value."

Maria of Atlanta (long-time friend and now colleague):

Maria's peep-toe Steven by Steve Madden pumps are the perfect shoe for jeans and a white tee, a black evening dress or anything in between.

Our colleague Scott tried to participate (let me reiterate the word "tried"):

Kathryn of Atlanta (colleague):

Kathryn brought in her Christian Louboutins today for "Fierce Shoe Friday." Holy moly. This is the closest I've ever been to the uuber sexy luxury French designer shoes. Hot stuff!
Christian Lacroix pumps with a killer holographic-looking dye job. Whoa.

AJ of Atlanta (colleague):

These BCBG Girls gladiator-style shoes have an extra level of ferociousness with the zipper up the back.

Thanks, ladies! I'm going to post a little poll about this post... who's feet are the most fierce?
I need to think about a theme for the next Audience Participation Friday. Any suggetions?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Crazy Boots Wednesday (More Join in the Fun)

Just another regular Wednesday awesome Crazy Boots Wednesday.

Coworkers from left to right: (me), Vondia, Kathryn, Ethleen

Take two. (Maria, get your boots soon so you can join in on the fun!)

I recruited a few more ladies to wear fun boots (I think my Tuesday e-mail said, "Alright ladies. It's on tomorrow. Crazy Boots Wednesday." Hump day is a little more fun when you're wearing fun shoes...

And speaking of shoes, remember to send in your answers: What's the fiercest pair of shoes in your closet? Send photos — and tell the story behind your shoes (why they're so fierce, where you found them, what feedback you get when you wear them, how you feel when you rock 'em out, etc.). Send your submissions in to by 10pm Thursday night (November 19).

Kathryn (Michael Kors boots pictured above) decided we should call Friday "Sexy Shoes Friday" to go along with my Audience Participation Friday theme. So stay tuned for Kathryn's (and others') sexy/fierce shoes!

Luxe Shirt Dress - Goodies from the Weekend Part 4

I think this Maggy London dress (complete with shoulder pads) may be my favorite find from the weekend... but considering that I have to replace the buttons (one's missing), it may also be the most expensive.

Something about this pattern and the cut feels fancy. One of the gals shopping across the aisle from me at Last Chance said the pattern reminded her of Hermes. Now excuse me while I go sew on 9 new buttons so I can wear this thing out of the house!

New buttons: $8.50 at Hancock Fabricks

Dress: $7 (Maggy London via Last Chance Thrift in Decatur) + buttons ($8.50)
Shoes: Nine West patent and distressed leather platform pumps ($25 via Ross)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Taking Notes from Maegan (but in need of styling feedback) — Goodies from the Weekend Part 3

I took a page from the notes of Miz Love Maegan for this outfit (you must check out her blog if you want style inspiration...). 

Similar to Maegan's post here, this "dress" is actually a belted, longer dress. Except for in my case, it's a nightgown. When I saw the gown on the end of a rack at Last Chance (Decatur), I honestly thought it was a dress; then I realized it was next to a bunch of pajamas. Whoops. I didn't let that deter me from my mission of finding interesting items to add to my wardrobe.
Lace-trimmed night gown belted as a dress.

My attempt at cooler weather styling didn't work... I wish I had a knit that made sense for this "dress"

Posing mishap (i.e., trying to look cool made me look like I have no arms — not the look I was going for)

I realize this is a little bit more of a fashion risk but thought it would be fun to play. I can better visualize how to wear this when it's warm... I'm struggling a little with what jacket or knit to wear on my shoulders for a colder weather look. Is there a shoe that would be a better fit? Suggestions? The husband and the mom are not fans of the dress in general... what do you guys think? You can be honest since I paid less than $5...

Dress: $5 night gown from Last Chance (Decatur), belted (no tag)
Shoes: Carlos Santana via Ross ($25-ish)
Jacket: Lapis via Ross ($10-ish)
Necklace: gifted by Mb

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monochrome Legs (Goodies from the Weekend Part 2)

I posted on Saturday that the weekend was full of blog-worthy material.

I also posted this teaser snapshot of one of the many things I snagged over the weekend:

Here's the dress!

Monochrome tights and shoes inspired by What I Wore's Jessica (seen here and here).

The brooch I already had, but I picked up the dress during my visit to Last Chance Decatur (FYI - you can print coupons from their site). I knew right away that I wanted to accessorize it with my new-ish burgundy tights and the same-color platform sandals.

The dress has big buttons down the back (fun!) and is unfortunately too short to wear to work. I'm excited about it for an eventual night out or date night though.

Dress: Liz Claiborne (circa early 90's — it has shoulder pads) $8 at Last Chance (Decatur)

Shoes: gifted
Brooch: $2 or $3 at Goodwill

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday Adventure: Weekend Goodies Part I

One of my favorite people (Megan) agreed to do a little secondhand shopping and eating with me on Saturday (pho post later).

I reviewed a list of local secondhand and consignment shops before deciding with Megan that a stop by the Loehmann's Plaza Plato's Closet would be convenient on the way to lunch — not to mention I hadn't set foot in a Plato's in three or four years.

And now I remember why.

Sure, Plato's closet has plenty of denim, trendy tops and cute shoes, but its offerings didn't speak to me as much as I'd hoped. Regardless, Megan and I spent about half an hour trying on just okay various tops, bottoms and dresses.

Plato's doesn't do consignment; instead, they take inventory from walk-ins, process it and decide what to keep, pay the customer for what they want to sell — then give back the rest. At one point, Megan said something to the effect of, "Now that I'm seeing the quality of what's in here, it's kind of shocking that I've had friends have 75 percent of their stuff rejected here."

Lots of denim, including men's...

and women's

Lots of cute shoes upon first glance (mostly trendy, inexpensive shoes)

Megan tried on a dress and a few pairs of jeans. She did end up with a great pair of 7 for All Mankind jeans for $18 (they looked barely worn). Some of the brands we tried on included Old Navy, American Eagle, Vigoss, See Thru Soul and Paper. Inventory at Plato's ranges from items originally from Target to originally from Neiman's.

Despite the 10 pairs of jeans and three tops I tried on, I only purchased a cocktail ring and some peacock feather earrings. Jeans are not currently my friend. Sigh.

I felt like Goldilocks (this cardi was too small — and these jeans were too short). Jeans were by See Thru Soul, cardigan is Merona (Target)

And this top, while the pattern was cute, was too unflattering. Top is Marimekko for Anthropologie. Jeans are Vigoss.

These $18 7 For All Mankind jeans were a fit for Megan.

My purchases: a red accent ring with gold flecks and some peacock feather earrings.

I ran into a former colleague who looked cute from head-to-toe so I photographed her, too (hi, Monica!)

Plato's Closet PROS:
  • When available, they keep original tags on items to see how much you could have paid in another store
  • A large selection of denim
  • Reasonable prices
  • Options for both men and women
  • Good inventory organization
  • Styles cater to more "juniors" looks (i.e., there isn't a range of attire or much mature attire — it's mostly teenager casual-looking); to be fair, I suppose juniors are their target demographic
  • The majority of the shoes are the cheap PVC type you buy from Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe
(Shout out to Sarah Beth Lewis, a cool employee we met at Plato's who's also a blogger, new Atlantan and aspiring chef. Check out here stuff here.)

After lunch and bidding farewell to Megan, I felt empowered to swing by an old favorite. "Maybe they will have something I can get excited about," I thought to myself. And so I parked myself in the lot of Last Chance in Decatur. Sadly, it had been way too long since I'd perused the aisles of this location of the thrift store chain.

And I wasn't disappointed.

I grabbed dress after dress, a cap-sleeve blazer and some jeans to try on. I also met two fabulous ladies (hello Tammy and Stephanie!) who were finding some great items of their own.

I thought Tammy looked so cute in this red sweater (at Last Chance: Decatur) so I asked if I could take her picture for the old blog. Cute!

I had high hopes for this vintage dress — it was a no go though.

I did snag this Riders khaki cap-sleeve blazer (feels new) for $7. More items from my Last Chance visit to be posted this week.

Of the eight items I tried on, I kept five (and one pair of jeans I rejected were perfect to the cute mom-of-two trying on clothes next to me). Stay tuned as I post more items from the weekend. I bought enough for nearly a week's worth of outfit posts.

Lessons from Saturday's shopping:
  • My style (or lack thereof) is too eccentric for the Plato's Closets of the world; I'm much more comfortable at Goodwill or Last Chance
  • Fellow thrifters are fabulous and encouraging
  • My bottom half is growing at a faster rate than the other half. I need to stick to flattering dresses and avoid jeans for now. Argh.