Oh no she didn’t.

Oh yes she did.

When she actually just popped out to Big W to get a stray security tag removed from a boring breastfeeding singlet.

Jason Wu for Melissa ‘Jean’ in navy.

Linky . See how it looks like grosgrain?

Actually quite a lot more nude than beige in real life.

And if The Bunny turns out to be a girl, she’s getting a pair of these ASAP:

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Two weddings and a baby bump.

I’m at that age, and have been for some time, where weddings are a frequent occurrence in our social calendar. I have two weddings coming up, a week apart, with the same group of friends – and I’ll be 36 and 37 weeks pregnant respectively at each.

Sartorial challenge accepted!

I think that each wedding will be quite different in style – Wedding #1 will be a modern, stylish, formal affair, whereas Wedding #2 will be a low-key, offbeat, relaxed event. And as the guests at one will be many of the guests of the other, I can’t get away with one dress with different accessories!

Option 1 below is a satin knee-length dress from Ripe Maternity. I have tried one one and it was … ok. I felt pretty dowdy but I’m not sure how much of that was the dress and how much was me. A plus would be that I could also wear it to a wedding in February with the same people and easily breastfeed, so I think that one repeat wear amongst the same crowd would be ok. At $180 it’s reasonably priced too, but I wasn’t so keen on squidging into a size XL!

Option 2 is a dress from Two Birds Bridesmaids, which is where my bridesmaids’ dresses were from and I just loved them. I’d probably get versatile knee-length black. They can be wrapped many different ways and worn with a bandeau underneath. The plus here is that they are not specifically maternity wear, although they are preg-friendly, so could happily be re-worn as a LBD for many years. However, they are the most expensive of all the options at $340.

Option #3 is a similar idea to the Two Birds Dress – a multi-wrap LBD. This one has gold backing, but doesn’t come with a bandeau so the back exposure factor is high. It’s about $200 which is cheaper than the Two Birds dresses. Jessica Alba likes it though …

Option #4 is the classic cocktail dress. I’m not really a fan of high necklines on me as they don’t suit my decolletage (ie: boobs) but this one is quite cute. At $230 I’m not sure I would want a dress that covers up my best and sometimes only assets!

Option #5 might be too hot if it’s a summery day, and I don’t think that the length is flattering, but I like the print and think it could be re-used. It’s also a cheapie at $100-ish. On the other hand, I suspect it could look frumpy in real life.

Option #6 is a lovely cut but only comes in this cobalt and at over $200 I think it’s too much to invest in such a shocking colour!

Crave Grecian dress from QueenBee Maternity.

I’m not sure what I’ll land on; I have dropped my days to 4 a week and only have 5 weeks of work left so there will be plenty of time for sorties to the shops (although many of these are online so postage time needs to be factored in). I suspect that Wedding #2 might be best served by a non-maternity summer maxi, which could be easily sourced with minimal effort and lots of choice. For Wedding #1 I am very tempted by a Two Birds dress for future usage purposes but might need to do some swift talking about the cost-per-wear principle!

As for accessories, shoes will be whatever fits and whatever I can bear to wear for an extended period of time! Some sparkly flat sandals will probably be the go. For Wedding #1, the more formal event, I’ll crack out the rocks and wear my NTRHR, and diamond pendant and diamond drop earrings, both my own wedding jewellery. Worn jewels are alive jewels! For Wedding #2 I think I can look for more fun and out-there stuff, and will probably have a good sniff around Lovisa for some bright and cheerful accessories. I wonder if these neons are too much?! I like 5 and 15 but 2 might be pushing it!

My bootscootin’ baby.

One of the biggest sartorial challenges for the style-conscious vegan is footwear, and in particular, boots. Once you eliminate leather, nubuck and suede, you also eliminate the best designs and quality. Alack and alas, I shall never own a pair of Hermes riding boots. I feel like I should hashtag this #firstworldproblems.

With winter upon us (and today’s weather is particularly vile), and The Bunny making me less and less inclined to wear heels as my centre of gravity tips ever forward, I wanted to find a pair of low-ish boots for wearing on weekends when my Converse feel too casual.

Searching out animal-friendly footwear often leads me to find myself in shoe shops that, if they were equivalent clothes shops, I would never enter. Imagine the Supre of shoes. Not really my demographic. However, I have had frequent successes with Betts. They have a big range, plenty of non-leather, and the sales are pretty darn generous too.

I have a couple of key requirements when it comes to boots. Firstly, the material must be ‘good’ – not that plasticy, shiny thin stuff. I don’t want to look like I’ve clingwrapped my calves. Secondly, I hate those plastic heels that are made to look like a proper stacked heel. I want a proper stacked heel of proper solid …well I don’t know what, but not plastic with pixelated prints on them!

I can’t find an exact picture of the boots I bought, but imagine these ‘Roustabouts‘ with a lower, more cowboy-y heel.

Love the side zips. Imagine with a 1.5 inch heel, and no seam over the vamp. These are Betts ‘Roustabout’.

They have zips on both sides, and are a lovely neutral nougat with a dark stacked heel. I bought the Berlin style. The lower heel will be great for running around in while the almond shaped toe saves them from being too masculine.

I also tried the ‘Magik‘ boot which has the same upper as the ‘Berlin’, but a much higher heel and elasticated sides. I liked them enormously and it was only the thought of my need to buy low, low, low shoes that persuaded me to get the Berlins instead. But I’m still thinking that they might just make their way in to the cupboard somehow …

Maybe?

I also liked the ‘Alamo‘. I am fond of a slouch top on an ankle boot because they are very forgiving when you have to tuck your jeans inside them, but I’d have to check that those heels aren’t cunningly crafted rubber.

Betts ‘Alamo’. Love the slouch.

Of course, there are some shoes that just aren’t me:

Betts ‘Nicola’.

Oh who am I kidding. They’re fabulous. Utterly utterly fabulous.

The Acquisitions

I am nothing if not efficient. My “To Purchase” list is largely complete within Week 1 of La Honeymoon – with cash and time to spare. And to be clear, as an Advocate of Responsible Acquisition, all Acquisitions were purchased with cash and no credit cards were harmed in the making of this post.

Without further ado, here are the Acquisitions so far:

Jeans

I was after, attentive readers may recall, denim of brands that are either unavailable or prohibitively pricey in Aus. My other requirements are: low-waisted (those of us apples with bellies do not appreciate being tourniqueted in two by high risers); dark-ish; not scruffy; and legs that are either skinny but not too skinny or straight but not on the bootcut side. Further, any leather embellishments render them un-vegan and therefore o.u.t.

True Religion ‘Julie’

These True Religion ‘Julies’ have already proved their mettle, softening comfortably after I was convinced into vainly purchasing a size down. They’re a thicker weight denim but have been fine to wear in low-20s temperatures. I love the buttoned-down pockets. (PSA: Buy True Religion in the States for about half what you’d pay in Melbourne).

True Religion ‘Julie’

I have mixed feelings about Guess. On the one hand, they produce a lot of non-leather handbags and wallets, meaning I can shop other places than the Target accessories section (which is fine, but not exclusively). I also happily bought my favourite evaaaaah white and navy striped with red contrast stitching blazer from there. Add to this column a lot of wing-tip eyeliner on their models, always a plus for me. On the other: I can’t get over a certain ickiness. I feel a little too old, a little under-blinged in their stores. Fine, a lot too old.

Guess Daredeveil (with a lil’ bling)

But I did like these ‘Daredevil’ jeans, which have – horror of restrained elegance horror – a blinged up front button and little butt patch. It’s not overboard and I think could work evening-wise. I haven’t worn them yet but as I again went a size down, I’m hoping there will be another adequate stretch.

Guess ‘Daredeveil’ – and a sparkly bottom

Accessories

I couldn’t resist. I know that in certain circles Crocs elicit cries of revulsion, but these are cute. OK? They’re cute. And comfy, which is exactly what I needed after 8 hours of tramping around.

Crocs ‘Adrina’ flats

I also bought a $20 pair of metallic ballet flats from Old Navy which don’t really merit a photo, and a giraffe-print $12 scarf from the same which I love and which has proven very useful in San Francisco’s miserably chilly winds.

Toy Watch ‘Plasteramic’ with crystal

I’d been planning to buy a chunky, plasticy-ceramicy watch, maybe in white, and didn’t want to spend to much on a ‘fun’ watch. I had a good look around brands which are affordably priced in the US like Michael Kors and Marc by Marc Jacobs, and flipflopped between clear plastic, rose gold and chronograph styles, and even a blond plastic tortoiseshell. After lusting after a ceramic Michele watch with diamonds, I happily settled on this Toy Watch. My friend gifted herself a Toy Watch as a push-present-to-self, and I’ve liked their fun aesthetic since. On this model I liked the small bling adding some interest without really cranking up the sparkle (I have this thing that overly blinged pieces make your real bling look fake. I’m like that). Incidentally, this was about 60-70% of what I would expect to be charged at home – my new policy is that it’s tacky to talk money except when you’re pointing out price-gouging.

Gucci ‘GG1933’

Speaking of bling, how’s that gold?! My case doesn’t look like that, but my sunnies do. I wanted a pair of aviators – a classic style – but with a bit of freshness. I often go for white in accessories but you have to be very very careful – it’s a fine line between the Riviera and Fountain Gate. This pair combine the classic Gucci patch in a colourway I wear often – navy, white and red – and fit my face well.

Tragically (yes, forget the newspapers – this is the real tragedy of the day), on their second outing I dropped this pair face down in a toilet stall under the Santa Monica pier. Scratches. Whining. Boo hoo. I returned to the store hoping they could help with something, even though it was very clearly all my fault. The lovely owner of Ottica on Sunset Boulevard, Garen, not only offered to replace the scratched lenses with a better quality pair for cost price, but on hearing that we were leaving LA the next morning, he cut them on the spot. All I lost was a little Gucci mark on the top corner, and gained a whole lot of gratefulness for Garen’s excellent service. Ottica are happy to ship internationally so feel free to contact them if you’d like to buy (no kickback for me here; just paying it forward).

Tom Ford ‘Rickie’

Ahh Tom Ford. I have been devoted to your signature cross-over nose thingy for … let me count … about five years now. Indeed, until early this year when a gorgeous pair of Chloes reduced ridiculously in the sales finally tempted me, I have worn no other style. I have bought countless knockoffs, spending far more than a real pair would have cost, and in fact in New York in 2008 I was unable to pass any imitation I passed. They all broke. Serve me right.

Tom Ford ‘Rickie’

So I couldn’t pass these ‘Rickies’. Thrill at them. Marvel at them. The chocolate enamel (don’t you think blondes are often better off with browns than blacks?). The not-too-yellow, not-entirely-rose metalwork. They fit me like a glove and make me feel like I’m a million times more chic and mysterious than I sadly am. I do no regret these or their pricetag for a moment and intend to be buried in them.

And finally … drumroll …

I’ve wanted a colourful cocktail righthand ring (a RHR) for a while, and had intended to hit up NYC’s Diamond District a la Lilian Harlow (although without the Fairy Great Aunt) until I passed a small jewellery store in San Francisco.

I saw.

I enquired.

I beat a strategic retreat.

I thought.

I researched.

I compared.

I kept thinking.

I returned.

I tried on.

I enquired again.

I obtained a hefty discount. Heftier than I’d been prepared to settle for.

I didn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

We’re very happy together.

My precioussssss

Sorry about the poor iPhone photos; I am not actually jaundiced  nor do I know why the pictures are different sizes.

That’s a hand-set RHR with a citrine. Yes not a very precioussss stone, but the colour, which Buzz and I have determined to be between ale and lager, goes very well with my two favoured colour schemes to wear, olive-neutrals and navy-white-red. A very dear friend of mine recently received an incredibly beautiful RHR with a gorgeous light green stone – a colour I love – and I really didn’t want to copy her special ring, so I am very happy with my could-be-neutral yellow.

I love the setting – the detail, the shoulders, the halo. I am very pleased that the angularity of the emerald cut is softened by the positioning of the claws and the slight rounding of the edges of the halo (much as the cushion cut in my engagement ring is between round and rectangular). The clean, solid lines of the cut are offset by the roundness and delicacy of the setting. The quality of the setting is excellent (in my untutored but picky opinion) and it’s not so big as to look either A) improbable or B) like it’s my e-ring’s conqueror.

It’s actually a miracle I’ve been able to type at all given how much I gaze at it.

That’s all the Acquisitions for now. Buzz has also been giving it a good crack, stocking up on all the comics and geek paraphernalia he can’t get at home. More purchasing to come and be posted!

Born in the USA

I’m writing on my iPhone in San Francisco, while Buzz wanders happily around the Cartoon Art Museum, so please forgive any stilted language or typos.

We’ve been on honeymoon for a week today, and off work for a fortnight tomorrow, and boy could I get used to this! The most luxurious thing is spending 24 hours anday with my husband, who I practice calling my husband at every available opportunity. Sass (at sassiest.wordpress.com – I can’t seem to linky on this)once said that the best thing about being married is that it really is happily ever after, and she was right. Being married is different and very special and now I’m getting soppy.

So let’s ditch the dewy-eyed mooning and get on to the important stuff. The shopping here is fabulous. Cheap as chips, plentiful, competitive, fanatic service (pay heed DJs and Myer), and one of the best things about Buzz is that he loves to shop too. Yes blah blah we’re doing cultural things and seeing the sights, but we are also enjoying our shared hobby.

I came with a wishlist, which I’ve mostly fulfilled. I wanted some ‘good’ jeans of brands thy we can’t get in Australia (or for which we pay an utterly absurd amount which I refuse to do); a fun chunky watch to complement my good Raymond Weil watch; a right hand ring (I had set my sights on New York’s diamond district but got waylaid – more on that later); and sunnies for the same reasons of variety and price. Check! I adore everything I’ve bought and will show you it all later on. Let me just say: Fellow Australians! Take to the skies! Or the Interwebs! Spend your dollar where it buys better! Pay what Our American cousins pay and reject the price-gouging! No import tax, no shipping costs and certainly no retail costs can justify a 150% markup (especially when the same goods are shipped from China).

A fully photographed, annotated post to follow.