Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Fools Free Zone

Nope, I'm not even going to pretend I wore something outrageous to work today, like a pair of overalls or leggings and a crop top or a Confederate flag belt buckle (god, even the idea of that last one is giving me the heebie-jeebies).  This blog post is just straight up for realz.  Robert loathes April Fools jokes, and though this has not rubbed off on me entirely, it's enough to avoid playing them in my own life.  How do you feel about April Fools jokes and pranks?

However, I do highly recommend Angie's sartorial April Fools post with her insanely (ahem) stylish outfit.  Angie basically fools me every time, at least at first...which goes to show how fine the line between fashionable and crazy really is.  I thought this particular post was framed extremely well.  I kind of want to play with that outfit generator, too.

Holy shit.  So I tried the random outfit generator and look what I got:

A purple/magenta pencil skirt, a black sleeveless top, a black leather moto jacket, black (or charcoal grey?) ankle boots, and a grey purse.  I would totally wear that!  And other than the purse, I have equivalent items I could use to create it.  My outfit was a lot more fortunate than Angie's.

In non-clothing-related April Fools pranks, have you checked out yet?  Enter something into the search box.  Fun!

So on to today's outfit...

Last night, I made a last minute outfit substitution when Robert alerted me that the new forecast for today was a high of 75 degrees and raining.  What?!  75 degrees is getting warm, people, and rain means humidity.  This is like actual spring weather.  I wasn't prepared for that!  (Luckily for me, it's supposed to get back to highs in the 50s by Friday with snow next week...or so they say now.)
So I decided it was time to bring out one of the outfits I had planned for the Pattern Challenge back in February but had to defer when the weather got too cold for them.
Pattern Challenge Day 4: Chevron--Wednesday, 4/1/15

I only have one chevron print item other than the scarf I wore a couple weeks ago (that I can think of)--this T that I bought at Target...well, not this past summer, but perhaps the summer before.  I truly think that I haven't worn it yet--WTF?  Well, I guess this is a good time to do so.

 *Aqua/black chevron print T (Target)
Black travel cardigan (thrifted, Chicos)
Black-on-black striped pants (thrifted, JCP)
Black/lime/purple/aqua silk scarf (thrifted)
Black pointy-toed flats (Nordstrom)

One of the things I like about this outfit is that I can take off the cardigan and it still looks interesting (I mean, come on, that striped scarf + chevron pattern mix is awesome).

This is a case where the sometimes-annoying tendency for T shirts from Target to be super-long comes in handy.  For some reason, I'm enjoying the extra length in this outfit--maybe it's because the cardigan is also long.  And the T-shirt is made from a substantial but thin knit fabric that lends itself to partially tucking in the front without weird bunching or stiffness when I take off the cardigan and the extra length looks a bit funky again.

Verdict: OK, it was actually 80 degrees F when I left work this afternoon.  Snow is on the forecast for Monday, though.  Craziness, I tell you.

Observant readers will note that this post is #1 in the A to Z April blogging challenge: A is for April Fools Free Zone.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

On the Grid

MMMSC Day 5: Target Favorites--Tuesday, 3/31/15

Probably my favorite Target purchases are the two tipped blazers (cream polka dot and black grid print) that I got at Goodwill.  Grid print (aka windowpane) is such a great pattern, and the Target blazer is the only thing I own with that print (except for a scarf, now that I think about it), waaaah.  Pinterest and blogs right now are filled with all kinds of great grid print shirts, dresses, coats, pants, etc.  I liked this pairing of stripes and grid print from an ad for Lands End pants.


I chose to pair a striped shirt with the grid blazer and added a bunch of solid green to debut two items I recently bought at JC Penney.  I thought this outfit was a nice balance of warm comfy and spring looking--and adaptable enough to deal with these low below freezing, high above 60 F days we're having this week.  The shirt and pants can stand on their own if my office gets to warm for the blazer and scarf.

Confession:  In the photo, you can see that I put on my ankle boots by default, but once I saw how it looked (awkward!), I switched them out for my black buckle flats instead.  Much better.  But I forgot to take re-take photos.  Oops.

Black grid blazer (thrifted, Target)
Black and white striped T (Kohls)
*Green pants (JCP)
*Green scarf (JCP)
Black ankle boots by Sam Edelman Black buckle flats by Me Too

It feels a bit odd to be wearing a pair of tapered leg trousers again.  These are JCP's "slim" pants, which kind of make me feel like it's the 90s again, though not necessarily in a bad way.  I mean, they do not seem like a pair of pants I actually could have owned in the 90s--the wide waistband, the flat front, and the moderate (not high waisted) rise are definitely hallmarks of a modern garment, not an old one.  I liked them as a colorful alternative to the skinny ankle pants that usually don't play nicely with my body.

OK, I admit, the boots do look nifty from this top down perspective, though.

Verdict:  I love tipped blazers!  I love grid print!  I would love to wear a white tipped brightly colored blazer (maybe coral) that I don't have with a grid print skirt that I don't have!

Oh, but as for this outfit, I found that it was pretty easy being green.

Also, it was very smart of me to buy two striped tops because I seem to wearing them ALL THE TIME.  With everything.  Though I guess I have not yet worn one of these black and white striped Ts with my black and white striped knit pencil skirts...or with my black and white striped knit blazer.  Yikes.  I think that would be too much even for me, but it's probably a never say never situation.

And as it turned out, I did go blazer-free in the afternoon.  I was able to get by without another jacket or coat this morning, too, which was great.

Monday, March 30, 2015


MMMSC Day 6: Accessorize--Monday, 3/30/15

Oh yes, I want to wear my new colorful butterfly scarf!

And this inspiration photo from a German blogger depicts an outfit that will show it off very nicely.


Black jeans, black blazer, mint or light blue top, and a scarf.  Simple.  I like the fit of these bootcut jeans a lot--I always think they're going to be too small when I'm putting them on but then [woosh] magic happens and they fit perfectly.  They have enough stretch to fit themselves to my body but not so much stretch that they end up baggy by the end of the day.  They also look fabulous with boots--go figure.

I'm disappointed that the bright daylight somehow managed to wash out the colors in this photo.  The jacket and jeans are true black, not the kind of dark grey they look here.

*Black butterfly scarf (Kohls)
Light blue T (Kohls)
Black jeans (thrifted, NYDJ)
Black ponte knit blazer (Target)
Black ankle boots by Sam Edelman

Let's get a close up of this lovely scarf.  The combination of black and a bunch of other soft primary colors will make it very versatile, I think.  I'm already trying to decide whether to pair it with red or cobalt next time.

Verdict:  I like how wearing black jeans and a black knit blazer is like the super-comfortable alternative to wearing a suit--it has a similar "put together" quality (though obviously at a more casual level).  Weirdly enough, I don't think I've ever tried this combination before.  This would make for a very useful outfit formula: black jeans + black knit blazer + black shoes/boots + knit top + interesting patterned scarf. A nice comfy way to start off Spring Break...while still going to work. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Life Style Challenge Week 4

Week 3 Challenge Review:

(1)  No bread, no pasta, no rice
(2)  Exercise for 20 25 minutes, 3 days a week (T, Th, Sat)-- 15 20 min cardio, 5 min strength
(3)  Make doctor and dentist appointments
(4)  Make new paleo main dish and veg recipes
(5)  Max of 4 Triscuits per day

I completed 1, 3, and 4 without any problems.  I have doctor and dentist appointments set up for the week of April 6 at a place only a couple miles from my apartment.  I baked seasoned chicken thighs/drumsticks and sweet potatoes (turned out quite well, still eating on them).

Friday evening I was feeling really sick and exhausted--I put on a puffy vest and scarf over my clothes, changed into bunny slippers, and sat in my comfy chair under a blanket and I was still shivering like crazy, despite it being 70-71 F in the apartment.  All day Saturday I was tired and achy and walked (on those occasions I could not avoid it) like some kind of old person who had been turned into a zombie.  So I had to defer the exercise until today, which is fine--that's one of the assumptions I've been making, that I'd sometimes have to switch days, and I intentionally selected Saturday as the weekend exercise day so that I could carry it over until Sunday if necessary.

For my Triscuit challenge, I did average under 4 Triscuits per day, but on Saturday I kept getting nauseated so I ate 4 Triscuits twice.  (A couple times earlier in the week, I hadn't eaten any at all.)  So while I didn't meet my challenge technically, I was successful at both reducing overall Triscuit consumption and, perhaps more importantly, reducing habitual Triscuit consumption.  So I'm going to give myself a pass on that challenge, with the understanding that future Triscuit challenges probably should be about average consumption because sometimes I just really want some plain carbs when I'm feeling ill, especially from a sinus/nasal allergy thing.

Week 3 Challenge Prizes:

Man, this is a terrible image.  Well, you'll have to trust me that it's a kind of pinkish-coral sherbet colored knit top with a birds on a wire pattern.  This summer it will worm warm up enough for me to wear it and I can present you a nice in-outfit-context photo (hah, birds, worms, that all goes together).  (Woo, a photo so bad that my mirror selfie will be an improvement!  A rara avis, indeed.)

Also a short-sleeved polka dot T-shirt to wear when it's too warm for my long-sleeved one.

Life Style Challenge Week 4:

(1)  No bread, no pasta, no rice
(2)  Exercise for 25 30 minutes, 3 days a week (T, Th, Sat)-- 20 25 min cardio, 5 min strength
(3)  Make new paleo "carb substitute" recipe
(4)  Average 3 or fewer Triscuits per day

One of my paleo cookbooks has a few recipes for muffins, pancakes, and quick breads that contain fruit and/or veg with almond flour.  I'm getting the ingredients for a couple of these (using canned pumpkin or apples) that I can try out this week.  I'm hoping one of them will be palatable enough to work as a good substitute for eating Triscuits.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Playing Nice

WWWSC Day 30: Leave the details to the shoes--Friday, 3/27/15

Whew, OK, we've made it to the end of this thing.  And I confess, I did not entirely abide by the guidelines of this last challenge.  Don't worry, I'm wearing awesomely interesting shoes, but I didn't leave the details entirely to the shoes.  I couldn't help it.

A perusal of my "leopard shoes" pins on Pinterest pulled up this photo.  A very simple loose blouse in a lovely saturated hue, skinny jeans, and leopard shoes--a great Friday outfit.


Well, when I went to create a version of this myself, I realized that my loose purple blouse is much more interesting than hers in that it has a nice long zipper down the front.  I think it's a cool detail that I really like, but it does mean that my calf-hair leopard smoking slippers have a little competition on the details front. It also was going to be (only a little unexpectedly) chilly today, so I wore a black cardigan that I didn't want to have to wear.  Oh well, maybe I can revisit the pure purple thing when it's actual spring.  (Bah, what a disappointing washed out photo.)

But these shoes are so awesome that they can stand up to a zip neck top with no trouble at all.  Leopard shoes are always a star.

Just in case my shoes feel threatened, though, I put a somewhat long expanse of muscular denim-clad leg in between these two items.  It totally detracts from your laid-back casual Friday vibe when one part of your clothing starts fighting with each other, and I think both the shirt and the shoes will be sufficiently intimidated by the thighs of the Colossus to not start any trouble. 

Verdict:  Perhaps one operational definition of spring in Coldville is: I can wear calf-hair shoes in the parking lot at work without ruining them from walking through dirty sludge.

God, today my officemate and I were competing for Most Loony Tired Person in the office.  A co-worker came in while we were laughing way too hard over something to do with Doctor Who about mid-afternoon, and catching the vibe of the space, he told us a story about his cousin and his cousin's friend's baby momma sleeping in somebody's garage that made my officemate and me laugh way too hard over again.  Then about 4:15, despite my having badged myself through the locked doors that separate the work space on my floor from the entry way with bathrooms and elevators, I tried to just yank the door open and was flummoxed for a moment by what the hell just happened.  My officemate observed that when you fail to do something that is completely habitual, you know it's bad.  So yeah, I'm feeling the TGIF pretty hard today.

Next week is Spring Break, so a lot of people in my department (and my building overall) are taking vacation days.  I have ordered two books about our new data visualization tool that I hope to work through during this lull.  So far I've been figuring things out by the "google, read, google, read, aha!, implement as described" method, but it would be nice to start building a stronger mental schema for all these random things.  Heh, if nothing else, knowing the actual words for things in the software environment makes it a helluva lot easier to google them.  For example, there's this feature that I think of as "drill down" that I have wanted to search for a couple times, but "drill down" means something else entirely. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Birds on a Shirt

WWWSC Day 24: Layer in an unexpected way--Thurs., 3/26/15

For this one, I didn't bother with an inspiration photo because I knew I wanted to do something very odd indeed--wear my navy/blue bird pullover with a button up shirt underneath it.  This was particularly awkward because the button up shirt has long sleeves and the pullover has three-quarter sleeves, produced by rolling up long sleeves and stitching them in place.  So either the long sleeves of the button up shirt stick out beneath the pullover or the sleeves are rolled into a giant cuff.  Yeah, I wasn't planning for that.  Oh well, I still liked the stripes/birds vibe going on here.  (Note how I cleverly obscured the cuff issue in this photo by chopping off the ends of my arms as well as my head?)

*Black/light blue striped button up shirt (thrifted, Cato)
Blue/navy bird pullover (Kohls)
Pink floral statement necklace (Target)
Navy pants (thrifted, Pantology)
Navy ankle boots by Seychelles

The striped shirt has a few pink stripes that I used as an excuse to bring the pink necklace in.  The pullover may have swallows on it, but the necklace is here to satisfy my inner magpie--oooh bright shiny--and to provide a bit of visual relief against all this blue.

Verdict:  I wish the cuffs of the bird pullover were not stitched in place.  I mean, I get it, for a lot of people it's way more convenient to have it pre-styled in this way (the long sleeves rolled to the practical 3/4 length is a cool look, but can be fiddly to achieve yourself and has a tendency to unroll just as your hands are covered in flour or something), but it's kind of annoying for those of us who want more versatility.  Make it long sleeved, make it 3/4 length sleeved, whatever, but no big stitched-in rolled cuff.  Oh well, that's a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things--it's a comfy pullover with birdies on it!  BIRDIES!  And unlike my "snuggle bunny" and French bunny t-shirts, I can actually make this bird shirt work in a business casual office environment, and that's a happy thing.  I don't really hold it against the designer that they did not foresee my button up shirt layering needs.  I am layering in an unexpected way, after all.  Thus, challenge complete.  One more day of the WWWSC to go!

In other was actually quite cool when I left work this evening.  I saw a woman leave the building, walking extremely fast, and no wonder--she had on a puffer coat, but was wearing a shirt skirt with ballet flats and NO TIGHTS with it.  Insane.  Supposed to warm up this weekend, though.  We'll see.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Taking a Brief Detour

Since this is the last week of my Who What Wear Style Challenge outfits, I decided to throw in (out of order, but bear with me) an outfit from the next style challenge, this one courtesy of Mo Mo Mod from February 2014.

It would have been neater to finish the WWWSC, then start this one, but the weather forecast was better suited to doing it this way--with rain in the forecast and a meeting to attend, a simple outfit with tall boots seemed wise.  Of course, given our recent meteorological track record, this means that I was probably planning for events that did not occur at all like we thought even a day or two out...and that was true--we didn't have any rain, but there was more slush on the parking lot from a bit of overnight snow.  Regardless, I'm mixing things up with a preview of the MMMSC today, then for the rest of the week, I'll be finishing up the WWWSC, returning to this MMMSC one next week.

Here's a nice representation of the style challenges you will be seeing, in some random order, for the next month starting next week.  I can already tell you that #1, #2, #8, #22, and #27 will not be a part of my challenge.  (FYI, OOTD just means "outfit of the day.")

MMMSC Day 7: Animal print--Wednesday, 3/25/15

Ah yes, one of my favorites.  The challenge is narrowing down all the possibilities to a single animal print item.  I see outfits where people wear multiple animal print things, and I don't know--it usually looks just fine but it feels like too much for my style.  If I want to go with a patterned-up look, I'd rather wear one animal print and one other print than two leopard print in most cases.

So I decided to go subtle, like Peg Bundy, with a form-fitting animal print body suit edged in faux fur.  It doesn't get classier than this.

Then I realized, Damn, I don't have such a garment!  On to plan B....where B stands for brown.

I liked the simplicity of this brown and white outfit that lets the leopard scarf stand out.  Easy enough to do a version of this.

Originally from

Although I liked the use of cognac and brown, brought together nicely in the two-tone bag, I decided to go with a more monochrome look of dark brown (though I did leave the white shirt in there for the scarf to stand out a bit better against).  I think this skirt is a bit on the short side for my wearing-to-work comfort level, but it's just fine with the tights.  I am quite grateful for how tights (at least the sedate dark colors that I wear) can turn an iffy dress or skirt solidly back into the business casual range.

Brown skirt (thrifted, Target)
White T (Walmart)
Brown leopard scarf (Kohls)
Brown cardigan (Kohls)
Brown sweater tights (Target)
Tall brown boots by Fitzwell

And monochromatic needn't be boring when you're bringing a lot of interesting textures into the mix.

Verdict:  Though a subdued animal print look even by my standards (let alone Peg Bundy's), I enjoyed this outfit a lot.  My recent style challenges have awoken a new appreciation in me for texturally interesting, mostly monochromatic looks.  My usual practice is stripes + animal print + florals + brights +++++, but it's nice to change things up with a more understated yet still interesting combination.