Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bright Oklahoma Education

"A Little Unified Wild-n-Bright"--Thursday, 10/27/16

We're going back a little with this one, folks.  It's an outfit I put together in the spring but didn't get a chance to wear before summer arrived.  So now with the cooler temps back on the regular, I dug this outfit out of the closet, spring-like colors be damned.

I think I'd get more use out of my white/navy star blouse if it had a collar (and could thus layer nicely under sweater vests and pullover sweaters) but I have not really begun to explore its possibilities with cardigans.  This outfit pairing a similar blouse with a teal cardigan, grey pants, and leopard print shoes looked like a good place to start.


I agree with Carrie that blouses are great for layering without being too bulky.  But when I tried on my blouse, I realized that it is very short--really bizarrely short.  I'm not sure how that happened because I don't think I would have bought it that way.  Perhaps there was a laundry snafu that I forgot about or didn't realize?  In any case, that blouse is now bound for Goodwill for a person with a lot less torso than I have (or who wants to rock a crop top style blouse, I guess.  I won't judge.)

So I substituted a navy polka dot top.  I am a bit disappointed that this one is kind of too short for wearing with pants, so I substituted a grey skirt and tights for the pants at the last minute (hence the photo below is from the waist up)--I almost always prefer wearing a skirt anyway, so that worked out.  I have a very similar teal cardigan to the one she's wearing, but went with this lighter and brighter one for better contrast to the navy top.

I played a wild card in my outfit with this crazy ball necklace that is great in a lot of the "this outfit needs a little something but I'm not sure what" situations I encounter.  (I know that most people would say, Um, two patterns and a bright teal cardigan is enough!  But I actually think that the extra dose of wildness from the necklace makes the bright color of the cardigan look like less of a stand-out/pop and more part of a cohesive outfit.)

Navy polka dot top (JCP), $2.58/wear
Bright teal cardigan (Macy's), $3.43/wear
Dark grey skirt (Walmart), $4.00/wear
Grey leopard wedges by Cole Haan, $7.92/wear
Grey tights
Wild ball necklace (Macy's), $2.61/wear [WtWC MVP #4 with 7 wears]

Outfit total: $20.54/wear

To go with all this blue, here is a photo of a mallard and its reflection from a birding outing last month.

In other news...Today I have two Oklahoma education articles for you.  And no, they aren't bad news!

First, an article about new research on PreK (that says it's not all that it's cracked up to be) mentions the favorable outcomes being seen in OK.  For more background on OK PreK, and why their program might be showing stronger results than other programs, check out this article.  High standards for teachers (they must have a college degree + a certificate in early education) and relatively good funding are two key components of the "high quality" OK program.  Here's an example of the kind of outcomes they are seeing:

In studies published in Science and the Policy Studies Journal, Gormley and his co-authors found that the pre-K programs in Tulsa significantly improved young children's ability to identify letters, spell and solve problems—leaping an average of five months ahead in pre-math and nine months ahead in pre-reading skills. "Those are really big gains," Gormley said. "Oklahoma decided that it was a waste of time and money to have a low quality program, so it decided to have high quality programs...which can produce really big improvement in school readiness for a wide range of children."

In essence, it seems that with PreK programs, you need to go big or go home.  This whole idea of making more PreK spots available (here, there's been a lot of talk of late re: universal PreK) but not really funding it is a joke.

Second, an article and a commentary about the controversy stirred up by a Norman, OK public school teacher who engaged his students in a discussion about racism.  So, a white teacher tells his class of white students that white people are racist, and some white students get offended.  Get a grip, kiddos.  Even worse is the parents who are all in a huff about it, as though the teacher is "demonizing" white people.

One thing I will say is that even when you have an audience of white people who aren't so quick to be all "well I NEVER" in response to a discussion about racism is that it is very difficult to navigate the various levels and aspects of racism/racial prejudice.  The idea that all white people are racist, and the idea that non-white people can't be racist, is based on institutional racism.  It's about power structures and privileges based on race--it's not a personal thing, about individual people's thoughts and actions, the way that most white people think of racism. 

From the movie Dear White People

So you've got this institutional vs. personal aspect, the implicit vs. explicit aspect (that of course I think about all the time, as it was a part of my grad school work), the thought vs. action aspect, all of these components that easily get smushed up and mangled. 

A white person hears "You are racist" as a personal accusation of outright bigotry, not as a statement about race-based privilege in our country or about implicit bias (that a person might be very motivated to control and correct for).  I mean, when I say that Trump is racist, I'm not merely observing that he is white in a country where whiteness is privileged.  I am making a personal accusation of bigotry.  Unfortunately, the terminology used for these various meanings is the same.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Comfortable Dating Apps

When You Veer from the Inspiration Course--Wednesday, 10/26/16

Let us go back, back, back to September 2012, when Anne challenged herself to recreate a summer outfit using fall weather appropriate pieces.


I started out with the intention of replicating the chambray shirt + dark green pants + brown leopard cardigan combo.  But I decided I wanted to wear this new t-shirt that is just the right shade to match the cardigan, then I tried on the pants and was like, screw it, I'm tired of dealing with the low rise on these things--cute as they are, I'm sending them to Goodwill.  And by the time I had gone matchy-matchy with the shirt, pants, and cardigan, I chose to go all-in with a matching scarf, too.

This is an uncharacteristically netural-toned outfit for me, but yeah, I was happy with the result.  This is the kind of outfit that can seem boring, but I'm going to call it classic instead.  And these higher-waisted pants?  So much more comfortable and easy to deal with than the "modern" cut lower rise pants.  I am not looking back.

Black work pants (thrifted, CJ Banks), $1.75/wear
*Light brown short-sleeved T (Walmart), $5.00/wear
Brown leopard cardigan (Lands End), $7.90/wear
Black scarf (Target), $1.20/wear
Black pointy-toed flats (Nordstrom), $1.85/wear

Outfit total: $17.70/wear
And as a bonus, I now coordinate with this brown mini satin with black points.

In other news...I enjoyed this post in which an American living in Germany helps a friend style some clothes--here's the money quote:

I explained to Nina and her roommates that I found it surprising that so many Germans wear athletic shoes now, because it was considered a “typical American” thing when I first visited Germany in 2009. Her roommate cleared this up for me by saying, “Germans figured out that they’re comfortable as fuck.” Word.

My outfit today wasn't quite THAT comfortable, but luckily, except for a short walk across the parking lot, I was lazing around on my still-feeling-sick ass all day at work.

Plus, an article that makes me glad not to be looking for a relationship via dating apps.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Yellow Bunny Work Mysteries

Back to Werk--Tuesday, 10/25/16

Yep, back to it on a Tuesday because I was still feeling terrible yesterday from the cold I caught visiting my family last week.  Thanks, guys--you're so generous! :)

This not-exactly-polka-dot patterned top reminded me of my navy rabbit blouse.  My blouse even has yellow flowers on it, so a yellow blazer would be perfect.  I don't own a yellow blazer.  Oh well, I'll just wear a different color.


I considered wearing it with navy pants, as in the inspiration outfit, but decided to try it with my bright blue pants instead.

Navy rabbit blouse (Disney Alice/Kohls), $3.77/wear
Blue skinny pants (thrifted, Macy's), $3.00/wear
Beige-grey blazer (Target), $2.50/wear
Blue pointy-toed flats (Nordstrom), $2.17/wear

Outfit total: $11.44/wear

Now if I can stop thinking about how cute it would be with the yellow skirt I don't own...

But what I do have in yellow is a tree next to the river behind my apartment.

I also have enough rabbit photos to kill a person who has not increased her cuteness tolerance through years of bunny companionship.

This lady is too dignified to frolic on somebody's blouse.

In other news...I thought my sister might be interested in this article about the ultimate efficiency hack--having kids.

I had the strange experience this morning that within a few minutes of arriving at work, an unfamiliar person stuck her head in my door to ask whether I would take an emergency call in our department head's absence.  I said yes and dealt with that issue (which was luckily not too tricky, though it did require several calls altogether to get it handled).  Then I saw that this mysterious person was sitting at our admin's desk, so I introduced myself and asked her how long she was going to be with us.  "Until a permanent person is hired," she said.  Huh?  We chatted for a few minutes, then when I was going through the emails I'd ignored on my vacation, I saw one in which our department head announced that Friday had been our admin's last day, and that the admin had asked that it not be announced until after she left.  Talking to my office mate later, I found out that it's unclear to her (and I suppose anyone else not on our management team) whether the admin left of her own accord or not.
But hey, I still had a job when I went in today, which I'm thankful for.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Suddenly, Fall

A Little Longer--Wednesday, 10/12/16

I immediately gravitated toward this combination of maroon pants, navy blazer, and navy patterned top from Fonda, who I think has the on-the-conservative-side business wear style that most resonates with me of all the bloggers I follow.  Although I obviously have the latitude to dress more casually than she does at work, her professional outfits-of-the-day are a great starting point for creating Sally-ified ensembles.


For this outfit, I initially thought it would be a good opportunity to wear my navy faux giraffe print blouse--a very business-y top that was purchased as part of my interview clothing set.  But when I put it on, I realized that it was an odd length to wear with the pants.  Too short to wear untucked, and worn tucked in...well, I hate futzing with tucked in tops and this one threatened to come untucked immediately.  So I substituted a burgundy/navy paisley blouse, which was just that little longer enough to be viable (though I would have loved it to be a little bit longer still).

Burgundy paisley blouse (Lands End/gift from Mom)
Maroon pants (thrifted, Lands End), $0.87/wear
Navy ponte knit blazer (Target), $3.33/wear
Nude Rockstud flats by Wild Diva, $2.50/wear

Outfit total: $6.70/wear

As you can see, the burgundy top here is appreciably darker than the maroon pants, yet I find the combination attractive enough.  As I've discussed before, colors on that maroon-to-burgundy spectrum are tricky--sometimes two colors that I think will go well together look terrible, and then other times (like this one), I have low expectations for the combination and am pleasantly surprised.  My backup plan was just to grab a navy striped top and be done with it, but I'm glad that I had the opportunity to wear this top again.

It has a funny history--it was an item that came completely by accident in a Lands End Internet order to my mom.  Not in place of another garment, just an extra.  My mom had no use for a dressy office blouse with a bow tie neck (although that fits the stereotype of the librarian pretty well, I think, she dressed in breathable natural fibers for her very physical job shelving books) so she gave it to me.

I just wouldn't feel right with a blog post headed by "A Little Longer," featuring ankle pants no less, if I didn't reference Lyle Lovett's "That's Right (You're Not From Texas)" with the famous line "And buy your pants just a little longer..."  I know I link to the video every few months, but come on, everybody could stand to hear this song every few months!  I really liked this song when I was living in Texas (as a non-native), but now that I'm here in these strange northern lands where people do not get it at all, I even more strongly appreciate Lyle's ability to conjure up that quirky, crazy, unique, and ultimately kind of awesome Texas-ness.

Today's rabbit is a long (though not tall) Californian.  I think the white fur would really bring out the white design on my shirt.

In other news...It was all of 48 F today, which is setting me up nicely for my vacation to my hometown, where temperatures in the upper 80s are expected.  Wha..?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Mixed Moody Fit

"Moody Red"--Tuesday, 10/11/16

I love a good pencil skirt outfit, and I thought this combination of floral top, bold solid pencil skirt, bright shoes, and subtle statement necklace [can that even be a thing?] was a nice inspiration.  Her ensemble was in a cheerful, summery palette, appropriate to her July 2015 outfit-of-the-day, but I decided to adapt it for this early fall season.


I started with a dark green/maroon floral top that I purchased on a thrift store outing with my mom--it's probably my most autumn-ish floral option.  I decided that the red pencil skirt went well with the maroon flowers, and I stuck with red for the shoes as well.  Rather than a small crystal necklace (which I don't have), I wore my hammered silver one.  This was all well and good but I thought the outfit was just missing that something...oh yes, the near-obligatory top layer!

Dark green/maroon/black floral knit top (thrifted, Kohls), $2.50/wear
Red skirt (JCP), $2.38/wear
Red buckle flats by Me Too, $2.14/wear
Black open weave cardigan vest (Kohls), $1.84/wear
Hammered silver necklace (JNY), $2.06/wear

Outfit total: $10.92/wear

With the addition of a cardigan vest, this outfit went from Good to Great.  Man, wouldn't that make a great book title?

Also, I only realized when I saw the photos that I'd mixed a silver necklace and shoes with gold buckles.  Luckily, mixing your metals is a recurring recent trend (I found articles on this topic from 2008 through 2016) so no worries.

I thought this dusky bunny would make a good accessory to my outfit.  Do you think he could be convinced to ride on my shoulder like a parrot in a pirate movie?
His answer: All the nope.

In other news...This is a good list of universal fit challenges for women's clothing.  I particularly struggle with the first two:

(1) Dresses [and I would add skirts as well] meant for an office environment that are too short.  I am on the tall side of average, not a giant, and I run into this all the time.  I have several dresses and a few skirts that I have to reserve for (our admittedly long) tights season because they are definitely too short.  I hear people complaining about this on blogs all the time.

(2) Jacket sleeves that are too tight.  I thought maybe that was just me because of my massive guns (hah but also not) but apparently it's a common problem.

Do you have any fit problems that weren't on the list?

Re: yesterday's post title--Poisonous Pokemon in My Bathroom:  Ever since Robert caught two poisonous Pokemon in our bathroom over the weekend, I have had this phrase, sung in a particular way, stuck in my head.  Be glad that it is not easy for me to share this (poisonous?) ear worm with you.  It's a bad one.  

Monday, October 10, 2016

Poisonous Pokemon in My Bathroom

"An Odd Green"--Monday, 10/10/16

Today's Reverse Inspiration features a striped cardigan and mint green pants in bright, spring-y hues.


My outfit features very different greens, more applicable to summer-turning-fall (my fall season starts October 15).  I first tried pairing the cardigan with bright green pants but I didn't like the result.  The olive is still a bit off, but I think it goes with the cardigan okay.  I still think these pants are comfortable-but-frumpy, but I'm hoping that the snazzy modern flats will help distract from the frump factor.

Green and grey short-sleeved cardigan (thrifted, Macy's), $2.33/wear
Olive pants (thrifted, Coldwater Creek), $0.50/wear
White short-sleeved V neck T (Lands End), $1.33/wear
Nude Rockstud flats by Wild Diva, $2.86/wear
Green gumdrop necklace (Target), $4.46/wear

Outfit total: $11.48/wear

The necklace is a good match so I will declare victory on the green color front.

Continuing the green theme, here are some wood ducks against green reeds that I photographed on a birding trip in September.

And the dead bunny pose heart attack: every human who has lived with a rabbit has been here:

In other news...Today I fully realized that the Nidoran male Pokemon is a rabbit!  They call it a "rodent-like" Pokemon, but nope, it's definitely a lagomorph.  Appropriately enough, we keep finding Nidoran Pokemon in our apartment.

The Poisonbun

Tonight after work we went out for a bit of hunting--we hatched our first eggs (2 5 km eggs) and got two Sandshrews.  We have not encountered these in the wild yet, so that was cool.

Work kind of sucked today, if for no other reason than it reached 79 F in our office.  On a warm sunny day in October (which is apparently the start of the "we have turned off all A/C for the year" season), we are screwed.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Packing Debate

"Totally Irrelephant"--Sunday, 10/9/16

I liked this relaxed weekend outfit as inspiration for wearing my new casual long-sleeved aqua top.


The thing I didn't consider until I tried putting on my denim shirt over it is that long-sleeved T topped by 3/4 sleeve denim shirt combination is no bueno.  I mean, hella weird looking.  So I switched out my blue denim jacket and went with that.  I jazzed up my non-embellished top by adding an elephant pendant at the risk of looking like a supporter of the Republicans in the presidential election.  (Note: I am not.)

Or perhaps the somewhat-odd-when-you-think-about-it blue horseshoe shape on the elephant's side is meant to suggest that a donkey has kicked it so hard in the side that it left a serious bruise.  That feels appropriate for debate night, doesn't it?  Either way, elephants are bad-ass and I won't be bound to arbitrary political party/animal associations developed in the 19th century.

*Aqua long-sleeved T (thrifted, Liz Claiborne), $5.24/wear
Black and grey striped skirt (thrifted, Loft), $0.86/wear
Blue denim jacket (Liz Claiborne/JCP), $4.04/wear
Silver elephant pendant (Target), $3.20/wear
Grey leopard flats by Fergilicious, $0.58/wear

Outfit total: $13.92/wear

One thing I learned from that article was that the donkey was first associated with Andrew Jackson after his opponents called him a jackass (and he decided to embrace it).  Recently Robert and I went through all the major party presidential candidates to find one that was worse than Donald Trump and we came up with, yep, Andrew Jackson.  (With an honorable mention for John Breckinridge, who represented the Southern Democrats in the 1860 election and later became the Secretary of War for the Confederacy.)  We are obviously not alone in our dislike of Jackass Jackson, but I was amused to see that the History channel did a cartoon outlining Jackson's "supervillain qualities" in this "Biggest Presidential Bad Boys" segment.  (The cartoon is preceded by an ad for a race track, which is very appropriate given Jackson's love for betting on the ponies.)  The Harriet Tubman $20 can't come soon enough.

And for your Bunday enjoyment, a mini lop with flecked grey/black in his fur.

In other news...Today involved getting about 70% of my packing done from our trip next week, walking for 2 hours playing Pokemon Go (at the end, we went past the famous Pokemon park across from the library and it was pretty sweet), and cooking work lunches for the week.  I wasn't sure whether I wanted to watch the presidential debate tonight, but given the recent developments (Trump's insanely tasteless/sexist video and the Hilary Goldman Sachs speech leak), I decided I wanted to see how that played out.