Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Changeable Midwestern Weather

This past week has been a roller-coaster!

Thursday -- 4/17/14

Definitely still in a late winter mode here.  I took advantage of what I hope will be among my last opportunities to wear my heavy velvet-type blazer.

*Black/red/white patterned dress (thrifted)
Black velvet-type blazer (thrifted)
Black leggings
Tall black boots by Fitzwell
Red scarf from Target

Friday -- 4/18/14

A little warmer, but still cool enough to layer a long-sleeved shirt with a pullover sweater.  This is the top half of an outfit I wore earlier in the season; I just switched into work-compatible pants.

Navy long-sleeved button-up shirt (thrifted)
Orange and navy striped pullover sweater (thrifted)
88 cent navy pants (thrifted)
Navy bowtie flats from Rocket Dog
Hammered silver necklace from JNY

And then the weekend came, and it was in the 70s and sunny in the afternoon, which meant it was ferociously, impossibly warm in the apartment, like 85 degrees warm, even with the windows open and fans running.  The last couple weeks of April can be bad because the complex (and this was also true of the university) has not shifted over from heating to cooling yet.  It was too warm on Sunday for me to even feel alert enough to do the crossword puzzles in the newspaper -- I sat around sweating in my chair, reading a novel and playing Word With Friends on Robert's tablet PC.  (I know, poor me, right?)  Bah, I say.

Monday -- 4/21/14

The warm weather continued.  I'm glad I chose to wear such a lightweight shirt under the cardigan because even my office got a bit uncomfortably warm in the afternoon.  (Mostly, I felt like I wished I weren't wearing trouser socks.  I'm not sure why I didn't just take the suckers off.  Oh well, next time.)   I blissed out in my car's A/C for the 40 minutes home, making sure to blow air on my feet.  It was crazy uncomfortably warm in the apartment when I got home, so I changed immediately into a tank top and shorts, as though I were going to be exercising.  But this bunny don't exercise when it's 80 degrees indoors.  It is all about the flop.

Navy floral cotton blouse (thrifted)
Teal cardigan from Lands End
Light "denim" trousers from Kohls
*Teal and silver necklace from JNY
*Blue patent pointed-toe flats by BP via Nordstrom -- I got these in a few colors and I'm excited about them.  They're surprisingly comfy because the material is soft (it's synthetic, not leather), but may run kind of warm.  This pair was also a bit squeaky (in a subtle way, but I noticed it occasionally) on the first wear; I hope that subsides once they're broken in. 

Tuesday -- 4/22/14

I was prepared for another warm (though less so than the last few days) and sunny day.  When I left work without my cardigan on, it was actually a bit too cool, which was a wonderful change.

*Silky white/blue/red/black blouse (thrifted)
Royal blue cardigan from Lands End
Black Rafaella pants (thrifted)
Red bubble necklace from Outfit Additions
Black buckle flats by Me Too

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Work Picking Up Somewhat

After a somewhat slow start, the pace at work is picking up a bit.  Today I had a request in my inbox when I arrived (my manager warned me about it before I left last night, so I was not surprised) that it took me from 8 a.m. to about 2 p.m. to finish.  (However, I was surprised that when my manager sent it out via email, the people receiving it were all very high level, including our Very Biggest Cheese.  I enjoyed seeing the line "compiled by research analyst Sally Porter" in the email.  Yay, I'm doing work!)  I worked on it steadily and the time went very quickly.  By the time I had lunch, the better part of the day was done, and I spent what was left gathering some info and planning the next stage of the project (which involved figuring out what data are available, a harder task than you might think in my organization).  I've also been apprised of a few other projects coming my way this week and next.

I've decided not to write much about my job on this blog except in the very broadest terms, but basically things are good: I am sharing an office with somebody I like (and I think ultimately, it's going to be better and more fun for me than having my own office, even though that's obviously what I would have chosen for myself); the work is interesting and it's in an inherently interesting domain with lots of technical, philosophical, sociological, and political aspects; and with my bad-ass new car, I'm even enjoying my commute (now that I have a route that bypasses the parking lot that is the interstate after work).  The Easter Bunny (i.e., Robert) brought me home a huge iPod this evening so I can load up my music collection to listen to in my car.  I've been listening to the state public radio classical station, which I like, esp. in the evenings, but I think my mornings could use a little more energy and sing-along quality. 

My commute is longer than I would have chosen (it takes me about 25 minutes in the morning and about 40 in the evening) but I find that I am enjoying my time.  I'm really glad I bought the car I really wanted -- I'm spending enough time in the car to make it worth it.  It's great overall, but I am esp. thrilled with the blind-spot detection and the fact that my car has all the oomph it ever needs.  Also, it's so pretty!  I like walking across the parking lot toward it after work.  I'm also happy because my new route home has me going over my very favorite bridge in Snow City, which is both very cool looking and is the route Robert and I took when we first drove into town.  It has this great coming home feel about it somehow that always makes me smile -- and I am almost home (about 5 minutes out) when I reach that point, so I guess that even makes sense in a literal way.

I also finally got a smart phone (which turns out to be identical to the one Tam has), and I'm liking that, too.

Overall verdict so far: 
(1) Work, and the cool material items one can buy with the financial recompense from said work, is two thumbs up.  And yes, it's like a zillion times better than being in my PhD program so far.
(2) I don't always know my preferences very well (e.g., office sharing situation, length of commute) so it's maybe good for me that I don't always get to control my life.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Midweek Outfit Update

OK, people, it's been cold this week.  Not like finger-freezing mid-January cold, but below freezing every day before work (and yesterday, after work).  We have about an inch of snow on our balcony after yesterday's flurries.  In some ways this is great -- unlike 99% of the population of Snow City, I'm excited to be wearing my work-appropriate cold-ish weather clothes, but even I have this unsettled feeling like, Wait, tomorrow is Good Friday, and Sunday is Easter, and I'm still wearing a coat and wondering whether it's going to snow again tomorrow.  (It's not supposed to.)  I've had to switch up some of my outfits on the fly this week to account for the colder weather than I'd originally planned for.

Monday -- 4/14/14

The switch up here was adding this black ponte blazer from Target after realizing that a single layer of thin, silky blouse was just not going to cut it.  When I got to the office and it was cool inside, I was happy to have made this choice.

Black ponte blazer from Target
Red animal print blouse from JNY
Black-on-black striped pants (thrifted)
*Black and red fancy flats by Ivanka Trump

I was feeling the need for pointy-toed flats and ordered some from Nordstrom and Zappos, several of which were awesome ones that you will be seeing in the coming days/weeks.

Here's a ludicrously blurry close-up of these somewhat fancy shoes.  I would link to a better photo, but these seem to have sold out already (they were on sale).

There was a part of me that was like, Seriously, will you really wear a fancy looking pair of red and black flats often enough to justify buying them?  And the rest of me said, Fuck ya, I will.  Really, they are so awesome with this red animal print blouse that that kind of justifies the purchase to me all on its own, but any reader of this blog knows that red + black is one of my most common color combinations.

Tuesday -- 4/15/14

This one I believe I executed as planned, and I was mostly warm enough at work.  It was a simple evolution of an outfit I wore casually before; I just switched the jeans for these denim colored trousers and a new pair of grey trouser socks, and I was done.

Pink lace-front pullover sweater from Kohl's
Pink and grey 3-strand necklace (which I call the "pink planet" necklace in my notes) from Kohl's
Pink and grey striped cardigan (thrifted)
Light denim colored pants from Kohl's
Grey trouser socks from Sock Dreams
Grey leopard bow flats by Fergilicious

Wednesday -- 4/16/14

I had planned to wear this bottom half with a lighter-weight top half, but with the cold weather and snow already falling, I switched out a warmer version that I had already tried out and written down on my "ready outfit" list.  (That list is already proving its worth.)  I wore a pair of Lands End weather-resistant mocs to work and changed into these flats in the office -- they are covered in a satin-y fabric (which the website says is suede, OK) and ribbon, so kind of delicate for tromping across the snowy parking lot.

*Hot pink pullover sweater (thrifted)
*Pink and grey scarf from Target
*Pink and grey skirt (thrifted)
*Grey tights from Kohl's (Apt 9 brand)
*Grey pointy-toed flats with ribbon detail by Louise et Cie [adorable!]

So unless I mis-remembered something, this outfit was full of debut items.  Yay!  I bought the skirt and sweater on the same Goodwill trip and was excited that I was coming home with the backbone of an outfit and not two new pieces I wouldn't know how to wear (always a danger at the thrift store, especially).

Job Search Miscellany

No, I'm not still looking for a job, but I'm still getting contacted about jobs I applied for a while back.

Last week I got a call and email for an interview on a job I applied for on March 17 (the last job I applied for).  That's less than a month, so not too bad a response, especially given that it was with state government.

Today I got a letter in the mail telling me that a different state agency has hired someone else for a position for which I interviewed on January 16 -- 3 months?  Not very good.

But this takes all.  Today I also got an email thanking me for submitting an application with a company (note: not government agency) on a position that I applied for on August 10, 2013.  Over 8 months to acknowledge my application???  Well, maybe they'll be ready to do interviews 3 years from now when perhaps I'll be interested in looking at alternate job opportunities.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Week One Work Outfits

I not only put all these outfits together on Monday (and I mean, not only did I figure out what I wanted to wear together but actually tried them on in their entirety to make sure everything fit right, went together like I thought they should, etc.), I collected all the pieces and laid them out so that each morning, when I got out of the shower, I could just grab them and put them on -- no digging through the closet or jewelry box necessary.  (I also wrote down the items on a list so it's easy for me to later recreate these outfits if I want to -- sometimes it's really not obvious what black pants I'm wearing in a given photo, for example, but it matters because in person, they are not really fully interchangeable in terms of fabric or fit.  I'm including descriptions of the items on this post for easy future reference.)

Actually, I put together these and 19 other outfits -- so tomorrow I will select 5 more from my list of "ready to go" outfits, collect and organize the components of the outfits, and be ready for the week.

Tuesday -- 4/8/14

I'm so, so happy that my office does not get overheated on sunny afternoons (when the outdoor temperature is a lovely 60 or whatever)!  I would have been dying in long sleeves and a blazer at home, but it felt just right at work.

*Blue bowtie shirt from Lands End
Black pants with black stripes (thrifted)
Black herringbone blazer (thrifted)
Black buckle flats by Me Too

Wednesday -- 4/9/14

Yep, using the Business Casual 101 black patterned item principle here with the black pants, black shoes, and the black-and-blue floral scarf.

*Blue lace front sweater from Kohl's
Black pinstripe pants (thrifted)
Black oxford shoes (thrifted)
Blue floral scarf from Target

Thursday -- 4/10/14

Hard to believe I waited until Day 3 to show up in animal print, isn't it?

*Black and brown ponte knit dress from Lands End (this thing is made of incredibly thick and wonderful fabric and it has nice roomy pockets on the front -- highly recommended)
*Brown button-up shirt (thrifted)
Brown leggings
Brown riding boots
Black claw/tooth necklace

Friday -- 4/11/14

I noticed this week that some women in my department do wear (nice) jeans to work, but I'm not planning to go there yet -- I have not seen anyone at my level or above in jeans, and I have enough other pants that I don't need to rely on jeans to put outfits together.  So instead I went with the black + color + black/color scarf stand-by.

Black 5-pocket pants from Rafaella
Red v-neck long-sleeved knit shirt (thrifted, Lands End)
Red belt from Target
Red/purple/black scarf from Target
Birds of paradise patterned socks from Amazon
Red buckle flats from Me Too
Black travel cardigan (thrifted, Chico's)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Business Casual 101

In the days leading up to starting my new job this past week, I put together a few outfits using my absolutely most brain-dead simple method of making up a business casual outfit -- the use of black patterned pieces with plain black items.

But first, a truly casual outfit.

More Fun With Stripes -- 4/1/14

This is probably going to be my last really casual purchase for a while (barring the availability of something as irresistible as, say, the Alice or Watership Down t-shirts or the determination that I'm lacking in stuff to wear when it gets really warm, as it will soon enough).  I got a great price on it, and it's a nice item for that inbetween kind of spring and summer weather we have in Snow City -- it's lightweight enough that wearing it with a short-sleeved or sleeveless t-shirt is not appreciably warmer than just wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt by itself, but with the additional flexibility that layering offers.

*Teal striped knit cardigan from Coldwater Creek
*Oatmeal t-shirt from Kohl's
Chunky stone necklace from Outfit Additions

Business Casual 101 Part 1 -- 4/2/14

Here is the most basic version of the formula:
* Black pants (or skirt)
* Black shoes
* Top with a pattern that incorporates black

The shirt is from the Kohl's 212 Collection, which appears to be designed with this formula in mind, given that almost all the prints they use -- even a light-colored one like this -- has black in it.  This is brilliant of them because I think black has to be the most common color for workplace staples like pants, skirts, and blazers to come in.  (I actually like the color black and like wearing it, but even I find that it's easy to end up too much black -- say, 6 black skirts and 7 pairs of black pants -- and difficult to find even one or two in grey or navy, the obvious alternatives to black for these items.)  And it can be hard (at least for me) to figure out how to pair spring-y and summery colors with black pieces on your own without it looking kind of weird and incoherent.  But add black to the pattern and it's a no-brainer.

*Coral and black shirt from Kohl's
*Black and white necklace from Kohl's

It's also easy to build on this formula by adding a topper (cardigan, blazer, jacket) in either black or, more interesting to me, another color from the shirt fabric.  This shirt is great because in addition to black, it has white and a tan/taupe color, both of which are also common neutrals.

*Grey/taupe ponte blazer from Target

Business Casual 101 Part 2 -- 4/3/14

Another version:
* Solid colored dress
* Black topper (blazer or cardigan)
* Scarf with black and the dress color in the pattern

*Hot pink dress from Lands End
*Hot pink/orange/black scarf from Nordstrom (I think)

Putting a bird on it is optional but does make your outfit extra awesome.  Also, it's kind of amazing how little black needs to be in the patterned piece to bring the outfit together.

A Casual Take on the Formula -- 4/4/14

I've put this idea forward with business casual because black is so common for basic pieces in the business casual wardrobe (taking the place that blue denim often takes in the casual wardrobe) but of course it works with a truly casual outfit, too.

Here I used the black in the animal scarf to match the black jeans and shoes.  The shoes look like Mary Janes, but they're not.  The black "strap" that kind of shows in this photo comes from these most excellent socks from Sock Dreams.

I call these my Seeley Booth socks.  (Are you thinking, "I don't know what that means"?  If so, good for you...and you're lying.  If not, time to get your Bones on, people.)  I'm looking forward to rocking them, Booth-style, at work with conservative black pants and my black oxford shoes.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Very Brief Update

Yes, I've started my job.  Yes, it's going well.  Yes, the drive home is long and annoying (today it was an hour from work desk to home door), though fortunately the drive to work is not bad.  Yes, I'm pretty much completely exhausted by the time I get home (though it's getting a bit better each day).  Yes, I'm glad tomorrow is Friday!

I'll write more later, but right now I'm too tired and too much enjoying the Game of Thrones/Runway comparisons here.