Monday, June 29, 2015

A Jewel

Yet Another Work Week Begins--Monday, 6/29/15

This Reverse Inspiration might not have the highest level of fidelity, but the idea had to travel all the way back to February 2011, so give her a break.


After a seemingly long time of having no purple tops, I have bought several in the past year.  This one was a thrift store bargain with the rare but excellent elbow length sleeve.  I like this somewhat-short jewel tone scarf better as a faux-finity scarf than how I've worn it in the past (European loop).

*Purple top with elbow length sleeves (thrifted, East 5th), $4.00/wear+
Black fold pencil skirt (JCP), $2.53/wear+
Jewel tone semi-floral scarf (Target), $1.71/wear+
*Maroon flats (Payless), $16.99/wear+

I've been wanting a pair of maroon or burgundy shoes, so I was happy to get these so inexpensively.  Now if only it were cool enough to warrant wearing my olive green blazer, I would have picked up all the colors in the scarf...well, except for yellow.

So clearly I need to get egg yolk all over myself at breakfast...or maybe I'll just pair the outfit with a photo of hard boiled eggs and call it good.

I can't decide whether the bottom two egg halves look like hearts or owls.  Maybe heart-faced owls. 

Quote of the Day:  “I’m a cardiologist,” he said, “and I had a patient come in once asking about salmon. He said, ‘I heard there’s PCBs in salmon. Should I be eating wild salmon or farmed salmon?’ I said, ‘Stop smoking.’”  (Read the whole short thing.)

Life Style Challenge Week 16

(1)  No bread, no pasta, no rice, no potato/corn/tortilla chips
(2)  Cardio exercise for 30+ minutes, 4 days a week
(3)  Strength training exercise for 10+ minutes, 2 days a week
(4)  Average 2 or fewer Triscuits per day
(5)  Continue flaxseed oil/cod liver oil regimen
(6)  Continue fruit crumble/exercise bribery scheme
(7)  Continue identifying/preparing/eating alternatives to almond butter and chocolate
(8)  Start logging food intake re: macronutrient breakdown, vitamins, omega-6/3, etc.

I added #8 to my list because I'm wondering what effects my newly reduced menus are having in terms of nutrition.  If I'm eating too much sugar or too little fiber or whatever, it would be good to know that because I'm eating a very similar diet from day to day and week to week, so things are less likely to balance out than did before.

I really want to do #3 today but I'm having neck/shoulder pain again.  I guess it's time to identify some neck/shoulder exercises! 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Cartoon Blues

Did Not Visit Disney--Sunday, 6/28/15

When I saw this blue knit skirt with cartoon characters on it, I was pretty pleased to find a reasonably similar skirt to inspire an outfit with my navy cartoon-esque flower skirt.  The formula is one we have grown familiar with, of course--add stripes.


Instead of a tank top, I used this collared knit shirt that has a shorter length that works well with skirts.

Navy striped knit top with collar (Lands End), $5.00/wear+
Navy floral knit skirt (thrifted, Old Navy), $5.00/wear+
Beige mary janes (J-41)+

These hiking style mary janes (with perforations to aid in cooling) proved their worth on my long walking commute to and from the university but they're cute enough that I like wearing them even when I'm not planning on walking any long distances (and as it turns out, I spent a couple hours on my feet today, so they came in handy).

I mean, they're not as cute as this Blue Dutch rabbit print hanging in our bedroom, but trying to be as cute as a bunny is pretty much a losing game.

In other news...Robert and I went to two Goodwill shops this morning.  We hadn't been out since before the move--I think my last thrift store outing was with my mom over Christmas break.  We tried a couple of different stores that aren't 30+ minutes away from our new apartment and they were pretty good, if not as good as the one in the ritzy suburb that we used to go to all the time.  This was motivated by (1) Robert not having enough short-sleeved button up shirts to last for our vacation coming up and (2) my hearing about my mom's (not great) outing to the 88 cent sale at her thrift store last Friday.

Here is what we took with us to donate.  Gee willikers!

Goodwill gives you a 25% off coupon when you make a donation, and since Robert still had one from our last donation before our move, we were able to get out of the two stores for under $90.  Here's what we got:

-4 shirts (2 new with tags)
-1 pair of shorts

-7 skirts (2 new with tags)
-2 pants
-1 short-sleeved cardigan
-1 sleeveless cardigan
-4 sweater vests
-1 scarf (new with tags)

-1 hiking pants
-3 sleeveless tops for exercising

That averages about $3.60 per item.  Pretty good!

I feel like I did a decent job of sticking to items that are practical, that are versatile, that fit a category I've been thinking about buying, etc.

3 of the skirts are wool or tweed pencil skirts, which is something I've been looking for to expand my cold-weather options (even at the beginning of summer, I can't help but think: winter is coming!  Nobody else is thinking this right now, so I got two of them new with tags at half price).  1 of the skirts is a navy patterned (paisley) pencil skirt, which I've been wanting.  1 of the skirts is a denim pencil skirt, which will soon replace my current denim skirt with the questionable zipper.  (1 of the skirts is a crazy-ass fluffy plaid skirt that Robert says looks like a little girl's costume--I think it looks more like a doll costume but it works for either, if your little girl/doll is a giant.  1 of the skirts is a colorful zebra print, which needs no other explanation.)

1 of the pants is a white with black/grey seersucker, which is something very different from anything I currently have--it'll only be useful during the spring and summer but I like the idea of a pair of summer pants.  1 of the pants is a solid bright color, a category I am always looking to expand--this pair needs to be hemmed so I should get my sewing table in order.

The short-sleeved and sleeveless cardigans are helpful additions to my spring/summer layering options.  I've gotten so used to wearing a cardigan or jacket that it feels weird to not have another layer and I like how adding that third piece makes it easier to create a new feeling outfit.

Sweater vests are my fall-to-early-spring standby for layering--a button up shirt, sweater vest, blazer combo is awesome.

(The scarf was totally me jumping on a leopard/floral print mix that I could not resist at all and did not try.  And it matches the skirt I was wearing today, so: destiny.)

The hiking pants were a totally lucky find.  They are normal, lightweight olive cargo pants...with an amazing wide knit waistband for total comfort.

And I was happy to find 3 inexpensive sleeveless shirts because I cannot exercise most months of the year in anything with sleeves.

So really, I would say only 3 of the items were silly purchases.  For the most part, I don't even think this is going to increase the difficulty of the Work the Wardrobe challenge much because I avoided the wear-to-work shirts/tops category entirely.  This is an area that could definitely still use some editing in my closet.  For example, I currently have 3 blue/white striped 3/4 sleeve button up shirts--what the hell?  I mean, they are all (somewhat) different from each other, but that's excessive.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Who Let the Dogs Out

Summer Dogs--Saturday, 6/27/15

I mentioned before that I have flagged my summer-specific items so that I can be sure to wear them before the cool fall weather hits.  One of these is a new-to-me brown hiking skort.

Although Alice is going to work in her bright pink/brown combo, I decided to try these colors for a highly casual weekend outfit.


One advantage of my recent closet clean-out is that I have reduced my bright pink shirt supply to a more manageable level.  It was easy to pick this somewhat-short knit top as the winner.  And as for the necklace, it was so weird but after I put it on, I noticed a strange short length of silver chain hanging from the front.  The necklace extender I thought I'd lost a few months ago down the drain because it disappeared while I was standing over the sink?  I guess I dropped it and it got tangled up in this necklace while I was wearing it.  Strange, eh?

*Brown hiking skort (thrifted, Lane Bryant), $5.00/wear+
Bright pink top with foldover scoop collar (thrifted, Rafaella), $2.00/wear+
Brown plaid sneakers (Rocket Dog)+
Wild ball necklace (Macy's), $5.21/wear

I'm not technically counting my old sneakers as part of my Work the Wardrobe Challenge (arguably because I have fully depreciated them and I'm not going to get rid of them any time soon even if I go a while without wearing them, but really because I just didn't think to include several pairs of summer shoes that were boxed away when I started this thing) but I still will keep them in the mix. 

I got this octopus print at an aquarium I visited with Robert (I don't remember which one).  It hangs in my bathroom.

In other news...Today Robert and I started doing some research for our vacation to the Twin Cities in the middle of July (and my parents visit for a few days the following week).  It turns out there are a lot of things to do there.  But one thing that stopped me dead in my tracks--just in time for my next birthday, the Guthrie Theater is putting on The Cocoanuts.  When I saw the title, I thought, Heh, like The Cocoanuts, funny.  Then I read the description and oh shit, it really is that The Cocoanuts!...or at least a modern musical adaptation of it, which was itself a Broadway musical before it became the movie we all know and love. 

I also watched the last episode of Season 3 of Orange is the New Black today and damn, that show just goes from strength to strength.  I'm ready for Season 4, damn it, hurry up! 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Denim Friday

Lighten Up--Friday, 6/26/15

This silly girl insisted on wearing pastel colored denim, even though that isn't quite the look I had in mind.  Oh well.  It's still a cute summer outfit.


Maybe she just hadn't gotten so lucky as to find a new-with-tags blue denim skirt at the local Goodwill like I did and so she had to make do.  This skirt is a crazy cost-per-wear bargain for me, and it's still got a lot of wears left in it.  It feels neither trendy nor dowdy to me, just a nice basic that lets a happy mint and blue stripes with polka dot mix stand to the front.  I had trouble zipping it this morning because the zipper is starting to separate ever so slightly from the skirt.  I hope to get some more use out of it because I really like the fit and shape, but if it bites the dust soon, I'm satisfied I got more than my money's worth out of it.

I hope you enjoy this outfit because I saw exactly ZERO of my co-workers today.  There were only two of us in today and the other one is in an office on the HR side of the floor that I almost never go by.  Two others were at an off-site meeting.  The other 15 or so people were sick or on vacation.  Welcome to summer Fridays.

Blue/mint striped sweater (thrifted, Liz Claiborne), $2.50/wear+
Blue polka dot scarf (Target), $3.00/wear+
Denim skirt (thrifted), $0.33/wear+
Light grey wedges by BCBGeneration, $10.00/wear+

Robert has moved his computer area into a somewhat larger space in our new apartment so I gave him one of my two computer desks (and replaced it with a utility table).  At the end of the long bar that divides our living room and kitchen, we set up Robert's old little computer desk (which was originally my friend's G.K.'s old computer desk) as a station for my take-to-work stuff.  My purse, my black leather tote, and my excellent Audubon Society bag that I put my lunch box, my big-ass thermos that holds an entire pitcher of iced tea (not in this photo), my insulated mug-with-lid that I fill with extra ice and drink from all day, and (in rain or snow) the shoes I'm going to wear to work.

The bag has these beautiful snowy owls on one side and a white pelican on the other.  It's still holding up well for a freebie "thank you for your donation" gift.  And when it wears out, I have another identical one.  (And I return Netflix videos and mail other stuff using the official mail box right outside my work building, which is convenient.)

In other news...Robert and I spent all evening talking about a series of SF/fantasy books he's not actually going to write but that he's thought out a lot about over the years.  (Predictably, I said, "Will there be magical bunnies?  There have to be magical bunnies!")  Now my brain is full and I'm really sleepy.  I'm glad for the weekend.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

What to Wear When Churning Data in a Hot Room

Spot On--Thursday, 6/25/15

I was expecting another warmer-than-usual day because I was going to be working in a colleague's office that gets insanely warm.  This time last year, working on this project, I wore cotton pants and a lightweight cotton long-sleeved button up shirt and I was roasting.  So even though the forecast was a high of 82 F and rain, I wanted to err on the side of under-dressing.

I love the combination Audrey has here: navy polka dot top, tan/light brown bottoms, and red flats.  When I got my new navy polka dot T, I had every intention of recreating this outfit pretty faithfully (only with a skirt instead of pants).


But then a pair of navy striped ballet flats arrived in the mail, and seriously, how could I resist this opportunity?

*Navy polka dot elbow sleeve knit top (Kohls), $10.31/wear+
Light brown linen skirt (thrifted, Ann Taylor), $1.25/wear+
*Blue and white striped flats (Payless), $16.99/wear+

I mean, the shoes even have brown around the edge to match the skirt!  Some things are just meant to be.  I considered adding a necklace to be my pop of red but decided to let the subtle pattern mixing and in-yo-face matchy-matchy colors carry the day.

You know what else is matchy-matchy goodness?  These bunnies hanging in our dining room.  The two rabbits in the top print (a 1920 woodcut by M. C. Escher) obviously match each other, but aren't they also very much like the skiing rabbit in the bottom print (a 1955 Italian skiing poster to promote travel to the Dolomite Mountain region)?

It's weird--I put these two pieces together on the wall, but I'd never noticed until looking at this photograph just now how much the three buns resemble each other.  Something about the sloped forehead, the long ears, and the bright eye.  Triple(t) threat!

In other news...As it turns out, I worked on the project in my own office and was quite comfortable.  Because I was replicating the analysis I did last year, I had my code and my spreadsheet set up to make everything work smoothly--and it did.  I finished at 4:28 this afternoon, 2 minutes before my normal time to leave.  So it's all good.

What else is good?  The maintenance guys installed a new A/C in our apartment today, one that is rated for a larger apartment and should provide sufficient cooling power.  They came up the elevator with me to do the last steps of getting it set up and stayed long enough for us all to agree that it was working nicely.  The temperature came down 3 degrees in about 20 minutes. 

It's turning out to be a good day.  Robert and I have food to cook on the grill for dinner, it should be cool enough for me to use my exercise bike this evening, and tomorrow is Friday!

Last time we were on the patio grilling, Robert spotted a cedar waxwing in a tree next to our apartment.  I am so not used to thinking of a waxwing as a summer bird.  We're definitely not in the south anymore.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Whoooo Can Read?--Wednesday, 6/24/15

I was surprised how well this Reverse Inspiration aligns with my outfit, given that we are operating in different seasons.


Here is my summer version with a mixed-media short-sleeved tweed top and Mary Janes.

*Black and white tweed mixed media top (JNY)
Bright pink pencil skirt (JCP)
Pewter owl pendant (Kohls)
Black Mary Janes by Hush Puppies

I've been on a ballet flat kick recently, but for whatever reason, this outfit called for my old standby.  Maybe owls and Mary Janes both contribute to a nerdy/librarian vibe or something.

Speaking of libraries, my mom told me recently that someone at work tried to get her to kill a spider, citing her well-known phrase, "The only good spider is a dead spider."  When she was resistant, the guy who was there to do story time for their children's summer reading program intervened.  He was dressed up in a safari outfit, so it seemed funny to me that his solution was to get the spider to crawl onto something that he could take outside because he doesn't like killing things.

(Of course, it reminded me of the gigantic wolf spider in Robert's bedroom at his mom's house a gazillion years ago when I was visiting.  I mean, the thing was so huge that I could see it clearly halfway across the room without my glasses on.  Robert kept catching it and releasing it outside and catching it and releasing it outside because the spider kept returning to the room.  When I was finally like, Kill the damn spider already, Robert took it outside and was gone for a long time.  Obviously he didn't actually kill the spider; he just took it so far outside its territory that it didn't find its way back into Robert's bedroom.  That worked.)

This incident was shortly followed up by a prank by one of my mom's co-workers.  When she opened her little cubicle where she stores her purse, etc., they had propped up a full-page spider photo from a magazine in there.  (Luckily my mom just finds these pranks amusing, so no one had to die.) 

In related news, Robert and I also finally got library cards at the Coldville Central Library.  It's a surprisingly small (and old) building downtown, a bit under a mile from our apartment.  I learned from the librarian that all the public libraries in the state have reciprocal agreements that let you use your local library card to check out materials at any library.  I could even register my Coldville library card online with the Snow City system so that I can access their online book request system (but not their downloadable content).  I'm hoping that the Coldville system will have enough of the materials I want that I won't be doing that, but it's nice to know that you card will work for you anywhere. 

To counteract any lingering creepiness from my Mom's library story, let's scrub your brain with the soft, snuggly, lovely delight of bunnies!  In French, no less!

In other news...Robert and I tried out our new gas grill last night with buffalo burgers and veg kabobs.  Easy, fast, and scrumptious.  I'm a convert!  It was kind of nice to outside because our A/C has stopped working so it was cooler outside than inside.  GRRR.  I'd been saying for days that it wasn't working right and Robert finally believed me after (1) it reached 75+ degrees inside and (2) he saw the monstrous electricity bill for the month, which suggested that the A/C had been running non-stop (without doing very much cooling). 

We had been planning to exercise/watch Castle, but instead we went outside for a walk after dinner, in the opposite direction from the dog park, which is the direction we've explored before.  It was fairly cool walking along the river, but I still got a little bit sweaty, and when we got home to our warm/humid apartment, I was really grumpy.  But we got the fans set up and running and I cooled down OK.  (Robert had knocked over one of the fans when going out to the balcony where the grill is set up and it developed a weird sound.  He reports that he fixed it "in the time-honored way" by whomping the side of it.  Worked like a charm.)

The maintenance guy was here working on the A/C when I got home this afternoon and he said something that makes me wonder whether they've fixed the problem of it not getting cool enough in here or only the problem of the compressor running constantly (without cooling).  I guess we'll find out in the next couple days.  The temperature inside has gotten 1 degree warmer since I got home, so I'm not feeling very hopeful.  But Jesus Christ, if it's only 80 degrees outside for a high, it shouldn't be 78 degrees in your apartment!

I am in a MEGA GRUMP mood this evening due to this A/C nonsense, computer nonsense caused by them cutting off the electricity to work on (and I believe not really fix) the A/C, and three different annoying things that happened at work today (and are still ongoing problems; it's not going to be over when I go back to work tomorrow or anything).  Bah!  Time to go watch some Orange is the New Black and remember that things could be a hell of a lot worse.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

So Happy Together

These Colors, That Is--Tuesday, 6/23/15

I love Alice's purple and aqua look.  Very bright and summery.


I don't happen to own a perfect purple/aqua print blouse, so I went with a colorblocked variant on this ensemble.  It's a great time to start wearing a few very lightweight short-sleeved silk sweaters I bought from JNY--it's embarrassing to admit, but I'm pretty sure these date back to before I got my job.  So I basically bought these, put them in the closet, and promptly forgot about them until we moved to our current apartment.  (Actually, I think I did the green one already, once, last year--yep, last June.)  They are now in a much more visible location where I will be reminded to wear them.  It's a shame I waited so long to start because they're very comfortable and work really well with my untucked style.

*Purple short-sleeved silk shell (JNY), $15.00/wear+
Aqua pencil skirt (JCP), $10.00/wear
White blazer (thrifted, Liz Claiborne), $1.25/wear+
Nude wedges by Cole Haan, $39.97/wear+
Purple/gold medallion necklace (Macy's), $2.83/wear+

I really love these nude wedges--they are extremely comfortable (they have Nike Air technology for extra cushioning) and the little bit of extra height seems to dress things up a bit.  I haven't worn them very much yet, but they're a classic style that I will wear for years, so I hope that I will eventually get that cost per wear down to something a little less crazy.  It's just that in Coldville, nude wedges are appropriate for a relatively brief period of the year, and these shoes are in competition with all the other cute shoes that I only wear with bare legs.

This seems like a good time to show you my sweater solution in our new apartment.  We went to Container Store and bought the materials for Robert to install a long shelf (nose height on me) across one wall of the bedroom.  I've piled my sweaters along this shelf so it's a lot easier to see (and to put hands on) what I have.  On the floor below the shelf, we have lined up our laundry hamper system.  We have separate bins for dark/dry, white/bleach/dry, light/cold/hang, dark/cold/hang, and dry clean (i.e., use dry clean substitute sheet in the dryer).  (Robert keeps his work clothes, which he takes to the actual dry cleaners, on hangers in the office for easy transport.)  This was also the perfect place to hang the series of small Matisse prints that Jen bought me not literally a million years ago...but easily 25 years ago.

In other news...This week is already really dragging.  I didn't sleep enough Saturday night and I've been suffering ever since.  When I woke up this morning, I was feeling a Thursday level of fatigue.  God.  It's going to be another long one.  So glad that next week is a four day work week because of July 4!

At work today I had that distinctly mixed-feeling experience of being right about something that I would objectively liked to have been wrong about (i.e., that running custom SQL within our data visualization tool would be too slow--all the reading I'd done online had said that the tool runs SQL very inefficiently and yep, that appears to be true).  Maybe now that this Plan B isn't working, the group will agree at our weekly meeting tomorrow to go back to my original Plan A for this.