Sunday, August 2, 2015

Camera Conundrum

Grid Meets Plaid--Sunday, 8/2/15

This outfit is so chic--white on white polka dot button up shirt, black skirt, and red accessories.


I decided to do a casual weekend version of this outfit, substituting red plaid and grid prints for her pops of red.  I was pleased to be able to use a white on white button up shirt, though mine is striped instead of polka dot--still, that is a detail of her ensemble I am surprised to be able to match so well.

White on white striped button up shirt (thrifted, Foxcroft), $2.00/wear+
*Black cotton skirt with zip front (thrifted, Target), $5.00/wear+
Red plaid sneakers by Rocket Dog
White/black/red grid print scarf (thrifted), $1.50/wear+

Here is a view of the pantry storage in our dining room.  We've been taking this storage rack through several moves and it always proves its worth.  Kitchens never seem to have enough space (and/or I always have too much stuff, despite not being into cooking AT ALL).  When we first got this shelving unit, it felt a bit weird to me to have all these foods out in the open, but I've adjusted to it.  Now I like the convenience.

In other news...The little camera I used to take this photo (and which I've had since 2006) is definitely reaching the end of its life.  I'm still on the fence about buying a new camera, not sure which way I want to go with it.  I'm not sure it makes any sense to buy another small camera, given that I have a camera on my phone, but I don't know anything about serious cameras with all their lenses and shit, and I am uncertain whether I would use a big honking camera often enough to justify buying one.  Of course, if I got a real camera and a tripod and a remote, I could upgrade to something better than my current mirror selfies for my blog, which would be an improvement. And during our birding/zoo vacation outings lately, I did wish I had a bigger camera with zoom, etc.

One question is whether I want to try to get a new camera before going to see HUNDREDS OF BUNNIES at the state fair at the end of the month.  I don't need a lot (any) zoom capability to take photos of rabbits in cages, but I don't think my little camera is going to work (it wants to be in video mode instead of photo mode and usually takes 30 seconds to a minute to decide to switch to the photo mode even though it's on the photo setting--and this happens every time I turn the camera on and off, and sometimes it randomly switches back and forth while the camera is on), so I am otherwise stuck with my phone camera.  And I have an irrational aversion to being dependent on my phone camera for some reason, and I am afraid (perhaps rationally) that my phone will decide that it needs to be charged while there are still 100 rabbits left to photograph. 

Decisions, decisions.

Any thoughts on cameras?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Farewell to Birds

Subtle Birds--Saturday, 8/1/15

I love the bright colors in this Reverse Inspiration look featuring a mix of floral print and stripes.


My bright colors are a lot more pink, and my dress is a lot shorter.

I don't know why Target makes their dresses so short--maybe they are focusing on a younger demographic that really likes wearing short dresses.  It's not that my legs are so long that coverage should routinely be a major problem, but I seem to have an issue with waist-to-hem length with Target dresses all the time.

In this particular case, though, I wonder whether this is actually a petite sized dress that was not properly labeled because the waistband (which clearly is the kind that should be at your waist) is also very, very high, like an empire waist.  It is pretty bizarre and awkward and increasingly uncomfortable to wear.

I'm not sure why I bought such an ill-fitting dress to begin with...

*Bright pink bird dress (thrifted, Target), $5.00/wear+
Pink/black floral jacket (thrifted, Dress Barn), $1.67/wear+
Black cloth mary janes (Walmart)+

Except that I am sure.  See the little birdies on the dress?  They look like stylized barn swallows to me.  I obviously got caught up in the cuteness factor and figured that some vague thing could be done with the fit.  But now that I've worn it, I don't think that's going to happen.  Bye-bye, birdie.  You are going back to Goodwill again for a much shorter woman to wear.

I don't know what the pink flowers are on my jacket or in this photo from the wildflower center and bird sanctuary, but I think it's probably for the best if the big-ass bumblebee stays in the photo and not on my clothes.

In other news...It's been a while since I've done a Life Style Challenge update.  Long enough that I've forgotten what week it is.  I guess the updates will be intermittent from now on.

However long it's been, it's long enough that exercise has become routine and habitual and not a big deal.  I no longer have to bribe myself with fruit crisp even!  Although I took most of the week off following our exhausting birding vacation, I've exercised this week every day Monday through Friday.

I'm taking off today only because after doing a TON of weight lifting/exercises for my knee/etc. last night, I'm a bit sore.  I felt inspired by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar/Venus Williams to work on my strength, and I think I might have overdone it just a bit.  What's weird is that even though my strength training has been irregular and not as frequent as I would have liked in the last several months, I'm already noticeably stronger.  Like, at one point I was doing squats with my normal 8 lb dumbbells and I realized, Oh shit, I just counted 50 for this set, I think I should stop and do something else.

The idea of doing 50 squats in a row would have astounded me during the time I was walking 5 miles per day, not managing my omega 3/omega 6 ratio (with the result of having more inflammation), and not doing any knee-strengthening exercises.  My knees are in a lot better shape these days.  I think rotating among treadmill, exercise bike, and strength training is a good approach.  Cross-training, who knew?  (Well, George W. Bush, for one.  Remember how he warned one of the Supreme Court nominees about the dangers of not doing enough cross-training?)

This week I discovered that I really prefer exercising right after dinner instead of later in the evening.  Right after dinner is the time that minimizes my risk of a sugar crash, with the benefit that I don't have to figure out an appropriate snack to eat first.  I also like getting the exercise out of the way before I've fully settled in for the evening; it is somehow psychologically much easier to do this planned task closer to the time I've been working as part of a general "wake-get ready-go to work-come home-check email/etc.-eat dinner-exercise" routine rather than as an interruption to my downtime in the evening.

I also got back on the flaxseed/cod liver oil regimen again this week after a two week hiatus for the birding vacation and my parents visit.  

I abandoned my food and exercise logging after about 3 days because I realized that it was causing me a lot of anxiety.  That seemed really strange to me, but I decided to respect that feeling and back off from it.  I later decided that the reason it was making me anxious was that it was triggering the miasma of bad thoughts and feelings that accompanies dieting--the idea that you need to lose weight, fear that it won't work and a sense of failure, generalized inadequacy, fear of deprivation, constant (mostly negative) self-evaluation, concern over getting hungry but not having "earned" the right to eat (WTF) [which is particular anxiety-provoking when you are prone to both sugar crashes and hunger-induced major digestive problems], etc.--because I associated logging food and exercise with dieting, even though that was not the reason I was doing the logging this time.  I'm all "fuck that" to that messed up mindset so I'm not going to be collecting the food intake/exercise data for now.  Maybe I can try again later and see if I react differently, but it's not very important.

Are you happy with your exercise routine these days?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Finally Friday!

Something Fishy--Friday, 7/31/15

Such a girly ensemble, inspired by the style of the Emma Pillsbury character on Glee.

From whatwouldemmapillsburywear on Polyvore

I took this inspiration to put a purple top with a ruffle neckline, a denim pencil skirt, and mustard flats together.  I considered using my navy suiting pencil skirt, but it looked too dressy for the rest of my ensemble.  The end result is nothing like Emma Pillsbury, but I approve.

*Short-sleeved purple popover with ruffle neckline (thrifted, Gap), $4.00/wear+
*Denim pencil skirt (thrifted, Great Northwest Indigo), $2.50/wear+
Mustard flats by Mia, $1.40/wear
Fish charm necklace (Ann Taylor), $6.95/wear+
Not pictured:  Cream t-shirt cardigan with 3/4 length sleeves (Kohls), $1.71/wear (I did wear this part of the day when I felt cool in my office)

For an extra dose of whimsy*, I wore it with my fish charm necklace.  For some reason, I feel like this is a summer necklace, so that's when I tend to wear it. 

*My mom bought radishes when she was here, so if I'm full of whimsy, it's her fault.

If you look carefully at the photo (click to make it bigger), you can see an orange koi hiding among the lily pads in the pool at the Japanese gardens.

In other news...Great article by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar [one of my primary basketball heroes in my youth] on how race intersects with Western beauty standards for female athletes, with a focus on tennis players.  (Via Already Pretty.)  Here's a snippet:

"Sharapova, at 6 feet 2 and 130 pounds (Williams is 5 feet 9 and weighs 150 pounds), admits that that she wishes she could be even thinner: “I always want to be skinnier with less cellulite; I think that’s every girl’s wish.” (Is it? Should it be?) She says she does no weight training. “I can’t handle lifting more than five pounds. It’s just annoying, and it’s just too much hard work. And for my sport, I just feel like it’s unnecessary.” Yet she’s been beaten 17 times in a row by someone who has added that muscle necessary to excel."

Also, McSweeney's offers Toddler Discipline Made Easy for those who want to get a jump start on knowing how to deal with e.g. my sister's impending child.  (Via CorporetteMoms.)  "Rutabega and head cheese sandwich"....mmmm.

Happy Friday!  It was a long time coming this week.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Oops Forgot to Change the Post Title

Grey Lime Pie--Thursday, 7/30/15

How should I wear my green cardigan?  With stripes?

Yes, yes, with stripes!

I don't have a dress with quite the bold black and white stripes these ladies are rocking, but I do have a new sleeveless grey and white striped dress that would benefit from a cardigan for wearing to work.

*Grey striped sleeveless dress (thrifted, Loft), $5.00/wear+
Green cardigan (Liz Claiborne), $4.40/wear+
Hammered silver necklace (JNY), $2.88/wear
Nude wedges by Cole Haan, $23.98/wear

Perhaps lime green would have been the perfect shade of cardigan to match the ribbon on dress's belt, but we'll follow the "it goes" rather than "it matches" model here.

I was fascinated by this plant at the botanical gardens--it looks like some kind of peppers are hanging down, but they open up into these beautiful flowers.  So unusual!

In other news...You must watch this Comedy Central Sports Center parody that treats high school teaching like professional sports.  "Tulsa Teachers College" makes an appearance.  Keep watching for the awesome fake BMW ad at the end.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In the Middle of the Week

Outside My Comfort Zone--Wednesday, 7/29/15

I have a new maroon and black striped cardigan, which I thought would work well in a summer version of this otherwise-black ensemble.


My cocoon style cardigan was a little bit baggy with the high volume flared skirt on the dress (it's probably a better shape to wear with a pencil skirt), so I decided to try belting it.  I thought it looked pretty good.

*Black and maroon striped cardigan (Kohls), $11.04/wear+
*Sleeveless black dress (Old Navy), $15.00/wear+
Wide black belt (Target)+
Black/red flats by Ivanka Trump, $2.80/wear
Black tooth/claw necklace (Outfit Additions), $1.47/wear

One downside is that even thought the belt is elastic around most of its length (only leather in the front), it can still dig uncomfortably as the day wears on because it's so wide.  Next time, I will leave it unbelted because screw it, if it's a little loose and schlumpy looking, so be it.  What's the point of wearing a knit dress and a cardigan if it's going to be uncomfortable?

This male gibbon was a big believer in being comfortable--he spent most of the time we were watching him curled up asleep on that branch.  But I managed to catch him in a moment of alertness here.

In other news...Robert and I have started watching season 6 of The Mentalist and all I can say is, who the fuck cares who Red John is anymore?  I had been thinking this must be the last season but it looks like there's a 7th season too.  WTH?  I mean, don't get me wrong, I still like Patrick Jane but I wish he had something new to do.

Another program we've been watching, Longmire, recently incurred my wrath with the most egregious fake bird identification clue ever seen on screen.  They're looking at a photograph supposedly taken in South America or something and Sheriff Longmire recognizes a bird in the picture as being some made-up kind of meadowlark:

"It's the bird.
- A red-tip meadowlark.
- Yeah.
Wyoming native.
Don't go much further south than the bighorns."

Seriously?  SERIOUSLY??!!??1?1????!!!  That's the best they've got?  I'm very disappointed.

For the record, the only meadowlark in Wyoming is the Western Meadowlark, which is the state bird.  It does not have any red on it.  Its range goes south into Mexico.


Jesus F. Christ, people.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Rainy Days and Tuesdays

Ikat Believe It--Tuesday, 7/28/15

I wanted to wear my white pleated skirt again while it's still summer, and I liked the blue floral combination in this inspiration photo.

I went in a little bit different direction by using an ikat print top instead of a floral top (when I realized that the floral print top I'd picked out looked odd because it has an elasticized band at the bottom and was both too full and too short for the skirt).

*White/aqua ikat print knit top (thrifted, Kohls), $4.00/wear+
White skirt (thrifted, Chaps), $1.25/wear
Bright teal flats (Payless), $3.25/wear
Wild ball necklace (Macy's), $4.56/wear

This skirt is happiest when it's paired with a top that ends at about the place where the pleats start (i.e., are no longer sewn down).

My co-worker who previously commented on how my bright pink flats perfectly matched my bright pink pants mentioned today that she liked my shoes which perfectly match my top.  I'm feeling confident about getting her vote when I run for mayor of Matchy-Matchy Town.

We found this feather at the same park where we heard the singing cerulean warbler, and though I'd like it to be a cerulean warbler feather, it's probably a blue jay feather instead.

In other news...It was a weird-ass rainy day today, maybe that's why I felt intermittently sick at work all morning.  I was relieved to start feeling normal again after lunch.

This evening Robert realized that he'd worn his Wed. and Thurs. shirts to work on Mon. and Tues.  A disturbance in the force!  Maybe this sartorial mix-up caused emanations that made me feel ill. 

Yesterday after work I watched the movie Pitch Perfect while riding my exercise bike...for the full, nearly two hours of that film.  I felt a bit sore/numb immediately afterwards, but that went away pretty quickly.  The goofball antics of Rebel Wilson (mermaid's a lot of floor work) plus lots of singing was apparently a really good distraction while exercising.

Plus, I am still loving coming home every other Tuesday to a clean apartment.  Thank you, crazy-efficient housecleaning person!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Back in the Saddle

Invested--Monday, 7/27/15

I found two inspirations for wearing my new navy striped top with bright pink.

First, you can wear it with a bright pink pencil skirt, a navy cardigan, and a statement necklace.

Second, wearing it with beige works, too.

I combined these two approaches, most closely following the lead of our first blogger.  I changed up the proportions and substituted a vest for the cardigan to be a little better in sync with our summer weather.

*Navy striped short-sleeved knit top (JCP), $7.99/wear+
Bright pink pencil skirt (JCP), $3.01/wear+
*Navy open weave cardigan vest (thrifted, Tommy Hilfiger), $3.75/wear+
Pink floral statement necklace (Target), $1.89/wear
Cream/pink/blue floral flats (Payless), $4.33/wear

I incorporated the beige color by wearing these floral flats.  My first instinct was to wear either bright pink or blue/navy shoes but I like the subtle print mixing of these shoes, which are a sort of like a nude shoe (i.e., shoe that is similar to your skin tone) with a twist.

I haven't posted an apartment photo for a while, so here is the part of our dining room that borders on the balcony (behind the shades to the left). 

In other news...I always dread going back to work after a break (though less after a vacation than a sick day, I still do somewhat), so I was surprised not to feel that way this morning.  However, the alarm clock woke me from a dream in which I'd left my PhD program and enrolled in the only masters program I could find that would accept all my coursework as transfer credits.  This was a program designed to prepare you as a coach for participants in a particular kind of beauty pageant in which the talent segment was replaced by 3-4 specific competitions involving vacuum cleaners.  This is ludicrous on every level.  So I guess I woke up to the fact that I have a normal job to go to with a sense of relief.