Thursday, October 31, 2013


Surprisingly, I went several days in a row without wearing a scarf.  Very unusual for this time of year.

Footless and Scarfless

Bright green + Leopard print = Fun

New item:
*Black ruffle-top dress (thrifted, Target brand)

Comfy Weekend

Dressed for solving the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.

New item:
*Blue t-shirt cardigan, Lands End

An Unexpected Pairing

I bought this top to go with my interview suit, but I realized that the shade of blue matches my drapey cardigan so I decided to try them together on a dressing-up-a-bit-for-my-phone-interview occasion.

New item:
*Sleeveless drape-front top, Calvin Klein

OK Nothing Here is New But...

I had to try the leopard cardigan and dark green pants together.  I like it.

Yesterday I hemmed some pants and jeans, so in coming photos you will be seeing some new things I haven't worn before as well as some things that are finally not too long.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


OK, my scarf portmanteau is not as good as this pun, but it's what I've got for you.

There are a million references online with tutorials for showing you how to tie scarves, but I basically just fake it.  A couple times this week I faked it by turning a regular (lightweight) scarf into an infinity scarf by the simple expedient of tying the ends together to make a big loop -- a faux infinity scarf, or fauxfinity scarf.  Then I just wrapped this loop around my neck twice and it's done.

Fauxfinity 1

The whole reason I tried this fauxfinity scarf approach was because I enjoyed the bright colorblocking of the blue cardigan and "hot coral" T-shirt and didn't want to obstruct it with the draping ends of a scarf.

The more I wear this Lands End cardigan, the more I like it.  I love the blue color, the drapey-but-not-clingy fabric, and the subtly swingy cut.

And yes, I doubled up the animal print (broadly defined) by wearing both leopard print shoes and a scarf with a sweet owl print.  (And may I say, woo Rice Owls, 6-2 so far this season!)

New item:
*Owl print scarf

Fauxfinity 2

I tried the fauxfinity scarf again when I wore this pattern mixed outfit that I wanted to show off.  I thought the combination of stripes and flowers worked pretty well (perhaps because they were both black-and-white and thus not as visually jarring as if they were different colors as well).

I'm not usually a footless tights person in everyday life -- I bought and wore these on our Yellowstone trip this summer when Target didn't have a pair of black leggings.  Footless tights have the advantage over footed ones in that you can wear them with your regular hiking/athletic/whatever socks directly against your feet for superior comfort, sweat wicking, etc.  I know they are popular with dancers, too -- and see, I paired them with ballet flats so it's all good, right?

New items:
*Black floral skirt (thrifted)
*Black ballet flats by LifeStride -- I haven't tried these on an extended walk yet, but they are so cushy and comfortable to wear (and do have some support).  They are made from a soft, flexible man-made material instead of leather, which means that they are bunion-friendly in a way that many ballet flats (that cut right across that part of the foot, putting uncomfortable pressure on it) are not.  (Writing this, I was inspired to go over to Zappos and let future shoppers there know this, too.)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Shortage of Workers

In this article on the "PhD glut" in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields, the author comments on the commonly-held belief that there is a lack of skilled technology workers in the US (which both pumps up the visa system for bringing in cheaper overseas workers and encourages the idea that we need more people to get graduate degrees in these fields/paints an inappropriately rosy picture of post-degree job prospects for those who go through with it):

"When high tech companies and their lobbyists claim there is a shortage of skilled high technology workers, they usually use general language such as “there is a shortage of engineers,” “there is a shortage of programmers,” or “there is a shortage of technology talent.” However, when pressed about seemingly qualified, often older workers who cannot find jobs, they refer to both extensive and very narrowly defined specific skills that they claim they must have. Older often means over forty or even over thirty-five. As in the case of the forty year old husband of Jennifer Wedel, who confronted President Obama about the shortage claims, these older workers who encounter problems finding work despite seemingly strong qualifications are often not very old.

One can always assert a shortage of workers by narrowly specifying the skills required. Consider digging a ditch. Suppose I demand that prospective ditch diggers must: have at least three years paid professional experience digging ditches using the Big Box Mart Super Squabo 2.0 shovel which my company uses. A Black and Decker shovel won’t do. Not just any ditch digging, it must be three years paid professional experience digging ditches for gas pipelines in a medium sized city with a population from 50-200,000 people. Ditches for sewage lines won’t do. Digging ditches for gas pipelines in New York City won’t do because New York has a population over 200,000. And so on. Even though ditch diggers are surely not in short supply, I can find a shortage by narrowing my standards for ditch diggers. This sort of narrowing of standards is surely a symptom of either gross irrationality or an actual surplus of qualified applicants that makes it possible to impose such narrow requirements.

Of course, most people know or believe they know enough about ditch digging and other low status, frequently manual jobs that this sort of argument would provoke only laughter and disbelief. Hence similar worker shortage claims about low status, generally lower paying jobs in the United States usually involve claims that spoiled Americans are unwilling to do such hard manual labor. It is harder to evaluate the plausibility of such ultra-narrow job specifications where technical jobs such as software engineering are concerned."

That article links to this one, about the mythical nature of the worker shortage problem:

"With an abundance of workers to choose from, employers are demanding more of job candidates than ever before. They want prospective workers to be able to fill a role right away, without any training or ramp-up time....In other words, to get a job, you have to have that job already. It's a Catch-22 situation for workers—and it's hurting companies and the economy....

The perceptions about a lack of skilled workers are pervasive. The staffing company ManpowerGroup, for instance, reports that 52% of U.S. employers surveyed say they have difficulty filling positions because of talent shortages.

But the problem is an illusion.

Some of the complaints about skill shortages boil down to the fact that employers can't get candidates to accept jobs at the wages offered. That's an affordability problem, not a skill shortage. A real shortage means not being able to find appropriate candidates at market-clearing wages. We wouldn't say there is a shortage of diamonds when they are incredibly expensive; we can buy all we want at the prevailing prices.

The real problem, then, is more appropriately an inflexibility problem. Finding candidates to fit jobs is not like finding pistons to fit engines, where the requirements are precise and can't be varied. Jobs can be organized in many different ways so that candidates who have very different credentials can do them successfully."

I read this stuff several days ago, but these articles -- particularly these passages -- really stuck with me.

As a job seeker, I think the Specific Ditch Experience thing is spot-on.  And I love how the diamond analogy points out the ludicrousness of calling the "Want something and don't want to pay for it" problem that employers have a worker shortage.

One thing I've noticed looking at job listings is how often jobs that are labeled as "Entry Level" often require a year or two of experience, and not just general work experience or experience through classwork, etc., with particular software, but full-time, professional Specific Ditch Experience.  The "how do I get a job without experience or experience without a job" conundrum is an old one, but my sense is that this situation has gotten worse.  I've also been seeing a fair number of listing for interns this past week, and it's shocking to what the requirements/job responsibilities are for those.  They look like what you'd expect an actual entry level position to be (or maybe more) -- and I'm not just talking about ones targeted at MBA grads, but for people with or soon to have BAs.

I guess the takeaway is that the entry level job is the new junior but not inexperienced job, the internship is the new entry level job, the master's degree is the new bachelor's degree, the bachelor's degree is the new high school diploma, and...blah, the job search sucks, people.

Don't Go There

I just clicked on a link to a job posting with a marrow donation organization and immediately said out loud to myself, "What are you thinking of?!"

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Worst Job Ad Match Yet

What, you don't think I have what it takes to be a (online) Part-Time Bulgarian Instructor?

Although as Robert pointed out, if I spoke Bulgarian, I would've been in great shape for the job I interviewed for as a data analyst, which turned out to involve being the QA person for the SPSS syntax written by the programmers in Bulgaria.  (Shoot me now.)

I guess some things just aren't meant to be.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

And Yet More Cardigan Action

Green and Wild

I've been looking for work-compatible (i.e., business casual, I guess) pants that are not black or grey (the typical colors) or tan (because I dislike tan pants on myself), and I found these very dark forest green ones.  But they basically look black in the photo, of course.  It was hard to decide what to wear with them, so I went for my go-to: wear black and add a scarf.

In this close-up, you can see the colors a bit better.  Perhaps a bit crazy-looking, but I can be like that.

New items:
*Black argyle cardigan (thrifted)
*Black t-shirt from Target
*Dark green pants from Kohl's

Shades of Brown

For the cold, wet weekend, something comfy was in order.

The scarf is a kind of gigantic one that I bought at Target -- I had wanted a brown and black scarf that is not leopard print (so that I could wear it with leopard print and not look overwhelmingly catlike), so I got a different animal print (in a way) instead.

New items:
*Horse scarf from Target
*Brown mary jane shoes from Wal-Mart (see, I haven't stopped my Wal-Mart comfortable mary jane habit yet)

Red and Leopard

I think red and leopard together are the bomb.  And you know what?  I don't think any of these items are new/previously unworn (I thought maybe the belt, but no, I wore that at my cousin's wedding), but whatever.  I still liked it enough to share.

I decided to wear the necklace my parents gave me when I graduated with my master's degree.  It's so sweet.

Birdy Goodness

I am finally wearing this bird shirt that I blogged about when I bought it.  The teal matches one of my new cardigans perfectly.  Excellent.  Man, I really do need to shorten these grey pants; they're even too long with my leopard print wedges.

New item:
*Navy bird shirt from Nordstrom

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Welcome Sight

After a dry spell on the job search, I have a phone interview scheduled for Wednesday.  Regardless of how it goes, it feels good to at least see some movement on the job front again. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Animal Print Shoes

I think my search for animal print shoes is over.  I tried about a dozen pairs to find the ones I wanted.

Leopard Print Smoking Slippers

I was surprised by how many shoes had a somewhat unattractive leopard print -- either the colors were off, or the print was too big, or something.  I also really wanted some that had both brown and black in the mix, but primarily black.  Finding one that had an appealing print and shape in addition to meeting my fairly high comfort standards was challenging.  When I tried these on, my feet said, Ahhhh.  I think the pattern is gorgeous, and the shape is a nice change from a ballet flat. 

I did not intentionally wear this hot pink cardigan to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but I suppose that was just a bonus.  It was also accidental that the somewhat wild dotted pattern of the shirt echoed the animal print shoes (I picked it because it had hot pink in it, and I knew I wanted to wear leopard print and the hot pink cardigan), but I liked the effect.

New items:
*Leopard print smoking slippers by Clarks
*Wild dotted knit shirt (thifted, Target brand)

Double Cat Print

While looking for brown/black leopard print shoes online, I came across these grey wedges and fell in love with their look.  My job interview heels are also Cole Haan with Nike Air technology, so I already knew that it was a surprisingly comfortable line of shoes -- and with these being wedges, I expected that to be even more the case.  My sister wore a pair of nude wedges at our cousin's wedding this summer and I became intrigued by them.  When I had the chance to buy a pair of black ones at the thrift store, I did so to try them out in terms of comfort and was astonished by how stable they were and how much not like wearing heels.  (Granted, I won't go above about 2" for a pair of wedges, but wedges seem more stable at a given height than even comfortable heels.)  When I tried them on, I was sold.

I decided to wear them with another dose of animal print in the form of this lightweight cat print scarf.

Add a lace top that I had purchased with the plan to wear it to that same cousin's wedding this summer (the skirt I finally decided on had a white background so I decided against this cream one in favor of the other top I bought at the same time) and a cardigan, of course, and voila.

New items:
*Grey animal print wedges by Cole Haan
*Cream lace top from Target

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dreams and Their Inspirations

Last night I had 3 different anti-carb dream vignettes:

1)  My mom and I were talking about a movie I'd seen that she's interested in seeing.  I'm like, Hey, it's on Netflix streaming, do you want to watch it?  She says no, that she wants us to make and eat a big cake together.  I'm like, Um, I really don't want to eat any cake, do you?  She is insistent that we should do this.  In desperation I ask whether she'd be happy going out and getting a donut or something instead of making an entire cake, and she's down on that idea.  But this weird Dream Mom is also wearing capri-length jeans, white athletic socks, and the most bright red faux-croc faux-leather penny loafer mules -- you know, they are like penny loafers in the front but are missing the part in the back that would hold them onto your foot.  Imagine something similar to these only bright red penny loafers.  With athletic socks.  Obviously this isn't my real mom.

2)  Somebody has left my lunch for me in the warm oven.  And it's two kinds of pancakes -- buttermilk/wheat pancakes with apple sauce and cinnamon and chocolate pancakes.  There are like 6 of each kind.  I try a bite of buttermilk pancake and think, Man, this really isn't very flavorful at all.

3)  I am going through the lunch line at a school cafeteria and WTF it's cookies for lunch day.  I have my choice of two kinds of cookies -- either baked or just the raw dough.  I ask for the chocolate chip cookie dough and they give me like 3 ice cream scoops worth.  In place of the salad bar, they have a cookie bar where you can add e.g. a cream filling/frosting between your cookies to make big Oreo style cookies.  I walk past the cookie bar and dump my tray into the trash.

My guess is I was dreaming about this because last night, after inhaling a lot of dust/etc. while cleaning the apartment pretty thoroughly and thereby really aggravating my allergies, I felt kind of ill and didn't want to eat anything even though I was hungry.  Even the normal things I would have wanted to eat under such circumstances sounded bleh.  I ended up getting Robert to defrost some ground beef, crumble it on the stove with onions, salt and pepper, and serve it to me with guacamole.  That hit the spot.  

But lest you think my dreams were all high-sugar nightmares, I also had one of my standard dreams:  Seeing Exotic Birds in My Mom's Backyard While Looking Out the Patio Door.  In this particular case, I saw two species of prairie chicken.  Exciting!  Robert was taking a nap but I woke him up to come view this awesomeness.  While he was looking at them, I saw another similar-shaped/sized but unfamiliar bird that according to my field guide was a Guadeloupe Something-or-Other.

When I woke up this morning, I was surprised by that spelling of Guadeloupe -- I would have naturally spelled it Guadalupe but I had the distinct memory that it was spelled this other way.  A few minutes ago, I noticed that the level of Solitaire Blitz I have been playing yesterday and today is on the island of Guadeloupe.  OK then.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Masters of the Universe

Tam is defending her master's project tomorrow.  Good luck, Tam!  If I understand correctly, this involves giving a presentation over her material to the professors and other grad students and then, afterwards, answering questions from her committee (not the entire group).  Stressful, right?  But she'll do great and I predict she will be totally high for several hours afterwards. 

It's always good if you can get yourself to enjoy these kinds of experiences (easier said than done, perhaps) because one thing about academia -- people generally really don't give two shits about anybody else's research.  So this is one of the few times you will have the attention of people who are situationally predisposed to care a little bit and who have a halfway decent chance of understanding some broad aspect of the project if not the details (unlike, for example, your family and friends who are not in a PhD program in your particular field).

This has made me think about my master's program and the...I was going to say two but it's really four components like this -- the first year project presentation, the major area paper (just a document that was turned in for advisor's approval), the master's thesis proposal defense, and the master's thesis defense. 

I wrote about the first year project presentation beforehand, but I never blogged about how it turned out.  (In our case, all the first year grad students did their presentations during one big session, and professors asked questions after each one.)  I was nervous, but when I finally got up there to talk, my anxiety diminished a great deal and it went fine.  One of the pieces of feedback I got was to the effect:  I thought maybe she was a bit nervous at first from her voice, but she looked so relaxed and confident up there that I decided my initial impression was mistaken.  Oh, and a funny thing: I actually did get asked a question I could not answer.  I had a complex set of results, and my focus was on the overall interaction and then some specific data points, but of course one professor asked me about the statistical significance of two data points that were not germane to my argument and I totally blanked on whether they were different or not and had to admit ignorance about that in front of everyone.  But it was OK.  I was not humiliated for life, and I passed.

Apparently I never wrote about my thesis defense, but it was really low-stress and pretty much totally great.  I had already been put through the ringer during my proposal defense by the Professor of Doom (who chaired my committee) -- incidentally, this is the same woman with the total hard-ass reputation who made a totally crushing comment to one of my fellow first years during our first year presentations because the student made a slip of the tongue.  So anyway, because of Professor of Doom's thorough excoriation of my proposal (and the not-as-scary comments by other committee members), by the time I got to the final product, I had already addressed the major issues.  And both the proposal and thesis defense involved sitting at a table with my committee, talking about the document, and not a presentation where you're standing in front of a group -- sitting at the table generally feels much less stressful to me.  The Professor of Doom was even in an expansive, light-hearted mood during the thesis defense and I saw her smile and laugh for the first time in my experience, which was nice. 

This also reminds me of how nervous I get before a job interview (like crazy nervous), but how once the interview starts, I don't feel anxious anymore.

And of course no discussion of this kind is complete without my referencing my dad's oral exam for his master's degree in German.  A member of his committee asked him a question about a book that he hadn't read, and my dad (being cool as a cucumber in these sorts of anxiety-provoking situations, something I wish I had inherited) said basically: Well, I haven't read this particular book by This Author, but in his book Whatever, he blah blah blah...  And he passed his exam.

So to Tam I pass on once again my advisor's wise advice re: the research presentation:  Have fun with it!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The End of the Warmth

Here are a few outfits I wore during what seems to have been the last gasp of summer last week.

80 Degrees

I would have liked to do something more interesting with this brown skirt, but when it's this warm, minimal is better.  (Note that this is not my new Lands End white shirt, but an old one of thinner material that I had previously hemmed to be more skirt-compatible.)  God, it looks weird and boxy with my arms up! 

New items:
*Brown cotton skirt (thifted, Ann Taylor)
*Brown flats (thrifted, American Eagle)

Pink and Blue, True Gold

(KSAL listeners might recognize those as lyrics from a Mountain Goats song.)

I liked the coral drapeneck top I got at Lands End so much that I ordered another one.  And they're still on sale!  In solid ($6), striped ($7), and polka-dotted ($7, or $9 plus size) versions (limited sizes).  I'm having to resist the urge to buy some more colors (I really have enough short-sleeved knit shirts).  The top does run a bit large, but I ordered in my normal Lands End size and I liked the fit.  The fabric is fluid enough that it drapes.

New item:
*Striped drapeneck shirt (Lands End)

Finally These Shoes

I have been stalking the Julianne flat by Born for about 6 months.  I tried the black ones from Zappos during my big "finding black shoes to wear with a suit" hunt and I really liked the fit and comfort, but sent them back when I found some comfortable heels that were dressier and more interview appropriate.  I liked several of the other colors, but they were $90, which was higher than I wanted to spend.  Last week, Eddie Bauer had them on sale for $50 plus an extra discount code, so I snatched up this purply-pink pair for $35.  (I am currently resisting the urge to spend $50 on a pair of gold ones.)  I purchased the t-shirt from them on sale also and was happy to see that the purple color matched the shoes.

New items:
*Julianne flat by Born (Eddie Bauer)
*Flowery t-shirt (Eddie Bauer)

For the last several days, it's been rainy and cool and I've been sick, so I've been wearing slight variations on the t-shirt, jeans, cardigan, and scarf combinations you've already seen.

I'm actually doing a bit better today.  Instead of waking up at 7:30 (in anticipation of my alarm, whether I've set the alarm or not -- it only takes me about 2 days to adjust to a given wake-up time) and then falling back asleep for a couple more hours, I woke up and got out of bed within about 10 minutes.  And then did 45 minutes on my exercise bike, the first exercise I've had (other than dragging myself up the stairs in the apartment) for several days.  I'm kind of tired now, but I'm clearly over the hump of this thing.

Yesterday I had a stomach ache so I tried some ginger tea that I had purchased a while back that is supposed to be good for your stomach.  And not only did it help relieve the stomach ache, it actually tasted pretty awesome.  Apparently ginger root and black pepper make a nice combination -- it was an herbal tea with a bit of a kick.  I would drink this stuff whether I had a stomach ache or not.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Good Time for It

I've sick and very low on energy for several days now -- I've been spending time curled up with crossword puzzles, playing Fate (technically, Fate 2), and starting to re-read the Thomas Covenant books for the first time.  I was out of books from the library, and in my sick and grumpy state, this seemed to fit the bill.  I am somewhat surprised that I have only read the books (well, the first 6; I haven't read the third set) once, a very long time ago, even though I've held onto them through many, many moves and associated book purgings.  I'm enjoying reading the first one with only a memory of the premise, a couple of the characters, and a sense of the protagonist's character.  The actual plot keeps taking me by surprise.  The events are darker than I remember (though obviously not a match for the Gap series, my favorite books by this author).

In requesting some new books from the library this morning, I decided that it was time for me to start reading the Horatio Hornblower series.  I've been saving this option for a time of need (or as it would be stated in a Stephen Donaldson novel, a time of exigency), and I think that time has come.

Friday, October 11, 2013

In the Lull

It's been a slow week in Job Search Land, but I did apply to four jobs this afternoon.  It is what it is.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Yesterday: Blue, White, and.....Green?

My instinct was to match the navy and white with some shade of red, of course, but I decided to try something different.  (Recent posts have made clear to me just how much I fall back on that combination.) 

I used my common strategy of using a coordinating scarf to bring disparate colors together.  (This is basically my only personal dressing pro-tip.)  I liked the subtle pattern mixing of stripes with the flowery print.  (Sorry for the cruddy photo.)

New items:
*Navy striped shirt from Lands End
*Pleated navy skirt from Lands End (from their school uniform collection, mega-cheap)
*Green cardigan from Liz Claiborne

Wearing this outfit reminded me of two people:

(1)  It had that RB cool weather compensatory dressing thing going -- you know, if you wear enough long layers on the top, even in winter you can wear shorts.  (Note: this is related to, but distinct from, what I think of as Colorado compensatory dressing, in which putting a heavy sleeveless ski vest on top of any clothing combination makes it cool weather compatible because you are keeping your core warm, after all.  This is especially awesome when it involves a t-shirt, hiking shorts, and a down ski vest.)  (And it is light-years more valid and stylish than the weird Austin thing wherein people wear jeans, a coat, a hat, mittens, etc., in winter with flip flops.  For the love of Christ, people.  Buy a pair of real fucking shoes already.)

(2)  I never really understood my mom's abiding love of the 3/4 length sleeve until I started doing a lot of cooking and washing up for myself, but now I get it.  It was pretty sweet wearing this cardigan yesterday while cooking -- no bunching up of long sweater sleeves followed by the almost immediate un-scrunching, ensuring that the ends of the sleeves get wet and/or gross.

What was I cooking?  A variant on a favorite recipe, made acceptable on my neo-paleo diet with a few revisions.  I think it's just as good as the original version.

Chicken Junot, Neo-Paleo Style
Serves 4

1 - 1.5 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Italian seasoning, to taste
Garlic salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
2-3 portabello mushroom caps, sliced [and cut into smaller chunks]
1/2 red onion, sliced [I cut each long strip into thirds or so]
4 T. butter
1/4 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. red wine

1.  With kitchen shears, cut chicken breasts lengthwise so that each chicken breast becomes two thinner pieces.  (You can also pound them to make them thin, but I think cutting them is MUCH easier.  My cheat method does not do any tenderizing but whatever.)

2.  In a large skillet, cook mushroom and onion in 2 T. butter until tender; remove from skillet. 

3.  In same skillet, melt 2 T. butter, add chicken pieces, and sprinkle with herbs/spices.  Cook chicken over medium-high heat until cooked through, turning to brown evenly.  Remove from skillet.

4.  Return mushrooms and onion to skillet.  Add broth and wine.  Cook, uncovered, for about 3 minutes or until mixture heats up/thickens slightly.

5.  Serve chicken with wine sauce.

Note:  I find that the chicken heats up just fine in the microwave later, cooking about 2 minutes.  I always add more butter (actually butter/olive oil spread) after re-heating to moisten things up a bit.  Mmmmm....butter and red wine and more butter.  Love it.

I actually made a double recipe (two skillets) at once because I don't mind eating the same thing a couple times a day if I need to.  At the very least I mind that less than having to spend more time cooking more different things.

Today:  Unseasonably Warm

I had hoped that it would be warm enough again to wear this new dress before the fall weather really set in for good.  I wanted the chance to wear it on its own, rather than under/over a bunch of layers, because I think the details are simple but pretty.  Today, with a high of 79 degrees, seems a good day for it.

New item:
*Pink dress from Lands End

Of course, it won't be that warm until afternoon, so I'm wearing it with a lightweight cardigan for now.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Too Much

Though I consider myself a fan of most things bunny-themed, these PJs that Robert found at Target are just too insane for an adult to even consider wearing.

Hercules Grapples With a Common Question

Confused about this issue, Hercules the clueless clownfish asks a mermaid.

She has demonstrated herself time and again to be a caring, patient person, so it's not unreasonable that Hercules approaches her first.  (But it's too bad that he is asking about this of woman who is a bit on the over-protective side who is also a being without any obvious reproductive organs.)

He tries very hard to make sense of this response.  (Confused Hercules is freakin' adorable.)

This line of thought takes him nowhere, so he branches out and asks others about the origins of babies.  Really not helpful, guys.

Cue rimshot.

Now here's a piece of information from a shark that's both true and potentially enlightening...

but Hercules attempts to understand it in light of the other disinformation he's received.

Oh, Hercules -- you should have asked Sally!


Monday, October 7, 2013

And More New Stuff

Red, White, and Blue #1

I wanted to try out this mixed-media shirt I bought from Nordstrom that is a drapey woven material in the front and a knit in the back.  (Is this a shirt version of a mullet?  Business in the front, a party in the back?)  Despite the modern shirt, the overall look appears to be from the 1950's.  That's OK.

New items:
*Red mixed-media shirt from Nordstrom
*Blue cotton skirt (thrifted, Old Navy)

But I quickly got too cold and had to add a thrifted cotton blazer (Old Navy).

Blurry Olive and Cream

This is a terrible photo of an outfit that I liked a lot -- the textures of the sweater and skirt were interesting.  (Not sure why I'm so shaky when I try to take my photo sometimes but it leads to really bad photos.)

New items:
*Cream wool-and-lace sweater from Nordstrom (on sale for $30!)
*Embroidered olive cotton skirt (thrifted)

Apres Interview

When I got home from my interview on Friday, I left on the shirt and jewelry I was wearing and just put on other clothes to go with them.

New item:
*Flowery blouse from Kohl's

When I got (inevitably) chilled in short sleeves, I added the cream lace cardigan.  (I love this thing.)

Burst of Color

It had been two days in neutrals, so it was time to get colorful again.

New item:
*Flowery peasant blouse (thrifted, Old Navy)

And you can already see this coming, right?  I added a cardigan.

Red, White, and Blue #2

My new t-shirts from Lands End arrived, and viola, not see-through.

New item:
*White t-shirt from Lands End

But I didn't even pretend for a minute that I wasn't going to need more coverage for warmth's sake; it was rainy and chilly this weekend.  Back to the Sally stand-by "Add Cardigan and Scarf" formula.

Leopard Goodness

I am crazy about leopard print, and today I finally wore my new leopard cardigan.  I had tried so many different ones, but this one (despite having a crew neck, not my preferred neckline on a cardigan) was tops.  (And yes, I like leopard and maroon together.)

New items:
*Leopard print cardigan from Lands End
*Black buckle flats from Nordstrom (Me Too brand; these are the sisters of the red flats I've been wearing)

I did not bother photographing this, but in an amusing inversion of the week's pattern, during the middle of the afternoon, the sun was out and it got warm enough in the apartment that I removed the cardigan and cranked up the A/C.  About 45 minutes later it was cool enough to put the cardigan back on, unbuttoned (though really, I would have been perfectly comfortable without it, I wanted to wear it, damn it!).

In other wardrobe-related news, I started working on an outfit database in Access this afternoon with the thought that it would be nice later to be able to do a search on different colors (e.g. red and blue), individual items (e.g. Lands End leopard cardigan), etc., and retrieve photos of outfits meeting these criteria.  I haven't used Access in its last couple incarnations, so I thought that this would also be a possibly helpful refresh/update of my skills.  I put the tables together easily, and the part that I expected to be harder (incorporating the photos) turned out to be very straightforward in Access 2010.  But man, it's been a while since I've made a form and the interface feels different from what I remember.  Tomorrow I'm going to have to pull out my Access Bible and get back to basics.  Good times. 

No News is...No News Update

I had an in-person interview on Friday that went well, and I should hear back from them in the next week or two to find out if I'm a final candidate. 

I haven't heard back from my other two "live" opportunities (i.e., ones where I've had a phone and/or in-person interview with the hiring manager), and I think that one of them is almost certainly dead and the other is pretty iffy. 

But I applied to two great-looking jobs yesterday and am continuing to fight the good fight here.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Source for Basic White T-shirts

After striking out on my first attempt to find a white t-shirt, on my mom's recommendation, I tried Lands End, and all the t-shirts I got were wonderfully thick enough to wear on their own without a layer underneath.  (In my world, a white t-shirt is the layer that you wear underneath.  Duh.)

I can vouch for this short-sleeved one and this long-sleeved one.  I got both V and crew versions, for a total of 6 white t-shirts.  This is something I always run out of (both in the sense that I seem to want to wear one before my current ones are washed and that they get stained so must be thrown out), and I figure that if I over-purchased, a comfortable white t-shirt is a great all-purpose sleep shirt.

I did not get any colors other than white this time, but they have a pretty wide selection.  I like that they come in regular, petite, and plus sizes, and they're only $10 and $12 (about $5 more for plus) -- and you can save 30% on top of that using a coupon code.

You'll be seeing these shirts in blog posts to come.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tall Pajamas on the Cheap

It's tough being a guy who wears a size medium pajamas but has very long legs.  Robert has a few pairs of PJ pants that weren't very long to begin with and after being dried a few times are now "Urkel in high-water pants" short.  This is particularly painful for a man from Texas, a place where Lyle Lovett's admonition to "buy your pants just a little longer" is commonly-heeded advice.  Put such a man in such pants in the frozen north when winter is coming and it's not a happy thing.  Something had to be done.

Most clothiers assume that if you're tall, you're also "big."  The only flannel PJs pants I could find that come in a Tall Medium are at Lands End for $44 a pair.  Even with Land Ends's 30% off sales, that's still $31 for a pair of pajama bottoms.

So I decided to try extending a pair of Robert's too-short PJ pants with additional fabric at the end of the legs.  My supply of fabric that is compatible with plaid flannel is, let us say, extremely limited to the point of non-existent.  But I did have an old pair of navy blue sweatpants that were in good condition but that I just hated wearing and I only kept with my fabric stash because I thought that people in Snow City might come to find a use for this warm fabric.  This was prophetic on my part.  (Perhaps not as prophetic as playing the word VOMIT with my mom in Words with Friends minutes before her cat started vomiting, but also much less gross.)

In about 30 minutes (15 minutes of which involved transforming my job search space into a sewing space), I had finished the job.  One great thing about knit fabrics like this is that they don't unravel, so I didn't even bother hemming them.  Robert tried them on and we found that yes, they are now Texan-in-Snow-City compatible.

You can still see the tailor's chalk at the bottom, but it'll wash off.

He might not wear these PJs to walk to the corner store to buy Honey Nut Cheerios*, but they should be just fine for sleeping and lounging about doing a crossword puzzle on a Sunday morning.  I actually think they look kind of cool with the low-contrast band at the bottom.

*I started to post a link to the YouTube video of this scene from The Wire, but instead I will tell you -- if you have not watched this show, what are you waiting for?  Life is too short, people.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My First Direct Effect of the Shutdown

In preparation for a state job interview tomorrow, I just now went to the web site that hosts the federal survey data that is used heavily in the position I'm interviewing for, and I got the message that the site is down due to the lapse of appropriations and the partial shutdown of the federal government.

Thanks, Republican Congressmen!

I had looked briefly at this site a couple months ago when I applied for the job, so the survey content is not completely unfamiliar to me, but still.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Still Feeling Summery

I'm still trying to wear my new clothes, including digging into the closet for some thrifted summer items that I hadn't yet worn (time is definitely running out).

Summery Beige

It's very easy to find nice knee-length (or slightly longer) summer-weight cotton, somewhat full skirts (usually with a thin cotton lining) at Goodwill.  I bought several this summer, and didn't wear all of them.  I like the hot-pink detailing on this skirt, which I had to match with my beige shoes with hot-pink contrast stitching.  This shrug I bought at Target has turned out to be a real workhorse, which surprises me.  And check out this Germany-trip pendant.

Is that a cheerful-looking frog, or what?

New items:
*"Hot coral" t-shirt from Target
*Full skirt with leaves (thifted, Target brand)
*Germany frog pendant

A Darker Look

I like this dress--it has pretty black detailing stitching around the hem and around the neck, but the armholes are gigantic enough that you can see my bra from the side (it has flutter sleeves).  So I decided to wear it like a skirt underneath a cardigan.  I have often seen people recommend belting a cardigan, but it always looked wrong and felt uncomfortable when I tried it.  However, I like the way it worked here.  I think a lot of that is because I am using a wide belt that is elastic for most of the distance around, so it's not so stiff, and because it's the same color as the cardigan, the look is not so severe.  Robert said that the top looked Grecian (due to how I folded over this non-closure sweater).

New items:
*Blue dress (thifted, Target brand)
*Black belt from Target
*Black Mary Janes from Hush Puppies--I bought these to replace my old pair of black Hush Puppies Mary Janes that didn't fit quite right anymore.  The idea of Sally without black Mary Jane shoes is unthinkable.  Almost as inconceivable as Sally without an olive green military-style jacket.

Flower Power #1

New items:
*Flower sleeveless tank (already forgot where I got it)
*Purple shrug from Target

Dressed for a Walk

I knew I needed to dress cool when Robert and I walked to the library and the new Whole Foods because it was over 80 degrees.  (I actually changed into a pair of olive sneakers for our walk, but wore these pretty, completely flat Chinese Mary Janes that have no support around the house because I could not resist how their shimmery quality matched the shirt.)

New item:
*Olive knit shirt (thifted, Chico's "Traveler" series)

Flower Power #2

Yep, another lightweight cotton skirt from Goodwill.  We're expecting a cold front later in the week, so I need to wear my really summery stuff now.  Today it's supposed to be warm and I'm going to be sewing this afternoon, which means having a bunch of warm lights on in my office--this often overheats me so sleeveless is the way to go.  (On and off today I've been wearing it with that same black cardigan I had on in the blue dress photo.)  I started to wear this with a pink shirt, but I'm feeling a bit burned out on bright pink right now.  I love how the shoes have black and pink detailing to match the skirt.  Note that I am not actually wearing pink hose today despite the appearance of such in this photo.

New items:
*Flowery skirt (thifted, Kohl's brand)
*Black sleeveless shirt (thifted, not willing to take it off right now to see the brand)

I also discovered this week that it's a pain in the ass to have only two white t-shirts.  Finding white t-shirts that are not so sheer as to require a camisole underneath is oddly difficult, and I refuse to wear a camisole under a frickin' t-shirt--that's just ridiculous.  I mean, I basically don't buy stuff that requires a camisole even for wearing to work.  I've ordered several different ones to try out, and so far have had luck with one I got on sale from Nordstrom.  We'll see if any of the ones from Macy's work out.