Saturday, February 28, 2015

With or Without Lumps

WWWSC Day 6: Wear the item you've been saving--Thursday, 2/26/15

It's so silly, but the item I've been saving is one of the most simple, versatile garments of all--a chambray button up shirt.  (Chambray is a lot like denim only lighter weight material.)  I had been thinking of getting one for a while, but never saw one in a store/online that just commanded me to try it, and I never saw one at Goodwill.  I got lucky that when I went to the 88 cent thrift store sale with my mom and her sister at Christmas that they had one in my size, and doubly lucky that my mom, who saw it first (well, technically her sister saw it first and showed it to her), decided that she didn't care for the ruffles.  Chambray + ruffles?  I'm on it.

There are approximately a gazillion pins featuring a chambray shirt on Pinterest.  This is just one of them.

I was attracted to the purple sweater, chambray top, leopard shoe combination, which I executed thusly.

*Chambray button up shirt (thrifted, LL Bean, 88 cents)
Purple pullover sweater (Kohls)
Black pants (thrifted, Lane Bryant)
Leopard smoking slippers by Clarks
Hammered silver necklace (JNY)

It only occurred to when I was ironing it that it might not actually be a true chambray shirt.  Perhaps it's just a light blue shirt with a slight white pattern that gives it a sort of chambray look.  Feel free to call the fashion police if you must, but I think they'll let me off with a warning--it's a really close match.  Maybe the ruffles should have been a tip-off?  In any event, I'm calling this my chambray shirt whether it's real chambray or ersatz chambray.

All is forgiven when I wear leopard smoking slippers, right?  Right?

Verdict:  The button up shirt with pullover sweater combination always looks oddly lumpy in the photos--it's a bit lumpy in person too because I can never be bothered to wear a camisole between the layers as a girdle for my bumpy button up, but not as lumpy as it does in the pictures.  Or well, maybe it does look that lumpy when I stand around with my arms up above my shoulders.  Note to self: don't spend all day at work with your arms above your shoulders or people will start to whisper to each other about how lumpy your sweater looks.  And we can't have that.

But what am I saying.  The cold I'd been fighting off hit with a vengeance late in the evening, so I'm achy and tired and sleepy (from trying and mostly failing to sleep on top of a mound of pillows to facilitate breathing) and could maybe, maybe raise my arms above my head if your pointed a gun at me.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Puffed Up

WWWSC Day 3: Go big or go home--Wednesday, 2/25/15

It was clear from the context of the prompt that they were talking about oversized garments, but I wanted to take this a different direction and wear my big puffy leopard vest to work.  So I found a pin of a dress and a blanket scarf and that ubiquitous J. Crew quilted vest and no tights???? as the basis for my creation.


Blanket scarves....I don't know.  They look nice, and they look warm, but I can't help but think that it would feel strange to have this big mass of fabric protruding all over the front of my body.  It seems awkward.  I mean, a female rabbit's dewlap serves the purpose of putting fur in a spot where she can easily pluck it out with her mouth to line her nest, and it looks like an adorable, natural thing, which it is, but....well, I guess everybody wants prosthetic plaid wool dewlap thingies on their real chests.  Or, I should say, everybody but me.  I'll wear a normal scarf with my giant puffy vest of doom.

Puffy leopard vest (Macy's)
Green dress (Lands End)
Black scarf (Target)
*Black fleece-lined leggings (Target--finally they had some!)
Tall black boots by Fitzwell

Can I just take a moment to say how awesome Lands End's knit dresses are?  They are comfy and made of really thick, wonderful fabric, and they have pockets.  Sweet, right?

Seeing this top down photo reminds me, Oh yeah, when I see outfits where somebody is wearing a green skirt and I'm like, Too bad I don't have a green skirt--well, I kind of do, if I wear a sweater or something over the top of my green dress.  Interesting.

Verdict:  A puffy vest can be a part of your balanced business casual wardrobe, if you live in the frozen tundra.  The challenge is fitting it underneath your normal wool coat that you wear to work.  Luckily mine fit the vest without difficulty.

So glad I made it through today without feeling too sick.  I had some bad moments at the end of a 3 hour meeting, around 12:30-1:00, but was feeling better after lunch.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Piling on the Warm Stuff

Who What Wear Style Challenge (WWWSC) Day 2: Mix at least 2 textures--Tuesday, 2/24/15

I knew I wanted one of my textures to be corduroy, so I searched my pins for something with a red skirt.  Here was my first contender.  I like the plaid shirt, but that's not really warm enough for our current weather.


Then I found another pin with the same red skirt, this time with a navy pullover sweater.


Now we're in business.

You may recall that I said my plaid pants were my only plaid item except for one scarf and a couple of plaid flannel shirts that I sleep in.  Well, here's calling on the Black Watch tartan sleep shirt (just a slightly big men's shirt) to do double duty. 

Red corduroy skirt (thrifted, H&M)
*Dark green flannel plaid button up shirt (Walmart)
Navy wool pullover sweater (thrifted, Ralph Lauren)
Red scarf (Target)
Navy leggings
Tall cognac boots by Sam Edelman

I've got some good textures going on here: corduroy, flannel, wool sweater, leather.  Overall, a very "fall has given way to winter and DAMN it's cold" kind of look.

Verdict:  Mixing textures is easy-peasy in winter.  Wearing a men's shirt that's a sleep shirt as a regular shirt underneath a pullover sweater works pretty well.  The shirt is actually the correct size for my shoulders and it fits over my hips just fine--the fact that it's way loose and baggy around the middle is OK because it gets smooshed in under the sweater. 

And yep, I'm following the style blogger law and wearing tall cognac boots. Because I can.

I felt very comfortable all day, except for one point in the evening when I was getting extremely frustrated with something and my body temperature rose by several degrees and I thought I would pass out.  But my annoyance dissipated and all was well again.  The annoying thing #1 was that I got some posters I ordered online in the mail today (yay!) but the way they wrapped and taped them meant that it was much, much easier to tear the poster itself than to get the stupid fucking protective death grip wrapping paper off of it.  What the hell, people?  It's OK, I don't think the small tear at the very top center of my 24"x36" poster is noticeable now that it's in its frame.  The annoying thing #2 was dealing with the frames themselves--I hate the cheap ass ones with the metal tabs you have to bend and unbend with your thumb.  My fingers were red and sore and pretty beat up, even though I started using a butter knife on it pretty quickly.  Luckily most of the frames were nicer, with less painful closures on the back.  Our walls are going to look spiffy once we get these things up--spiffy with the cuteness of a million buns.

At work, I've been finishing stuff faster than my manager could look at it this week, and I felt like a rock star. I'm also having an interesting little challenge figuring out how to deal with our odd program that runs year-round and hence has enrollments that cross years as defined by our regulatory agency.  I have to make adjustments for this program sometimes, but this one is a particularly interesting dilemma for which my approach is very straightforward conceptually but twiddly in the details.

Robert stayed home sick and was asleep a lot of the day. We both seem to have developed colds, but he's got it worse, and with a horrible sounding cough that I (knock wood) don't have.  But I'm getting tired of the odd accompanying stomach ache.

Oh, I also had a prolonged dream on Monday night that Robert and I were not finished with our move yet.  We were packing up the last few things at our apartment after the movers had done their job (like we actually did--stuff like my bag of medication, my delicate little cat table, etc.) when I found a room we'd forgotten about that had some stuff in it.  Then I thought, I should look outside to see what's there, and we had a bunch of crates, frames with art work (!), etc., out on our patio.  Because of course our apartment had turned into my parents' house at this point.  Then I was like, Oh no, we have a garage, too!  And looking in, it was like the worst extreme nightmare version of how full of stuff my parents garage has ever been.  My dad's tennis trophies had been reproducing like rabbits in there, for one, so there were like a hundred of them.  The walls were completely covered in tools that appeared mostly to be securely wired in to withstand the apocalypse.  And I was like, We have to have everything moved out of here in under 18 hours, how is this even gonna happen?  So I called my dad (god knows where he was) and he said, Maybe you can get [my cousin] Ben to help you.  It was kind of a relief to wake up and realize I only had to go to work today at my normal job and not move the mountain of possessions that had infested my parents' nightmare garage.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Another Animal and a Pop

But before I get into the new style challenge, I need to finish up this last pattern challenge outfit that I didn't wear when planned because I was sick last Thursday.

Pattern Challenge Day 23: Zebra--Monday, 2/23/15

My love for leopard print is legendary, but I have relatively few zebra print items in my wardrobe.  (Given the size of my wardrobe, this is impressive.)  This isn't because I don't like zebra print; I guess zebra is just a lot less common than leopard print.  But I was happy to run across this subtle zebra print cardigan at Goodwill for like $5.

*Grey zebra print cardigan (thrifted, Gap)
Black lace bottom T (thrifted, Coldwater Creek)
Light teal pencil skirt (JCP)
Grey leggings
Tall grey boots by LifeStride
Teal scarf (Target)

I also am glad to have two different shades of teal pencil skirt.  I mean, I recognize that it's kind of ridiculous, but I find that they fit different niches.  It helps that in addition to this one being a lighter shade, it is also a more green teal; the dark one is more blue.  My teal scarf manages to hit a blue-green ratio in between the two skirts, but I liked it better with this lighter skirt, and I thought the lighter shade of teal popped better against the dreary grey/black ensemble.

All the way up to 19 F in Coldville today.  Maybe soon it will warm up enough that the Mississippi River stops looking like a long flat field covered in snow.

The same day I wore this outfit, Jen on Fashionably Employed posted her own version of the bright teal skirt with grey and black outfit.  I've now gone from Audrey-Sally synchronicity to Jen-Sally synchronicity.  Next, I'm going to start doubling the outfits of some dude called Rick.  I need to be on the lookout for that....


Of course she wore hers with tall cognac boots because that is THE LAW.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New Style Challenge + Pinspiration

I enjoyed creating my own version of the plaid/moto outfit I found on Pinterest, and I like seeing how other people interpret outfits they've pinned, so I decided to double up this time by following the Who What Wear style challenge while also using Pinterest to generate specific outfit ideas for the style challenge prompts. As usual, I have no intention of creating outfits sequentially to match the 30 (or whatever) days of the challenge, and I am quite happy to outright skip prompts like "Change out your handbag" (nope, I only have one and I like it that way!) and "Mix high-end with under $100" (almost everything I own is under $100) and "pair your favorite denim pieces together" (I cannot do the Canadian tuxedo, whether it is in style or not).

A while back, I started a Pinterest board with outfits that I came across on blogs I read, as well as searches for particular items on Pinterest itself, that was 80% motivated by my thought that I could use Pinterest pinning as a substitute for shopping during the long-seeming period that we were packing up, moving, and unpacking.  I've read some people get into trouble with Pinterest because they'll see a cute outfit and think, Oh man, I need to buy those items to recreate this outfit!  But I've found that it doesn't have that effect on me.  I will very occasionally pin outfits that I don't have any clothes that would match up with the pin if the outfit is just completely awesome, but I generally pin things where I have similar garments, or similar colors, or similar shapes, or similar something that goes with the pin.  If anything, even aside from the fact that time spent on Pinterest is time not spent on shopping sites, looking at outfit pins makes me less inclined to shop overall because I realize that there are so many ways to wear the clothes I already have.  And when I do get a desire to buy something because of Pinterest, it's more like, Yeah, I knew having a cobalt blue skirt would be awesome, and I've now seen 3 dozen outfits on Pinterest that I could make from my existing wardrobe if I had one.

Monday, February 23, 2015

What to Wear Cooking Beef Stew While Sick

A New Scarf and 3/4 Length Sleeves, Of Course--Sunday, 2/22/15

I could feel while taking photos of this outfit that I'm sick--my hands were pretty shaky, and despite like 12 different attempts, this mediocre photo was the best I could do.  But I was glad to try out this striped top with 3/4 length sleeves and white stripes that look like ropes to me--a nice nautical detail--because I needed to cook a big pot of beef stew for my lunches this week and I have finally learned that 3/4 sleeves are your second best friend while cooking (your apron is your first).  This puffy vest is my old puffy jacket with the sleeves zipped off.  And I'm immediately debuting my new grey scarf, which is pretty warm and cuddly on a cold day.

*Nautical striped T with 3/4 length sleeves (Kohsl)
*Grey scarf (Target)
Bright pink puffy vest (thrifted, Casual Corner)
Bootcut jeans (thrifted, Target)

I spent the evening watching Waking the Dead Season 7's first two episodes.  That show has really grown on me over time.  I'm glad I kept with it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Saturday: Shopping + Sickness + Singing

Robert's and my big objective for Saturday was to complete a shopping trip for groceries and sundries, a filing cabinet to replace the one that was broken during our move, and frames for the plethora of rabbit posters (plus one bird) that I ordered over the President's Day weekend. 

We started by going to JCP so I could return a few items I had purchased online, and it was annoying because after standing in line at the customer service desk for a good little while (including watching some old biddy just walk to the front of the line with complete disregard for protocol) and finally getting to the counter, they're like, Oh, online returns?  You have to deal with those downstairs.  And the first customer service counter we went to downstairs was like, Oh online returns?  You have to go to this one particular service desk over there.  WTF?  Would it kill them to have a sign, any kind of sign, posted about where to return online purchases?  I would have been very unhappy except by dumb luck we happened across a huge display of plastic flip flops that allowed me to finally replace my old shower flip flops with a new pair for $5 (leopard again).

We were able to get most things we wanted at Target, including a plain grey scarf (I don't know why that's so hard to find) and a pair of fleece lined leggings for me and a file cabinet for Robert (that, when he tried to attach the handles later, demonstrated a new level of crappiness by having screw holes in the metal that were too small for the screws in the handles, leading a sort of "Screw that!"/"I'd like to" exchange between us).  But their selection of frames was really limited.

Luckily I thought of "that place we've gone before to get stuff framed" (aka Michaels) and there was one basically across the street from Target.  They had a wonderful selection, including several of the awkward sizes I didn't think we'd find (e.g., 12" x 12").  And even better, we managed to be there on the last day of a four day 50% off sale on their nicer frames.  So now we're totally set for when the rabbit art arrives (and I will finally frame a couple of other small pieces that have been languishing since before our move).

But the downside is that Robert and I both are coming down with colds and felt pretty lousy the rest of the day.  I came home and took a longish, uncomfortable nap, and woke up feeling less headache-y but worse in every other way.  So our secondary objectives of dealing with the stuff remaining in our hallway, etc., didn't pan out.

After dinner, I watched the 2012 musical version of Les Miserables.  I am a fan of musicals, Hugh Jackman, and Russell Crowe, so it was a no-brainer that I'd like it.  I was surprised that the musical format involved almost entirely sung dialog, and there were times that was pretty awkward (sorry, Russell Crowe, but I'm looking at you).  I also was not really sold on or interested in the "love at first sight" Cosette/Marius thing, but overall, I enjoyed the movie. 

I also enjoyed wearing my Alice scarf with my leopard print sweater dress, leggings, snow boots, and red wool coat.  It's a bit tough dressing for shopping where you know you'll be freezing outside but have to wear all your stuff for extended periods indoors.  I only realized upon looking at the photo that it puts the lie to my earlier claim to not own anything with hearts on it.  The White Rabbit is sporting his heart livery on this scarf.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

And Now For Something Different on a Friday

Pattern Style Challenge Day 30: Plaid--Friday, 2/20/15

OK, I don't own very much plaid.  Plaid?!  How is it that I do not have half a dozen pleated plaid skirts that I bought at Goodwill?  Where are the plaid shirts?  If not for Robert's mom giving me a Burberry-plaid scarf at Christmas, the situation would be dire indeed.  I believe that other than that scarf, and a couple big flannel shirts that I sleep in, a pair of thrifted plaid pants is my only plaid patterned garment.  I love plaid, it's a classic pattern readily available for purchase at all times...I don't know what the deal is.

I decided that I wanted to try to de-fogey-ify the rather staid "not sure that these are ankle pants, I think they're just kinda short" pants that are probably old enough to be vintage but really feel more like just old.  So I looked up "plaid" on Pinterest and found this outfit.

Image originally from

The outfit I created is not nearly as cool as that one, but it (1) incorporates my frumpy (lined wool, woo!) plaid pants, (2) is compatible with casual Friday at a business casual office, and (3) does not contain holes that facilitate the freezing of body parts.

I switched black pants and plaid moto jacket for plaid pants and black moto jacket.  I kept the bold silvery necklace, grey/white striped T, and black ankle boots.  The hat...well, sorry, uh-uh.  I enjoyed creating this outfit, and the result was not too bad, I think.  (This is one of those cases where my awkward "don't shoot" shooting stance makes the outfit look worse than was.  With the moto jacket, it had a nicer slouchy quality as I walked around with my arms in a normal position all day.)

I would not have tried pairing this particular plaid (or the plaid in the inspiration photo) with grey and white stripes--I would have just worn a plain white or black top, or perhaps a graphic T if I had one that worked with these colors--but I kind of liked it.  Less boring than plain white or black, and less jarring than say black and white stripes. 

*Black/maroon plaid wool pants (thrifted, Talbots)
Grey/white striped T (Kohls)
Black moto jacket (JCP)
Black ankle boots by Sam Edelman
Chunky silver necklace (JNY)

So that is me wearing my one plaid garment to work.  However, before you become unduly alarmed that my household is not doing its part to support the plaid/tartan industry, be aware that Robert's closet and chest of drawers contain a plethora of plaid items.  In particular, his casual wardrobe has an extremely high proportion of plaid.  He is totally a person of plaid.

If he were a wider/bigger guy, I would happily just borrow his plaid shirts, but our relative sizes defy the social stereotypes implicit in the names of "boyfriend jeans," "boyfriend blazer," "grandpa cardigan," and other man-associated garments sold to women.  I am now imagining Robert in my plaid pants--I mean, plaid crop pants!  All the better for showing off those white shins during the Coldville winter!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Yes I'm Wearing the Same Shirt I Slept In and Watching Movies

Sick Bunny--Thursday, 2/19/15

We interrupt our regularly scheduled work outfit post for this "stay home and feel like crap but at least I've got a bunny on it" outfit. 

"Cute as a bunny" thermal top (Kohls; also a blatant lie)
Bright pink t-shirt cardigan (Lands End)
Bootcut jeans (thrifted, Target)--still too long!
Grey slipper-shoes (Walmart)

In the evening, I finally watched the movie Captain Phillips that my parents had recommended about a zillion months ago--based on the true story of a container ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009.  It is difficult to express just how gripping a story it was (I mean, yes, it's got the whole "ship" thing going for it, which is always a plus in my book, but it really was good--Robert got sucked into it despite himself) and how harrowing the ending was.  Tom Hanks was excellent throughout but in the last 15 minutes or

So what other movies should I be watching?

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Pattern Style Challenge Day 13: Geometric--Wednesday, 2/18/15

Yeah, I own two different black stretchy-silky material dresses with red and white geometrical patterns on them.  This was what the Goodwill gods decreed, and I accepted my fate.

I've worn the other one (with circles and squares) a couple times now but this is a first outing for the circles-only dress....which like the other one, I'm layering over so it functions like a torso-warming skirt.  I'm also wearing an almost completely hidden sweater vest under there.  High of 4 F today was the forecast but it didn't make it that far.

*Black/red circle dress (thrifted)
Maroon blazer (Lands End)
Black sweater vest (thrifted, Foxcroft)
Black leggings
Tall black boots by Fitzwell
Black scarf (Target)

Is it just me or do these circles look like bubbles?

Well, given my distinct lack of bubbly personality, I guess I could use an assist from my dress.

After lunch, I found the lower button from my blazer under my desk at work.  When I showed it to Robert, he said, So...what? Did the move shake all your buttons loose?  It is an odd thing.  And so grows my pile of minor sewing tasks.

In work news, this week I discovered about 45 "customers" who the state thinks are ours but that appear to actually belong to a very tiny organization in the northwest part of the state.  What the hell?  The data detective is on the case.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Last Week of Pattern Style Challenge

I'm reaching the point where it's getting hard to create February-in-Coldville compatible outfits with the remaining patterns on the list.  I think after this week, I'll switch over to something different.

Pattern Style Challenge Day 6: Floral--Tuesday, 2/17/15

Case in point:  this outfit.  Cute, but perhaps not quite as warm as I would prefer on a day with a high of 11 F.  Sweater tights are warm, but they cannot perform miracles...or can they?  I expected to be cold at work and I wasn't.  The thermasilk tank underneath was probably the thing keeping me from freezing. 

*Burgundy floral knit top (thrifted, JCP, 88 cents!)
Taupe grey ponte blazer (Target)
Burgundy pencil skirt (Nordstrom)
Grey sweater tights (Target)
Purple suede pumps (thrifted)
Amethyst bead necklace by RB

But I could not resist wearing this 88 cent bargain from my Christmas vacation thrift store outing with my mom and her sister.

A really strange thing:  later the same day that I had put this outfit together, I saw that Audrey at Putting Me Together had just posted the "I live in Southern California so there is no such thing as winter" version of my outfit.  Another odd instance of Audrey-Sally synchronicity.

Of course, I cannot type "Audrey" without thinking of my sister's lovely doggie.  I could totally see her, in some alternate universe, rocking a pink/purple floral outfit.  In this universe, I can only expect that it would get torn off as she ran through some bushes while chasing a squirrel.

In the evening, I found the button from my blazer on the floor next to my computer.  So starts my pile of minor sewing tasks.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Depletion in Action

Last night at bedtime, Robert said, "...I was so tired I spent the last hour surfing the wikipedia pages of random British monarchs."

I hate it when that happens.  And it happens.  It really, truly does.  It takes a chunk of effortful self-regulation to not click on that next link, and I've been in that exhausted, worn down state in which I just can't. stop. clicking. 

It's a damn good thing Robert and I don't play video slots on the Internet late at night or we'd be broke and living in the basement that my parents' house doesn't have.

Depletion-induced behavioral inertia was pretty awesome when I was working on my research late into the night during the summer of my masters program, but it's not so great when you have to go to bed at a reasonable hour so you can wake up in the morning and go to work.  Or when you're eating tortilla chips.  Not that I would know that from personal experience or anything.

Blue Valentine

Wind Chill of -35 F: Saturday, 2/14/15

Yep, seriously cold, people, and all my long-sleeved rabbit shirts (well, all two of them) were in the wash.  What's a bunny lover to do?

Blue long-sleeved T (Walmart)
Alice T (Out of Print)
Jeans (Kohls)
Wild ball necklace (Macy's)

So, OK, I dressed today like the sartorial love-child of Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory and Maddie Weston from Burn Notice.

Shelly always wears a short sleeved T on top of a long sleeved T.

For Maddie, crazy colored costume jewelry is a given (gun is optional).

After we were done hanging about 75% of our wall art (woo!), I got chilled and put a grey leopard jacket on top.  If Maddie lived in a real US city rather than Miami, she'd totally wear this jacket, too.

Monday, February 16, 2015

I Swoon for Maroon (and Leopard Print)

Casual Friday/Valentine's Eve--Friday, 2/13/15

Nobody has to tell me to put maroon and snow leopard print and black together.  :)

I had initially planned on wearing this scarf and grey knit shirt with grey pants and a high-collared maroon jacket edged in grey, but when I put the jacket on, I decided that it was a bit too tight in the shoulders (so it's going back to Goodwill for a narrower woman to enjoy). 

But I have more maroon.  I wore the schoolboy blazer pretty recently, so I thought I'd bring out my waterfall cardigan and make a casual Friday of it by wearing these magical knit ankle pants with tall boots again.  Comfy, comfy, comfy.

Maroon waterfall cardigan (Coldwater Creek)
Black ankle pants (thrifted, Eileen Fisher)
Grey T (Kohls)
Grey leopard scarf (Target)
Tall black boots by Fitzwell

This afternoon was our first Excellence team meeting and it went really well until the jerk I used to think was the head of the technology department (he's really the deputy)--and who was such a total ass at the awkward meeting I blogged about--showed up for the last 15 minutes or so and started being his usual condescending self.  Really classy, dude, to miss the first hour plus of a meeting and then start pissing on people right and left.  One of the ironies that may be missed on him is that by acting like these things he knows from his specialized technology background are obvious things that any person should know, he undersells his own expertise and experience.  (I mean, if we already knew all that shit, we wouldn't need him to be the deputy head of technology, right?)  Oh, and he also looks like a complete fucking jerk to everyone in the room.  He was not there to overlap the 45 minutes or so that our CEO was there (yep, our CEO could spare 45 to this meeting but he could only spare about 15) so I do not know whether he would have been such an ass in her presence as well.  He really rattles my (female) department head's cage (I wish that she had a tougher shell where this guy is concerned).  I cannot tell yet how much of his behavior is misogynist jerk and how much is generalized jerk.  But one thing he does that kind of makes me want to laugh is preface statements with "In the corporate environment, we..."--it sounds amazingly pompous and clueless at the same time.  If he is such a rockstar, why isn't he still in the corporate world, eh? 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Missed Opportunity

When I was putting the books I got from my mom at Christmas as part of our yearly book swap (well, what it really is: I borrow books from my mom at one Christmas and return them to her the next while rarely ever contributing any books of my own) onto my bookcase, I noticed this.

Robert said, But they were buy 2 get a 3rd free--I can't believe she only bought two of them!

I can't decide whether having two copies of the same book means that it was very good or very forgettable.  (Or whether my mom ended up with two different people's copies of the book.)

Of course, it could be that my mom was just collecting an Elder Scrolls style library.  In the process of building my libraries in Skyrim, it was not uncommon for me to have over 20 copies of the same book in a single chest in one of my houses. 

But what am I saying?  It's quite natural to hoard Treasure.

Robert's comment, playing on an inaccurate/overly restrained interpretation of the message on the sticker, reminds me of one of the cards from...I think it was the Game of Life board game...which mentioned a 20% off sale at a lumberyard, in which the length of the wood was decreased by 20%, not the price.  Does that sound familiar to anyone else?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

I Heart Blazers with Contrasting Edging

I can't quite figure out whether there is a consistent name for this--I have seen it called variously "piped," "edged," "framed," and "tipped."  But what I mean is a blazer that has an edging around the collar and usually the pockets, too, like these. 

My favorite 88 cent tweed blazer with black edging

Cream polka dot blazer by Target, thrifted

Black grid blazer with subtle black edging by Target, also thrifted

What I really want is a true, cool grey blazer with black edging (the grey blazer I have now is the much warmer taupe-grey in the third outfit here) but I cannot find one anywhere!  The closest I have come shopping online is a $500+ Theory blazer in grey with white edging.  This type of edged/tipped/whatever blazer used to be commonplace from J. Crew, Lands End, and Gap (among countless others, no doubt).

I mean, look at the fabulous bright-magenta-with-white version from Gap that Kate at a Journey in Style is wearing here (this week)!  (WANT.)

And looking on Pinterest, I found the grey/black tipped blazer of my dreams, which Lauren at Fizz and Frosting purchased from Target!  (Is it just me or does it look a lot like my thrifted Target blazers above?)

She pointed me to this blazer at JC Penney that is in the realm, but not quite right.  It's 3/4 length sleeves and a very light grey.  Actually, it would be a really nice one for spring.  Maybe I've convinced myself to try it....Hah, so I just went to buy that blazer and by the time I went to check out, they alerted me that it was no longer available in my size.  Thanks JCP!

I even looked at eBay and ThredUp but did not find any edged blazers in my size (I did not do a thorough examination of every size of blazer for sale, but I suspect that there is a size 4 J. Crew one available somewhere for like $250, used, to the desperate customer).

If you happen across a relatively inexpensive tipped blazer in an interesting color or pattern (I am pretty much crazy for this plaid one from Boden, but even on sale, I can't justify spending over $100 for it) or a grey with black tipped blazer at all out there on the Interwebs, let me know!  I am on the hunt for tipped blazers!

Friday, February 13, 2015

88 Cent Tweed Blazer Revisited

Pinspired: Whitney a La Mode--Thursday, 2/12/15

Whitney is a cute French teacher in Washington, D. C. When she wears t-shirts with French words or the Eiffel tower on them, it's legit.

I loved the color combination in this outfit and the idea of wearing a teal skirt with maroon ankle boots.  But see outside her window?  It's not deep Snowville winter when and where she is wearing this outfit, so some adaptation was in order.

Dark teal skirt and red pullover sweater, that I could do.

But I needed to add tights, and I wanted to wear black shoes to match the black tights (the maroon boots on bare legs will have to wait for a warmer day).

Even a cashmere sweater with a thermasilk tank underneath seemed not quite warm enough, so instead of a colorful scarf, I pulled out the 88 cent blazer that keeps on giving.

I was very pleased by my version of Whitney's look--it's winter appropriate and it's in a more classic, less girly key, which is more in keeping with my style for work wear.  Unlike the red skirt and striped T outfit on Monday (which is a wonderful but obvious combination), the "red pullover with dark teal skirt with patterned piece that ties them together" idea is one that I might never have gotten around to on my own, but that feels very me.

Red cashmere pullover sweater (Macy's)
Dark teal pencil skirt (JCP)
Colorful tweed blazer (thrifted, Sag Harbor, 88 cents)
Black tights
Black heeled oxfords (thrifted, Aerosoles)
Gold chain link necklace (Ann Taylor)

I've had these shoes for a zillion years and I absolutely love them.  I don't wear them very often (hence their longevity, considering they were bought used), but I enjoy pulling them out every once in a while.  Despite their (modest) heel and pointy toebox, they are quite comfortable.  I mean, I won't be chasing squirrels with my sister's dog at the park while wearing these shoes, but they are just fine for wearing at my desk while crunching data.

Speaking of which....I finally finished the "missing data" project today!  Although some of the data didn't make it into our data submission, we did at least figure out where all of it is, and the guy in charge of those programs is well-informed now about what data practices are working/not working in his department.  Now it's time to start tackling my list of "projects on hold while quarterly reporting/this never-ending missing data issue/preparing for the data presentation on Wed. were going on."

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Navy Pinstripes and Grey Trousers Revisited

How to Dress to Give a Data Presentation--Wednesday, 2/11/15

The full body shot was just not cooperating with this outfit, but here you can get the gist of it (with bonus cutie snake in the background).  It's the same blazer and pants that I wore a couple weeks ago with the light blue lace sweater--I wanted to wear something I knew was comfortable and traditionally professional, and this fit the bill.  A cashmere sweater and silk scarf add warmth and a bit of class.

*Burgundy cashmere sweater (Macy's)
Grey pants (thrifted, Loft)
Navy pinstriped blazer (thrifted, Express)
Floral silk scarf (thrifted, Art Institute of Chicago)
Grey ankle boots by Seychelles

See, I really am wearing pants and ankle boots!  There is not a pair of raggedy cut-off shorts and glitter flip flops hiding behind that bathroom vanity.  Everyone knows only high-heeled flip-flops are professional enough to wear when giving a presentation at work, and mine are at the cobbler's shop having rhinestones added to decorate the 2" platform and faux fur added to pad the footbed for extra warmth in this long Coldville winter.

My presentation went fine.  My boss said I did a "really great" job--both to me and, perhaps better, to our department head at a time he probably did not expect that I could overhear.

I had no idea until one of my co-workers mentioned it this afternoon that we have off work on Monday for President's Day.  Yay!  After getting to work at 7:15 this morning for the meeting with my presentation (which happened later, around 8:30), and having a somewhat restless night's sleep (featuring an extended dream about having married into a criminal family and spending days and days on the run with my non-Robert husband, trying to get away from the skankiest and most dangerous of that crew), I am pretty exhausted.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lace Revisited

After making my light blue lace sweater look reasonably professional with a navy blazer, I thought I'd take a stab at toughening up my light pink lace sweater.

Pink with an Edge -- Tuesday, 2/10/15

Take pastel pink lace, add a comfy knit pencil skirt, a moto jacket, and cool ankle boots.  Sprinkle with sparkly beads.  Mix well. 

On our last trip to Target, Robert had helped me look for fleece-lined tights but they had nothing--just a couple pairs of fleece-lined leggings with a kind of weird horizontal metallic thread stripe that were on sale (as Robert says, No wonder).  This astonished me because we have a couple solid months of winter left, but whatever.  Target corporate must not be taking local weather conditions into account...even though their headquarters are local.  But they did have some sweater tights, so I decided to try those because I'd read that they were also often warmer than normal tights.  Look at the nifty pattern!

Horizontal metallic stripes, nope.  Subtle vertical sweater stripes, I'm in.

I had fun trying to take one of the down-the-body selfies that I see all over the Internet.  It's actually a nice way to get a close up of the outfit's textures (see how the jacket has a waffle texture) AND it makes me look like a giant, which is always awesome.

Pink lace sweater (Kohls)
Black moto jacket (JCP)--an unexpectedly useful item
Grey/black polka dot knit pencil skirt (JCP)
*Grey sweater tights (Target)
Black sparkle necklace (Kohls)
Black ankle boots by Sam Edelman

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Valentine's Week of Red and Pink

Day 9 of the Pattern Challenge is Hearts.  I do not own any heart patterned items (not even an I heart bunnies t-shirt!) but in the spirit of the holiday, I decided to pick a red or pink item to wear every day this week.  Of course, the hyper-observant reader of this blog may have noticed, But you started wearing red and pink last Wednesday!  True, but that was accidental.  I'm now wearing pink and red with intent

Pinspired: StyleUp -- Monday, 2/9/15

For my first outfit, I used this photo I pinned on Pinterest as the inspiration.  I have been pinning outfit photos recently as a substitute for shopping and it's crazy how many I have lined up. 

Black and white stripes with a red skirt and (less weird, more winter-compatible) black boots.  Got it.  I considered wearing my black/white herringbone blazer (to substitute for the houndstooth clutch she's carrying) but decided to put my velvety black blazer into the mix instead because I haven't worn it yet this season (and I've worn the herringbone blazer with this skirt already).  I think I prefer the cleaner lines and hello sailor, it's winter vibe I've got going here.

Black velvet blazer (thrifted, Talbots)
Black/white striped T (Kohls)
Red corduroy skirt (thrifted, H&M)
Red scarf (Target)
Black leggings
Tall black boots by Fitzwell

In work news, I about had a heart attack mid-morning thinking it was Tuesday--I had a bunch of stuff due on Tuesday that I wasn't close to finishing.  Man, what a relief to realize I was a day ahead of myself.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Leaf It To Me

In work-related news, I was in major awesomeness mode today.  My complicated index-matches populated my quarterly reports perfectly, and my macros were all cooperative, so I'm on track (knock wood) to deliver on schedule even though the data were two days late.  I completed a report specifically requested by our Biggest Wig on behalf of my over-burdened office mate, yielding an ALL CAPS WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS! email from our department head.  My planning prowess was remarked upon with great favor by my direct supervisor.  The head of the programs I have been searching for missing data on told my supervisor that he was amazed by my work (I think I have figured out where all of the data are!--even if some of the data are not immediately available to us).

I haven't had a day this good since (maybe a week and a half ago?) I was selected by my department head as the analyst from our department to sit on a new research/IT joint committee with "Excellence" in the name; the other analysts were assigned to a group tasked with playing around with data to come up with new reporting ideas for our new data visualization tool.  She told us that she made the assignments to play on our strengths (which is something she is really good at and that I like a lot--I cannot tell you how nice it is to be an environment that acknowledges and celebrates your strengths instead of constantly reminding you of your myriad deficiencies). Robert commented that my strength is in Excellence, which is no doubt true, but a small leadership committee tasked with planning, quality assurance, establishing best practices, making strategic decisions, making recommendations to senior leadership, etc., is a really good fit for me--a better fit than an innovation group.  I am all for innovation...but innovation with excellence!

Yep, these boots are made for kicking ass. 

Pattern Challenge Day 9: Conversational Item (Leaves) + Day 19: Leopard -- Friday, 2/6/15

And finally, the last day of pattern + dress/skirt challenge week!

I love this skirt so it was an easy choice for my conversational item pattern.  I recently purchased this bright pink sweater, which again was a no-brainer to pair with the skirt.  But the sweater is definitely too lightweight to wear alone on a winter day in Coldville, so I needed another layer.  This brown quilted jacket is something I forget I own, but it really comes in handy.  The pink/coral/orange/whatever leopard infinity scarf adds some subtle pattern mixing to the outfit and helps obscure the fact that the sweater has a zipneck.  I love me a zipneck sweater, but it did look a bit overkill to wear a zipper sweater and a zipper jacket together.

*Bright pink zipneck pullover sweater (thrifted, Foxcroft)
Pink/brown leaf skirt (thrifted, Talbots)
Brown quilted jacket (thrifted, Walmart)
Pink leopard infinity scarf (thrifted)
Brown leggings
Tall dark brown boots by Fitzwell

I'm getting some good use out of my collection of riding boots this week!  I really need to weatherproof my new cognac riding boots so they can come out and play this winter, too.

Blast from the Past--I wore this bottom half together before (5-19-14) in an outfit that once again demonstrates that my clothing choices are a lagging indicator of the seasons.  This would be winter in most parts of the country.  It really would be fall here.  (I mean, fall + leaves is a natural combination.) 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Tweaking the Challenge

Pattern Challenge Day 12: Substituting Circles and Squares for Houndstooth -- Thursday, 2/5/15

I'm not sure that I own anything in houndstooth so I decided to try winterizing a lightweight dress with a geometric circle/square pattern instead.

I'm also not sure I've tried the "put a pullover sweater on top of a dress so it looks like a skirt" idea before, but this seemed like the right time to test it out using a snuggly warm wool sweater.  With just the sweater, it looked kind of unfinished so I popped a vest on it.  This gave the outfit a kind of Midwestern winter casual style that seems appropriate to the time and place (and a business casual office).  Maybe I should have saved this for a Friday outfit but whatever.

I know bubble necklaces are basically passe at this point, but I still just love how wearing the red bubbles on a red top adds some subtle texture so I wore it anyway.  It's not like this outfit has anything else currently fashionable about it...except perhaps for wearing a puffy vest to work, which seems to be a thing right now.  I haven't yet worn my seriously puffy Skyrim office leopard vest to work, but I like how this lighter quilted vest works so well as an extra layer for warmth and visual interest.

Black/white/red circle/square dress (thrifted)
*Red cable knit wool sweater (thrifted, Lands End)
Black quilted vest (gift from Mom)
Black leggings
Tall black boots by Fitzwell
Red bubble necklace (Outfit Additions)

Blast from the Past--I'd forgotten that I winterized this dress before.  Well "springized" it, I guess, because I wore it on 4/17/14, but that was still pretty cold in Snow City as I recall.  I really like this first rendition as well--it has an equestrian vibe with the riding boots, classic blazer, and ascot-tied scarf.  I've now moved from equestrian to Midwestern school teacher with this dress.  I haven't worn this dress on its own yet, which is sort of funny, but it does seem to make a nice base for building a cool/cold weather outfit around.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

What to Wear to a Meeting with Site Administrators

Pattern Challenge Day 18 #3: Stripes -- Wednesday, 2/4/15

I took this challenge day easy because I wanted to pick out something I could feel confident and professional in when meeting with the administration staff at one of our sites to discuss their quarterly results.  (I do not usually do this kind of meeting, but the person in my department who works with sites asked me to come to this meeting because I do the analysis.  It went just fine.)

In addition to wearing stripes and a skirt to meet the minimum challenge requirements, I also managed to wear a new skirt.  So I declare victory.

(I had forgotten how nice this skirt is--it's a navy suiting skirt, fully lined, and super professional.  In my memory, it was a longer, more dowdy length, but now that I realize it's knee length, game on.)  

*Navy pencil skirt (thrifted, Liz Claiborne)
Purple/blue striped jacket (thrifted, Coldwater Creek)
Magenta T (Walmart)
Grey leggings
Tall grey boots by LifeStride
Purple "gumdrop" necklace (Target)

Wearing an old Walmart t-shirt under your jacket is a kind of questionable seeming "professional" attire decision, but I don't work in a conservative corporate type setting, so I think it's professional enough.

I'm getting more use out of this short purple necklace than I'd anticipated, so that was a fortunate purchase decision.

Blast from the Past--The last time I wore this jacket (5/14/14), I paired it with this same t-shirt.  Yep, it's the perfect color and length so I'm going to stick with what works.  I'd forgotten how much I like the bright pink scarf with this jacket.