Tuesday, March 31, 2015

On the Grid

MMMSC Day 5: Target Favorites--Tuesday, 3/31/15

Probably my favorite Target purchases are the two tipped blazers (cream polka dot and black grid print) that I got at Goodwill.  Grid print (aka windowpane) is such a great pattern, and the Target blazer is the only thing I own with that print (except for a scarf, now that I think about it), waaaah.  Pinterest and blogs right now are filled with all kinds of great grid print shirts, dresses, coats, pants, etc.  I liked this pairing of stripes and grid print from an ad for Lands End pants.

From Landsend.com

I chose to pair a striped shirt with the grid blazer and added a bunch of solid green to debut two items I recently bought at JC Penney.  I thought this outfit was a nice balance of warm comfy and spring looking--and adaptable enough to deal with these low below freezing, high above 60 F days we're having this week.  The shirt and pants can stand on their own if my office gets to warm for the blazer and scarf.

Confession:  In the photo, you can see that I put on my ankle boots by default, but once I saw how it looked (awkward!), I switched them out for my black buckle flats instead.  Much better.  But I forgot to take re-take photos.  Oops.

Black grid blazer (thrifted, Target)
Black and white striped T (Kohls)
*Green pants (JCP)
*Green scarf (JCP)
Black ankle boots by Sam Edelman Black buckle flats by Me Too

It feels a bit odd to be wearing a pair of tapered leg trousers again.  These are JCP's "slim" pants, which kind of make me feel like it's the 90s again, though not necessarily in a bad way.  I mean, they do not seem like a pair of pants I actually could have owned in the 90s--the wide waistband, the flat front, and the moderate (not high waisted) rise are definitely hallmarks of a modern garment, not an old one.  I liked them as a colorful alternative to the skinny ankle pants that usually don't play nicely with my body.

OK, I admit, the boots do look nifty from this top down perspective, though.

Verdict:  I love tipped blazers!  I love grid print!  I would love to wear a white tipped brightly colored blazer (maybe coral) that I don't have with a grid print skirt that I don't have!

Oh, but as for this outfit, I found that it was pretty easy being green.

Also, it was very smart of me to buy two striped tops because I seem to wearing them ALL THE TIME.  With everything.  Though I guess I have not yet worn one of these black and white striped Ts with my black and white striped knit pencil skirts...or with my black and white striped knit blazer.  Yikes.  I think that would be too much even for me, but it's probably a never say never situation.

And as it turned out, I did go blazer-free in the afternoon.  I was able to get by without another jacket or coat this morning, too, which was great.

Monday, March 30, 2015


MMMSC Day 6: Accessorize--Monday, 3/30/15

Oh yes, I want to wear my new colorful butterfly scarf!

And this inspiration photo from a German blogger depicts an outfit that will show it off very nicely.

From aheartandsoulstory.blogspot.de

Black jeans, black blazer, mint or light blue top, and a scarf.  Simple.  I like the fit of these bootcut jeans a lot--I always think they're going to be too small when I'm putting them on but then [woosh] magic happens and they fit perfectly.  They have enough stretch to fit themselves to my body but not so much stretch that they end up baggy by the end of the day.  They also look fabulous with boots--go figure.

I'm disappointed that the bright daylight somehow managed to wash out the colors in this photo.  The jacket and jeans are true black, not the kind of dark grey they look here.

*Black butterfly scarf (Kohls)
Light blue T (Kohls)
Black jeans (thrifted, NYDJ)
Black ponte knit blazer (Target)
Black ankle boots by Sam Edelman

Let's get a close up of this lovely scarf.  The combination of black and a bunch of other soft primary colors will make it very versatile, I think.  I'm already trying to decide whether to pair it with red or cobalt next time.

Verdict:  I like how wearing black jeans and a black knit blazer is like the super-comfortable alternative to wearing a suit--it has a similar "put together" quality (though obviously at a more casual level).  Weirdly enough, I don't think I've ever tried this combination before.  This would make for a very useful outfit formula: black jeans + black knit blazer + black shoes/boots + knit top + interesting patterned scarf. A nice comfy way to start off Spring Break...while still going to work. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Life Style Challenge Week 4

Week 3 Challenge Review:

(1)  No bread, no pasta, no rice
(2)  Exercise for 20 25 minutes, 3 days a week (T, Th, Sat)-- 15 20 min cardio, 5 min strength
(3)  Make doctor and dentist appointments
(4)  Make new paleo main dish and veg recipes
(5)  Max of 4 Triscuits per day

I completed 1, 3, and 4 without any problems.  I have doctor and dentist appointments set up for the week of April 6 at a place only a couple miles from my apartment.  I baked seasoned chicken thighs/drumsticks and sweet potatoes (turned out quite well, still eating on them).

Friday evening I was feeling really sick and exhausted--I put on a puffy vest and scarf over my clothes, changed into bunny slippers, and sat in my comfy chair under a blanket and I was still shivering like crazy, despite it being 70-71 F in the apartment.  All day Saturday I was tired and achy and walked (on those occasions I could not avoid it) like some kind of old person who had been turned into a zombie.  So I had to defer the exercise until today, which is fine--that's one of the assumptions I've been making, that I'd sometimes have to switch days, and I intentionally selected Saturday as the weekend exercise day so that I could carry it over until Sunday if necessary.

For my Triscuit challenge, I did average under 4 Triscuits per day, but on Saturday I kept getting nauseated so I ate 4 Triscuits twice.  (A couple times earlier in the week, I hadn't eaten any at all.)  So while I didn't meet my challenge technically, I was successful at both reducing overall Triscuit consumption and, perhaps more importantly, reducing habitual Triscuit consumption.  So I'm going to give myself a pass on that challenge, with the understanding that future Triscuit challenges probably should be about average consumption because sometimes I just really want some plain carbs when I'm feeling ill, especially from a sinus/nasal allergy thing.

Week 3 Challenge Prizes:

Man, this is a terrible image.  Well, you'll have to trust me that it's a kind of pinkish-coral sherbet colored knit top with a birds on a wire pattern.  This summer it will worm warm up enough for me to wear it and I can present you a nice in-outfit-context photo (hah, birds, worms, that all goes together).  (Woo, a photo so bad that my mirror selfie will be an improvement!  A rara avis, indeed.)

Also a short-sleeved polka dot T-shirt to wear when it's too warm for my long-sleeved one.

Life Style Challenge Week 4:

(1)  No bread, no pasta, no rice
(2)  Exercise for 25 30 minutes, 3 days a week (T, Th, Sat)-- 20 25 min cardio, 5 min strength
(3)  Make new paleo "carb substitute" recipe
(4)  Average 3 or fewer Triscuits per day

One of my paleo cookbooks has a few recipes for muffins, pancakes, and quick breads that contain fruit and/or veg with almond flour.  I'm getting the ingredients for a couple of these (using canned pumpkin or apples) that I can try out this week.  I'm hoping one of them will be palatable enough to work as a good substitute for eating Triscuits.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Playing Nice

WWWSC Day 30: Leave the details to the shoes--Friday, 3/27/15

Whew, OK, we've made it to the end of this thing.  And I confess, I did not entirely abide by the guidelines of this last challenge.  Don't worry, I'm wearing awesomely interesting shoes, but I didn't leave the details entirely to the shoes.  I couldn't help it.

A perusal of my "leopard shoes" pins on Pinterest pulled up this photo.  A very simple loose blouse in a lovely saturated hue, skinny jeans, and leopard shoes--a great Friday outfit.

From ninethirtytofive.blogspot.com

Well, when I went to create a version of this myself, I realized that my loose purple blouse is much more interesting than hers in that it has a nice long zipper down the front.  I think it's a cool detail that I really like, but it does mean that my calf-hair leopard smoking slippers have a little competition on the details front. It also was going to be (only a little unexpectedly) chilly today, so I wore a black cardigan that I didn't want to have to wear.  Oh well, maybe I can revisit the pure purple thing when it's actual spring.  (Bah, what a disappointing washed out photo.)

But these shoes are so awesome that they can stand up to a zip neck top with no trouble at all.  Leopard shoes are always a star.

Just in case my shoes feel threatened, though, I put a somewhat long expanse of muscular denim-clad leg in between these two items.  It totally detracts from your laid-back casual Friday vibe when one part of your clothing starts fighting with each other, and I think both the shirt and the shoes will be sufficiently intimidated by the thighs of the Colossus to not start any trouble. 

Verdict:  Perhaps one operational definition of spring in Coldville is: I can wear calf-hair shoes in the parking lot at work without ruining them from walking through dirty sludge.

God, today my officemate and I were competing for Most Loony Tired Person in the office.  A co-worker came in while we were laughing way too hard over something to do with Doctor Who about mid-afternoon, and catching the vibe of the space, he told us a story about his cousin and his cousin's friend's baby momma sleeping in somebody's garage that made my officemate and me laugh way too hard over again.  Then about 4:15, despite my having badged myself through the locked doors that separate the work space on my floor from the entry way with bathrooms and elevators, I tried to just yank the door open and was flummoxed for a moment by what the hell just happened.  My officemate observed that when you fail to do something that is completely habitual, you know it's bad.  So yeah, I'm feeling the TGIF pretty hard today.

Next week is Spring Break, so a lot of people in my department (and my building overall) are taking vacation days.  I have ordered two books about our new data visualization tool that I hope to work through during this lull.  So far I've been figuring things out by the "google, read, google, read, aha!, implement as described" method, but it would be nice to start building a stronger mental schema for all these random things.  Heh, if nothing else, knowing the actual words for things in the software environment makes it a helluva lot easier to google them.  For example, there's this feature that I think of as "drill down" that I have wanted to search for a couple times, but "drill down" means something else entirely. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Birds on a Shirt

WWWSC Day 24: Layer in an unexpected way--Thurs., 3/26/15

For this one, I didn't bother with an inspiration photo because I knew I wanted to do something very odd indeed--wear my navy/blue bird pullover with a button up shirt underneath it.  This was particularly awkward because the button up shirt has long sleeves and the pullover has three-quarter sleeves, produced by rolling up long sleeves and stitching them in place.  So either the long sleeves of the button up shirt stick out beneath the pullover or the sleeves are rolled into a giant cuff.  Yeah, I wasn't planning for that.  Oh well, I still liked the stripes/birds vibe going on here.  (Note how I cleverly obscured the cuff issue in this photo by chopping off the ends of my arms as well as my head?)

*Black/light blue striped button up shirt (thrifted, Cato)
Blue/navy bird pullover (Kohls)
Pink floral statement necklace (Target)
Navy pants (thrifted, Pantology)
Navy ankle boots by Seychelles

The striped shirt has a few pink stripes that I used as an excuse to bring the pink necklace in.  The pullover may have swallows on it, but the necklace is here to satisfy my inner magpie--oooh bright shiny--and to provide a bit of visual relief against all this blue.

Verdict:  I wish the cuffs of the bird pullover were not stitched in place.  I mean, I get it, for a lot of people it's way more convenient to have it pre-styled in this way (the long sleeves rolled to the practical 3/4 length is a cool look, but can be fiddly to achieve yourself and has a tendency to unroll just as your hands are covered in flour or something), but it's kind of annoying for those of us who want more versatility.  Make it long sleeved, make it 3/4 length sleeved, whatever, but no big stitched-in rolled cuff.  Oh well, that's a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things--it's a comfy pullover with birdies on it!  BIRDIES!  And unlike my "snuggle bunny" and French bunny t-shirts, I can actually make this bird shirt work in a business casual office environment, and that's a happy thing.  I don't really hold it against the designer that they did not foresee my button up shirt layering needs.  I am layering in an unexpected way, after all.  Thus, challenge complete.  One more day of the WWWSC to go!

In other news...it was actually quite cool when I left work this evening.  I saw a woman leave the building, walking extremely fast, and no wonder--she had on a puffer coat, but was wearing a shirt skirt with ballet flats and NO TIGHTS with it.  Insane.  Supposed to warm up this weekend, though.  We'll see.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Taking a Brief Detour

Since this is the last week of my Who What Wear Style Challenge outfits, I decided to throw in (out of order, but bear with me) an outfit from the next style challenge, this one courtesy of Mo Mo Mod from February 2014.

It would have been neater to finish the WWWSC, then start this one, but the weather forecast was better suited to doing it this way--with rain in the forecast and a meeting to attend, a simple outfit with tall boots seemed wise.  Of course, given our recent meteorological track record, this means that I was probably planning for events that did not occur at all like we thought even a day or two out...and that was true--we didn't have any rain, but there was more slush on the parking lot from a bit of overnight snow.  Regardless, I'm mixing things up with a preview of the MMMSC today, then for the rest of the week, I'll be finishing up the WWWSC, returning to this MMMSC one next week.

Here's a nice representation of the style challenges you will be seeing, in some random order, for the next month starting next week.  I can already tell you that #1, #2, #8, #22, and #27 will not be a part of my challenge.  (FYI, OOTD just means "outfit of the day.")

MMMSC Day 7: Animal print--Wednesday, 3/25/15

Ah yes, one of my favorites.  The challenge is narrowing down all the possibilities to a single animal print item.  I see outfits where people wear multiple animal print things, and I don't know--it usually looks just fine but it feels like too much for my style.  If I want to go with a patterned-up look, I'd rather wear one animal print and one other print than two leopard print in most cases.

So I decided to go subtle, like Peg Bundy, with a form-fitting animal print body suit edged in faux fur.  It doesn't get classier than this.

Then I realized, Damn, I don't have such a garment!  On to plan B....where B stands for brown.

I liked the simplicity of this brown and white outfit that lets the leopard scarf stand out.  Easy enough to do a version of this.

Originally from wishlist123.polyvore.com

Although I liked the use of cognac and brown, brought together nicely in the two-tone bag, I decided to go with a more monochrome look of dark brown (though I did leave the white shirt in there for the scarf to stand out a bit better against).  I think this skirt is a bit on the short side for my wearing-to-work comfort level, but it's just fine with the tights.  I am quite grateful for how tights (at least the sedate dark colors that I wear) can turn an iffy dress or skirt solidly back into the business casual range.

Brown skirt (thrifted, Target)
White T (Walmart)
Brown leopard scarf (Kohls)
Brown cardigan (Kohls)
Brown sweater tights (Target)
Tall brown boots by Fitzwell

And monochromatic needn't be boring when you're bringing a lot of interesting textures into the mix.

Verdict:  Though a subdued animal print look even by my standards (let alone Peg Bundy's), I enjoyed this outfit a lot.  My recent style challenges have awoken a new appreciation in me for texturally interesting, mostly monochromatic looks.  My usual practice is stripes + animal print + florals + brights +++++, but it's nice to change things up with a more understated yet still interesting combination.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Bright Girl

Who What Wear Style Challenge (WWWSC) Day 1: Wear a bright color combo--Tuesday, 3/24/15

Yep, I'm finally getting around to the Day 1 outfit.  I'm a rebel.

But wearing cheerful colors was right on target to celebrate the birthday of somebody special (who is also one of my reliable blog readers and commenters).  Happy Birthday, Somebody!  (Happy unbirthday to the rest of you, too.)

I scanned my pins for two bright colors and stopped at this one.  See, a cobalt skirt!  OK, I don't have one of those (though I love hers), but I do have bright pink and cobalt items.  (Also note: yet another black and white polka dot shirt!  Right up there with blanket scarves and black pants/tall cognac boot combinations and chambray shirts in the fashion blogger outfit arsenal.)

Originally from myhereandnowlife.com

I switched the bright pink to the bottom and cobalt to the top, found a pair of oxford style shoes (blue leopard for the win), layered a blue/black/white striped button up shirt (because I do not own any polka dot ones), and added a scarf for extra warmth/Sally-ness (it's spring but still expecting a high temperature in the 40s).  Because the parking lot looks like someone spilled the Slurpee of the Gods all over it yesterday, I wore my snow boots to work, then changed into these cool cats in the office.

Bright pink Dockers
Cobalt cashmere pullover sweater (Macy's)
Blue/white/black striped button up shirt (thrifted, Kohls)
Pink/blue floral scarf (Target)
Blue leopard oxfords by C. Label

The scarf is more of a salmon color than a true pink, but what the hell, you know?  I like how you can actually see the stripes on the shirt in this photo. 

Verdict: Wearing a bright color combo is fun, especially during the early days of the Coldville spring when there's snow on the ground and bare leg season feels very, very far away. 

In other news...our cleaning service came this morning for the first time and our apartment looks great!  (Robert worked from home this morning while they cleaned.)  There were 3 people (1 of whom was a trainee) and it took them 2 hours.  I'm loving this already.

This evening Robert and I are baking 9 chicken thighs and 12 chicken drumsticks.  I split them up and did half with a "savory" (rosemary-sage based) spice blend and half with a "smoky" (chipotle-paprika based) spice blend from the book.  How can baking chicken smell so good while boiling chicken smells so gross?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Life Style Challenge: Week 3

Week 2 was successful.  Challenge review:

(1)  No bread, no pasta, no rice
(2)  Exercise for 15 20 minutes, 3 days a week (T, Th, Sat)-- 10 15 min cardio, 5 min strength
(3)  Get new doctor and dentist arranged in Coldville

For number 3, I selected the new location (both doctors and dentists are conveniently located at one medical center location) over the weekend but I have not yet booked the appointments.  I realized I need to do this at work where I have access to my calendar so I have moved the second half of this process to Week 3. 

My neck/shoulder were hurting on Saturday so I switched the strength training for an extra 5 minutes of cardio--I had decided at the beginning of this that I could substitute cardio and strength time as necessary in case of sore muscles, bum knee acting up, etc.  Robert I watched Doctor Who and Game of Thrones this week during our exercise time.  We actually split the one Doctor Who episode (a longer holiday special) into two sessions; I really enjoy the show in small doses but 60 minutes is definitely too much at one go.   

GOT, on the other hand, we watched both episodes on the DVD back to back on Saturday night, and I at least was feeling all waaaah I want more!  At the end of the second episode, I was like, Whoa, I didn't see that coming--did that happen in the book?  Robert's like, Um, yeah.  But seriously, I had no memory of it at all.  Of course, we are talking about the person who was completely surprised by the ending of The Sixth Sense BOTH TIMES she watched it.  So...yeah. 

I can relate to this YA author who believed the Internet when it said this super-popular quote came from his book only to find out, Fuck, I stole that from a 13 year old girl.  (I liked the fact that he reports being surprised during the filming of a movie based on his book that a scene they were shooting was directly from his own book.  I did not like the fact that he never actually apologized in this video.)

I selected this tassel necklace from Kohls as my prize for the week.  I don't usually wear long necklaces but I liked the look of this one a lot.

Now on to Week 3, a Super Challenge Week.

(1)  No bread, no pasta, no rice
(2)  Exercise for 20 25 minutes, 3 days a week (T, Th, Sat)-- 15 20 min cardio, 5 min strength
(3)  Make doctor and dentist appointments
(4)  Make new paleo main dish and veg recipes
(5)  Max of 4 Triscuits per day

I'm doing really well on number 1 for the last two weeks, but have been compensating with a bit more Triscuit than is probably good for me.  4 is a magic number, and though it's going to be a bit hard to cut back, I can do it.  For this week's meals, I have more veg than usual available to me, and I'm thinking I might benefit (in terms of managing hunger in the evening) by upping my meat/protein intake a bit.  It was an eye-opener to see the meat serving sizes recommended in the paleo cookbook from which I selected this week's new recipes.

Minty Fresh Monday

A new week and a new (calendar) season.  Let's get this party started.

WWWSC Day 26: Wear a bold coat with simple essentials--Monday, 3/23/15

Well, I don't really wear interesting coats to work.  I have my black ankle length wool coat with the velvet collar (my winter coat), a lighter weight black ankle length coat (more of a fall/early spring coat), and a beige ankle length trench coat (my spring/it's raining coat).  Also, it's too late in the season to be thinking about coats--though after Sunday's 2" of snowfall, I did wear one.  So I chose to reinterpret this style challenge as "wear a bold cardigan" and focused on my mint cardigan that I haven't worn in quite a while.

Mint cardigans are actually quite popular on Pinterest, so I had a wide selection of inspirations to choose from.  But I liked this one with a bold black/white print to go along with the bold mint.  This blogger is a "modesty" blogger who wears skirts (knee length or longer) for religious (Christian) reasons.  Ideology aside, that kind of blog is a surprisingly good source of outfit ideas for those of us who work in business casual environments and like to wear skirts that aren't too short.  (It's kind of weird how many fashion bloggers post mini skirts that they wore, without tights, to their job as a lawyer or whatever.  I don't roll that way.) 

From modern1modesty.blogspot.com

I keep seeing people with these big black and white polka dot shirts and it kind of makes me wish I had one, but it's easy enough to substitute black and white stripes in a lot of these cases (you know, unless the polka dots are worn with stripes).  I kept her longer black pencil skirt and substituted more temperature-appropriate black shoes and tights for her sandals and bare legs.  I actually have a pink floral necklace that would work well to replicate her choice, but I just wasn't feeling it; I preferred to do a bit of pattern mixing with my go-to paisley scarf instead.  (Oddly, I wore both this scarf and this shirt last week to work--though not together.)

Mint cardigan (Lands End)
Black and white striped T (Kohls)
Black pencil skirt (thrifted, JCP)
Black sweater tights (Target)
Black heeled Oxfords (thrifted)
Blue/green paisley scarf (Target)

It's weird--most of the time, I forget that this scarf is a paisley print.  When I wear it, it often looks like a floral print to me.  Well, floral or paisley, either one is a nice contrast to a striped T. 

Verdict:  This outfit is totally me.  Stripes, pattern mixing, black and white plus another color, a scarf, a skirt with black tights--the only thing it's lacking is leopard print to be perhaps the perfect classic Sally work outfit prototype.

I actually have spent a little time at work (you know, during that kind of meeting) thinking about how my colleagues dress, and how I would define the elements that make up their prototypical work outfits.  It's surprising how easy it is to do.  For example, N. (female) wears normal black work trousers (i.e., not skinny or cropped or anything), very high heeled black pumps or ankle boots, and a relatively form-fitting top/sweater in grey or a solid jewel tone basically every day.  It is possible that she wears the exact same pants (either same style or same pair) every day; I can't think of a time I've seen her wearing ones that look any different.  (One day she wore an empire-waist tunic in a jewel tone paisley print that really jumped out at me.)

Like Robert, she's got a basic work uniform that doesn't have a lot of variety but that is totally appropriate and looks great.  I can see how that saves a lot of time and mental effort, helping avoid decision fatigue.  After all, I do the same thing with my work lunches--I have eaten the same thing almost every single day since I started my job in April.  It was a kind of big deal when I switched from guacamole to shredded jack cheese as an accompaniment a few weeks ago.  When I occasionally bring something else (there are about two other things I do sometimes have instead), my office mate is always surprised.  I also always eat the same breakfast (as does Robert).

Do you have a "uniform" that you wear to work (or whatever your typically daily activity is, for those of you lucky retirees), like Robert, N., Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Barack Obama?  Do you eat the same meals?  Anything else you have simplified in your life this way to allow you more time and cognitive resources to run a major corporation, make cutting edge scientific discoveries, or be in charge of an entire nation?  Or, you know, just get yourself to work on time?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Pulling Out the Flats

WWWSC Day 18: Test out a new tuck--Friday, 3/20/15

You have probably noticed that tucking in shirts is not my thing, but a partial tuck is OK (though really, I mostly can't be bothered).  Well for science...or, um, for art?...I will try a tuck on my plum tunic.  This is a pain in my ass so appreciate, people!

So naturally I chose an inspiration photo in which you absolutely can't tell whether the top is tucked or not because all those layers are belted tight!  But I just loved the combination of colors here--purple, olive, red, denim. 

From looplooks.net

You know, this is twice I've worn this scarf tied this way semi-recently, and twice I've thought that it looks off to me.  I think this is just an unusually short scarf.  I ended up retying it as a faux-finity scarf after taking these photos, and I liked that a lot better.

This outfit ended up looking a lot more like the inspiration photo than I thought it would. (Also, leopard print belt trumps purple belt, not that I'm keeping score.)

Plum tunic (Kohls)
Olive jacket (thrifted, Maurices)
Leopard skinny belt (Target)
Purple/red/scarf (Target)
Trouser jeans (thrifted, JCP)
Black/red/yellow socks (Sock Dreams)
Red buckle flats by Me Too

Hoorah for fun socks.  My inner Seeley Booth is quite happy.  And note that I've pulled out a pair of flats, rather than boots, which has been rare of late.  A sure sign of spring.

Verdict:  The belt wasn't horribly annoying to deal with (even though my jeans do not have belt loops!), and wearing a jacket meant that I didn't have to fiddle as much with getting the tuck just right because a lot of it was covered.  These jeans are actually fairly forgiving of tucking, unusually for pants in my experience--I think they are loose enough in the waist that it's easy to tuck them in.  But I need to remember in the future that this scarf that it is an oddly stunted one that I should wear loose or faux-finity style rather than looped.  Also, I've somewhat impressively jumped back (forward?) two seasons to autumn with this outfit.  I can't decide if that's better or worse than the winter mode I've been stuck in.  Or maybe I just am a (sartorial) Time Lord after all!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

More Seasonally Inappropriate Tall Boot Action

WWWSC Day 12: Make a neutral outfit interesting--Thursday, 3/19/15

So their idea of interesting is like a pair of huge bizarrely cropped beige overall pants that make a 6'2", size -3 14-year-old Ukrainian model look like the 8th dwarf, who joined Snow White's band after being kicked out of Communist clown school due to excessive binge drinking of radiator fluid.  No, that was unfair.  They clearly are suggesting that we wear a grey sweatshirt and jeans with black, high-heeled open-toe jellies that make our big toes look...well, really big.  Go big or go home, right?  Wait, that was Day 3 of the challenge.  I'm so confused.

In any event, whatever they think is interesting, I'm not going there.

What do I think is neutral but interesting (that I can wear to work)?  Stripes.  Animal print.  Stripes and animal print together.  Yes, yes, my precious.  Here's a neutral stripes and animal print outfit with black pants and boots.

From stylememoody.blogspot.com
Here is another one.

Something about this pants/boots combination makes me feel like I should be carrying a riding crop, but it's hard to do that when awkwardly holding your arms up to take a mirror selfie.

Black ankle pants (thrifted, Eileen Fisher)
Black/white striped T (Kohls)
Grey leopard blazer [with metallic threads for extra interest] (thrifted, Macy's)
Tall black boots by Fitzwell
Chunky silver necklace by JNY

I call this photo "Jail Cat With Blobs."  (I feel like this necklace should be hideous, but I find that I like it.  It's weird.  I mean, really convenient, since I own it and all, but still strange and not, I think, the result of cognitive dissonance.)

Verdict:  These black pants continue to rule the school.  Or at least the administration building.  A building that would benefit from work on the climate control.  Just sayin'.  Luckily I did not die from heat stroke today--indeed, it was cool all through the morning--but that iced tea tasted particularly delightful in the afternoon.  See, I can approximate that "warm while standing outside in Texas in the spring" feeling while sitting at my desk, crunching data.  How cool awesome and convenient is that?

Weather Update:  This morning there was no precipitation on the 10 day forecast.  Now they're saying snow Sun-Mon (up to 3") and rain Tues-Wed (about 0.5").  People all over the US perversely pride themselves on their state's changeable weather, but seriously, March in Minnesota is a crap shoot.  If you don't like the weather forecast, wait 5 minutes.

TV Update:  This week I watched the first season (6 episodes) of the BBC crime drama Luther and man, that show is great.  Also: yet another actor from my beloved show The Wire is actually British?  I think he would make a marvelous James Bond.

This week is really flying by (and I'm not even on spring break)!  It's hard to believe that tomorrow is Friday already.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bubble Trouble

WWWSC Day 7: Focus on your jewelry--Wednesday, 3/18/15

For me, jewelry means necklace.  I usually do wear earrings to work, but I mostly rotate among half a dozen different stud earrings and a couple small drop earrings, almost all of which were made by RB.  I cannot deal with the awkward clunking of wearing a bracelet at a computer keyboard.  I don't switch out my watch.  I don't have an eyebrow piercing to worry about.  So yeah, necklace it is.  But I love a big-ass statement necklace as much as the next girl who is not teething a baby.

This outfit (that was sent to me by StyleUp) has olive pants and a statement necklace, so let's get to it.

Blue gingham is definitely one of those popular Pinterest outfit basics, but any button up shirt will do.  Olive skinnies transform themselves into baggy (and wrinkly) old-school cotton pants and meet up with one of their new best friends, maroon ankle boots.  Add an awkward pose, and presto!

Olive pants (thrifted, Coldwater Creek)
Red striped button up shirt (thrifted, Lane Bryant)
*Beige pullover sweater (thrifted, Jeanne Pierre ???)
Maroon ankle boots by Dolce Vita
Red bubble necklace (Outfit Additions)

I tried and tried to make another necklace work, but this red bubble necklace just would not be denied.

Blue and olive is a nice color combination, but I'm digging the red/olive thing I have going here.  Christmas-y?  Maybe a little, but I think I'm not too strongly evoking the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Verdict:  Bubble necklaces may be passé, but pair one with baggy cotton pants and you've got a double passé, which I'm pretty sure is a winning hand in one of those casino games James Bond played in Monaco.  And it doesn't get much cooler than that.

Also, this was shockingly well-calibrated to the temperature in my office building.  I felt quite comfortable all day, though I was prepared to remove the sweater layer as necessary.  Fall layers in spring for the win!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mixing It Up For St Patrick's Day

WWWSC Day 13: Mix 2 or more prints--Tuesday, 3/17/15

Seriously, I've got to go with "more" because two, that's not even trying.

I feel head over heels for this combination and, yes, experienced a bit of that tug of "OMG so cute must buy these items now!!!11!!!1!1!!" that I nevertheless resisted.  Instead, I decided to just be inspired by the idea of polka dots plus stripes plus another print.  (Heh, just now when I saw the flowers again I thought they were hearts and was like, What, I was into that?  But I increased the size of the photo and was all, Whew, OK, the foundations of my world are stable again.)

From runningonhappiness.com

I couldn't do blue and red and white, but blue and green and white (and black) seems like a good winter-y/spring-y/St Patrick's Day-y choice.

Green/black striped sleeveless dress (Target)
Long sleeved black T (thrifted, Talbots)
Cream polka dot blazer (thrifted, Target)
Green/blue paisley scarf [that I think is floral a lot of the time until I see it long like this and am like, Oh, paisley, OK] (Target)
Black leggings
Tall black boots by Fitzwell

I really like the fit and feel of this fit-and-flare dress.  It's also a bit nicer fabric than most Target dresses are (I mean, not in the Lands End category, but still quite OK) and not even insanely short.  And the teal green, well, that's my jam.  Also: pockets.  (And wrinkles today, oops.)

Verdict:  I still think the inspiration photo is SO CUTE but my outfit is definitely more my style--a scarf, a striped flared dress, tights and tall boots, a blazer with contrasting edging, not carrying some weirdly big clutch purse everywhere I go because I live in a slightly different universe in which humanity has not invented the purse strap, not clunking my half dozen bracelets every time I move my left hand to Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V.

Weather Update:  Now Wednesday's snow is off the forecast and rain has been added for Friday.  The meteorologists in Coldville are living it up this week.

Pi Day Update:  This past weekend I noticed for the first time that Amy Farrah Fowler on Big Bang Theory lives in apartment 314.  But it had to be pointed out to me by my manager on Monday that my office is room 314.  What??  I mean, cool, but what?? How did I not notice that? 

So, did you do green for St Patrick's Day?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Changing Weather Awkwardness

WWWSC Day 14: Three levels of layering--Monday, 3/16/15

So despite my prediction on Friday, after our 60+ F and sunny day, that I would have to develop a set of spring outfits for this week, I was like, Screw it.  I'm going to push on and make the outfits I already have work.  Luckily only today was expected to be worryingly warm (59 F), with the rest of the week warmer-than-normal but still on the cool-ish side (under 50 F).

It's kind of weird that I chose what is possibly the warmest outfit left on my Who What Wear Style Challenge list for the warmest day of this week, but that's the beauty of layers, right?  Right?  Well, that was my thinking, anyway.

I put this outfit together while it was still the depths of winter in Coldville, so coming up with an outfit comprised of three levels of layering was just not an issue.  But often my layers have included invisible layers like my thermasilk baselayers, so I wanted to push myself to do something I haven't done that often: wear a sleeveless top as a vest.  I don't actually know whether this is a thing, but I have the power to make it...well, if not a Thing thing, a thing I did personally.  Let's actualize this puppy!  (I really don't understand why that's not a motivational pre-game pump-up mantra that sports teams chant just before yelling "Break!" in their huddles.  It's an odd world we live in.)

Here's my inspiration photo--I liked the colors and patterns here and was under the temporary delusion that I had a long-sleeved orchid button up shirt (oops, it's really a short-sleeved one).

From whyidodeclaire.blogspot.com

I could have just worn a short-sleeved shirt under my jacket, but at the time, that seemed to lead down the road of mad shivering (now it seems like a damn good idea).  Time to get creative by wearing a collarless long-sleeved t-shirt instead.  Life on the edge is a way of life here.

BUT...I had not quite counted on it already being 55 degrees when I woke up this morning with a new expected high well into the 60s.  So at the last minute, I dumped the idea of the shirt underneath and wore the sleeveless top as a shirt, not a vest.  I'm kind of creeped out by the idea of a sleeveless shirt with a jacket, but this knit blazer from Target washes easily in the machine, so it was a good one to try this sort of opposite personal style challenge:  Wear a Sleeveless Top with a Blazer.

*Black/white circle sleeveless drape neck top (Macy's)
Black ponte blazer (Target)
Burgundy pencil skirt (Nordstrom)
Black tights
Black ankle boots by Sam Edelman
Silver link necklace (gift from Mom)

I enjoyed the opportunity to wear this necklace my mom gave me for my birthday--in addition to being all "awww, it's from my mom," it lets me use a contrasting shape in my necklace and top the way she did in the inspiration photo. 

This top is one of those purchases that seems like a good idea at the time--hey, a nice sleeveless blouse to wear under a suit jacket! no weird bunching under the jacket sleeves!--but later stumps you when you are easily icked out by the idea at a lower level of construal.  I'm glad I tried this, but am looking forward (next winter?) to trying it as a vest.  In any event, I like how the stark graphic design plays with bright solids like this skirt.  (It's black and white but it's not stripes!  Amazing!)

Verdict:  Sleeveless blouse worn as a vest is still an idea for cooler weather, but the crazy unseasonably warm weather today meant that I was glad I did not try it.  Imagine my surprise, however, when I left work and encountered 56 F temperature (according to the radio) and a stiff breeze, which made it subjectively cooler than it was this morning.  And of course, the weather forecast, which has been changing basically daily since Thursday, now calls for snow on Wednesday.  This is going to be a very weird weather week.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Life Style Challenge: Week 2

Week 1 Review:

(1)  No bread, no pasta, no rice
(2)  Exercise for 15 minutes, 3 days a week (T, Th, Sat)--10 min cardio, 5 min strength
(3)  Make 1 new paleo vegetable recipe

I totally avoided bread, pasta, and rice, but I might have eaten more Triscuits than I should have/needed to.  Well, baby steps.

Robert and I scheduled our exercise to start at 8:30 p.m., and although we got a late start on the first night, we hit our targets (and then some--I was closer to 15 than 10 minutes on the cardio, in part because it's hard to see the treadmill screen in the dark [we are catching up on episodes of Castle while we exercise]).  I'm feeling good about it.

For my veg challenge, I made a cauliflower mash from the paleo slow cooker recipe Robert's mom got me for Christmas.  It's easy: 
  • Put 2 bags of frozen cauliflower in the slow cooker
  • Add hot water to cover
  • Cook on high for 3 hours (or until as soft as it gets)
  • Drain cauliflower and place in bowl
  • Add some roasted garlic--I went the lazy route and just lightly browned a big spoonful of the refrigerated garlic from a jar on the stovetop in olive oil
  • Mash with olive oil (and in my case butter because butter = delicious)
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
It reheats very well/easily in the microwave.  I also don't really see any reason a person couldn't just steam the cauliflower in the microwave or on the stovetop rather than using a slow cooker, if that's more convenient.

Now, it doesn't have quite the texture of mashed potatoes, but it serves as a great (healthier) mashed potato alternative because it works nicely as a butter/olive oil/salt delivery system, which is the primary benefit of mashed potatoes anyway.  The garlic flavor is also quite lovely, in my opinion.

I ate mine with blackened salmon and it was pretty much fab.  I was also pleasantly surprised that my digestive system seemed to accept it just fine (with reasonable enzyme precautions).  I sometimes can eat something in a mashed up state that is too tough in its whole state (e.g., I can eat a not-huge number of tortilla chips but cannot tolerate whole kernel corn at all).

I ordered my reward today from Kohls.com, which worked out well because they were having a big sale (as usual) and I had multiple discount codes I could use--thus I was able to buy two items for less than my $30 amount.  (I also bought 3 sleeveless t-shirts for exercising in, to replace the ancient ones I have, but I don't consider that a reward so much as a necessity for completing the challenge.)

I loved the combination of light colors and black in this lightweight scarf that should be wearable in all but the very hottest part of the summer.

Abstract Wings scarf

I've been wanting a yellow necklace to wear with navy (and to do some matchy-matchy goodness with my mustard flats this spring and summer) and it was nice to find a really basic one at a good price.

Yellow square link necklace

Week 1 came off without a hitch, so on to Week 2!

The first two challenges will look very familiar but I'm switching things up for the third because I have some leftover cauliflower mash to finish and am going to make a big batch of my stand-by roasted red peppers:

(1)  No bread, no pasta, no rice
(2)  Exercise for 15 20 minutes, 3 days a week (T, Th, Sat)-- 10 15 min cardio, 5 min strength
(3)  Get new doctor and dentist arranged in Coldville

My current doctor and dentist on the pedestrian mall in downtown Snow City are now extremely inconvenient from our new apartment (parking there is insane; I have always walked there from the old apartment in even in the coldest depths of winter), but I've been dragging my heels about getting new ones set up even though I am overdue for visits to both.  I will be extremely happy to get this off my to-do list.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Another Great Body Size Article--Just in Time For Pi Day

Already Pretty hit it out of the park this week with links to good articles.

I really appreciated this essay about the common idea that plus sized black women get a "pass"--that they do not face the same body shaming, harmful stereotypes, etc. as plus sized white women; that they are effortlessly body positive; and the like.

(Bonus: Sad Thumper Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh clip.)

I've noticed that a lot of the body positive, fat fashion bloggers I see are black, and I think it can be easy for a white reader to assume that the self-acceptance/self-esteem these women display about their size has come somehow readily or naturally to them.  The essay was a good reminder that for many of these women, they have had to overcome huge steaming loads of cultural bullshit around their race and their size.

(Cue seamless transition to Pi Day...)

Are you doing any math today?  Eating any pie?

I seem to recall learning in school "pi R squared," but all the pies I'm seeing are round--so confused!  Well, I'm sure they're all deeply, madly delicious, regardless of their shape...or their size.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Fat Women and SFF

I thought this was a very interesting essay by a fat woman on the lack of fat women in science fiction/fantasy stories (movies, novels, TV, comics, etc.).  [Link found on Already Pretty]

Bonus: it includes a link on a YouTube video of the unaired original pilot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which Willow is a fat girl.  Seriously.  I had no idea.  If you want to jump straight to a scene with the original big Willow, look at the video in this article that gives Joss Whedon some deeply deserved shit over his series's obsession with skinny chicks (who implausibly kick literal ass).  That dude, for all his feminist talk, seems totally committed to the waif fu trope.

What to Wear for TGIF in WTF Weather Conditions

WWWSC Day 23: Wear a color you haven't worn in a while--Friday, 3/13/15

I don't think I've worn coral since before winter started, and I have a coral sweater that while made of cotton (and hence not the warmest) has proven itself to be workable for Coldville winter/early spring before.  So to Pinterest I went (a couple weeks ago) in search of coral outfit inspiration and settled on this coral/blue combination.  How delightfully spring-y and...oh wait, no, just focus on the colors, Sally.

From notfancyjustlife.blogspot.com

Once I went to my closet to see what blue thing I could pair with my coral sweater, I struck sartorial gold...and green and orange and white.  I'd totally forgotten about this awesome homemade reversible mandarin collared quilted jacket I bought at Goodwill!  How delightfully spring-y indeed.

Coral pullover sweater (thrifted, Talbots)
Navy/coral/green jacket (thrifted)
Denim skirt (thrifted)
Navy leggings
Tall cognac boots by Sam Edelman
Green/blue/pearl necklace (Target)

And it worked well, too, with my green/blue/pearl statement necklace that I adore well beyond any rational measure.

An interesting texture mix on top, and giving my denim skirt a chance to come out and play again after way too long.

Verdict:  I couldn't really do the lightweight dress and cardigan, but I reign victorious in the incomparable crazy flower jacket.  And tights and tall boots.  Always tights and tall boots. 

Though I have to admit, with a temperature of 61 degrees late this afternoon, I was sort of wishing I was in a lightweight dress and cardigan.  We have been really jacked around this winter, going from January temperatures to late April/early May temperatures in one quantum leap.  I'm actually kind of angry about it.  The lowest high temperature on our 10 day forecast right now is 47.  WTF?

I lost the jacket around lunch time and by about 4:00, I was ready to not be wearing a sweater any more.  I had forgotten how unpleasantly warm my office gets when it is above 55 degrees outside and there is full sun.  The climate control in our building is pretty much terrible.  Robert's fancy corporate office building appears to maintain the same nice temperature year-round, as any office building should.  At least I have hopes that our new apartment's modern central heat and A/C system with a normal thermostat and everything will be up to standard.  Meanwhile it's time for me to redo all of my outfit planning for the next fucking month.  Great.

(If you find this post because it is the only hit for "incomparable crazy flower jacket" on google, sorry suckas 'cause this is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.  If you're a sewist, have at replicating it for yourself; otherwise, I wish you luck finding a crazy flower jacket of your very own.)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

She's Got Winter Eyes

WWWSC Day 17: Winterize your favorite summer skirt--Thursday, 3/12/15

I'm not sure what my favorite summer skirt is, but I knew that I wanted to winterize a (conveniently lined) black and white (or cream, really) one that has a somewhat dramatic pattern.  I loved everything about J's outfit in this photo and though I don't quite have the pieces to recreate it (and it's not wintery enough...which I could really stop saying by now, I think), I definitely wanted to do something in this direction.

From jseverydayfashion.com

Not owning a bright green sweater, I substituted my aqua cashmere sweater, and layered on a vest and tights.  Add a chevron patterned scarf and voila....an outfit that bears almost zero resemblance to the inspiration photo.  (I later decided to zip up the vest partway and it looked a lot better for some reason.)

Black/cream skirt (thrifted, Loft)
Aqua cashmere pullover sweater (Macy's)
Black quilted vest (gift from Mom)--this thing is a total workhorse, so glad I got it!

Teal/black/purple chevron scarf (Target?)
Black tights
Black ankle boots by Sam Edelman

But I was comfy and felt pretty snazzy so it's all good.

What am I going to do with myself when tights and boots season comes to an end?  (Well, arguably it's already over but I can keep working it as long as temperatures stay below 60 or so.)  It was warm enough today that I didn't even bother with a coat or jacket--the vest was enough on its own.