Sunday, May 31, 2015

Life Style Challenge Week 13

A Navy Floral Print Scarf--Sunday, 5/31/15

Although this inspiration outfit is not my style (I don't do distressed jeans with heels and a logo handbag), I liked the ingredients of grey top, jeans, light blue jacket/cardigan, bright pink shoes.


It's been quite a while since I've worn this cardigan, so I was glad to get it back into play (and then check it off my Work the Wardrobe challenge for the year).

Light blue one-button cardigan (Lands End)+, $5.83/wear
Grey short-sleeved T (Kohls)+, $0.95/wear [yay]
Bootcut jeans (thrifted, JCP), $0.28/wear
Bright pink flats (Payless), $6.50/wear
*Navy/pink floral scarf (Kohls)+, $11.17/wear

But obviously I wasn't able to resist wearing this ensemble with my new floral scarf, the latest in a (perhaps rash) series of dark floral scarf purchases.  I feel that it's not possible to have too many scarves, though I am sorta testing that idea these days.  So far, it holds up.

Today's apartment photo is from Robert's bathroom, which is decorated in navy, white, and (as you'll see later) yellow.  This MC Escher picture was from a calendar I had a gazillion years ago--I just liked it so well, I decided to frame it.  Don't you think Robert's shower curtain is awesome?  It has a zip-in liner, a transparent upper section so that you can see out easily, and built in hooks to attach to the shower rod (which are so much easier than the plastic rings my more traditional shower curtain uses).

Life Style Challenge Week 13

(1)  No bread, no pasta, no rice
(2)  Cardio exercise for 30+ minutes, 4 days a week
(3)  Strength training exercise for 10+ minutes, 2 days a week
(4)  Average 2 or fewer Triscuits per day
(5)  Continue flaxseed oil/cod liver oil regimen
(6)  Continue fruit crumble/exercise bribery scheme
(7)  Continue identifying/preparing/eating alternatives to almond butter and chocolate

A few things I have been eating at home as a (partial) substitute to almond butter and/or dark chocolate include: sweet and savory roasted sweet potato, butter lettuce with olive oil/salt/pepper (I have been skipping the vinegar since Robert suggested and I verified that vinegar is an upset stomach trigger), roasted bell peppers, and of course the pre-exercise fruit crumble.  In my lunches this week, I took a baggie with petite baby carrots and a single-serving container of ranch dressing.  In my ideal world, I would avoid ranch dressing because it has soybean oil in it; in reality, I'm eating some ranch dressing.  I seem to be handling the extra omega-6 oil OK--I haven't had any issues with inflammation bothering me.  Perhaps the combination of my flaxseed regimen, my daily fish consumption (it's my go-to dinner), my daily krill oil pills, and the fact that I otherwise don't eat very much omega-6 oil is enough to offset the omega-6 oil in the ranch dressing.  We'll see what happens as I continue to eat it as part of my work lunches.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

High and Dry

A Sunny Day, a Third Floor Apartment--Saturday, 5/30/15

We're in a sunny window from now until (supposedly) Wednesday, with temperatures increasing from highs of 63 F to the low 80s F by the end of the week and rain starting Thursday until...who knows?  Forever?  It feels like we've had quite a bit of rain this month but Texas is setting a new standard for "a lot of rain."  They've had enough rain in May to cover the entire state in 8" of water.  That's a lot!

Meanwhile, I'm just continuing to wear jeans, stripes, cardigans, scarves, and ballet flats in subtly different combinations.  Here's a woman in sandals and jeans rolled up short. (Would it be tacky to say "Expecting a flood?"  Yeah, I guess it would.  But at least she lives in Colorado and not Texas or Oklahoma.)


I created a bootcut jeans/ballet flats version of this outfit.  I wouldn't have thought to pair a light pink scarf with a dark teal cardigan, but I like it. 

Black and white long-sleeved striped T (Kohls)+, $1.27/wear
Dark teal drapey cardigan (Coldwater Creek)+, $3.75/wear
*Light pink infinity scarf (Walmart)+, $2.50/wear
Bootcut jeans (thrifted, JCP), $0.29/wear
Black floral flats (Payless), $6.50/wear

Robert and I did some grocery shopping at Walmart last weekend and I picked up a scarf that was $5.  That's a good deal, $5 for a scarf, I said to Robert.  And he pointed out that the package contained TWO scarves for $5!  So I got the scarf I was initially interested in plus this light pink one.  I wasn't sure about it at first because it's such a light color, but when I put it up to my face, my skin tone looked fabulous.  I might not be a huge fan of pale pink but my skin is.

The bunny art continues with this sweet Peter Rabbit print from my office, where all the pictures on the wall have rabbits.  It's my Fortress of Lagomorphs.

In other news...I am really kicking ass this week with the exercise.  Last night I did 55 minutes on my bike, then another 35 minutes or so of strength training, including a bunch of the exercises for strengthening the muscles around my knees that I think of as my physical therapy.  I haven't been doing the weight lifting very long but I'm already to the point that it's time for me to go up to the next level of dumbbells for at least some of the exercises.  (My biceps seem particularly strong, for example.)

I made a deal with myself last weekend that in order to protect myself against exercise-induced blood sugar crashes (one of which I had last weekend), I would eat a serving of fruit crumble prior to exercising, but not otherwise eat it--it's got fruit, so it's high in (natural) sugars, which is good for keeping me from passing out while exercising but is potentially problematic otherwise.  Well, I guess the fruit crumble is so good, and exercise has become (psychologically and physically) easy enough that I wanted to do it every night.  I'm going to continue this fruit crumble self-bribe strategy for a while, though my plan is to subtly decrease the serving size with each new one that I make. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Power of Names

Casual Friday in Paisley and Stripes--Friday, 5/29/30

I have another theory as to why our friend Alice is so frequently affected by my outfit choices.  It's got to be her name.  We all know that Alice (of Wonderland fame) is one of my alter egos, so it makes sense that a woman with this name (and a base high probability of pattern mixing) and I would have this kind of connection.

Today she rocks a striped cardigan and a patterned shirt with the two colors from the cardigan (along with pops of color in her bag and pendant that are hers alone).


This time, another style blogger has been caught up in the mix--the petite, preppy powerhouse of Respect the Shoes.  (I don't know her name--maybe it's Alice...or Sally.)  A June's meadow Liberty floral shirt is perfect with a striped blazer and contrasting red accessories.


My version was slouchier (and wrinklier--after seeing these photos, I ironed the cardigan). 

Green/blue paisley drapeneck top (JNY), $12.50/wear
Cream/teal striped cardigan (Coldwater Creek), $6.00/wear
*Wide leg cuffed jeans (thrifted, Bandolinoblu), $5.00/wear
Hammered silver necklace (JNY), $3.20/wear
Blue pointy-toed flats (Nordstrom), $3.12/wear

Two different prints with the same basic colors...when one of them is stripes, you can't go wrong.  (Well, maybe you can.  I can't.)

This hermit thrush painting brightens up the wall next to the coat closet in our front entry way.  (He hangs across from the swinging bunny.)

In other news...I have had so much fun the last few days at work, developing dashboards with our new tool.  It's been very challenging, sometimes crazy-frustrating, and I've created some awesome, awesome things.  Today at 4:25 p.m. I reached the point where I couldn't do anything else on the set of dashboards I worked on this week (there is still a data issue that I will need for our system analyst to return from her 3 week vacation to help me with the week after next).  So I declared victory and came home.  Next Monday I will start work on another set of dashboards.  Good times, friends.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Two Sides of a Sartorial Coin

Well Suited--Thursday, 5/28/15

It doesn't get much easier or more basic than this--a striped sweater and a black pencil skirt.  (Let's not even acknowledge those shoes, OK?  The peep toe is a travesty.)

From StyleUp

A great opportunity for me to wear my new striped sweater and black pencil skirt.

Sometimes I sigh at the number of black skirts (relative to other colors) available at Goodwill, but that's just because I've already amassed (emphasis on mass) a nice selection of them.  For example, this Calvin Klein suiting pencil skirt, which I picked up for about $5, sells for $70-$80 new.  Now, if you need a full suit, then buying your pieces new, at the same time, from the same suiting line, etc., totally makes sense.  But if you want to wear the suiting separates, well, separately--the thrift store is a good way to go.

*White/light blue/orange striped pullover sweater (JNY), $7.02/wear
*Black suiting pencil skirt (thrifted, Calvin Klein), $5.00/wear
Gold flats (Nordstrom), $5.00/wear
Aqua drop necklace (JNY), $2.27/wear

I liked how this combination turned out, but I decided to also wear a jacket into work just in case it felt cool (and I wore it almost all day, so good call).  I guess the flip side to my argument about separates above is this--when you buy two pieces from the same company in the same line in the same season, they tend to coordinate really well with each other, like this sweater and jacket from this spring's JNY collection.  I don't ever shop like this on purpose (in fact, I didn't really realize how much this is a thing until I looked at the various coordinating pieces I got at the mega JNY sale), but I admit, it is very nice to have things that work together so easily.

Light blue color block zipper jacket (JNY), $11.13/wear

Wearing this outfit with my faux patent leather gold flats was fun and practical.

"Fun and practical" is also a pretty good description of this colorful lamp in my office.  (The air filter unit on the floor is straight-up practical...indispensable, really.)  As for the "SILLY HUMAN!" wall art, that's a birthday card from Robert and the bunnies that I liked so much that I framed it to keep forever.  It is good for the soul to be reminded of my silly human status on a daily basis.

In other news....I enjoyed this article in The Atlantic about how older women (like Hilary Clinton) can possibly use their older "grandmother" status to help them do something that men do regularly and women achieve rarely and with great difficulty--seem both competent and likeable in the workplace.

This is a stand-out paragraph for me; I have a continuing interest in the idea that discriminatory practices aren't just harmful when they're biased against one group but when they're biased in favor of another group:

Then consider Presidents Clinton and Obama, both elected while in their 40s. For all our progress, it’s still hard to imagine a 40-something woman being swept into the White House, like Obama, based on a brief tenure in a state legislature, a few years in the U.S. Senate, a great speech, and a liberal sprinkling of audacity and hope. And yet, the argument could be made that both Clinton and Obama were promoted before they were seasoned, and might have been greater presidents had they been obliged to warm the bench for as long as, say, Yellen did. Perhaps the real tragedy is not that women aren’t promoted on potential; it’s that men aren’t forced to wait until they have performed. “Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?” asked a 2013 post for the Harvard Business Review’s Web site; the author, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a professor of business psychology at University College London and Columbia, concluded that a key leadership problem afflicting American companies is the “lack of career obstacles for incompetent men.”

I am loving the idea of being on a task force charged with creating such obstacles.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Outfit of Excellence

Watermelon Floral for Spring--Wednesday, 5/27/15

Seriously, I swear I'm not stalking this woman.  She just has great style of a type that is compatible with my sartorial ambitions...and a huge wardrobe.  This time I am taking her lead in combining a black top, floral pencil skirt, and colorful jacket for a bright, fun, yet professional outfit.  (The lovely green outdoors setting for the photo, that I'm not going to match.)


She picked out the orange in her skirt with an orange blazer.  I went with my new bright pink jacket to coordinate with my skirt.  I'm really pleased with how the collarless zipper jacket works in this context--I think I like it even better than the (longer) blazer.

*Black short-sleeved silk sweater (JNY), $15.00/wear
*Bright pink zipper jacket with black tabs (JNY), $22.25/wear
"Watermelon" floral skirt (thrifted, Talbots), $1.67/wear
Black flats by LifeStrides, $2.23/wear
Single strand pearls (Macy's), $2.79/wear

With the weather forecast saying rain on again/off again all week (and whether it's expected on any given day changes every couple hours, it seems), and a high of 81 F for today, a skirt with bare legs and non-leather shoes seemed like a good idea.  The rest of the outfit is on the more business side of business casual, which was a strategic decision because I have 4 hours of meetings planned, including the every-three-weeks meeting of our "excellence" group.  Of course, it turned out the excellence meeting was canceled--all the better.

I don't think I've blogged about how surreal meetings of that group can be, due to the weirdness of the three main technology department people who attend.  There's this one dude C. (not the jerk I've talked about before) who has been with the organization forever, and he is believed by people in my department to have survived solely due to his propensity to "throw people under the bus."  (At the last meeting, C. did that to my boss, who had left the meeting early and was thus not present to protest when C. ludicrously shifted blame onto him for something that I think did not even happen anyway.)  I found out at the post-meeting WTF session of the "excellence" members from my department that the awesome project manager who mysteriously was announced to be "no longer with" the organization a couple months ago had been suddenly shit-canned by C., and the general consensus is that this happened because C. cannot stand having competent people working for him, people who actually do their jobs rather than weasel around figuring out how to constrain the scope of their jobs to nothing.  C. is supposed to be retiring in September, and this event is going to be met with a lot of celebration.  Figurative champagne will be flowing once C. is outta here (though he has threatened to come back and volunteer as a "mentor," which we can only hope will not happen).  I mentioned to Robert something bizarre that C. said in our last meeting (I wish I could remember what, but I can't), and Robert said, "He's not used to being associated with a group with 'excellence' in its name."  I cannot express how hilarious and how true this observation is.

The thing I complained about being soooo hard waaaah in this new software we're using--well, yes, it is harder than it needs to be but I did figure it out late this afternoon, so I got to go home on a high note.  Tomorrow I get to finish implementing this thing, then it's on to the next thing I don't know how to do.

Awesome Animal Alert:

If you haven't seen it already (and if you have, you need to see it again), quite possibly the world's coolest selfie (or "elphie").  (Hat tip: Style on Target)

And another bunny print for your enjoyment.  This one is in the entryway/hallway to the left of the bunny on a swing who reminds me of Tam.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Word of the Day is Variegated

Pattern Challenge Day 20: Variegated Stripes--Tuesday, 5/26/15

Now that it's definitely spring, I'm ready to return to another outfit I put together in the fall but didn't get around to wearing.  An outfit of stripes plus stripes.  Are you ready?

First, let's check in on how our friend Alice, my favorite reverse inspiration blogger, is rocking the double stripes look.  She's got variegated stripes going in her skirt and she's wearing them with polka dots, of course.


I sent back ripples in time of two variations on this outfit--the one pictured, with the vertically striped dress, and the one I tried first, with a horizontally striped dress that proved too short to wear without tights.  (Oh, apparently I already knew this.)  Alice picked up on the horizontally striped version.  And it totally makes sense to me that she'd wear polka dots in place of the spotted cheetah print.  For me, it's cheetah print forever (that must be why it's an infinity scarf--the cheetah print never ends).

Sleeveless black and white striped dress (Target), $14.00/wear
*Black/white/pink striped pullover sweater (thrifted, Van Heusen), $5.00/wear
Coral cheetah infinity scarf (thrifted), $0.43/wear [nice!]
Black buckle flats by Me Too, $3.83/wear

But this woman picked up on the vertical + horizontal stripe mix idea and ran with it.


I really like the fact that my dress has vertical stripes.  Horizontal stripes are easy to find, but vertical ones are rare, and they make a nice change (and a pleasant contrast to horizontal ones in this outfit, I think).

Different is good.  Check out the black-with-white-spot dalmatian in the old New Yorker cover hanging on the small dividing wall between our kitchen and dining room.  Is he being excluded?  I think he's just taking his chance to see what else the world has in store other than white-with-black-dot dalmatians (and when he becomes back to visit his family, that pattern mix is going to look awesome).

And yes, a tiger!  (A zoo tiger photo taken by an ex-co-worker and framed for a Christmas gift; did he know me or what?)  And another pattern-mixed family below--that was actually a little cat puzzle my mom gave me that I framed after I finished.

In other news...Tam sent me this article about yet more fraud in the social sciences, this time by a political science grad student at UCLA doing research in the area of persuasion.  The article summarizes the research as finding that "one brief conversation with a gay rights canvasser could change someone's mind about same-sex marriage."  Really??  Come on, these results are so implausible that I find it hard to believe pathetic that nobody (including the co-author, a professor at Columbia) questioned them more vigorously before they got published in Science.

OK, the professor/co-author did greet the initial data presented to him by the grad student with skepticism, saying that "the findings would only be credible if the study were replicated."  However, the replication was conducted by the same grad student, so that didn't help.  The professor does admit that not working himself with the primary datasets (supposedly collected, actually fabricated) by the grad student was a mistake--the professor's rationale at the time was that because he did not have IRB approval from his university, he wanted to avoid working with the raw data.  How's that for irony?  The professor was concerned about it being an ethical breach for him to work with raw data, so he left that in the hands of his cheating co-author? 

It was interesting/sad that when asked why he thinks the grad student did it, the professor's response did not point out that the major route to academic success in the social sciences is by publishing high-profile, counter-intuitive, "sexy" research. 

In this case, the results were just too high-profile, counter-intuitive, sexy, and even applicable to real world situations for the cheating grad student's own good.  Some other grad students were like, Let's try doing this, too!  And when they couldn't replicate the results, and found that the dataset itself contained implausible properties, they (along with another professor) wrote a technical paper about the irregularities in the data that drew this shitstorm down on his head.  So if you're going to cheat, cheat big, but not too big. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Life Style Challenge Week 12

On the Holiday--Monday, 5/25/15

A nice weekend outfit with jeans, a scarf, and cute ballet flats seemed right on target for Memorial Day, as did the patriotic color combination.


Of course, I didn't stick super close to the inspiration photo, but I got a combination of blue denim, white T-shirt, and red (well, maroon) sweater into the outfit, as well as the magic butterfly scarf.

White short-sleeved T (Lands End), $6.00/wear
Bootcut jeans (thrifted, JCP), $0.33/wear
Drapey maroon cardigan (Coldwater Creek), $3.75/wear
Black butterfly scarf (Kohls), $4.00/wear
*Black floral ballet flats (Payless), $13.00/wear

And these adorable floral ballet flats!  I've been really into dark floral prints this year, so I was glad to add these lovelies to my wardrobe for only $13.

We've regularly had a mourning dove hanging out on our balcony, and its presence has become even greater now that we have a bird feeder.  When I mentioned it to Robert, he said we're probably seeing the male and female doves, who are nesting in a nook of the apartment building next door, coming to eat one at a time.  This morning, I saw TWO doves on the balcony (they eat the bird seed that has been brushed to the ground by smaller birds).  Maybe the doves now have baby doves in their nest instead of eggs, and no longer need to eat in shifts.

Of course, Robert had to do me one better and see THREE doves on the balcony later in the morning.   Who knows who that third dove is.

Life Style Challenge Week 11 Review

(1)  No bread, no pasta, no rice
(2)  Cardio exercise for 30 minutes, 4 days a week
(3)  Strength training exercise for 10 minutes, 2 days a week
(4)  Average 2 or fewer Triscuits per day
(5)  Continue flaxseed oil/cod liver oil regimen
(6)  Identify recipes/ideas for snacks/desserts that can substitute for my old standbys, almond butter and/or dark chocolate

I kicked the ass of Number 3--and strength training always makes me feel like a superhero when I do it, so why don't I do it reliably?  Number 6 is a bitch.  I've made some progress on it, but the task continues this week, too.  Yeah, the whole list this week is a repeat of last week's. 

Life Style Challenge Week 12

(1)  No bread, no pasta, no rice
(2)  Cardio exercise for 30+ minutes, 4 days a week
(3)  Strength training exercise for 10+ minutes, 2 days a week
(4)  Average 2 or fewer Triscuits per day
(5)  Continue flaxseed oil/cod liver oil regimen
(6)  Identify recipes/ideas for snacks/desserts that can substitute for my old standbys, almond butter and/or dark chocolate

One way I could improve Number 3 is by adding in core exercises, which I hate know, because they are hard.  Waaaaah!

I haven't added my "take stairs to another bathroom at work" practice to the list officially, but I've been good about doing that. If I wanted to get more ambitious, and if the weather permits, I've been thinking it would be nice at my lunch break to take a short stroll down to the little park area next to the parking lot.  You know how I saw a bunny before work the other day?  I paid special attention on Friday morning to the layout of that stretch of ground and realized that the grassy area with the rabbit is adjacent to the little green park area where the turkeys were hanging out last summer (or whenever that was).  It could make for a nice post-lunch break for fresh air, a stretch of the legs, and a rest for the eyes away from all the damn screens I spend my time looking at.  Maybe it's time to bring back the "health breaks" (alternative to "smoke breaks") that I used to take at an old job.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Old and Older

Stripes and Leopard and Bubbles--Sunday, 5/24/15

I can easily replicate these three elements of the outfit below for a comfy weekend ensemble.


Here's my take on it.

*Black/red/beige striped short-sleeved T (thrifted, Kohls), $4.00/wear
Black cardigan (Walmart), $0.91/wear [woo, below $1]
Bootcut jeans (thrifted, JCP), $0.33/wear
Red bubble necklace (Outfit Additions), $2.33/wear
Leopard flats (Nordstrom), $8.33/wear

I don't have any tattoos, but otherwise--nailed it.

I've shown you the exercise area/TV/sofa view of my living room before.  Here is the little wall next to the sofa that has the St George poster I picked up at the Treasury in the Munich Residenz on our family German vacation 15 years ago or so.  (Can y'all believe it's been that long?)  The small table is actually patio furniture, but we stuck it here while it was frozen over on our balcony and it seems to have made itself at home.  Robert piled all those tiny stuffed animals (two frogs, two bunnies, and one javelina) on top of the wooden cat (that I purchased over 25 years ago in high school at the health food store in my hometown) and put it all out of the way on the table, where it is now one of the world's silliest centerpieces.  (I fell in love with that cat at first sight, but it was $50, so I didn't buy it.  By the time my mom and I had driven the 5 minutes or so from the store to home, I was feeling sad and regretful about it, and my mom encouraged me that we should go back immediately and get it.  I'm so glad I listened to Mom!  Sie ist ein richtiger Schatz!)

In other news...Seeing all these photos of our apartment, I'm really glad not to be moving any time soon.  My sister just moved to a new apartment in her city (again).  Tam's cousin is 3/4 of the way across the country next month.  I hope to be staying here for a while.

I feel sick about the flooding that's ravaging OK and TX this weekend.  For example, the Blanco River at San Marcos, just south of Austin, crested at over 43 feet--the flood stage is 13 feet.  It rose 17 feet in 30 minutes--how is that even possible?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Let the 3 Day Lazing Commence

Pink and Silver--Saturday, 5/23/15

I loved how the bright pink contrasted against the grey polka dot shirt.  I also just really liked this polka dot shirt in general--the popover style of shirt is really appealing to me, even though I only own a couple of them myself.


I thought my dark grey T with the metallic silver stripes would be a reasonable substitute.  And I was excited to wear my new bright pink ballet flats (from our mall trip a couple weeks ago) for the first time.

Grey metallic striped T (Kohls), $3.40/wear
Bright pink t-shirt knit cardigan (Lands End), $7.50/wear
Bootcut jeans (thrifted, JCP), $0.36/wear
*Bright pink ballet flats (Payless), $13.00/wear
Silver blob necklace (JNY), $2.70/wear

I've decided it's time to up my weekend outfit game.  For one thing, it'll be a lot easier to make it through my wardrobe if I don't default to the same 2 shirts every weekend.  Also, I have a lot of inspiration photos on Pinterest that I would like to get to before the styles shift so dramatically that wearing any of these outfits would make me look like I'm in costume.

Ballet flats better not go out of style any time soon...or I'll just be out of style, I guess, because I am a huge fan.  I've traditionally been more of a Mary Janes person, but in the last couple years, I have found myself more attracted to ballet flats.  Perhaps 25+ years of adhering so strongly to Mary Janes was enough that I was ready for a change.

The master bedroom suite in our apartment is pretty cool.  When you enter the door (which we have propped open with a bunny doorstop we happened to find at Target while looking for something else entirely, like you do, and which I've decorated with my bunny dress that I put there to dry hanging on the overdoor hook and then decided to leave so I could enjoy looking at it), you are facing the master bathroom (mine).  To the right is a short hallway with the walk-in closet on the left (door also propped open), then the bedroom itself.  To the right of the open initial (bunny dress) door, we've hung this ridiculously cute bunny poster.

In other news...Last night I spent 40+ minutes on my exercise bike, then 30 minutes lifting weights.  When I woke up this morning (blissfully, we went to bed at our normal time and woke up at 8, so I felt very well-rested), I was a bit sore in that "I did a bunch of exercise yesterday" way (so much better than the stiff, achy, body inflammation way) but otherwise felt really great.

We finished watching Mockingjay Part 1 last night--we had started it earlier in the week but only watched the first 30 minutes because it was so freaking slow/boring.  Luckily they picked up the pace after the initial stage-setting scenes and I liked the rest of it, though Katniss's guilt-pity-duty-love for Peeta is driving me crazy.  Get over it and get together with Gale now, before everybody is dead.

I have discovered that the fruit crumble recipe I tried a couple weeks ago is better when (1) I use less fruit with the same amount of topping (which is also better for my blood sugar levels) and (2) I cook it then let the flavors meld over night.  I tried it this week with a bag of frozen raspberries (which I thawed using the "run water over them in a colander" method but because I let the water get really hot, it was more like "cook them in a colander" method), and right out of the oven, it was pretty good but not great.  Leftovers the next day were fabulous.  I want to try the recipe with blackberries, with peaches, and maybe with apples (apples are iffy because it's so time-consuming to peel and slice apples compared to using berries or pre-sliced peaches).

Speaking of melding, after going through a cozy mystery phase, then a gothic phase, then a short adventure phase, I started reading a Star Trek (original characters) book yesterday.  

Do you have any plans for the three-day weekend?  I basically don't, which is how I like it.

I confess I've already gotten drawn into Memorial Day sales despite my best intentions.  But they ( have a bright pink/coral T-shirt with a tiger face on it!  And a big owl necklace!  And a navy floral scarf like I've been wanting for a year!  It looks like Jones New York is having a 40% off sale this weekend, which brings many of their sales items down to good prices, but not the awesome prices I'm holding out for.

Friday, May 22, 2015


Double Dose of Cat Print--Friday, 5/22/15

If you can't wear mixed cat prints on casual Friday, when can you?  Well, I'd say any day of the week, but this time, it's on Friday.

My inspiration photo has exactly zero cat print.  But it has denim and green and black.  I can supply my own cat print.


Big cats (in this case, leopard) and small kitty cats play nicely...well, not together, but when separated by a large expanse of t-shirt and denim.

Green long-sleeved T (Macy's), $5.49/wear +
Black cat scarf (?), $4.00/wear +
Trouser jeans (thrifted, JCP), $0.71/wear
*Olive leopard ballet flats (Nordstrom Rack), $29.97/wear [they're new, OK!] +

I'm so glad Robert had the idea for us to try Nordstrom Rack for shoes while we were at the Mall that Ate Cincinnati a couple weeks ago.  Not only did he find a comfy pair of black Skechers, which gave me the brilliant inspiration to buy my mom Skechers for Mother's Day (which are apparently working out very well so far), but I found these absolutely perfect shoes.  I had been looking for green ballet flats all day, and even though I did not have any kind of notion of olive green leopard ballet flats, they turned out to be the green ballet flats I was looking for. 

I have surprisingly little cat artwork in my apartment, but this poster with two black cats and one purple cat among the red flowers and foliage is an old favorite (now residing on the bathroom wall above the metal shelving unit with the cute bunny and snake boxes).

The other print is Edvard Munch's Girls on a Jetty, which Robert and I saw at the Kimbell in Fort Worth.  (This is a special piece because Jen, her best friend C.V., and I had traveled back in time to pose for that piece when we were in junior/senior high school.  This is a little known fact.) 

In other news...What would your name be if you were born today? (Via Capitol Hill Style)

And now a three day weekend!  I'm excited.  Not about anything in particular I have planned, but just the idea of sleeping in (you know, past 6:15 a.m.) for an extra day is something to be happy about.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

With a Waistcoat

Waiter!--Thursday, 5/21/15

On a Goodwill trip, lost to the reaches of time, I purchased a cute black suit vest, which I thought would be a useful layering piece.  And it sat untouched in my closet for months because I never really had any good ideas for wearing it and I did not want to do a "Sally dresses up like a waiter" outfit.  (Now with my current uncertain job situation, I especially do not feel like tempting fate.) 

So it was nice to see this outfit, in which our color-addicted blogger Christine models a distinctly not-waiter-esque look using a black suit vest.


I love the red, but not having red pants, I turned to my spectacular blurple/burple/whatever pants.  Uncharacteristically, I preferred the outfit with the top tucked in.

Black and white paisley knit top (thrifted, Rafaella), $2.00/wear +
*Black suit vest (thrifted, JCP), $4.00/wear +
Purple pants (JCP), $8.00/wear +
Black pointy-toed flats (Nordstrom), $3.84/wear
Silver chain link necklace (gift from Mom), free +

One thing I noticed after taking these pictures is that my little vest has an affinity for random fuzz.  I have now gone at this thing with one of those roller-tape doohickeys and spiffed that vest up.

Speaking of spiffing up, here is what our dining room table used to look like, before we hired a cleaning service to come every two weeks.  As my mom had assured me, knowing that your house cleaner is going to come in the next day does motivate you to clean up your junk.  Although our dining room is by no means pristine these days, it definitely no longer looks like the local pharmacy and the archives of The Economist vomited all over it.

But note that I still have that old dinette set of my uncle's that was being stored in my grandmother's downstairs apartment--the one that my mom and I infamously absolutely refused to kill ourselves cleaning.  Mom, you'll not be surprised to hear that I haven't polished the chrome since that day in grandma's yard.  It's still looking good, though.

I guess this dark photo also attests to the efficacy of the blinds in our apartment at blocking out light.  These days, we usually keep the long blinds against the door to the balcony (which is behind my chair, the one with the yellow placemat) open, except when it is truly bright outside and Robert (sitting at the chair with the blue placemat) has a migraine.

You know, "vest" is a funny word.  In British English, a vest is tank top.  They call the thing I'm wearing a "waistcoat," which of course every Alice fan knows because in the third sentence of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the White Rabbit "actually took a watch out of its waistcoat-pocket, and looked at it...."  In the first minutes of the Disney film Alice in Wonderland, Alice explains to her cat, "Oh Dinah, it's just a rabbit with a waistcoat...and a watch!"

You know, it really surprised me that I do not have a print of the White Rabbit wearing his classic waistcoat on my walls.

In other news....Are you playing Google Feud?  Good times, my friends.

Driving to work this morning, I saw a bunny at the edge of a residential area about half a block away from our offices!  Today was the first time I'd noticed that on this one corner (an empty lot--the houses are across the street), there is a lot of greenery that has grown up--all kinds of grasses and it looked like thistle.  The bunny was very interesting--clearly a wild (not feral) rabbit, a cottontail, but with a lot more white in his coat than I am used to.  But if you look at a bunch of photos of cottontail rabbits, you'll see that some do have a fair amount of white in their fur.  I was able to stop my car and watch the bunny for about a minute before he hopped into the greenery and disappeared from view.  When I got to work, I emailed Tam that this bunny sighting seemed like a good omen. 

Well, we had a staff meeting today in which our department head updated us on the budget situation (will not be finalized until June) and mentioned a couple of the other departments that had deep personnel cuts.  She did not mention anything about our department.  So I think at this point, she does not think that we will have any.  Things could change, but this seems like another good omen.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Introducing an Inexpensive Green Sweater

Smoking Leopards, Batman!--Wednesday, 5/20/15

Getting somewhat back to normal May weather with a forecast high of 61 F.  Maybe it's still just cool enough to give my new ($5.22!) pullover sweater from JNY a spin.

Erin shows us that a green sweater and brown pants make a simple, professional combination.


Leopard print shoes and a beige topper are also nice additions.


Of course in my case, it's gotta be the leopard smoking slippers instead of any kind of spindly heels.  (I know that smoking isn't good for any cat's health regardless of its size (i.e., "big cat" or little cat).  If your cat smokes, check out these resources.) 

*Bright green V-neck pullover sweater (JNY), $5.22/wear +
Brown wide leg pants (thrifted, Nicole), $2.50/wear +
Beige knit blazer (Nordstrom), $8.85/wear [working on it] +
Leopard smoking slippers by Clarks, $2.78/wear 
Tortoiseshell/gold necklace (Macy's), $4.16/wear +

I also added a tortoiseshell/gold statement necklace for a bit of fun.

My sister gave me this Matisse-inspired work, painted with coffee.  I kid you not.

In other news....The latest I've heard on our budget situation is this: Today I was reading an article in the paper about our budget that suggested that some people in the community know what the preliminary budget is (and came to complain to our leadership about it), and I mentioned this to my office mate and asked if she has seen the preliminary budget because I haven't and I'm surprised that other people have.  She told me some things, the relevant point of which was that at a meeting (that I guess I was sick that day and didn't attend), our department head said that she had received our budget numbers for next year and that she wasn't expecting any personnel cuts but that everything else in the budget was going to be tighter.  So!  Sounds unambiguously hopeful to me.  This isn't like take it to the bank certainty but it's a reason for optimism.  Also, man, I sure picked a bad day to be sick.  I would have loved to have heard this weeks ago when everyone else did.