Friday, July 31, 2015

Finally Friday!

Something Fishy--Friday, 7/31/15

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

From whatwouldemmapillsburywear on Polyvore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Oops Forgot to Change the Post Title

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

How should I wear my green cardigan?  With stripes?

Yes, yes, with stripes!

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In the Middle of the Week

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Jesus F. Christ, people.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Rainy Days and Tuesdays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 27, 2015

Back in the Saddle

Invested--Monday, 7/27/15

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

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

Second, wearing it with beige works, too.

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 26, 2015

End of an Era...or a Vacation, At Least

Pink Floral--Sunday, 7/26/15

I thought the idea of a floral skirt with a shirt having a small pattern (checks, polka dots) was a cute idea.

But I needed to get a wear in with this brown T that goes so well with the brown in the skirt that I was like, Sorry, going a slightly different way with this one.

Pink/brown floral skirt (thrifted, Old Navy), $5.00/wear+
Brown short-sleeved T (thrifted, Kohls), $2.00/wear+
Bright teal flats (Payless), $4.33/wear
Light pink infinity scarf (Walmart), $1.25/wear

Not wearing the teal flats yesterday worked out because I can wear them today.  (I don't at all like to wear the same shoes two days in a row.  About a million years ago, I heard that it is better to let your shoes rest one day in between wears and I follow that like gospel.  I mean, not like the actual Christian Gospel, which I ignore almost entirely, of course.)

This was perhaps my favorite scene in the botanical area of the "little" zoo we visited during vacation week. 

In other news...I woke up feeling terrible, I think an allergy thing, and I've been sick and wimpy all day.  Hope I'm feeling better tomorrow because I have a 5 DAY WORK WEEK ahead of me.  WTH?  It's been a while since I've done that.  I hope I remember how.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Black Ruffles--Saturday, 7/25/15

A straightforward inspiration for wearing a black dress in summer--add bright pink and teal.


I chose a pink floral necklace and floral flats (instead of plain teal).  Doesn't get much easier than this.

Black ruffle front dress (thrifted, Target), $2.50/wear+
Black floral flats (Payless), $4.33/wear
Pink floral necklace (Target), $2.21/wear

I'm loving these floral shoes but I'm already wondering whether I will be able to make them work once the cooler weather arrives (winter is, indeed, coming).  With black pants and black socks--would that look strange?

I was happy to get this photo of 3 butterflies on a coneflower at the butterfly garden in the zoo during vacation week.  The two orange/black ones are monarchs, but I don't remember the green/black one's name.

In other news...My parents left this morning to drive down to Iowa for a party, then they're headed home.  It was a short visit but a fun one, despite the fact that we didn't do anything special while they were here.  For example, after a long game of Taboo one night, we were kind of punch drunk, and Robert brought up the existence of the unfortunately-named Pirates Booty snack line.  I think their Pirates Booty Crunchy Treasures is the worst name of the bunch.  Maybe you had to be there, but we laughed until we cried.

A Rabbit Friday

Bunny Dress Redux--Friday, 7/24/15

It's very difficult to find specific sartorial inspiration for a black and beige rabbit print dress, so I'm looking at black and white patterned dresses instead.

This one, with a blue cardigan and cute patterned scarf, would probably have worked a bit better in late May than late July, but what the hell.  I'll try it.


I love how this Art Deco silk scarf works with the rabbit print--the black and brown colors are so nice with it.

Rabbit dress (eShakti), $17.50/wear+
Blue T-shirt knit cardigan (Lands End), $7.50/wear+
Silk Art Deco scarf (thrifted, Adrienne Vittadini), $4.67/wear+
Mustard flats by MIA, $1.56/wear+

I also picked up the blue (in the cardigan) and the mustard (in my shoes).  Wearing a cardigan was kind of pushing it--a lot of the day, I just didn't.

I didn't see any rabbits at the zoo, but I did see this White Rabbit's Foot Fern.

In other news...An interesting article on the unpaid emotional labor of women.

Also, Tam sent me this Pixels movie review, which is absolute genius (though profanity-filled, be warned).  I'm glad to know to avoid this movie like...well, a million things horrible things the critic says it is.  I might otherwise be attracted to it despite the Adam Sandler factor, but NO.  If you feel a twinge of interest in this movie because "classic video games, how can I resist" despite yourself, step back and read (or re-read) Ready Player One until the feeling abates.  You should read Ready Player One regardless (Infocom forever!).  And we can hope that Spielberg doesn't screw up the movie version, if that actually happens.  (I am sorry to see that Armada by the same author does not come close to living up to the high standards of his first book.  Not sure whether I will be reading it or not.)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sew What

Grey and Pink Birds--Thursday, 7/23/15

I am not going to match the eclectic psychedelic punk vibe of this outfit, but I can do graphic T and patterned skirt.


Mine is a much more sedate version, but I give myself extra points for making this bought-for-work pencil skirt part of a weekend outfit.  I mean, it's made from a comfy knit and basically feels like pajamas but still.

Grey ostrich graphic T (Kohls), $5.16/wear
Grey polka dot skirt (Kohls), $7.46/wear+
Bright pink flats (Payless), $3.25/wear
Pink drops necklace (Outfit Additions), $3.25/wear

Additional bonus points for putting a bird on it.

...And finishing up with a photo of pink birds against a grey background for the win!

In other news...My mom bought a pair of too-long pants at the thrift store this morning, which was enough for me to get my sewing machine area situated.  We shortened her pants and a pair of mine this afternoon.  It's good to have my sewing machine back in business.

Tiger Tiger

Coral Tiger--Wednesday, 7/22/15

For my parents' visit, I was looking forward to the chance to wear some casual summer outfits that did not require a sleeveless top (because we were not planning on spending a lot of time outside tromping around in the heat like Robert and I did last week).

Yep, that's the main thing I was looking forward to--sorry, Mom and Dad.  But come on, who wouldn't be excited at the opportunity to wear this focal item: a new tiger T!

Our Reverse Inspiration Player #1 is wearing a graphic T, magenta patterned bottoms, and a cardigan.  Good job!

Our Reverse Inspiration Player #2 is sporting magenta patterned bottoms and a tiger graphic T.  Rowr!  (She actually posted this photo after I'd put my outfit together a couple weeks ago, making it a rare temporally plausible inspiration, if one still dependent on a sixth or seventh sense.)

I am wearing a tiger graphic T, magenta patterned skirt, and a cardigan...and grooving on it. 

*Coral tiger T (Kohls), $10.31/wear+
Magenta paisley skirt (thrifted, Ann Taylor), $1.67/wear+
Black travel cardigan (thrifted, Chico's), $0.44/wear
Orange ballet flats (Payless), $5.00/wear
Black tooth/claw necklace (Outfit Additions), $1.56/wear

Who can resist this gorgeous face?  (Tiger + tooth/claw necklace = can't lose.)

It was fun to wear orange shoes instead of the more expected bright pink.  The skirt has a small bit of orange on it, which is matchy enough for me.

In other news...I remember when I was very young having a tiger T-shirt with what seemed to me to be a very realistic, perhaps photograph-based tiger image covering the entire front of the shirt, and perhaps an olive colored back and sleeves.  I wonder if that is a real memory or a fabrication/confabulation.  Well, if I didn't have such a shirt, I should have!

I asked my mom and she remembers this shirt, too.  She also reminded me that when I was very, very young, my dad's mom painted me a tiger T-shirt to wear to my dad's wrestling matches because the school he taught/coached at had a tiger mascot.  I'd forgotten that my grandma used to be into painting T-shirts, but thinking about it, I remember my sister and me going to her house a couple of times to paint T-shirts, which was pretty fun.  (I have enough negative memories of her that it's nice to be reminded that there were cool times occasionally, too.)

Her T-shirt painting days are well behind her now that she's 86 and developing memory problems.  My parents told me yesterday that recently she was able to remember that one of the girls (my sister and I) is pregnant but couldn't remember which one.  When my dad was like, So, which of the girls do you think would be having a baby, she said, Jenny.  Right in one!  She may be forgetting many things, but she's still got a handle on Jen's and my basic personalities.

Wait, have I mentioned my sister is pregnant?  My sister is pregnant!  I am going to be Aunt Sally!  I already have pinned a tutorial for how to make a bunny appliqued onsesie, so I'm getting prepared for this event.  My nephew is going to be another Christmas-season baby, like my dad and me, only much closer to Christmas than we are.  Will I be initiating him into the One Big Gift Club or taking the unbirthday approach?

Instead of tiger wall art, I offer you this sweet chubby little bunny that Robert has had since his rabbit-loving childhood.  (This is not a false memory because, voila, here it is.)  And a cat on a switch plate.  Because you just can't have too many cats.  OK, maybe you can have too many cats, but too much cat art?  I think not.  (This is in the short hall, across from Robert's bathroom.)

Also, though I don't have photographic evidence of this, I hope you will trust me when I say that my mom decided to wear a coral T-shirt and her same-brand black travel cardigan yesterday when she saw what I was wearing.  Awesomeness.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I've Got an Animal Feeling

Watch Yourself, Son--Tuesday, 7/21/15

Focal item: Brown t-shirt knit cardigan

I like the strictness of this Reverse Inspiration version of my outfit.  It's like my ensemble hooked up with a Russian winter service uniform.  It's a sartorial pinata--tough on the outside but a party on the inside.


My outfit definitely has a more slouchy, business casual vibe through and through.  (It even affects my posture, as you can see.  But hey, when you're only working two days in the week, Tuesday is like Friday!) 

*Brown 3/4 sleeve knit cardigan (thrifted, Rafaella), $5.00/wear+
Brown leopard dress (Lands End), $10.00/wear+
Brown flats by Frye, $11.10/wear
Gold tassel necklace (Kohls), $4.00/wear

I might not have any Russian soldier in my look, but with this necklace, I would have a chance of sneaking into a procession of members of the Order of the Thistle.  Think that's a sissy name, a flower?  Thistles are prickly sons of bitches.  I am totally on board with their motto, "Nemo me impune lacessit," Latin for "No one provokes me with impunity."  I look great but fuck with me at your own risk.

My closet continued--I have a rolling wardrobe rack on the left where I hang up blazers/jackets/etc. that don't fit on the right side (and it usually has a couple random things on it too, like the striped top and pants here that I had put aside to wear soon after).  The back wall has pants and skirts.  My shoes are on the rack you can see here, another rack on the floor on the left, and two racks on the floor at the right.

In other news...My parents are in town for the next few days.  Good times.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Once More Into the Breach

Back to Work--Monday, 7/20/15

Focal item: Aqua striped dress

Coming back from a vacation week, I need something festive.

Stripes with floral print continue to make me smile.  This one is so cheerful and fun.


Here is my blue/teal/aqua take on this combination, using a floral-esque paisley print.  And yep, I'm wearing this cardigan with stripes and the aqua scarf again.  What can I say?  It's a winner.  I also love the way the stripes on the dress curve on the bottom half--it's a nice change from the standard horizontal stripes and adds a certain softness to the look that I appreciate.

*Aqua/white striped sleeveless dress (Old Navy), $15.00/wear+
Dark blue/aqua paisley cardigan (Coldwater Creek), $7.00/wear
Aqua infinity scarf (Target), $5.85/wear
*Chambray flats (Payless), $16.99/wear+

It could be argued that I really didn't need another pair of blue flats but give me a break--they were on sale and they're chambray.  I haven't yet purchased even a single genuine chambray button up shirt (and that's a necessity for any fashion blogger--this woman owns about 10 of them, for example) so at least let me enjoy the shoes.  Because enjoying the shoes is a thing I do.

This is how scarily over-stuffed my closet was in March, before I did my big clean-out that resulted in a full shopping cart full of items that we donated to Goodwill.  It looks a little bit less crazy now (a little).

In other news...I enjoyed this article critiquing the "you can be anything/follow your dream" platitudes we give kids.  Sorry, you can't actually be a dinosaur.

Debbie recently talked about the five things she liked best about her home.  Here are mine.

1.  I don't own it.  I love living in a rental property.  I have heard the arguments that it's less economical long-term than owning your own house, but I am still at a point in my life where I don't want to be tied down to any one spot or in the position of trying to sell in a bad market, etc. 

2.  The property management company is good.  So I don't have the downsides of a bad landlord to deal with.  The property is well-maintained and Robert and I aren't having to do all that work (yard work, shoveling snow, and that kind of routine work as well as the big stuff).

3.  It's a pretty big place.  We have over 1500 square feet of space, with a particularly generous living room and good storage space (e.g., we didn't have to add the racks to that closet pictured above; it came with a good installation).  It's roomy but not too much to deal with. 

4.  The location is great.  I am a 5 minute drive from work and right next to the river (which is the most significant river in the country--the river, you know, not just any river).  I am crazy about watching the various boats (everything from canoes to motorboats to sightseeing riverboats to huge tugboats) plying the river.  I also like the chance to see eagles, ducks, etc., working the river.

5.  It has a good floor plan.  Robert has sold me on the virtues of a more open floor plan, and the flow of the living room, dining room, and kitchen is very good in this apartment.  Also, I am thrilled to no longer be in a condo with two floors. 

My other favorite thing is less about the apartment itself than what we decided to do with it, but it has been a game-changer:  Hiring a cleaning service to do most of the housework.  (And having a Robert to do most of the rest.)

What are your top 5 favorite things about your place?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Recovery Sunday

Flowers + Denim--Sunday, 7/19/15

Here is how one blogger took my Reverse Inspiration into the autumn season, with ankle boots and a loose cardigan.


But here's how we play it for July.

Navy/teal/blue floral tank (Kohls), $1.12/wear+
Denim skort (thrifted, Walmart), $2.50/wear
Blue beaded necklace by RB
Bright teal flats (Payless), $6.50/wear

Is it just me or do these blue wildflowers look a lot like the ones on my shirt?  I wish I had a better handle on wildflower species.  (I have been taking a lot of flower photographs this summer because they are such cooperative subjects!)  I thought maybe it would be easy to find out what kind these are on the garden's website but nope.  However, I did learn that this location was the first public wildflower garden in the US, opened in 1907. 

Further Internet research suggests that these might be spiderwort.  Well, of course that's what the web would say, hah.  (Mom, hope you like them despite the name!)

In other news...Robert has identified the frog that attacked me earlier in the week as a Northern Leopard Frog, our state amphibian.  (The Peterson field guide states: "This is the 'meadow frog,' at least in summertime, a name earned by its wanderings well away from water."  That certainly lines up with the terrain where I got attacked, nowhere near water.)  I guess knowledge of my love for leopard print has made its way to the amphibian ranks, so this frog thought that a brief splash of leopard print on my otherwise-non-leopard-print body would be welcome.  I appreciate the idea of this but give me some warning next time, frogs!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Recovery Saturday

Today was a day for sleeping in (until 7:00) and catching up with Netflix.  I watched The Judge, Moonrise Kingdom, and the first few episodes of the 2003 version of The Forsyte Saga

Was it just me or were the two main characters in Moonrise Kingdom obviously some alternate-universe Harry Potter and Hermione Granger?  (Tilda Swinton makes a good "Child Services" Voldemort.)

Mega Puffy--Saturday, 7/18/15

I knew that I wanted to wear my new plaid skirt with a black tank, but I was inspired by this blogger to wear it with a long necklace too.


My entry into the Official Fashion Blogger Club this summer has been blocked by my lack of a Kendra Scott Rayne necklace ($80), so I substituted my nifty owl necklace for it.

*Black tank top (Hanes), $6.00/wear+
*Black/blue/white plaid full skirt (thrifted, Liz Claiborne), $3.00/wear+
Owl necklace (Kohls), $3.15/wear
Black Lifestride flats, $1.95/wear

In case you can't tell, this is a LOT of skirt.  I mean, we're talking petticoats and square dancing levels of volume...and I love it.  I'm ready to promenade around the ring.

In other news...At one point at the national wildlife refuge yesterday, I thought I heard Robert say that he saw a honey badger, a critter that we haven't seen since living in North Carolina (which was mind-boggling at the time)--for the record, I misheard.  So this article about honey badgers and snake venom and a study by a University of Minnesota grad student felt right on point.