Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wrapping Things Up

"Zooey Wonderland"--Saturday, 4/30/16

I pretty much think Lindsay is the real-life counterpart of Zooey Deschanel's character Jess on New Girl.  (She is even a teacher, no joke, though elementary rather than middle school.)

I thought this kinda funky outfit was a nice way to wear my ancient purple knit dress for the weekend.  I loved the purple dress/black tights/Oxford flats combo especially.


For my version I used my black and white check jacket and plain black leather/suede Oxfords, and I loved it.  Enough that this dress I was considering removing from my closet has been re-established as a winner when worn as a comfy knit skirt.

Purple knit dress (Target)
Black and white check jacket (JNY), $4.94/wear
Alice scarf (NerdCreations), $5.71/wear
Black tights
Black suede Oxfords (thrifted, Munro American), $0.56/wear

Outfit total: $11.21/wear

But if I'm going this far, I might as well go all out and add my Alice in Wonderland scarf, right? 

In other news...So this is the last day of the Work the Wardrobe Challenge.  Whew.  Now it's time for a new challenge, right?  No rest for the weary!

With no further ado, I present to you Operation Cost Per Wear, in which I am prioritizing wearing items that currently have a relatively high cost per wear for their category (as well as wearing new items, with their notorious #DIV/0 cost per wear in my Excel file).  As part of my continuing purging process, I'm also going to emphasize wearing things I'm uncertain about keeping and making a decision about them.

I actually started that already today with this dress that I don't like as a dress (because the upper part doesn't fit right) but that I like layering and wearing as a skirt.  I don't have any other knee-length or longer, somewhat full knit skirts or dresses, so even if I don't wear it often, I do feel that it fills a niche.  And Coldville is the kind of place where having a few dresses that you only wear when layering up is a reasonable proposition.  I'm already thinking how much I'd like this one with a grey or black pullover sweater worn over it.

So in addition to celebrating the last day of the WtWC today, I also finished Fallout 3.  I completed the final, interminable mission of the end-of-game DLC Broken Steel on the Very Hard (i.e., hardest possible) level even!  It's funny, very soon after starting up the game today for the first time after last weekend's slog, I killed an enemy with a gatling laser, which gave me the parts I needed to repair Vengeance, my favorite automatic weapon: "unique and very powerful...[it] can handily slaughter most opponents."  So the second half of the mission, while objectively as difficult as the first, was easier because I was able to repair Vengeance 3 times, keeping it in near-perfect condition and hence in its full-out motherfucking bad-ass mode for the rest of the mission.

Friday, April 29, 2016

In Which I Declare Victory

Inspiration Bonanza!--Friday, 4/29/16

Focal item:  Blue/bright pink/white circles shell from Nordstrom

I struck the inspiration jackpot when pairing a pink patterned top with a bright pink cardigan and blue jeans/navy pants.

From #1, #2, #3, #4

Seriously, I was running out of time with this top before the end of the Work the Wardrobe Challenge and was afraid that it would be too cold for it.  For once, the crazily early warming this spring has worked to my advantage!  It was fairly chilly this morning, though, so I wore a bright pink scarf tied around my neck until about 2 p.m.

Straight leg jeans (thrifted, Bandolinoblu), $0.15/wear
Blue/bright pink/white circles shell (Nordstrom), $19.50/wear+ (!!!!)
Bright pink t-shirt cardigan (Lands End), $5.00/wear
White swag necklace (Kohls), $2.89/wear
Medium blue flats by Sofft [see photos #1 + #4], $5.83/wear

Outfit total: $33.37

At least I didn't have to wear mine while there was snow on the ground (like blogger #4).

This top was the last item for the Work the Wardrobe Challenge.  I absolutely eked it out at...well, not the very last minute (since I gave myself until tomorrow) but at the 11th hour.  (Interesting, that phrase may or may not have its origins in the Bible.  But everything in English is from the Bible or Shakespeare, isn't it?)   Yay for me!

However, because I do outfit planning in advance, I do have some recent purchases that didn't make it into the WtWC, but I had already decided that they were exempt--you will be seeing them coming up soon, though.  And I have some older purchases, dating back to December, that were not part of the WtWC because it made zero sense to me to either (1) wear seriously summery clothes before summer or (2) not take advantage of a great thrift store bargain just because the item didn't align with the season.  So that's a caveat to this whole thing.  But I say, It's done, I won.  The End.

In other news....This story is for my dad because I think he will relate.  This week I asked Robert to put soy sauce on the grocery list because I have only about 2 servings left.  He told me, We have more soy sauce.  I say, Oh really, where?  He says, On the shelves.  I say, I saw two bottles of Worchestershire sauce but no soy sauce.  He goes over and finds the Worchestershire sauce and says, Damn, I thought I bought soy sauce the last two times I was at the store but I got Worchestershire sauce instead.  I said, Yeah, the first clue is that only Worchestershire sauce comes wrapped up in paper like that and the second clue is that it says "Worchestershire sauce" on it instead of "soy sauce."  But this story has a happy ending.  On Wednesday evening he came home from the store with a bottle of soy sauce and no more Worchestershire sauce...which I can't even remember the last time I used. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Outfit Mastery

"Watermelon Bubble Gum"--Thursday, 4/28/16

Let's just get this out of the way immediately.  This patterned pencil skirt (from Boden--they seriously have the most excellent prints) is gorgeous!  I think it looks like coral...or fish eggs...or something that doesn't sound like it should look good on a skirt, actually.

Bridgette makes a printed pencil skirt corporate-friendly by adding a plain button up shirt, classic heels, and simple jewelry.  I'm going to go Librarian Chic with mine.


And that means pattern mixing, untucked button up shirt, sweater vest, and mary janes, of course.

Black and white button up shirt (thrifted, Old Navy), $0.80/wear
Bright pink sweater vest (thrifted, Fieldgear), $1.00/wear
Watermelon floral skirt (thrifted, Talbots), $1.25/wear
Black/silver pendant (JCP), $3.07/wear
Black tights
Black mary janes by Hush Puppies, $4.48/wear

Outfit total: $10.60/wear

I could pretty much wear a variant on this outfit every day.  It would get boring eventually, and there are a lot of other looks I like, but the pencil skirt/button up shirt/vest (+blazer when it's cold) combo would be a serious contender for Sally Work Uniform.  (By the way, it was 41 and raining hard when I left work today.  Good thing I had worn my super-long trench coat for trudging across the parking lot.  I could have used the blazer today but relied upon my butt-warming heating pad instead.)

In other news...Scarcity vs abundance mindsets, talking about flow without invoking the word "flow," the insidiousness of social comparison, and more in this article about "why so many smart people are unhappy"--it's an interview with a University of Texas marketing professor.  I wish the marketing professors in my PhD program had been familiar with these (to me, pretty basic and obvious) ideas.  Perhaps they would have made their grad students less miserable.

Plus a blog post on style uniforms.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Not Popular, Plus a Mini Rant

"A Different Lavender Brown"--Monday, 4/25/16

Today's Reverse Inspiration comes from stylist Bridgette Raes.

#1:  Here she shows lavender with a black dress (and to her broader point, brings in a pop of green, but let's ignore that for now).


#2:  And in this post, she argues for pants that are just as versatile as black pants, such as the brown pants paired with lavender and purple in the right hand side of this layout.


I think these two posts are converging on the idea that wearing a brown skirt and brown top (and brown leggings and brown boots) with a lavender quilted vest is a good one.

Brown long-sleeved T (Macy's), $3.66/wear
Brown corduroy skirt (thrifted, Walmart), $1.50/wear
Lavender quilted vest (thrifted, Van Heusen), $2.00/wear+ (!!!!!)
Brown leopard scarf (Kohls), $3.05/wear
Brown leggings
Tall brown boots by Fitzwell, $5.25/wear

Outfit total: $15.46/wear

And let us not forget the ubiquitous brown leopard scarf!

It was interesting to see how rare the brown + lavender color combination is.  The second photo was the only one I found with lavender and brown but I really like how they look together.  I guess the rest of the world is missing out on this good thing.  (Well, it wouldn't be the first time.)

And all this despite the fact that Lavender Brown was a character in Harry Potter (Ron's short-time girlfriend)!  But maybe she wasn't very popular.  And I cannot see any evidence that she wore lavender and brown together.  I guess with a name like that you have to be careful.  My name and status as a free American give me the liberty and confidence to wear whatever color combinations I want...or something.

Even if it is utterly ridiculous for the recent weather.  Reaching 70 F in mid-April?!?!  This is wrong, I tell you, WRONG!

We disapprove of this inappropriately spring-like weather in...well, spring.  But still.

I had actually been despairing that I wouldn't have a chance to wear this outfit and thus would miss out the lavender vest on the Work the Wardrobe Challenge--the weekends have been so warm for so many weeks (and it's warmer in my apartment than it is at work).  But when I saw a high of 50 F and raining on the forecast for Monday, I thought, What the hell, I could wear this outfit to work, right?  I mean, yeah, it's strongly on the casual side of business casual but I don't have any meetings or anything--I'm just going to be sitting at my desk churning out some quarterly reports.

Well that was Saturday.

Then I checked the forecast again Sunday night and we were back up to 67 F for a high on Monday.  WTF, people.  But Wednesday looked not quite so bad, highs in the low 50s F and raining, so I tried it today...even though I did have a meeting.  What I won't do for the WtWC. It turned out to be quite appropriate for the weather.

I swear that Robert and I have seen near 20 degree F shifts in the forecast within a couple of hours on Weather Underground.  He has asked, 'Why do the forecasts change so much so quickly?  Do they have multiple meteorologists updating the forecast back and forth with their own predictions like the site is Wikipedia or something?'  It's a good question.  All I know is that I find it very annoying, how it fucks up my planning.  THUMP.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cool Colors, Cool Weather

"Embroidery Barbie Has Balls"--Tuesday, 4/26/16

Christine works this color combination in June (and with a baby bump) but I thought this was a fun, bright way to wear a grey cardigan I got from my mom at Christmas...


...and to realize that my aqua T is too short (good-bye!) so I need to substitute a top in a different shade of blue.

Blue embroidered knit top (Walmart), $1.33/wear
*Grey V neck cardigan (Kohls, from Mom)+ (!!!!)
Bright pink pencil skirt (JCP), $2.01/wear
Grey tights
Grey leopard wedges by Cole Haan, $10.42/wear
Wild ball necklace (Macy's), $3.04/wear

Outfit total: $16.80/wear

I like the texture mix going on here with the ribbed cardigan, the embroidered top, and the variously smooth and grooved and pitted balls on the necklace.

In other news...I enjoyed the commentary on this list of Things My Male Tech Colleagues Have Actually Said to Me.  But...seriously?  You guys suck.

It turned out to be surprisingly chilly today--I mean, the meteorologists were off by a good 15 degrees F in their forecast--so I had to use my bun-warming heating pad today at work.  It may seem silly but it's damn effective.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Rainy Monday

"The Giant Alice Schoolgirl"--Monday, 4/25/16

For today's inspiration, I'm bringing another StyleUp photo out from the dark recesses of my computer.  A navy sweater is paired with a brown skirt.  Let's get to work.  (Not private school, or should I say "public school" in good British style, like this model, who has torn the school crest patch--with the Latin phrase "Numquam obliviscar" and an elephant rampant--off the front of her jumper and turned the waistband of her skirt over several times to make it daringly shorter....ah, to be in 8th grade in some imagined England of the 1960s).


Anyway, back to today.  This schoolgirl outfit can be the basis for using two relatively recent thrift store acquisitions--a lightweight brown pleated skirt purchased in November (as a "warm weather" companion to my corduroy skirt) and a navy argyle cardigan from the 88 cent sale in December.

*Brown pleated skirt (thrifted, Casual Corner), $5.99/wear+
*Navy/light blue argyle cardigan (thrifted, Kmart), $0.88/wear+
White long-sleeved T (Walmart), $0.38/wear
Navy tights
Navy striped flats (Payless), $2.83/wear
Aqua/silver teardrop necklace (JNY), $1.85/wear

Outfit total: $11.93/wear

I would not normally wear tights with striped shoes but I was optimistic when I put this outfit together that it would still be firmly cool for a few weeks yet.  As it turned out, we've been in that limbo between true tights weather and bare leg weather for the last couple weeks.  It's been cool enough that I need tights until about 2:00 in the afternoon, at which point I start to feel warm.  Today, however, the rain kept me happy to be in tights all afternoon long. 

I haven't lived anywhere before where--not counting winter--the difference in how warm you get indoors when it's rainy vs. when it's sunny is so substantial.  Sunshine is like a guarantee that the apartment/office will be too warm.  Are all buildings constructed here to suck all warmth out of the outdoor air and transfer it immediately indoors or what?

Regardless, I am irrationally pleased to see how the cognac piping on the edge of the ballet flats matches the brown in the skirt. 

Also, this close up of my legs and feet, in comparison to the smaller photo above, makes me feel like Alice after eating the EAT ME cake.


In other news...How was the weekend so short?  Oh yeah, I spent a lot of it playing Fallout.  As my mom predicted, Robert finished the game before I did--though to be fair, I collected all the bobbleheads and he did not, so I am finishing more of the game, if that makes sense. 

When I completed the final quest of the main quest line on Saturday, it was so short and easy that I decided to play the DLC that extends the game (Broken Steel) on the Very Hard setting (i.e., the very hardest setting in the game).  That wasn't too bad at first (because the missions were relatively short so I could go back home and resupply) but when I reached the final quest of Broken Steel yesterday...oh man.  That is a LONG SLOG. 

I had to travel through 4-5 metro lines while being attacked by things like groups of 6 feral ghouls, 3 of them the dreaded ghoul reavers, or groups of sentry bots (oh yeah, I'd forgotten that those sumbitches can be tough to kill) until finally reaching this air force base that is gigantic and crawling with enemies (and with turrets atop every corner of every building, it seems).  I have tons of ammo and tons of stimpaks (for healing) but my weapons are really degraded--I brought spare parts, but not enough given how many/tough the enemies are.  I did pick up a special weapon ("tesla cannon") which is good but only holds one piece of ammo at a time so there is a lot of reloading.  So far I am finding it mostly an inferior substitute for my degraded Vengeance gatling laser (it runs on the same ammo type as the tesla cannon).

At one point I was taking a ton of damage and I realized that I hadn't checked my armor in a while--it was almost in shreds.  Luckily I was able to scavenge a couple sets of armor off some dead enemies and cobble them together into a pretty nice set of gear. 

Anyway, after a few hours of that on Sunday, I was like, OK, I am ready for this game to be over RIGHT NOW.  I took that as a sign that it was time to take a break.  I am planning to return to the game next weekend to finish Broken Steel--and I'm planning on continuing on the Very Hard setting for maximum bragging rights to Robert when I'm done for the greater challenge.  I mean, if you are ridding your world of a horrifyingly powerful and evil enemy army, it should feel hard, you know?  But who knows...if it continues to feel like an un-fun slog, I reserve the right to reduce the setting to Hard.  (I still think that the default setting is likely to be too easy.)

How was your weekend?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mint and a Butterfly

"The Hippy Semi Hippie"--Sunday, 4/24/16

Mint, grey and blue denim in one simple weekend outfit.


Here is my rendition, complete with a little grey pearl pendant.  I wear the matching drop earrings from this set all the time but the necklace is worn infrequently.  However, I thought it worked very nicely with this sweater vest that mostly resists my attempts to add scarves or necklaces.

Mint cardigan vest (JCP), $11.73/wear
Grey metallic striped long-sleeved top (Kohls), $2.26/wear
Flared jeans (thrifted, Lane Bryant), $0.29/wear
Grey ankle boots by Seychelles, $7.78/wear
Single grey pearl pendant+

Outfit total: $22.06/wear

I was also pleasantly surprised to find that these flared jeans look pretty good with the sweater vest.  I expected that the semi-baggy shape of the vest would be dowdy (not that that stops me!) but I think it's just flattering enough.

In other news...As the Work the Wardrobe Challenge nears its end, I thought I'd share my first sliver of data today.

One of the things I tracked this year was wardrobe items purchased and wardrobe items purged.  Let's start with examining the net flow of items in and out of my wardrobe.

Overall, I purchased 148 items this year and purged 105, for a net gain of 43.  Ouch...or not?  How did this break down by category?

In the general category of bottoms, I increased my skirts significantly.  I was pretty pleased that I added more colorful and patterned pencil skirts, which is increasingly my go-to choice because they are easy to wear with long tops, high-volume tops, etc.  So I'm happy about that.  Pants were stable, and I only bought a dress because I needed something for a cocktail wedding.

In the general category of tops, I did a good job of decreasing my numbers, especially among sweaters.  Those always feel like they will be useful (because: Coldville) but it turns out that I have a strong preference for layering year-round and bulky sweaters are not actually the best option for that because they do not fit well under blazers.  I also got rid of a bunch of stiff button up shirts that just aren't all that comfortable and are not happy with cardigans.  I still have too many tops, but I think I made some progress on that front this year.  I'd like to get rid of more in the year to come.

In the general category of toppers, I am not surprised to see that I have expanded my jackets and vests, though I didn't remember that I'd gotten rid of so many cardigans.  In keeping with my preferences (style-wise and comfort-wise) for layering, I made a point of expanding my layering options, especially with vests.  I had to take advantage of what will no doubt be a very brief period of cardigan vest trendiness to snatch them up!  But I'm in really good shape in that category now.

In the general category of accessories...yeah, I kind of went overboard.  But luckily scarves and necklaces take up next to no room, so that's not really a big deal (and I have them well-organized in space and in my spreadsheet, so I don't forget about any of them).  The shoes...well, it was a parade of colorful, inexpensive ballet flats from Payless (and a few from Goodwill) for the most part.  I was already extremely well set on the pricey stuff (boots, more professional leather flats) and now my fun ballet flats game is strong, too.  So really, one could almost think I don't need to buy any more shoes.  One could.  Almost.  If they didn't know me.

So although I did increase my net items by an appreciable amount this year, I am happy to see that I've shifted the balance a bit in the right direction.  It's clear that I had too many long-sleeved shirts and pullover sweaters, and I know I still have my work cut out for me in that category a bit, but it is good that I retired about 3 dozen of them and replaced less than a dozen.  (Some key purchases there were basic, extremely versatile black and grey pullover sweaters and several blouses that are more comfortable and play more nicely with layering than stiff woven shirts.)

This, the Work the Wardrobe Challenge was NOT successful in the sense of keeping me from shopping (though without the WtWC, I could easily have purchased more and purged less!).  But I have the room and organization capacity to deal with the extra stuff.  How about the financial impact of this shopping?  That's a topic for another day.  Stay tuned!

Do you like my butterfly chart?  This site had the best (i.e. easiest to reproduce) tutorial for making one in Excel that I found.  (Transferring that chart from Excel to Blogger?  That was a nightmare!)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Flowery Bad-Ass

"Orchid Floral Overlord"--Saturday, 4/23/16

I was introduced to this blogger's "bold and feminine" style by Angie Cox, and I enjoyed her mixing a statement pastel floral jacket with a black and white top.


My version features a floral jacket in neutral colors but a standout silhouette.  (Hers: no collar.  Mine: gigantic collar.  It all averages out, right?)  In the place of neon yellow shoes, I went with these orchid flats that I love but do not wear often enough.  I won't say that a pop of saturated pastels is always welcome, but it definitely has a way of jazzing up a neutral ensemble.

White blazer with grey/black floral print (Coldwater Creek), $5.00/wear
Black ankle pants (thrifted, Eileen Fisher), $1.15/wear
Black polka dot knit top (Liz Claiborne/JCP), $6.25/wear
Orchid flats by Born, $1.92/wear
Silver chain link necklace (gift from Mom)

Outfit total: $14.32

In other news...For weeks now I have had "Certain People I Could Name" by They Might Be Giants stuck in my head.  (This is an amusing cartoon video of it.)  Appropriately, about halfway through the song, the lyrics go:

"Halfway through the 30 minutes, halfway round the world
Comes the story of the genocidal overlord"

It's odd.  There are songs in which certain lyrics have always eluded me, songs where I regularly forget snatches of lyrics, songs where I have misunderstood the lyrics all along...but this one is different.  I am absolutely 100% sure at all times that the line says "genocidal overlord" but when I hear it in my head, some other adjective is substituted.  Lately I've been hearing a lot of "charismatic overlord" and "enigmatic overlord" with the occasional "homicidal overlord" or even "suicidal overlord" thrown in.

But given that it's a TMBG song, shouldn't it be "trapezoidal overlord"?  After all, who else has a chance to beat Triangle Man in a fight?

Of course, given all my Fallout playing, maybe it should be "Super Mutant Overlord"!  I can just hear Three Dog regaling his radio audience with such a tale.  ("Listen up, children!")

Super Mutant Overlord from

But today's outfit definitely has an Orchid Floral Overlord feeling to it.  I mean, floral blazer + "orchid" ballet flats?  That's perfect, right?  And don't worry, I can still rock a tri-beam laser rifle in this getup, killing super mutant overlords so I can use their weapons for spare parts.  (Because even Three Dog, stuck in his radio studio, knows the importance of regular weapon maintenance.)

I did shoot some super mutants today (though not an overlord) but mostly I was fighting the Enclave, a bunch of tech-savvy authoritarian assholes.  I finished the main quest line of the game and am about halfway through the DLC (downloadable content) that occurs at the end of the main quest line.  Once I finish that (which is maybe a couple hours more playtime), I will need to decide if I want to finish the alien ship DLC.  And then I'll be done with this game!

What will life after Fallout 3 be like?  Well, I do have Fallout New Vegas downloaded to play...

Friday, April 22, 2016

Finally Friday

"Naval Piping"--Friday, 4/22/16

If you haven't already learned more than you ever wanted to know about the Breton shirt (aka matelot), Bridgette goes into the background more in this article.  Meanwhile she put together an outfit that is essentially perfect.


This is a great time to wear my funny red fish scarf (needed for the Work the Wardrobe Challenge).  This was one of the scarves from the Vera Neumann collaboration with Target in 2013 (which also included the white/green/blue floral/paisley scarf that I've worn a lot).  (I just learned all this from google--I did not know anything about the collaboration or Vera Neumann when I bought the scarves, I just thought they were cute.)

Navy striped short-sleeved knit top (St Johns Bay/JCP), $4.00/wear
Navy tipped blazer (thrifted, Nordstrom), $6.00/wear
Red fish scarf (Target), $1.71/wear+
Straight leg jeans (thrifted, Bandolinoblu), $0.18/wear
Red buckle flats by Me Too, $2.55/wear

Outfit total: $14.44/wear

Perhaps I improved a bit on perfection (according to my personal criteria) by adding this subtly tipped blazer (navy blazer with black piping).  Stripes + tipped blazer + animal print (if a kind of non-standard one in this case) = a good thing going.

In the navy, a pipe (aka boatswain's call aka bosun's pipe) with a high pitch that could be heard over the sounds of the crew and sea was used in the place of many verbal commands.  I think the specific naval piping of this outfit is "Sweepers"--not only does it signify the end of the work day, it's the end of the work week!

In other news...An article about the manologue from the New York Times.  And in related news, this.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Kitchen Sync

"Red Slasher"--Thursday, 4/21/16

I did not intend for there to be all this dramatic tension at the end of the Work the Wardrobe Challenge.  Will the weather cooperate so that Sally is not way over-heated and/or looks like a complete idiot wearing tights today?  (I can manage tights + tall boots up to about 65 F and tights + shoes up to somewhere in the low 70s, depending on how sunny it is and thus how warm it is inside my no-AC-at-the-moment office.  Where do I start looking like an idiot?  Hmm, perhaps that shouldn't be too stringent a criterion...)

Although Shea wore this as an almost-Christmas casual work outfit (sweatshirt + cords), I liked the grey top + red skirt combination as an option in any season.


I went with a grey striped top and red pencil skirt as the basis for my look, then added more grey and leopard print to the bottom half.  It was only fitting then that I mirror the red on the bottom half by wearing a red scarf.  I liked how the white vest lightens the whole outfit and gives it a somewhat "spring" feel.  (Note that I did not attempt to replicate the "red legs" aspect with red tights.)

Red pencil skirt (JCP), $5.95/wear
Grey striped top (Kohls), $1.70/wear
Grey tights
Grey leopard flats by Fergilicious, $0.70/wear
Red scarf (Target), $1.33/wear
White open weave cardigan vest (JCP), $5.52/wear

Outfit total: $15.20/wear

A few weeks after putting this outfit together, I saw an even more similar version on Jen's librarian style blog!  (She lives in the relatively warm Pacific Northwest, so her February outfit has fewer layers than my spring version.)  Reverse Inspiration twins!


In other news...I have taken to syncing my Fitbit to my phone each morning in the kitchen while I have breakfast (or more typically, a foul flaxseed oil/cod liver oil mixture) so I can get the rundown on my previous night's sleep.  It's nice to see confirmation that I wake up a ton of times during the night--well, a couple dozen times.  I've been hitting a bit under 7 hours sleep each night this week, even though I'm in bed closer to 7.5 to 8 hours.  All that waking up and changing position 25 times per night eats up some time.  But I like that my time to fall asleep is generally pretty short, under 10 minutes!  I just wish that it were easier to put the Fitbit into manual sleep mode.  This whole tapping thing doesn't work very well for me.  I had to get Robert to try it last night after I lost patience with it.  Apparently the trick is you have to tap with the tip of your fingernail very rapidly in the area just below the clear light zone?  Sigh.

Huh, it just started raining again.  I was glad for another cool-ish, cloudy/rainy day that supported my tights-wearing ways.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fit-KITT to Fitbit

Better In My Head--Wednesday, 4/20/16

I like this sleeveless cardigan but it's a bit of a hard shape to wear--i.e., a big square with holes for your arms and a slit down the front to get it on.  I thought I would try it with a white shirt and my bright teal skirt.

Green/grey sleeveless cardigan (JNY), $4.41/wear
White long-sleeved V neck T (Lands End), $1.33/wear
Bright teal skirt (JCP), $1.95/wear
Grey leggings
Tall grey boots by Fitzwell, $8.33/wear
Black/teal/purple chevron scarf, $3.07/wear

Outfit total: $19.09/wear

I don't hate the result, but I think the cardigan looks a lot better with a grey shirt instead.  Oh well, now I know.  At least adding the scarf with white in the print helps make the white top look a little bit less out of place.

So, today was supposed to be the last day of the Work the Wardrobe Challenge, but due to some unexpected travel (Superbaby, I love you!!!) and illness and fucked up warm weather (though I am getting lucky with a few days of low 60s and rain this week), I still have several planned outfits left from the Challenge.  Because I am the boss of me, I have decided to extend it through the end of the month.  Ending on the last day of the month also is just more satisfying somehow than ending on the 19th.  I'm looking forward to some analysis and reporting next month on how the WtWC went.

In other news... I want to love my Fitbit, but we've been on a rocky road the last few months.  It seems so very, very easy for it to get screwed up.  Lately it's been in this non-working mode with racing lights on the front that reminded me of Cylons from Battlestar Galactica and Robert of the car on Knight Rider.  (Seriously, check out that Knight Rider video--those were the days, eh?)  When Robert mentioned Knight Rider, I was like, Oh yeah, KITT!  And thus I christened it with the not-affectionate nickname "Fit-KITT." 

It's so wrong because when Cylons and KITT have the light moving back and forth, it indicates that they are intelligent machines primed to do their job (i.e., kick all kinds of ass).  But when the Fitbit is in that mode, it's got nada going on.

I have spent way more hours than I would like going through what seems like a never-ending series of help articles on the Fitbit website, about 8000 of which address what to try when your Fitbit Flex is kaput, and you are sent from one to the next to the next, trying the same things over and over in different orders.  So frustrating!

And is there any fucking reason that the help article called "What do the light patterns mean on my Flex?" does NOT include any information whatsoever about the racing Cylon/KITT light pattern?  I mean, isn't one of the main reasons a person would click on that article that the Fitbit isn't working and all you know is it has this particular light pattern on it?  I actually never found a reference to that in the help pages, but Robert found a user manual (not through the Fitbit site but from Google) that mentioned it.  The fix described therein didn't work, of course, but at least it was acknowledged.

So I spent a couple more hours and managed to get the thing out of Fit-KITT mode!  It still took me several attempts to get it to sync but I finally decided that the adjustments I had to make to my computer in order to play Fallout, which means that I can't download photos from my camera and other little things like that, probably also have made it impossible to sync my Fitbit.  Luckily I was able to get the app on my phone to sync.

This has been very frustrating for me, given that my patience level dealing with any kind of non-working piece of mechanics or electronics is a 1.5 on a 10 point scale.

Let's hope that I can enjoy some weeks of uninterrupted data collection/positive health behavior influence out of this thing before it goes all Fit-KITT on me again!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Thank the Gods for a Cooler Rainy Day

Edited to add:  OMG.  Seriously check out this poor corn-chomping technique.  He needs to enroll in a course with the U of Nebraska extension service to fix that up.  (Hat tip: Style on Target)

Wearing a Perforated-Looking Sweater--Tuesday, 4/19/16

I LOVED the color combo in this inspiration photo.  I only recently (December thrift shopping with my mom) got a pullover sweater that I can (out of the corner of my eye) call "white" instead of cream so I was happy to be able to take a stab at this look.

(Which is, for once, from a relatively recent blog post, too--late November 2015.  It's not unusual for me to a couple years behind.)


While I would have preferred a pure white sweater like the one in the photo, I think my rendition turned out very nicely.  Today was relatively cool by recent standards and rainy, so I brought out leggings + tall boots for perhaps their penultimate wear-to-work outing until fall.  (Perhaps.  I am wearing tall boots tomorrow because another cool/rainy day is expected, and I still have a few tights outfits in my line up that I might bring out if it's not too crazy warm.)

White textured pullover sweater (thrifted, Liz Claiborne), $2.50/wear
Dark teal skirt (JCP), $2.01/wear
Black leggings
Tall black boots by Fitzwell, $2.62/wear
Magenta scarf (JCP), $1.20/wear

Outfit total: $8.33/wear

Not shown in this photo is how my magenta Fitbit echoes the color of the scarf.  It's great when that happens.

I still would like to find a truly white pullover sweater.  I like the crispness of it with jewel tones and pastels, and it's really just a more flattering color on me.  But I'm well-pleased to have scored this comfortable, interesting-shaped-and-textured sweater nonetheless, and I think it's one that I will get a good amount of use from.

In other news...As I mentioned, on Saturday I spent some time taking non-tights-outfit photos (mostly pants outfits), and when I was done, I just dressed in something easy--an embellished black tunic, jeans, and flats.  The jeans are a kind of astonishing recent Goodwill purchase, on an outing when I was looking for a pair of black pants for work (I got those too).  They are called "super skinny leggings" but...I mean...they're just like skinny jeans.  I sort of don't get it.  Either the "super skinny" part or the "leggings" part.  But whatever.  My other black jeans are a longer bootcut that are quite fabulous with my black ankle boots but that are too long to wear with flats, so having another pair will be useful in the coming months.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Local Warming

"Camel-a-lot"--Monday, 4/18/16

Today's outfit is a last minute switch up as the forecast last night changed from 64 F and raining (what it said on Saturday) to 79 and partly cloudy (in reality: mostly sunny).  Good thing I'd done some outfit prep on Saturday because 79 is...well, that is crazy warm for mid-April.

So let's get to it.

This Reverse Inspiration player is wearing a foxy fall version of my outfit.  I can understand why she wanted to buy all the animal sweaters; so cute, no?


I like the combination of this subtly goofy camel print top with a bold color.  Today I went with these purple (blurple) pants.

Sleeveless camel blouse (Kohls), $4.15/wear
Purple pants (JCP), $3.20/wear
Short-sleeved black cardigan (thrifted, the Limited), $0.83/wear
Double strand pearls (Macy's), $5.75/wear
Black pointy-toed flats (Nordstrom), $2.38/wear

Outfit total: $16.31/wear

In other news...Did you know this strange historical camel fact?

In March 1855, the US Congress passed the Shield Amendment, a bizarre bill which provided $30,000 for the War Department to buy camels. The idea was to use them in the deserts of the American Southwest. Thirty-three dromedaries, as well as three Arabic and two Turkish trainers, were taken to Camp Verde, Texas, where they surveyed roads and explored the Big Bend. Eventually, they went to Fort Tejon, California, where they carried supplies and military dispatches. They even served as pack animals in the Civil War, and 80 of them were captured by Confederate troops. However, soldiers eventually got sick of the camels’ bad smell and worse tempers, and they were released into the wilderness.

How about this biological one?

Wild Bactrians only live in two places on the planet. Some are located in Mongolia’s Great Gobi Strictly Protected Area (which, by the way, is strictly protected) while the rest live on the Arjin Shan Lop Nur nature reserve in China’s Xinjiang province. This is pretty impressive considering the Chinese tested their nukes there in the ’50s. It’s basically an irradiated wasteland, but the camels don’t mind. Wild Bactrians also have kidneys that’d make any rock star jealous. There isn’t much fresh water in these regions, so these guys get by slurping from salty springs. That’s right—these camels drink saltwater. Even domesticated Bactrians won’t touch the stuff.

Or this literary one?  (Mom, how would you like to work for that library?

Formed by the Kenya National Library Service in 1996, the Camel Mobile Library provides books to students and adults in hard-to-reach places. Camels are well suited for the arid landscape, and they can haul quite a few paperbacks. Monday through Thursday, librarians set out with three camels apiece. The first camel hauls two boxes full of books, 200 in each. The second totes a tent, and the third carries anything else the librarian might need. The libraries visit 12 locations (which are always different as their patrons are nomadic), where they find children eagerly waiting to check out new books. The librarians set the books out on mats, and let the children take two apiece. Then they pack their wares and set off the next location, promising to return in two weeks.

Visit this site for more information on these camel facts and others!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Beautiful Soup

"Elementary School Counselor"--Sunday, 4/17/16

Are you starting to wonder whether I would be able to put items of clothing on my body without Bridgette Raes?  In this article, she gave ideas for chic sweater looks for clearly I should try one of these in spring.


This was an excuse to wear my diamond cardigan yet again.  (I'm working on getting that cost per wear down!)

Black and white diamond cardigan (JNY), $8.63/wear
Short-sleeved white top with ribbon neckline (thrifted, Lands End), $2.00/wear
Bootcut jeans (thrifted, Kohls), $0.70/wear
Red buckle flats by Me Too, $2.68/wear
Red bubble necklace (Outfit Additions), $1.87/wear

Outfit total: $15.88/wear

I ensured that my outfit wasn't too chic (hah, such a risk) by wearing an old red bubble necklace.

In other news...Yesterday I spent a lot of time on outfit organization, photo taking, and blog preparation.  At the end of my long photo session, I put on this simple but comfy outfit.

*Black skinny jeans (thrifted, YMI), $5.24/wear
Black tunic with flower embellishment (thrifted, Macy's), $1.33/wear
Black LifeStride flats, $1.26/wear

Today's big project is making a gigantic pot of chicken soup.  Because there's nothing like high temperatures in the 70s to make you crave a nice, piping hot bowl of soup, right?  SIGH.

I'm just in the mood for something different from the same few things I have been eating for months, and the weather is not cooperating with my culinary vision.  It's not been cooperating with my sartorial vision either, so I guess that's no surprise.

Oh well.  I broke down and started running the air conditioner again this weekend (instead of relying on open windows) and you know what?  IT'S FUCKING AWESOME.  So if I get home from work and I feel like it's too warm to eat soup (and it probably won't be because thermostats are da bomb), I will simply push a button and make it cooler in the apartment.

Seriously, we are living in the future and it is good!

Now if only I had a replicator a la Star Trek to cook this soup for me today...

Hell, if I had a replicator, I would be in bad, bad shape because I wouldn't ask for a bowl of chicken soup.  It would be like a plate of chicken/black bean nachos the size of a large pizza followed by a piece of Italian cream cake...and then my visiting the hologram doctor because I made myself utterly sick on such decadent food.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Animal Print Housing

"Minty Fresh Zoo"--Friday, 4/15/16

This outfit inspiration chain is like a game of telephone...or perhaps a very short daisy chain.  The style challenge creator developed the outfit on the left, which one of the participants interpreted in the outfit on the right.  I used that outfit as the inspiration for mine.

From...???? I have lost the source.  Sorry!

However, because this is an early spring outfit, I added back jeans and a cardigan (and kept the scarf).  So I guess I pretty much went with the most body-covering options from the two outfits to make this work for Coldville.

Grey/cream striped T (Kohls), $2.55/wear
*Pastel zebra infinity scarf (Walmart), $2.50/wear+
Straight leg jeans (thrifted, Bandolinoblu), $0.22/wear
Mint cardigan (Lands End), $2.50/wear+
Olive leopard flats (Nordstrom Rack), $5.99/wear

Outfit total: $13.76/wear

The other obvious difference is that I switched the cardigan color from coral to mint because (1) I don't own a coral cardigan, (2) I have this cardigan I need to wear for the Work the Wardrobe Challenge, (3) it goes well with this new scarf (also needed to wear for the WtWC), and (4) it's a nicer color for a pale blonde to wear.  Not that being a less-than-flattering color stops me from something (well, except for that horrible mustard cardigan/Golden Gophers costume!) but it's always a bonus when the outfit color works with my own coloring.

In other news...Over at Note of the Living Deb, homeowner's insurance is the topic of the day.  I'm not a homeowner, so I have no input on how to determine the amount to insure your house for, but I was interested in her comments about new housing in Austin appearing to be all luxury housing and the attendant problem with gentrification generally: So now where does everybody else live?  My mom and I were discussing that with regard to the San Fransisco area when we visited my sister last month and were talking about the house that they got for a relative steal given how crazy expensive houses are out there.

But when my brother-in-law was checking out house prices in other cities recently, he was surprised to see that Austin was a pretty pricey city.  So while SF might seem all about the do re mi, it's not alone in that respect.  Some parts of "Beautiful Texas" may not be a lot more affordable (once nominal prices are adjusted for pay levels).

My guess is that even though the housing is not "affordable" to a lot of people, there are enough people who want to live near the center of the city/in nice neighborhoods (however defined)/etc. to keep prices high so that less affluent people are moving further and further away from town.  Anyone else have thoughts on this?  Observations?  Actual data??

This article from last fall in Forbes mentions that increased housing prices in Austin have "eroded" the city's financial advantage (income vs. cost of living), though it still does well on their rankings (#19).  Houston is #1 on the list, which feels right to me.  Surprisingly, San Jose, CA is #2.  Dallas-Fort Worth is #5.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Prepare Yourself For A Fruit Pun

Pink Lady Outfits: Not Just For Apple Shapes Anymore--Thursday, 4/14/16

I liked Alice's "modernized pink lady outfit" as an inspiration for wearing a new thrift store cardigan I purchased in November.


I guess that makes this a winterized springified modernized pink lady?  (Though I do think that modernized takes a hit by my substitution of a cardigan for the pink moto jacket.)  I'm enjoying the combination of floaty feminine dress and masculine lace-up shoes.  (I don't prefer to wear the same shoes two days in a row but that's just how it turned out this time.)

Black and white polka dot dress (thrifted, Target), $1.67/wear
*Pink-orchid cardigan (thrifted, Target), $3.74/wear+
Light blue/orchid leopard/floral scarf (thrifted), $2.33/wear
Black tights
Black suede Oxfords (thrifted, Munro American), $0.63/wear

Outfit total: $8.37/wear

In the same post, she also pairs this dress with (a double dose of) leopard print, so I suppose it scarf was dual-inspired (though really, the scarf was a matter of practicality as much as anything--this square Jane Austen neckline is too low to wear without a scarf, especially to work).

In other news...It was 77 F today, folks.  I think tights season is coming to a premature end this year.

My brain is a bit tired tonight after a long day of figuring out how to do new things, but the good news is that I think I solved a big problem!  I tested it out in a small way and it's operating like it should; tomorrow I will fully implement the solution and test it further, hopefully declare victory, and move on to the next thing I don't yet know how to do.  It's been fun having a few days of real brain stretch this week.  Next week I will be heavily in the mode that I like to call being "a machine that turns iced tea into reports."

So, yep, this hufflepuff dwarf bunny and I are tired but feeling pretty satisfied about things right now.

This rabbit reverse inspired the "Hufflepuff" name in the Harry Potter universe.