Monday, February 28, 2011

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

This outfit is from a day when I was having trouble getting things a-goin' in the morning.

Sweater: Ann Taylor Loft. Button-up: Ralph Lauren kidswear via Plato's. Jeans: Old Navy. Shoes: Bandolino via DSW. 

I had the outfit picked out, and was legitimately excited about it. I thought the classic sweater with the pretty plaid peeking out would be nice and somewhat interesting. I added my mom's little earrings to continue on that classy route.  Then, I went to the bathroom. As I stared at my reflection, my hands began to move all on their own, and without my even realizing it, I pulled my hair basically straight up onto my head for a little bun-thing! What utter silliness! And then, for some reason, I added a bright pink headband. (This may have just been to hold my hair back for my face-washing time, but I didn't take it out that day.)

These two additions really detract, perhaps, from the whole 'classy' thing, but in the end, that's what I needed to get it going. It was really interesting to not only go against conventional wisdom of what will look good, but actually even what I thought would look best. And for some reason, that day, that was really, really satisfying for me.

Here's hoping we can all feel that way about the way we look!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Do the Time Warp

Okay, so as you folks may be aware, I post my pictures well after I wear the outfits in them. This isn't all that obvious since none of you see me in real life, but today's picture is going to be obvious. I can't remember when it was taken, but it was the last time it snowed. VERY snowy picture. I got up that morning, put on a semi-warm 30x30 outfit, added some legwarmers and my heaviest-duty snow boots, and stepped out as little as I could to be considered outside. Josh stood just inside our door and took pictures out the back. I didn't take the time to check how the pictures were looking because we were so eager to get back in, so I didn't realize that I look all plumpy and bunchy. Please excuse/ignore. But here it is, my 20 of 30.

Snow falling thick and fast, wind blowing my hair everywhere, temperature completely freezing me . . . yes, these really are the best we got.

Um, goof troop?

Jacket: H&M. Stripey shirt: H&M. Belt: Husband's (but now mine!) Jeans: Old Navy. Boots Salamon. Legwarmers: Thrifted.

Notice my husband getting distracted . . .

Yup. Completely lost him. (This is Sasha running along with a neighbor dog.)

Anyway, I just have to make a note about (read: plug for) these boots I'm wearing here. I got them on a trip to Colorado this Christmas, and while I don't like to talk about things I don't really know about, (what am I saying? I do that all the time!) I would like to highly recommend them. I tried on maybe two dozen shoes while in Estes - my hubby wanted to do lots of hiking, and I knew my cute Ralph Lauren boots weren't going to cut it. So after trying on tons of shoes, these were the most comfortable (by FAR), least unattractive (I don't find any hiking boots to be in any way cute. But these are not so offensive!), and very easy to put on (elastic string so you just pull on the toggle and secure, then one velcro strap. Easy peasy!). I did plenty of hiking on that trip, and I never slipped. In fact, the hubs just decided to wear his combat boots, but quickly discovered that they were running out of traction. Several times, I actually had to steady him because I always had sure footing! These are great, and their waterproof-ness is no joke - no moisture ever even began to seep through, and even when snow got above the top, the seal around my ankle was nice and snug and didn't let anything down. Anyway, I completely recommend them, if you're looking.

That's it! Now let's all be glad, at least, that it doesn't look like these pictures outside. Unless you live in the midwest, and it does. Then let's all just feel sorry for you.   : P

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Double the pleasure, double the fun . . .

This post is about gum!

No, not really. It's actually a double-post because I forgot to post yesterday. (And by "forgot" I mean that I left the house by 6:30, got home and immediately went grocery shopping, got home and immediately baked cookies (from store-bought dough) and fed the dog, immediately went over to the company commander's wife's house for a big dinner with all the wives and folks, got home around 10 and immediately fell asleep.) Kind of like forgot.

Jacket: H&M. Dress: Alex Evenings via Etsy. Belt: Ann Taylor Loft. Shoes: Bandolino via DSW.

This outfit did not photograph all that well, which is why I only have 3 photos to show you. I was really excited for the outfit when I thought it up, but I wasn't that thrilled when I had it on. I think it's because the dress usually feels too formal for me to wear in normal circumstances, and this outfit does nothing to dress it down. I do love each of the pieces a whole lot, though! I also think the jacket needs a belt, but I didn't like the belt on the outside this time. Weird.

Necklace: Sears. Also wore it for my wedding.   : P

Cardigan: Ann Taylor Loft. Shirt: Ann Taylor Loft. Khakis: American Eagle. Shoes: Can't tell or remember.  : P

Again, only three pictures. And I'm posing with food because I had just made this spinach dip before a party when we took these pictures, and we were trying to make it out the door. Please ignore the dumb faces I'm making, we were in a rush and didn't have time to take pictures where I don't look like a total weirdo.

Enjoy your weekends!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Own Home

Okay, I've taken and chosen pictures of my newly-decorated living room. (The kitchen mostly got reorganized, but I have pictures of that, too . . . as none of you readers have seen that anyway.)

I got really good advice when I was feeling all overwhelmed: don't try to do it all at once! Let it be a work in progress, and it will be much easier. However, that's not what we did. Haha! (Two of) Josh's parents came down before he left and we all worked together to get things looking presentable. Also, his mom has an incredible designer's eye, so while Josh and I picked out many things and approved everything, she is totally responsible for the overall greatness.

Yes, that's a map. I bought it at Office Depot for $1 because I'm always getting confused about where states are in relation to one another. Yes, seriously.

New little planty (violets!) on the windowsill! Yay. Also, bright and chipper diy-curtain coming soon to that very window. Get excited!

Actually, only the fake fruit is new here. The best part of this process was getting nice things we already had out, and finding a place for them!

Finally! Seating!
Very possibly most people wouldn't put all those pieces on a wall together, but I LOVE that left-most one being by that plant, and so it had to stay.

For reference: the front door is to the left, so when you enter you face the back of the loveseat there.

Kind of too many pieces all in a row? Maybe. But I love them all, so I pretend it's my own little gallery. Please vote: does that mirror seem random?

I've got to get a better picture of the bookshelves and the cute things on it at some point.

Macy: remember when I said your photo reminded me of my living room? This is why. The lamps are similarly painterly, plus all the yellow and brown . . . love it!

Reading spot! Love having the magazines there.

These little dried flowers (Hobby Lobby! Woo!) are so bright and cheery, I think. I love them.

Furniture: mostly Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Edington's in Clarksville, and random place in AL.
Accessories: Hobby Lobby, T.J. Maxx, and a couple of things from Lowe's.

So there it all is! The common space in my home, for your viewing pleasure. I sort of wish blogger had a tagging feature, I might be tempted to label each specific thing with the store from which it was purchased. If you have any questions on that, I'll be happy to answer. Thanks for looking! (Sorry for the awkward pics. I'm no good at room photography, apparently!) Take care, you all.

Take a Look at Me Now

Man, I love the blouse in this post. Look:

Wow, a weird face. But a clear shot of the upper half. Upon reflection, I think that I could've used a lighter bottom piece. (Not that I don't love these pants, I do. I completely adore them.)

Cue lighting . . .

Cardigan: New York & Co. Dress: Ann Taylor Loft. Pants: Ann Taylor Loft. Booties: Payless.

Surprise: it's no blouse! It's a tucked-in dress! WOW! So I don't know that this outfit is really incredible or groundbreaking or anything, but it is definitely comfortable and colorful . . . and makes use of a dress that I would otherwise only wear on Sundays! Yay 30 for 30, forcing me to wear my things in different ways! I think the great beauty of this challenge is that it gives us our own closets back.

I, for one, appreciate that.

Note: I love the song that inspired this post title. You may think, 'which version?' but the answer is that I love Mariah's interpretation, the Phil Collins original, as well as the most recent Postal Service imagining. I think it says so much for a single song if it can be reinterpreted by many very different musical groups and always be interesting and beautiful. That means it's well-written, I think.

Second note: The traveling soldier that I love has arrived at his fob now. Yesterday, actually, and I got to talk to him earlier today! It only took a week. Also, that means I have lived through a week of deployment, and I am DANG proud!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Show Must Go On

Hey there, Lazy McLazypants here, just stalling through my 30 for 30 . . . I began this challenge WELL before the official start date, which, I think, lulled me into a sense of mistaken complacency. Now, on my 16th outfit, I'm behind many people! I would like to get this over with, and with that goal in mind, I am going to try to post everyday. This shouldn't be too hard, right? I mean, I have lots of outfits that are already photographed and ready to be blogged about, I just need to hurry up and paste 'em up on here. So now I've told you my ambitious goal, please nag me into getting it done.

Oh yeah, here is an outfit.

I'm hoping you find this look to be intentionally disheveled and purposeful . . . rather than exhausted after a day in front of jerk students.

"Wait, what am I wearing, again?"

Cardigan: New York and Co. via Nikki! Button-up: Polo (male) childswear via Plato's Closet. Belt: New York & Co. Skirt: Ann Taylor Loft. Boots: Payless.        


Note: Non-waist belt, waisted into submission.

Cable tights and argyle socks! (Pulled up to show pattern. I did NOT wear them like this, I swear.)

I would just like to speak for a moment about the inequalities of quality clothing. These little booties here were purchased during an odd (for me) fit of "I want to look older"-ness during my junior year of high school. As that purchase was over seven years ago, these are one of my favorite and most long-standing (hah!) pairs of shoes. I own few (if any? maybe sandals) that have been in my possession longer, and am amazed at how they've held up. Sure, the toe is scuffed, but I have 4-month-old boots that probably cost more by an entire order of magnitude with a bigger scuff problem.

And my biggest complaint with a shoe of any price range is when it's uncomfortable. When shirts or pants are uncomfortable, they suck and don't get worn as much, but it doesn't hinder you from walking around! And cheap shoes (in my opinion) tend to be much worse offenders than expensive ones in the comfort area. Not these, though! They are perfectly comfortable for spending a day on my feet, yelling (read: trying not to yell) at band kids.

So the issue is, how could I have known these would work out so well? I couldn't. Which makes them a very fortunate counter-example to my semi-new rule: no Payless. I've basically given up on getting shoes at such cheap places, as gems like these are few and far between, but I don't know what the better option is. I don't always have the money to just buy as nice of shoes as I can find (and when that doesn't lead me to a really comfy, long-lasting shoe, I am very extra-PISSED!), but I also don't have the time to take hours shopping for shoes, with probably-neccessary extended try-ons and much picking through rack upon rack of dreck.

So, few readers that I do have, (and the even fewer who are still reading this ranty treatise) how do you find great shoes? If you go into a store, how do you tell from just a moment or two of trying-on whether they will be comfortable for all-day use? I need some methods and suggestions.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Warning: NOT an outfit post. Which is maybe silly, as I am definitely getting behind on those things. But right now I want to show some crafty things I did recently. Both were projects for my husband, which he needed before he left. Obviously, these were begun and completed the night before he left.    : P

First: A company patch sewn onto his "Bail-out Bag". (This is a bag carried in the cockpit, full of extra ammunition and supplies. Pretty obvious what function it serves, I think.) I took all of this post's pictures with my mac's Photo Booth, which does not show things as you'd see them, but a mirror image of that. I don't know why. Obviously, you don't usually know this, but this looks like the words are backwards. They're not.

I didn't have black thread (???) but I did have gray, so you can definitely see the stitches almost all the way around. Also, I should have taken a picture of how destroyed the needle became, pushing through all that thick fabric. Whew!

Oh, the magic of Photo Booth Effects! The right image is what the patch actually looks like. KILLER SPADES!!!

Second: Laptop bag creation. Well, not bag, exactly. Mostly my honey wanted a sleeve, and was lusting after this one on Etsy. I agree that it's a great-looking, probably-sturdy sleeve. But holy freaking freak! Expensive for my taste. I wanted to copy it, with the pocket and snaps and cushion on the edge and all, but I didn't have much time, and the hubs didn't want the closure. So mine really is just a sleeve with a flap.

I bought some inexpensive wool suiting and thick-ish fleece to line it. I basically folded the seam allowances of the wool over the edge of the fleece pieces,

sewing it with a straight single stitch, then with an overlock stitch at the edge. At the corners, I snipped excess and just kind of ran over it a bit. The nice thing about these thick materials and the texture of my wool was that the stitching didn't really have to be pretty, you really couldn't tell anyway.

So then I just folded up one end to make a pocket big enough for the computer, and the rest is the flap! I sewed right on the right side with a triple-stitch. If I were smarter and more creative, I would think of a way to show no or fewer seams, but my husband doesn't care, and it was getting late as I cooked this up.

See that bag? That's where the computer goes.   : P

That's what it looks like with the little Macbook Air inside. I tried to make the pocket wide enough, especially at the top with the wider end of the computer, to allow it to fit.

Okay. (See my marks where I had measured on the fleece? Pretend you don't.)

If I had this to do again, I would maybe put in an insert to widen the sides, or just leave a little MORE room for the thing. Currently, it's pleasantly snug, but I would've liked to have left more room between the edge stitches and the edge. Look:

See how I can just barely pinch the edges? I don't think there is danger of the stitches coming loose or anything, but it would be better if there were more room.

Okay, silly picture time!

The good news: he really liked it.    : P