Thursday, December 29, 2011

Who's That Girl: Dress Like Jess! (Step 2)

Hello Readers!

Step Two: Clever Coordination of Prints and Solids.
The second step of my "Dress Like Jess" tutorial involves intelligent pairing of cute patterns with crisp solid colors. In Jess' wardrobe, this often involves wearing a solid color that picks up on a color mentioned in a patterned piece of an outfit. 


This coordination also sometimes involves a pairing of solid colors that "go" with the color palette of a pattern- not necessarily included in a pattern- but a color or colors that would get along with such color palettes.

Both of these techniques require a special kind of confidence- the quirky confidence that we've grown to love in Jess' character on the show. So... when trying your hand at patterns and solids, let your own quirky confidence shine for all the world to see!


Diamonds in the Sky Skirt from Anthropologie

Perfect-fit ballet button tee from J. Crew


Friday, December 23, 2011

Καλα Χριστουγεννα! Linksmų Kalėdų!: It's True

Happy Christmas Eve Eve Readers!

Do you know what the words in my post mean? Merry Christmas, of course! In two languages I wish I knew- Greek and Lithuanian!

It's that time of year again when we celebrate the birth of a baby who would change the world through His life, death, and resurrection. There is so much hope tied to the "reason for the season" of this holiday: hope for change, hope for redemption, hope for Love, and hope for Grace.

A time when we can pause. Pause in our shuffling and bustling. Pause to consider hope and Love. A peaceful pause.

A part of a Norman Rockwell painting from a Christmas book. The board in between the church doors reads "Lift Up Thine Eyes"
I want to extend an invitation to pause in reflection of the Christmas holiday. The YouTube clip below plays a song by Sara Groves that has become one of my favorite Christmas songs this year. If you listen carefully, I think you will hear more about this hope to be found in the celebration of Jesus' birth.

Take a pause from the hustle and bustle of the day. Listen, and in your pause, enjoy!

Here are the lyrics!

In your heart you
hope it's true
though you hold no expectation
in the deepest part of you
there's an open hesitation

but it's true
kingdoms and crowns
a God who came down to find you
it's true
Angels on high
sing through the night alleluia

heard it told you
think it's odd
the whole thing fraught with complication
the play begins with
baby God
and all His blessed implications

but it's true
kingdoms and crowns
a God who came down to find you
it's true
Angels on high
sing through the night alleluia
alleluia, alleluia

Oh it's true
kingdoms and crowns
a God who came down to find you
it's true
Angels on high
sing through the night alleluia

Monday, December 19, 2011

Murphy's Law and Sassy Copiers

Hello Readers,

The 7:30 final exam was rough today. And I wasn't even the one taking the exam! The morning started out well. My pre-game plan was a success! I woke up on schedule, quickly slipped into my pre-planned outfit (I modified it with a blazer and pumps because the weather was warmer than expected), slapped on a bit of makeup, grabbed master final exam copies, and left on time for the early and long day that awaited me.

I wrote my final exams (for Monday exams) last Tuesday night. I skipped Bible study because I was so determined to get these things out of my way. I especially wanted my 7:30 AM exam to run smoothly. My plan was to arrive on campus between 7:00-7:05 (check! Mission accomplished!), photocopy the exams between 7:05-7:10, and stroll into my classroom with a calm smile on my face. A smile that would strike fear into the hearts of my students who did not study (the ones who fell asleep and/or texted during class) and a sense of cool collection into the hearts of my students who journeyed with me through the trials and tribulations of the grammar, culture, vocabulary, and fotonovela episodes that are Espanol II. Ah, yes. The first part of my plan played out perfectly, but my plan did not go as I hoped it would.

Here's what really happened after my arrival: the copy machine (copier?) ate my exam. After extracting the faintly bruised pages from the printer's greedy jaws (per the instructions on the pantalla/screen) an error message blocked my play to the perfect exam day. No matter what I did, it would not let me print the exams. That is, until a brave mentor and all-star (Kathie- that's you!) graced the copier with her magic touch and restarted my printing efforts.

My morning. I was wearing a different outfit, but I think it would have been better had I worn a sheath dress, belt, and tights. Copyright? CopyWRONG.

All hope was not lost- until I found that the copier alternated it's copying patterns- pages 1-7 (of 8!) and then pages 1-4 (of 8!). Then the copier ran out of paper- and not a spare sheet could be found! Thankfully, the music department let me use their copier, but it seemed to be a bit anaemic in the ink-department. But, I made it work.

When I finally made it into my classroom (2 minutes late on the classroom clock and on time on my cell phone and laptop- but don't worry- most students were done with the written portion of their exams around 8:30). I was a mess. A flustered-to-the-brink-of-tears mess. I wanted to cry. I nearly did. But- I went forward. I survived the 7:30-9:20 final block of my Spanish II class with the following nuggets of wisdom:

1) Murphy's Law applies to early morning finals. In this case, an early morning Monday final. This is a universal truth (according to Christina). I believe it. If anything can go wrong, it will. True story.

2) Kudos to me for writing the final last week. Shame on me for not printing it out last week when the printers were fully stocked with good spirits, paper, and ink. (I restocked the sassy and hungry printer, btw). Printing that exam last week would have made my morning run much more smoothly than it did.

3) Following a morning (or afternoon, or evening) of Murphy's Law in practice, turn to friends and colleagues who can cheer you up. My friends Amanda and Richard did a tremendous job of cheering me up after my Murphy's Law Monday Morning (thank you!)

4) Listening to positive music is also a great post-game activity after (mis)adventures in Murphy's Law.

Like this one from U2:

PS- my other final went really well! No stress at all! But that is less interesting to read about...

PPS- My friend, colleague, and officemate Maura gave me a delicious cookie! So delicious it deserves a shout out!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Early Morning Ahead!

Hello Readers,

I am giving a final tomorrow morning at 7:30 AM. That means I will need to be on campus around 7 AM.
I love my job- but I do not love 7 AM. To make my morning easier, and to perhaps gain a greater appreciation for hours when the sun is barely shining, here is my plan:

1) Select an outfit beforehand:

2) Select a "get ready" songs:

-I Feel It All: because there's nothing like fireworks and trash bins early in the morning!

Here It Goes Again: how could this song not wake you up?

3) Wear hair in ponytail with a headband

4) Eat my breakfast while driving to work

I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What I wore on the Monday before Finals...

Hello Readers!!!

This is a marathon week. The week before finals wherein teachers receive a flurry of emails with requests like "can I do any extra credit?," "how much should I study for the exam?," and "when is our final again?"

I knew that I would need to start the week off with a more serious tone than usual. Because, Readers, finals are serious business. I think that's why I chose this outfit:

Grey and black. Nothing says serious like these two colors. Maybe this outfit is one of the reasons I received so many emails from stressed out students. What's funny about this outfit is that two of my coworkers were also wearing black on Monday. We mean business!

Finals start tomorrow! I wish the very best to all of my students and all of my fellow educators!

Retail Details:
Black V-Neck Cardigan: Zara
Grey Wool Zipped Ruffle Dress: Classiques Entier (Nordstrom Rack)
Black Leather Belt: J. Crew
Sheer Polka Dot Tights: Nordstrom Rack
Black Leather Studded Flats: J. Crew

Monday, December 12, 2011

Let it Glow, Let it Glow, Let it Glow!

Hello Readers,

I'm not sure how many of you noticed the collection of outfits posted this morning on Anthropologie's website- but I must declare they are delightful! I love how the photographer used a slow shutter speed and light to capture a sense of luminescence and warmth with each ensemble.

Here are a few screenshots from the website:

I think what I like most about this feature of outfits is the photography of these outfits. It reminds me of a technique I learned in undergrad and employ from time to time. The first time I experimented with this artistic form was way back in the Spring of 2008 when I was studying abroad in Madrid.

Mine are not as exquisite as the ones from Anthro's website, but Kellie and Rachel and I had a wonderful time creating each frame! Here are a few:

Catch a falling star... 

The original

This was the final draft I turned in for a grade (A)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December Birchbox

Hello Readers,

Yesterday I received an email informing me that my December Birchbox was on its way. Usually, I wait until the box is at my doorstop to unveil its contents, but this time I couldn't wait. Last month's box was a bit underwhelming (with the exception of a phenomenal lip gloss), so perhaps I was preparing myself for another let-down.

I don't think this month's box will be a let-down though. Here is a sneak peek:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Who's That Girl? Dress Like Jess! (Step 1)

Hello Readers!

This fall, a quirky show began with a cast of characters who make me laugh every week. What's that show? New Girl! 

Not only do I enjoy the show- I admire the styling choices made for the main character, Jess Day and worn by the multitalented Zooey Deschanel. This blog post is meant to serve as your guide to dressing like Jess.

Step One: Wear Red

In multiple episodes, Jess wears red. Our eyes are drawn to the color red, so it makes sense that our leading lady would wear this vibrant hue. Even though red takes a lot of confidence to wear, it has been my experience that it inspires even more confidence!

Red seems to be one of Jess' signature colors. She wears it frequently, and she wears it well! Here are a few examples:

An orangey-red hue was perfect for the Thanksgiving episode
When possible, pair red with bright colored ballet flats and/or quirky accessories like bells

A great date night gown! Red, ruffles,  and a tie-waist. Delightful.

Clearly confident in crimson
Here,  Jess' students are wearing red and she is wearing bits of red

And here are a few similar looks:

Similar Look: Coincidence & Chance Pleated Tea Dress from

Gracia Dress by Moulinette Soeurs from Anthropologie
And a few inspirations:

Nordstrom- Only Mine Cashmere Cardigan
Red Dandelion Skirt- Etsy

If you need an intro to red, a pair of posts like these would be great! 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fitting Room Reviews: 12/01/2011

Happy December Readers!

During the last half of November I tried to stay away from my favorite retailers with the hope that they would have enticing Black Friday sales... and I was right! Unfortunately, during Anthropologie's 25% off sale items and brief 50% off sale items markdowns the items on my wish list were snapped up before you could say "cornucopia!" Even an item in my order was cancelled- even though I placed it on the first morning of the sale (bitter? no...)

This past Thursday I had a few coupons/free offers to redeem before they expired so I combined a trip to my favorite grocer (Trader Joe's) with a trip to my local mall. During the trip, I tried on these items at Anthropologie:

1. Glinting Persica Sweater Dress by Knitted and Knotted (size small)

To be honest, this dress never jumped out at me until I saw it on the clearance rack in my local store (the last one!). The online photos, even from the catalogue, do this dress no justice! The subtle copper sparkle and peachy hues of the dress are absolutely lovely.

The dress alone...
Plus the Beaded Wink Belt

For those who are tall, or with long-torsos, this dress is perfect! The waistline fell at my natural waist and the length of the dress was very flattering. I'm still not crazy about the cutout on the back of the dress, but it does not reveal well-fitted bra straps (which is wonderful!)

The dress runs true to size and gives a bit of room in the hips. Some reviewers said it was itchy- but I have sensitive skin and I didn't notice any itchiness with the fabric.

Woah! That was a long review, eh? Here are a few more (shorter) reviews:

1. Twin Tiered Top by Deletta
Twin Tiered Top by Deletta
I could only find a medium in this top, but it fit quite well. I never know whether I am a small or a medium in their tops because the fit of each top seems to vary so much- even within the same style. I liked this top- especially the muted orangey-brown in the pattern's background- but I didn't like it enough to buy it. The ruffles at the shoulder were a bit too big for me- they had a football-player effect on me and looked a lot like shoulder pads (but that effect made my arms look quite svelte!)

3. ??? from Leifsdottir
Top by Leifsdottir
I don't recall the name of this top, and I couldn't find it on the Anthro website but I remember seeing it's sale price (around 80 dollars) and thinking "woah- that's expensive!" and then looking at the full price of the top and thinking "what?" I tried it on to see what was so special about the top... and I'm still searching for the answer to that question. The fit was fine and the design was cute- but I was not impressed with the quality of this garment's construction. A thin jersey top with a delicate lace does not add up to the price I saw.

4. Iced Foliage Top by Project Alabama
Iced Foliage Top by Project Alabama
I love the color charcoal but I did not love this blouse. For length I tried on a 6- a very good decision indeed! But even the 6 was a bit too short and the width was a bit too puffy for my taste. It does have a zipper on the side, which cinches the waist a bit but the way the bottom of the blouse flares out is not flattering at all! This blouse would, however, look cute with a cardigan or layered under a pencil skirt.

5. Mystery top!

I don't remember seeing this top online... but I found it in the clearance section at my local store. I really like the print- it reminds me of a wallpaper you would find in a fancy store or boutique. But it didn't quite wow me. What I liked about the blouse was that it has a band of fabric that wraps around the waist- creating a more defined silhouette. I couldn't find a 4 or 6, so I tried on an 8 but even with the sashed waist it was too big. I also found the fabric to feel somewhat cheap, or at least too airy to wear during the  cold winter months.

Thanks for reading! I hope you found these reviews to be helpful!