Monday, February 28, 2011

The Weekend's in the Bag: Disney Princess Half Marathon at Disney World

I'm in transit today; I leave Disney around 3pm and won't be back home until evening, so you all will have to wait another day or two for my race report and pictures.  In the meantime, here's a breakdown of my packing strategy for this trip.  (Note: I wrote this post before leaving).
Disney Weekend
Saturday
My birthday!  A day in the parks, a birthday dinner, an early bedtime.

I decided, perhaps foolishly, that I wanted to wear a birthday dress on my actual birthday---despite the fact that I'd be walking around Disney World all day and hitting the sack early (4am runner line-up time! WHY?!).  I bought the Twinkle Twinkle dress on Effortless Anthropologie (yay!!  I prefer this pattern to the identically-cut Take Action Dress), and it arrived with a few stains on the under lining.  Fortunately there seemed to be no damage to the outer shell of the dress, and I love the fit (and the seller, who never noticed the stains, was kind enough to knock a few bucks off to cover the cleaning) so absolutely no harm no foul!  Still, I know I will have to dry clean it pretty soon.  What better way to get my money's worth out of the dry cleaning bill than to traipse around Disney World in this silken beauty?  I also think the whimsical star pattern fits the spirit of the most magical place on earth.  Paired with a light cardigan (Orlando is 80 degrees during the day, 60 at night; cardigan will easily crumple into my purse) and some casual leather flats. I'm a bit worried that the shoes won't provide enough arch support for a long day of walking, so I'm going to pack some comfort insoles just in case the dogs start barking.


Sunday Morning
Race day

This is the Disney Freaking Princess Half Marathon, and you better believe I'm running this thing in a tutu.  The princess I picked as my "favorite" (a requirement upon sign-up) was Ariel from the Little Mermaid.  Frankly, none of the princesses are particularly role-model worthy, but Ariel especially.  I mean, the girl got a guy to fall from her by not speaking a word and just giving him bedroom eyes for most of the movie.  Not awesome, Ariel.  Still, I think The Little Mermaid was the Disney movie that reminds me of my childhood; it came out when I was at just the right age to appreciate Disney Princesses, so Ariel it is.  I couldn't find a green tutu, so I compensated with a turquoise tutu and green microfiber tights.  Not sure how it will feel to run in these things, but the tutu is very short and mostly shoots out from the waistband so I think there will be minimal rubbing.  I'll also wear a running skirt or bikini bottom under it.


Sunday Afternoon/Evening
More parks, dinner, Boardwalk Disney

After a shower, mom and I are going to hit the parks again, grab another dinner, and then head over to Boardwalk Disney to visit the super-fun dueling piano bar there called Jellyrolls.  My friend Adrienne got married at Disney last May, and a few of us visited this piano bar the night before.  I love sarcastic pianists playing crowd-pleasers!  A brightly colored t-shirt (not the one pictured, but similar) will do the trick.


Monday
Lunch, departure

Striped shirt and jeans for comfort in traveling.  Longer sleeves to help ease me back to NYC climates.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Twenty-Seven

I turned twenty seven yesterday.

Twenty seven, completely irrationally, is my scary age.  I don’t know why.  It doesn’t make sense.  Twenty seven is, objectively, a great age:  I’ve got my act (mostly) together professionally; I feel confident in my skin; I’m healthier than I’ve been in years; I have a good relationship with my family; I am dating a wonderful man I love.

Objectively, this is no time for a crisis.

And yet...I don’t know.  I can vividly remember Fourth Grader Me playing with her cabbage patch dolls, tucking them into their small wooden bunk beds, and thinking, “At Twenty Seven, I’ll have it all figured out.  I’ll be settled and there will be no questions left in my life.”

RIDICULOUS!  I know this!  And yet I still have trouble coming to terms with the question marks in my life.  It’s not a crisis so much, per se, as it is an attempt to refocus on the fact that it’s okay that I’m just finishing grad school now, at twenty seven.  That I’m just now entering my chosen career, at twenty seven.  That I’m solidly in the first big wave of friends getting married---which, as my therapist likes to say, “kicks up some stuff” for unmarried people.  That I have no property to my name and mountains of student loans to pay at twenty seven.

This half-marathon that I’ve been bemoaning lately---the race I’m running this very morning---was chosen in part because the race occurred during my birthday weekend.  I have suspected for many years that twenty seven would be a rough birthday for me, so what better way to ease myself into the year than by taking a mini-vacation?

Perhaps most excitingly, this half-marathon is in Disney World.  My mother lives in South Florida, and she agreed to join me for the weekend.  Frankly, I can’t think of a better way to dip my toe into my scary age than spending the weekend revisiting my childhood with my mommy at Disney.

I feel energetic and happy at the thought of traipsing around the parks with her, this time as an adult (although only a slightly less whiny adult than I was at age ten).  While renewing a glimmering sense of nostalgia, I can also accept and enjoy the place I’m in now.  

It’s different---I’m older---but it’s fantastic in its own way.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Inspiring Interpretations: Reader Submissions

To recap:  last week, I introduced a new feature called Inspiring Interpretations.  Our challenge in this activity was to draw inspiration from a photo by creating an outfit out of our own interpretation of the image.  The only rule?  If we already owned a piece of clothing in the picture, we could not use it.  In doing this, we hoped to develop our creativity by interpreting the inspiring images we see rather than simply rushing out to buy the exact same pieces depicted.

Our first Inspiring Interpretations photo was this one, from Tara at Little Girl, Big Closet:




As a reminder, Tara said of this outfit:




This outfit begins and ends with my grandmother.  Leaf green---which, by the way, is a very difficult color to create an outfit around---is her favorite color.  The inspiration for the outfit came from the letters she wrote me, which, along with my precious memories, are all I have left of her, now that we are estranged.  To me, the vintage-looking cut and print of the skirt evoke a sense of nostalgia that seems appropriate when thinking of a long-lost friend.  The solid black cardigan was meant to add a somber touch to the ensemble, as a nod to what our relationship has now become.  The mix of riotous color and heavy blackness mirrored my mixed emotions on the occasion of her birthday, which was when I wore this outfit.


Your submissions were outstanding!  I was struck by the way everybody pulled different elements from Tara's outfit because everyone was inspired by different aspects of it.  The most amazing part of this activity to me is the fact that all of us based our outfits on the same exact picture, but no two of our outfits look alike!  Check out the wonderfully wide array of your interpretations behind the cut...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Odds and Ends, Modcloth Sale

1.  Remember, today is your last chance to submit photos for Inspiring Interpretations.  (See here.)  I've gotten a bunch of awesome contributions so far and I can't wait to run the post on Friday morning!  Please submit these by midnight.

2.  Call for guest posts!  I'm leaving the country for three weeks on March 6, and while I have a few posts of my own scheduled to run during that time, I would love to get a few guest posts either from readers or from other bloggers.  The general topic area relates to your homeland/hometown/heritage.  I would need these by next Friday, March 4.  You can include as many photos as you like.  Please email me if you are interested so we can work out the details.

3.  How cute is this hat?  It prompted someone in the law school to stop walking, change directions, and walk back towards me to tell me how great it is.  I've had this for three years, but it seems that animal hats are pretty popular around NYC this winter:

(Available here)

Thrifted finds, another random outfit shot, and Modcloth sale info behind the jump.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

OOTD: Peppered, Striped, and Hired

I had a "group job interview" recently to become a receptionist for Weight Watchers.  It's no secret that I love the Weight Watchers program, and getting a part-time job with them seems like a nice way to help others along the way to their goal while making a little bit of extra Anthropologie money.

The WW people didn't specify what we should wear, so folks showed up in the whole gamut of attire, from business suits to a blouse and jeans.  I fell somewhere in the middle:


This marks the first outing for my ever-popular Peppered & Striped Skirt!  I'm not sure why I've been so reluctant to wear this; I guess I just wasn't quite sure how to style such a substantial piece.  For those who haven't tried on this skirt, it is big and heavy.  It spreads out when you sit to take up several seats on the subway.  Substantial, I say.

I did a bit of pattern mixing here, but I think the colors in the top are muted enough not to clash with the polkas in the skirt.  Perhaps it's risky to follow up my Outfit Triage post with a questionable mixing of patterns, but I like this a lot regardless.


I was surprised at how much I loved this skirt.  It made me feel so pretty and cheery all day.  I can't believe I waited so long to try it on!

(PS: I, along with (I assume) everyone else in the interview, got the job :-)  Whether I can take it or not, due to the fact that I'm moving to DC in a few months, remains to be seen.)  [Update: we're good to go! I can start working in NYC and then continue in DC through the summer and then as my free time allows.  Hooray!]
In this Outfit
From the Canvas V-Neck (Anthro) (S)
Reversible Seamless Tank (undershirt) (Anthro) (M)
Jackie (?) Cardigan (J.Crew) (M)
Peppered & Striped Skirt (Anthro) (8)
Cockle Shells Tights (Anthro) (M/L)
Password Pumps (Seychelles) (9 - TTS) ($55 here)
Hairpins (Anthro)
Jellybean Drop Earrings (Anthro) (it's curious to me that I wear this earrings basically all the time---every outfit I posted so far this week, in fact---but rarely found occasions to wear my very similar stone mine drops, despite having owned them for about a year)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Outfit Triage: Yellow Skirt at Night, Sailor's De-Fright

OMG YOU GUYS:


I swear to you that I was not trying to be a fashion disaster on purpose.  I have no words for what happened here.  I don't understand it myself.  I just....I don't even know.

Before you click the "unfollow" button, let me say in my own defense that the bright highlighter yellow shade of this shirt completely disorients me (temporarily blinds me?) and as a result I seem unable to assemble anything resembling a normal outfit.  This was the best I could come up with after half an hour of throwing clothes in a pile.

Also, in case you were thinking that the answer here is to add MORE citrus-colored accessories, you are quite wrong, madame:

Please note the coy facial expression, which communicates the message, "Hello.  I'm Jewish Girl and I'm wearing a Legitimate Outfit that I will soon post as an OOTD on my Legitimate Personal Style Blog."  I think I was only five pictures into the shoot at this point.  Eighty pictures later, I was forced to admit that something was a lot of things were amiss.

Here's the thing:  the skirt cost less than $8 at Anthro on super-sale, so I had to buy it.  I HAD TO.  Also, as a law student I find the yellow highlighter color oddly comforting.


Please help me wear this skirt.  Your triage is clearly much needed here...just don't amputate the skirt.  I want to make the skirt work.  At the very least, help me don this muppet one more time without looking like I'm colorblind so I can feel like I got my money's worth.

No, this is not a proud day for me.  Yes, I suspect you can do better than I did at styling this skirt.  Please lend a hand in the comments; I will attempt your suggestions and document the results in a later entry.

In this Trainwreck:
Shirt: (via Marshall's)
Skirt: (name?) (Anthro) (4)
Tights: (Anthro)
Booties: Bright Horizons Booties (Everybody for Anthro) (40)
Belt: High Prairie Belt (Anthro)
Headband: Budding Hues Headband (Anthro)
Earrings: Jellybean Bow Earrings (Anthro)
Necklace: Gifted/Thrifted
Watch: Fossil
Bracelet: Blakely Bling Bracelet (J.Crew)
Clutch: Coach

Monday, February 21, 2011

OOTD: Romantic Emulation

I think Inspiring Interpretations must be having a subtle influence on the way I assemble my outfits.  I left the house on Wednesday feeling happy with the outfit I put together, not thinking much about where my inspiration came from.


The source of my inspiration seemed simple enough:  after confessing that I had no clue how to wear this dress during the winter, I immediately *headdesk*ed after reading Thirteen's suggestion to pair with dark tights.  Of course!  I'd initially planned to wear a similarly dark brown long sleeve shirt under this dress, but it was in the hamper so I grabbed my Arid Season Button Up (fresh in my memory thanks to Alice's suggestion here).  Paired with a brown belt, and voila.


I even grabbed my Rensselaer T-Straps, which I absolutely love but sadly seem to underutilize.



It wasn't until I got home from Central Park that I realized why my sudden inspiration to wear this dress, after owning it for almost a month, popped up NOW:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fitting Room Reviews Galore

I gotta tell ya, I don't feel like writing very lengthy reviews today, so I'm just gonna hit the high points and call it a day!

Behind the jump, reviews of the Wind Smocked Henley, Blooming Goldenrod Dress (again), Hanging Gardens Top, Pinned Through Shirt, Tuileries Dress by Moulinette Soeurs, Gunilla Dress, Mystery Bracelet, Seaside Fields Dress (Green Motif), Pulling it Together Sweater, and the Sweet Offerings Chemise.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sale Haul, plus What Stayed, What Went

Here's what I bought this week:
This Week's Acquisitions




Even though it wasn't a particularly high-quantity Anthro week (items in the bottom row are from elsewhere), the cardigan, jacket, and purse were relatively pricey compared to what I usually spend.  In the case of the cardi/jacket though, I had been eying those two items for a while and had been watching out for their eventual markdown.

Pictures of my new acquisitions, plus shots of what I returned from last week, after the cut.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Excuse me, did you just fartlek?

I haven't talked about my attempts to cram for an upcoming half marathon (NEXT SUNDAY GAAH), but I've been good about getting in at least four and sometimes five runs a week.  I will probably run a post with my crammed training plan after the race---I want to wait until I cross the finish line because frankly I don't want to propagate what I did if it causes me injury.

Some days, I feel in the zone and time seems to pass calmly while my thoughts wander and my iPod plays.  Other days, I get so bored that running feels like drudge work, and I want to quit barely a few minutes into my workout.  On those days, I turn to any method I can to find pleasure in these runs.


Lately, I've been fartleking.  I've been fartleking a lot, and I love it.  The other gym-goers on the indoor track probably think there's something wrong with me when I pass by them and fartlek, but I can't help it.  Sometimes, I just need to fartlek and I can't hold it back.


....Why are you giving me that look?


Oh, I think I understand the confusion.  Allow me to explain:

Fartlek (n.): A loosely structured interval training method that uses bursts of speed used to build strength and speed. It is used by runners, cyclists and in-line skaters.
--- Definition Courtesy of ShapeSpot.com

The word "fartlek" is a Sweedish word meaning "speed play."  I first came across it in an issue of Runner's World magazine from 2007, when I first began running thanks to the influence of my very healthy coworkers (their influence lives on in my friend Alisha, who works there now and blogs about her training regimen).  You can read the original Runner's World article about fartlek, written by the incomparable Jeff Galloway, here.

The basic idea of fartlek is to run at an easy pace---whatever that pace is for you--- while "throwing in bursts of speed for various distances throughout the run."  (Source.)  The key word is "various," as you want to mix up your speed bursts to be shorter or longer; the bursts can be as short as a few seconds or as long as a few minutes, depending on what you feel like doing.  (Id.)  Give yourself enough time to recover at your easy pace before bursting again.


That's the basic idea.  In practice, it can be a lot of fun.

When I fartlek, I emphasize the play part.  (Is that the fart?  Or the lek?)  Listening to music on my iPhone, I stay aware of the different beats and tempos of the songs.  Some songs make me want to run at a consistent pace.  Some songs make me want to sprint during the chorus.  Some verses make me want to run with long paces, while some staccato segments inspire me to pick my knees up to my chest with each step.  This seems to work best on the indoor track (or outside, if weather allows), as I can easily vary my pace on a whim.  The key part for me is sprinting when I feel like sprinting and not forcing the movement if I don't want to.

As I said, people sometimes look at me funny.  But I could care less since I'm having so much fun being ridiculous.  The best part about fartleking to me is just having a good time, playing with the music while pushing my body, and distracting myself from the sometimes-tedium of distance running.

I'll close with my all-time favorite fartlek:

Barenaked Ladies: Fun & Games

I seem to have an understanding with myself that every time this song comes on, I run at a normal pace until the bridge.  Starting at about 1:58, I slowly speed up in line with the crescendo in the song.  By the time Ed Roberts yells, "And all this will go undetecteeeedddd!" I am running as fast as I possibly can until he drops the note.  Then I return to my comfortable pace.

Give it a shot!  If all else fails, at least it will be fun to tell your loved ones that you fartleked.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

OOTD: Bewitched

This felt like a very normal---if not a bit quirky---outfit when I donned it on Valentine's morning.




In fact my long striped socks made me feel like a bit like a witch:

I'll get you, my pretty!

The fact of Valentine's had nearly escaped my attention; as a girl with a long-distance boyfriend, these occasions sometimes pass without much fanfare.

Still, I stepped out the door feeling a wee spring in my step.  Despite the fact that my family members and my boyfriend live hundreds of miles away from me, I felt their love for me, my love for them, and my love for myself buzzing in the unseasonably comfortable February air.  I left my jacket at home.


Along the way, I was stopped by two people on the street.  The first, a young mother, exclaimed that she loved my tights (which are really knee-high socks).  We talked for a few moments about how wonderful Anthropologie is before we parted ways.


The second, a scruffy guy in his thirties, approached me as I walked to Union Square to drop off a blog sale item (local pickup = $5 discount!).  I had just treated myself to a frozen yogurt, and was walking down the street savoring each spoonful while attending to the tingly feeling of cool breeze on my forearms.  I was thinking about how much I like my Refined Cord Shirtdress, how much I like myself, and whether I wanted to splurge on a short massage on 14th street.


This man said self-consciously---worried about sounding creepy---that he wanted to tell me that I was "absolutely beautiful."  I took the compliment as it was intended, which was not as a pick-up line but as an acknowledgement that he was picking up on the vibe I was exuding, in which I felt love and comfort and internal peace.  I love it when you're digging on yourself so strongly that the emotion spreads to others.


The man asked whether I was in fashion.  I told him that I simply enjoy clothes.  He responded, "Well, you know what you're doing."

Dress: Refined Cord Shirtdress (Anthro) (8)
Socks: Pattern Pal Socks (Anthro 2009)
Shoes: Lace Lover's Booties (Faryl Robin) (Anthro) (9) (TTS)
Belt: Scarf Tied Belt (Anthro) (M/L)
Earrings: Bat Mitzvah Gift
Necklace: Thrifted ($5)
Watch: Fossil


Edit: Look4Less just found a Refined Cord Shirtdress lookalike from Old Navy for $26.  Get the details here if you're interested.  (Disclaimer: I can't vouch for the Old Navy version)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Introducing: Inspiring Interpretations

I loved reading your reactions to yesterday's second installment of my Outfit Triage feature.  After launching this blog, I asked myself what aspects of other blogs I liked the most.  Frequently, some unique feature of the blog made the list.  I began dedicating my Thinking In The Shower Time to brainstorming fun features that fit with my own personality.  Outfit Triage---based on my frequent habit of completely messing up an outfit without any clue as to why or how to fix it---was the first.  It makes me feel great to see that you all like it as much as I do!

With that, I simply can't wait to introduce a new blog feature I've developed.  I love it, and I hope you will too...especially since I will need your help in making it happen!

I'll tell you all about it in a minute.  But first, here's the background:

A few months back, several of our favorite bloggers---I'm thinking of Dea (at The Dea Diaries) and Tara (at Little Girl Big Closet) in particular---published very thought-provoking posts on the effect of style blogs.  Both women identified the somewhat light-and-dark aspect of these blogs:  on the one hand, the blogs can be wonderful sources of fashion inspiration; on the other hand, seeing beautiful images of outfits can sometimes fan the flames of our desire to shop and acquire, creating a wildfire of consumerism.

Says Dea:  "Seeing items reviewed or in outfits worn by others most definitely whet my appetite for clothes I had not paid much attention to before. It created this want for things that once obtained, left little else to the imagination..."

Says Tara:  "There's a not-so-fine line between 'copying' and 'being inspired by'- the difference between recreating an outfit piece-for-piece, and recapturing the essence of a look. The first, while also capable of yielding great results, is not as creatively gratifying, nor as easy on your wallet, as the second."

Both women hit on a point I loved: personal style blogs fulfill a higher function when they serve as springboards for our own creativity; when we see a beautiful outfit or photo on someone's blog and---instead of calling five different stores and setting up email alerts on eBay in an attempt to hunt down the exact item we see in the photo---we reflect on the aspects of the image we love and then turn to items we already own to come up with our own interpretation.

Says Tara:  "Really, the best way to come up with beautiful, creative, fabulous outfits day after day, is to look at such outfits day after day.... Without inspiration, even a closet filled with the most magnificent pieces will yield only tired, boring outfits."

Says Dea: "I realize that instead of exploring blogs for what I don't have in my closet, I should be identifying items that speak out to me and remind me of pieces that would work well with my style, my life, my budget, my clothes!"

These reflections resonated with me in that deep way that causes one to mull.  I have mulled since January, taking mental notes of my own reactions upon seeing wonderful pictures on others' blogs.  I was surprised at how often my first act, upon seeing a lovely outfit, was to search for a particular item in an online store.  Why was my knee-jerk reaction one of "copying" rather than one of "being inspired by"?  Why didn't I turn to my own closet to find pieces to reinterpret the essence of a look I loved?  Why did I take the less creative route of acquiring the same piece I saw depicted?  Perhaps this creativity is a skill that needs to be practiced.

That's where this blog feature comes in.  

Here's how it works:
  • I'll post a picture of something lovely.  It may be an OOTD from a fellow blogger.  It may be an image from a catalog, a runway, or mother nature*.  It could be anything, really.
  • You go into your own closet and put together an outfit inspired in some way by the image.  Take a photo of your outfit and send it to me.
  • I'll post all of our interpretations.  We'll all be inspired and we'll all want to do this again.

The catch?  I'm looking for your interpretation of the photo.  For example, if I post a picture of someone wearing a Marston Sweater Skirt, which you already own, then your interpretation cannot use the Marston Sweater Skirt.  Get it?  The goal is to look at a picture and identify the parts of it that speak to you without imitating it.  Do you like the yellow color?  The fitted style?  The bumpy texture?  What?  What about the Marston Sweater Skirt calls to you?  What else can you wear (that you already have) that can fulfill that function?  Maybe you could care less about the skirt because you're more inspired by the prospect of taking a picture in a train station bathroom.  Anything goes, because inspiration can be different for all of us.

I'm calling this feature "Inspiring Interpretations."  The name has two meanings.  First, the photos we find online can inspire us to be creative by developing our own interpretations of the image based on "our style, our lives, our budgets, and our clothes!" (to paraphrase Dea).  Second, because our interpretations of a photo may help us inspire each other with new and creative ideas that do not involve buying a second closet.

Let's find new ways to work with what we've got!

I'm thrilled that both Tara and Dea, both of whom truly inspired my interpretation of this topic (hehe), have agreed to lend me one of their photos for this new feature.  Tara kicks things off with this fabulous outfit:

(See more photos on Tara's blog here)

Here's what Tara has to say about her own inspiration for this outfit:

This outfit begins and ends with my grandmother.  Leaf green---which, by the way, is a very difficult color to create an outfit around---is her favorite color.  The inspiration for the outfit came from the letters she wrote me, which, along with my precious memories, are all I have left of her, now that we are estranged.  To me, the vintage-looking cut and print of the skirt evoke a sense of nostalgia that seems appropriate when thinking of a long-lost friend.  The solid black cardigan was meant to add a somber touch to the ensemble, as a nod to what our relationship has now become.  The mix of riotous color and heavy blackness mirrored my mixed emotions on the occasion of her birthday, which was when I wore this outfit.

I was blown away by the symbolism behind Tara's choice of clothing!  I can't think of a better way to start this feature than with an outfit that is both visually striking and intellectually/emotionally stimulating.  Talk about inspiration, eh?  You have a lot to work with here.

I'm not going to tell you why this outfit jumped out at me.  I actually started typing a sentence that began, "This outfit jumped out at me because..." but then I deleted it.  It's not about what jumped out at ME...I'll tell you all about it when I post my own inspired interpretation alongside yours!  Right now, it's about what jumps out at YOU.  What jumps out at you?  What inspires you about this photo?

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find inspiration in this outfit photo.  Take a picture of your own interpretation of Tara's outfit and send it to me by next Thursday night, February 24th, at jewishgirlblog@gmail.com.  

I'll post everyone's outfits on Friday the 25th.  Remember, if you own any of the actual pieces Tara wears in this outfit, you may not use them!  This is all about an inspired interpretation, not an exact facsimile.  If you'd like to send me a sentence or two explaining your interpretation---not at all required, but certainly welcome---you can do that too.

I can't wait to see what you all come up with!  If you couldn't tell by the fact that I've essentially written you a novel in this post, I'm very excited about this. :-)


* To see another blogger creating outfits inspired by mother nature, check out Laura's "Inspiration that Rocks" feature at Anthro Closet Chaos, here!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Outfit Triage Resuscitated: A Case of the Mondays

In this installment of Outfit Triage, we attempt to remedy the "meh"-ness of my first attempt at styling my Khaki AG Stevies.

If I may refresh the witnesses' recollection:

Shirt: Finessed Turtleneck (Anthro) (M)
Cardigan: Mohair Souffle Cardigan (J.Crew) (M)
Belt: (thrifted, $3)
Pants: AG Stevie Cords in Khaki (Anthro) (28)
Earrings: Trefoil Posts (Anthro)
Necklace: Childhood Secrets Necklace (Anthro)
Shoes: Code Pumps (Seychelles) (9) (TTS)


Something about this just wasn't working for me, and I asked for your help in providing remedial khaki lessons.  Many of you graciously echoed my fear/ineptitude with light colored pants, for which I am grateful!

Still, you all performed admirably.  See your suggestions realized after the jump.

Monday, February 14, 2011

OOTD: Fox Force Five

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  [Edit: in lieu of a Valentines-y post, I'm just going to link you to Sal's wonderful V-Day thoughts at AlreadyPretty.com.  She writes, "Whether you’re married, engaged, committed, dating, single, celibate, or a nun, always remember that the person most deserving of your love is YOU. The love you may choose to give to others must start within you, and your love for others will be more rich and fulfilling if you learn to love yourself first. And since loving yourself is challenging and complex, take some time today – a day dedicated to love – to shower yourself with affection."  Read her entry to get some great ideas for how to be your own valentine today!]


I went skiing for the first time IN MY LIFE this weekend.  I am sore in places I didn't realize could be sore (my neck?  my palms?) in addition to the obvious places (everywhere else).  I had a great time and picked things up pretty quickly, although I mostly stuck with the easy green slopes and still fell a lot.

After falling a lot and landing in comically sprawled positions, I got a little anxious about the prospect of twisting an ankle or hurting a knee with my half marathon so close.  I took it easy on Day 2 and stayed on the easy AND short slopes.

I'm working on a few exciting new features for the blog, one of which is a unique twist on reader-submitted outfits that I hope to debut this week!  For today, since I'm tired and can't use my arms/fingers for longer than a few minutes, you get an OOTD:


I'm committing somewhat of a remix crime here; the last time I wore this skirt, it was also with these tights.  In my defense, I wore them because I thought they went well with the green shirt and not because I was out of other ideas!


I love this skirt.  It's so wonderfully thick and soft.  I had a khaki skirt of this length before I lost weight and of course had to give it up, so I was happy to find a replacement on sale at Anthro.  The khaki skirt is a wardrobe staple, as far as I'm concerned.

Shirt: (Banana Republic) (M)
Skirt: Linville Falls Skirt (Anthro) (6)
Tights: Foxy Tights by Tintorella (Anthro) (M/L)
Belt: (J.Crew)
Shoes: (Aldo) (40)
Necklace: (Anthro) (name?)
Earrings: (Frog and Pearl Posts) (Anthro) (name?)
Bracelet: Blakely Bling (J.Crew)
Ring: (BCBG)
Hairpins: (Anthro)


Sunday, February 13, 2011

OOTD: Wussing Out

It takes a classy lady to snap a shot in the train station bathroom.  Aw yeah, drink it in, readers.  Drink in my classiness.

You may recognize this outfit as Potential Purple People Eaters Outfit #5.  My plan had been to wear my crazy purple and lime leopard print shoes with this outfit.  I had them on my feet, and was almost out the door...but I just couldn't do it.  The Slinking Frills pumps looked so much better (although they KILL me to walk in...despite heel grips, they are too slippy when I wear tights!).  

I feel as though that will be a consistent problem with the PPEs...although they won't mess up some outfits, they may not really add anything to it.  I may follow some of your suggestions and just take baby steps with these.  Perhaps introduce them to the world with a plain t-shirt and jeans.

In any case, I was happy with the modified version of this outfit.


Shirt: Icarus Top (Anthro) (XS)
Skirt: Marston Sweater Skirt (Anthro) (a bootylicious XS)
Tights: Hue Opaque Tights in Copper (Anthro) (M/L)
Shoes: Slinking Frills Pumps by Miss Albright (Anthro) (8.5)
Necklace: Heirloom Zodiac Pendant (Anthro) (Pisces)
Earrings: Coach
Bracelet: Blakely Bling Bracelet (J.Crew)
Belt: Banded Together Belt (Anthro) (L)

Also, I still frigging love this puffer coat.  You can always tell when I LOVE love an Anthro purchase because I rip the tags off immediately without hemming and hawing needing to deliberate.  Such was the case with this puffer coat.  You might say that such should be the case for 100% of my purchases, but I'm not sure that's really necessary.  As long as I eventually come to realize that I love a piece, that should be enough, right?  Or should it be love at first sight?

Regardless, applying my birthday discount retroactively to this purchase made it all the sweeter.  Some buy a birthday dress, I buy a birthday puffer coat.  Potato, potahto.


Coat: Petal Curves Puffer Coat
Purse: Michael Kors Harness Sachel

Friday, February 11, 2011

What Stayed, What Went

Judging by my page counts, there was a great deal of morbid curiosity surrounding my massive sale haul last week!  True to my word, most of this stuff ended up going back.  I also retroactively applied my birthday discount to my biggest purchase last week (which included my awesome puffer coat, pictured here).

Overall, it was nice to see the spending balance shift back towards something more normal.

What I Returned:
What's Going Back
First Row
Exbury Gardens Cardigan ($40): Beautiful, but the size I got is too big.  I tried to make a large work, but really I need a medium.
Rising Ra Cardigan ($50): Bulky.  See my review here.
Bracken Stripe Blouse ($30): I bought a size 8 and it's way too big.  There's also an awkward boob gap between the buttons.
Belladonna Top ($40): Ill-fitting. Review here.
Compass Points Top ($30): The size 6 was way too big.
Tuxedo Blazer ($40): I bought both a small and a medium, but neither fits nicely unfortunately.  The fabric was smooth and the cut looked nice, but on me it didn't lay flatteringly.
Undone Cloche ($20): If I was a human being who wore hats with any frequency, this would have been an easy keep.

Second Row
Hints Of Mesh Tee ($30): I purchased this during the tag sale in December.  I also have it in purple and don't need two colors.
Raines Heels ($40): Cute on others, not necessary for me.  Plus, I don't like suede.
Everything-In-Place Cape ($50): This cancelled by Anthro.  Easy decision.
High Society Skirt ($22): I bought this last month and it was one of those "It's only $22!" purchases.  I don't love it.  Back it goes.
Floral Frappe Top ($22): Purchased a few weeks ago.  I love it, but I already have this in lilac, and I wear the lilac one more often.
Pebbled & Primped boots ($60): I actually liked these a lot more than I thought, but they were damaged and I didn't want to keep them, even with the discount.  I will keep my eyes peeled for a different pair of size 9s.


New Purchases:


Honestly.  What did you expect?  That I'd go seven days without buying anything from Anthro?  Don't be absurd.

New Acquisitions

Fruit Cooler Necklace ($30): Kind of an impulse buy, but I'm feeling it right now.  We'll see if I still like it in a few days, but I just think the colors on this guy are so refreshing!

May Queen Headband ($20): I'm a sucker for Anthro headbands.

Lace Lover's Booties ($70): these never jumped out at me online, but I love them in person.

Seaside Fields Dress ($99): still not on sale, but I found it marked down to $99 in Philly since it was the last one.  I've been coveting this dress for months and it is taking FOREVER to hit sale.  This color came out in June and is sold out just about everywhere.

Let me preempt Laura and point out that all of these new acquisitions would form kind of a cute outfit!



I'm *STILL* painfully undecided on these things:

Still Undecided

Field Skirt: I traded my size 6 for an 8 and it (strangely) feels less voluminous and more comfortable.  Still not sure whether I actually need this skirt, although I get the sense it would be very versatile and great for those days when I don't want to think about my outfit.

Seaside Fields Dress: Despite the discounted price tag and my extended longing for this dress, now that I have it, I'm not sure I'm as crazy about this as I originally thought.  The size six feels a bit tight in this colorway.  I haven't gained weight since fitting comfortably into a size six in the other colorway a few months ago, so perhaps they are made slightly differently?  Or perhaps I wasn't paying attention when trying on the first dress?  Dunno.  Will need to deliberate.  $100 is a lot.  Maybe I'll return it and spend the proceeds on the beautiful Blooming Goldenrod Dress? (OH, THAT IS SUCH A GOOD IDEA.)

Side Line Chemise: This only cost me $10, but I think I need a size small and not a medium.  I maybe could make the medium work, and for only $10 it may be worth it.  How many times do you think you'd need to wear a $10 item before it was worth the cost?

Volante Tees: Gah, I still can't pick a color.  Not sure if this is because I want both or because I want neither.


These are, for now, the Keeps:
Keeping

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fitting Room Review: Blooming Goldenrod Dress

While hitting up last week's Anthro sale, I came across this golden yellow beauty hanging from a full-price rack, and I simply could not resist trying it on.


It's called the Blooming Goldenrod Dress by Edme & Esyllte, and it's currently selling for $138.

This dress immediately jumped out at me because of its beautiful golden yellow color, seemingly flattering cut, and delightful, shiny print on the skirt.  It seems versatile enough to be worn as a day dress or as dressier night wear.  I would have a hard time styling this for winter, but styling for Spring--Autumn would be a breeze!  Now that I'm looking again, I bet it would work for winter with frosty blue or gray accessories.

I sometimes find that I need to size up with these cinched-at-the-waist dresses.  Such was the case here.  I'm wearing a size 6 in these pictures, and while I could zip it up I think I would have been more comfortable in an 8.


I found the fit to be very flattering.  I don't have killer feminine curves, but this dress cut me in all the right places and made my shape look curvier.  Not sure how that would play out for those trying to minimize curves, but I loved its effect on me.

Sometimes cinching at the waist is a recipe for a preggo-looking non-preggo belly.  Not the case with this dress, which has that lovely grey bow to soften the waist a bit.


I should have taken a shot from the other (non-bowed) side, but I didn't think of it!  Sorry gals, I'm new to this reviewing thing.

I also loved this cute fabric detail on the shoulder:



Here's a close-up of the somewhat dimpled fabric on the top:


In short, I absolutely adored this dress.  I will be hoping fervently that it makes it to sale, but would actually consider a full-price splurge if stock starts to dwindle (pending a try-on of the size 8 to make sure it's equally flattering).  I'm trying not to go down the road of buying Anthro at full-price while I still have student loans to repay, but perhaps a once-a-year exception is alright?  (And THIS is why I don't usually try things on before they hit sale!  GAK.)


Check out other bloggers' reviews of this dress!
  • Roxy's review here.
  • Jenni's review here.


(Got a review of this dress?  Let me know in the comments and I'll add it.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Outfit Triage Resuscitated: Bows upon Bulk

First, I want to take a minute to thank all of you for your wonderful show of warmth and support for my Jewish Nose musings at Effortless Anthro and here on my blog.  I felt like a kid in a candy shop every time my phone buzzed with a new blog comment, knowing there would be profound and touching words to behold.  I feel truly privileged that you shared your reactions with me.  The dialogue is still ongoing, but I still want to thank you again for joining in the discussion in whatever way you saw fit.

Now it's time for a breather!  All of your fantastic suggestions for my "meh" khaki outfit on Monday encouraged me to finally tackle the second part of my Outfit Triage feature from last month December.  If I want to attempt to fix those khakis, I'm going to need to finish fixing my bulky bows.

In case you forgot, here's the injured outfit for which I requested triage way back when:

Shirt + Belt: Beverly Crepe Striped Shirt (Target) (M)
Cardigan: Tied Trail Cardi (Anthro) (S)
Skirt: Finishing School Skirt (Anthro) (4)
Tights: Dotty Downpour Tights (Anthro) (M/L)
Shoes: Allegra Exotic Flat (Christian Syriano for Payless) (9)

This outfit not only felt bulky, but I got the colors wrong!  I thought my shirt was blue stripes, so I paired it with blue tights/shoes.  Only when I blogged about it later (and checked the Target website) did I realize the shirt was black.  Gah,what a n00b.

I've gotta say, your suggestions for how to fix this outfit exceeded my wildest expectations!  After trying your combinations, I'm sort of bewildered that I ever had trouble with these pieces.  You ladies made the components seem so easy to style.

See your fixes for this disaster behind the jump.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The [Jewish] Nose Goes

(Photos inspired by this image by Ludvik Glazer-Naude)

I am thrilled to participate in Roxy's "Things You Love" week over at Effortless Anthropologie.  When Roxy asked me to send her a short meditation about something I love, I surprised myself when one of the first things I thought of was my nose.  I can't imagine my face without it; I think it makes me look unique, and my other facial features revolve around it like planets around the sun.  However, I didn't always feel at such peace with it; when I was young, I felt self-conscious about its size and bumpiness.  You can read my full piece, truly a love letter to my Jewish nose, here on Roxy's blog!  This complementary entry is a more academic examination of the topic.  With extra pictures.  (Dude, rainbow face paint is not free. ..although I did manage to stack two 10% discounts on top of each other when I checked out.  Still, let's get some value out of it!)

I assume some amount of familiarity with the concept of a "Jewish Nose;" basically, the Jewish nose is relatively big, and usually has some kind of bump in it.  It may curve downward at the end.  Taken by itself, it's not a derogatory term, although the tone with which it is discussed may change the context.  Regardless, the Jewish Nose is a legitimate ethnic trait.

Clearly a Nice Jewish Girl.

In talking over the topic with my boyfriend, he expressed some degree of surprise that one's natural nose would ever be seen in a derogatory light.  He said:

I don't know of anyone or anytime I've heard it used as a negative to someone's image. That is, if its natural.  You only hear that a nose is gross or disgusting if it's been surgically changed...and looks terrible or altered. I can't ever remember a commentator ever saying, "well, if it weren't for his/her nose..."

Maybe I'm just sensitive to such signals in society because I do have a non-Anglo nose, but I feel as though smaller noses do seem to get greater societal approval.  Perhaps it's an implicit message---very few actresses with a schnozz are cast in mainstream roles---but it's a message nonetheless.   (For a counterpoint, see Lea Michele's love of her Jewish Nose here).

Still, it seems to me that the big nose has not been particularly valued as beautiful in our culture.  The Journal of the American Medical Association published a historical look at plastic surgeons' approach to "The Jewish Nose."  They quoted from an 1850 anthropological study that described the Jewish Nose as: 

. . . a large, massive, club-shaped, hooked nose, three or four times larger than suits the face. . . . Thus it is that the Jewish face never can [be], and never is, perfectly beautiful.

(Source).  Surgeons in the 1950's noted that Jews might want to eliminate their Jewish nose to hide from anti-Semitic prejudices in society; even today, medical manuals as recent as 1996 described the process of altering the noses of patients of "jewish descent."  (Id.).  The book The Rules: Time Tested Secrets for Capturing Mr. Right outright told women that if they wanted any hope of getting married they should fix "a bad nose."  (Source).

Oh no they didn't!

This is not an entry about plastic surgery.  I'm not judging anyone's decision to get or not to get a nose job, or any other kind of surgery for that matter.  Our bodies are purely our own, as are our decisions.  Several people very close to me had their noses or other body parts done and it didn't change my feelings towards them and I think they look great. I also thought they looked great before.

The discussion of plastic surgery is relevant insofar as it sheds light on the degree to which we as a society think this feature is imperfect or needs to be changed in order for us to be beautiful.  I think the real tragedy is the message that a different-looking nose is ugly or imperfect.  The point is not that it can be fixed, but that it should be fixed.  Or that it should be fixed.

The nose here is a metaphor.  It's not about the nose.  It's about whatever body feature we have that we wish we didn't have.  Do you have a feature you don't like?  Why not?  It's interesting to examine where those negative messages come from that tell us to define our nose or our ears or our hips or whatever as obscene or problematic.  I think it's very rare that the negative message originated entirely within our own psyches without any external social influence.  


There's an incredible episode of the Twilight Zone about this called "Eye of the Beholder."  In that episode, a woman undergoing her eleventh plastic surgery in an effort to conform to society finally removes her bandages to reveal a gorgeous face.  This reveal is immediately met by cries of horror and disappointment from the doctors and nurses who have (what we would perceive as) horribly disfigured faces, but which faces happen to be the norm in this alternate society.  This woman, a knockout from our societal perspective, is cast off as unspeakably hideous.

And that's the cliche crux of this whole thing, isn't it?  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  When society becomes our beholder instead of ourselves---to whatever extent we can even separate the two---I think that's where we get into trouble.

Maybe I think about these issues more than the average girl, but my nose is a wonderful, constant reminder that society doesn't get to make all the beauty rules.  As I wrote for EA:

If my nose was its own person, I imagine she would wear combat boots and a tattered army jacket that she got full price at a military surplus store. She would hate Cosmopolitan Magazine and Bethenny Frankel. 

If I was having a down day, I'd call up my nose and she would take me out for a beer and a hot dog at Rudy's. She'd grab me by my shoulders and shake me hard but lovingly, and she'd look into my eyes when she told me that "THEY" aren't allowed to make me feel imperfect or damaged or in need of fixing. It doesn't matter who "THEY" are, because "THEY" simply don't have a say in how I see myself.

When that pep talk is as plain as---well, as the nose on your face, it's impossible not to believe it.

THEY shouldn't have a say in how you see yourself, either.  I didn't always know that, but I do now.


Monday, February 7, 2011

To the gentleman sitting next to me on the 6am Chinatown Bus from Philly to NYC

Dear Sir:

I write to inform you about a revolutionary and wonderful procedure with which you are apparently unfamiliar. This process has been utilized successfully by hundreds of millions of people the world over, and seems to cross all cultural and religious boundaries. What is this wonderful process of which I speak, you ask?

Quite simply: BATHING.

Countless individuals have learned to control seemingly inhuman body odor---such as yours---with the simple and daily process of bathing. Some even bathe multiple times per day, as the need arises. Bathing can be effectively accomplished in mere minutes, although some such as yourself may want to take a bit more time to ensure adequate cleansing. The costs of this process are minimal and are limited to the cost of a bar of soap, frequently attainable for less than a dollar.

The benefits of bathing include a cleansing of the body and removal of bacteria that can lead to the odor currently assaulting my senses. Not only will you be more comfortable after a nice wash, but those around you will no longer curse the world and the events of their life leading up to the point when they took the bus seat next to the one in which you would inevitably be forced to sit.

Our current physical proximity leads me to my next point of concern: it appears that you may have tuberculosis. As you may not be aware, tuberculosis is highly contagious, and you should perhaps take this fact into account before boarding a crowded bus. As much as I enjoyed the movie Outbreak with Dustin Hoffman, I don't particularly care to live it.

If not tuberculosis, then your wet, hacking cough could be symptomatic of any number of maladies. These include, but are not limited to: bronchitis, asthma, cold, or a more general infection. Generally speaking, one may want to avoid traveling in crowded, confined spaces when one is potentially carrying any number of these diseases.

I do realize that I deserve part of the blame in this situation. I usually know better than to take the Chinatown bus over its less skeezy cousins Bolt Bus or Megabus. This mistake will not be repeated, I assure you.

Still, while I doubt we will meet again, I nevertheless optimistically encourage your compliance with these suggestions. Please feel free to reach me on my blog if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Jewish Girl

Edit:  hilariously, I just visited this entry and found an ad for "Odor Shield Body Wash" on the side of the page.  Awesome work, Google Adwords!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

D'oh.

(First: Thanks to AlreadyPretty.com for linking to my "Meditations on the Last Five Pounds" entry!  Ladies, if you're not already checking Sal's website for daily inspiration, now's the time to start.)

I was feeling pretty proud of the fact that my closet seemed to be more manageable lately---like I did a good job culling things and restraining my shopping---and then I realized:  I haven't done laundry in three weeks.

And this is just the "lay flat to dry" stuff.  (FYI: I did actually put them in some kind of neat order after taking this picture)

PERCEPTION FAIL.

That's really all I've got to say today, but while I'm here, this is a shot of the headband Arokya requested.


Also, I disliked the Rising Ra Cardigan.  Pictures and explanations after the jump:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...