Archive for November 2011

Thrift Finds for November

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 10:43 PM

Most of my thrifting this month was incidental to my search for cheapo moving blankets. I hit four different stores between South Portland and Augusta.

Oscar de la Renta striped silk scarf, Goodwill Augusta, $2

Mossimo green sweater, Goodwill Augusta, $5

Aeropostale striped cardigan, Goodwill Augusta, $6

Polka dot scarf, Goodwill Topsham, $3

Old Navy black brocade skirt, Goodwill Maine Mall, $5

And then I made one Black Friday purchase:
Celebrity Pink Jeans pink jeans, Find, $15*

* Consignment, not thrifted, but that's close enough.

Miz Suze

10:18 PM

I love my new Miz Mooz Journey boots. And I'd better, because even on sale they cost twice as much as I've ever spent on a pair of shoes. They're smooth, soft leather with a warm, fuzzy lining. The stacked heels made for comfy walking all day, and I love the stitching detail on the toes. If you happen to take a look at these, be warned that they're a bit large. I'm a pretty consistent 6.5, and the boots were loose even with thick socks. A pair of insoles fixed that right up.

So I now have knee-high boots in black and gray. Cognac, you're next.

pic namepic name

T-shirt, Target
Necklace, Forever 21
Skirt, Old Navy (thrifted)
Tights, Old Navy
Boots, Miz Mooz

My Toy-o-ta

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 9:02 PM

Remember that ad campaign Toyota ran several years ago spoofing on "My Sharona"? Imagine that when you read this post's title.

My little Corolla may not be the world's most attractive car, but I love it. And today it passed a very special milestone:

OK, I'll admit this wasn't the safest trick to pull on my morning commute, but there weren't any cars around me, so I took a quick snap.

I bought my 2004 Corolla from Hertz in August 2005, just a couple of days before going back to Atlanta for sophomore year. It had 30,250 miles on it. I paid cash, using savings from my restaurant job and from graduation gifts the year before. I was just a little short, so my parents kicked in about $1,000 to cover the sales tax and warranty. And boy, has it been nice not having a car payment.

For five-plus years I consistently averaged 10,000 miles a year, despite changes in circumstances. With my commute I'm now really packing on the miles — I'm on track to drive 30,000 miles in a year. But the car got a clean bill of health at inspection two months ago, and the only thing I've had to do that wasn't routine maintenance was replacing the oxygen sensor two years ago. I'm going to run this thing into the ground.

Springtime in November

8:12 PM

Looks like I was wrong when I said winter was here. We've had several days in a row of temperatures near 50, and all the snow has melted. Today I wore a short-sleeved top under a light jacket and bared the tops of my feet to the air  — well, when they peeked from beneath my hems. Today's outfit was inspired by the recent thaw and by Kasmira's outfit from a couple of days ago. I find the pairing of pink and green very spring-like and beautiful (especially in AKA's shades).

Was that enough hyperlinks for one paragraph?

pic name Top, New York & Co.
Tank, Banana Republic
Necklace, thrifted
Pants, LOFT
Pumps, Nine West, thrifted


Monday, November 28, 2011 9:00 PM

After wearing my newest clothes yesterday, I decided to wear my oldest work-appropriate clothes today. I bought this dress and these shoes in high school.

I bought the dress senior year because I needed a black dress to wear under my graduation gown. It was $40 on sale, and I gagged a bit at the price — perhaps the most I had spent of my own money on any one garment to that point, except for my prom dress. That was a good night's worth of wages and tipshare from my restaurant hostess job.

The shoes I bought sometime earlier in high school, but I don't remember exactly when. I found them at Journeys, a store at the mall that mostly sold skateboarding shoes. (Hmm, apparently they're still around, and pretty widespread.) I was never into the skater style, but Journeys sold some other cute shoes sometimes, and at some point I happened upon these Mary Janes. For $20 shoes, they've held up remarkably well. They're super-comfortable, and I wore them to salsa classes when I lived in South Florida the summer after graduating college. But now they're starting to look pretty worn, and I'm casually looking around for some replacement Mary Janes, in patent leather this time.

pic name pic name

Blazer, Banana Republic (2010)
Dress, Gap (2004)
Tank, Hanes (no clue how old)
Gray tights, Old Navy - 10 cents! (2011)
Lace tights, Hanes (2011)
Mary Janes, Classified

I can't wear it to work, but here's the piece of clothing that is truly my oldest:

My elementary school had a music group where students played Orff instruments: xylophones, metallophones and glockenspiels. It was only for fifth graders, and I was so excited to join when I was old enough! For some reason they ordered our T-shirts in adult sizes, so yeah, it still fits.

New Jeans

Sunday, November 27, 2011 3:48 PM

Today I paired the two newest items in my closet.

The sweater was a birthday gift from J's grandmother, a sweetheart in her mid-80s who has dozens of grandchildren (and their spouses) and great-grandchildren to remember. It's a big family.

The jeans were my sole Black Friday purchase. I hadn't intended on shopping Friday, but then I happened to park across the street from a consignment shop when I got back from having my car's oil changed. I'm really enjoying colored bottoms. And I promise this looked less ketchup-and-mustard in real life than it did in these photos.

The photo above is what I looked like for most of the day, but there was this, too:

Both today and yesterday, I spent some time tramping around in a park full of snow, mud and standing water. I hadn't been prepared on Saturday — I was just lucky to have an extra pair of flats from Goodwill in my car. I rinsed off the mud from my $5 flats and stuffed them with paper towels to dry, and I think they'll be all right, but I'm glad I didn't have to risk my Ecco flats, which were expensive even on eBay. From now on I'm keeping these boots and some extra socks in my car for contingencies.

Sweater, Polo Ralph Lauren (gift)
Jeans, Celebrity Pink Jeans (consignment)
Socks, Target
Wedges, Bandolino (thrifted)
Boots, Target

Stripey Saturday

Saturday, November 26, 2011 11:00 PM

Only one photo today, because it's the weekend. I had to work today, in exchange for having Friday off. I'm also working tomorrow, in exchange for a day off next Friday.

J and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving, hosting my parents at our new place. I'm thankful to live in Portland and to have my parents within easy driving distance for the first time in seven years.

Our menu:
Coconut butternut squash soup (NY Times)
Grated beet and carrot salad (Chocolate and Zucchini)
Cornbread stuffing with apples and pecans (NY Times)
Lemon roast chicken (Mark Bittman)
Apple-cranberry galette (adapted from Mark Bittman)

And then here's what I wore for work today:

Black cardigan, Banana Republic (eBay)
Purple blouse, Van Heusen (thrifted)
Silk scarf, Oscar de la Renta (thrifted)
Straight leg jeans, DKNY Jeans
Black socks, Target
Black flats, Ecco (eBay)

Healthy on the Outside, Heart Attack Inside

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 8:52 PM

Most of you are probably still have heavy, harvest-y food sitting like a weight in the bottom of your stomachs. Nevertheless, for your consideration, here is what I came home to a few days ago:

That's a buttercup squash, filled with bread, cheese and cream. It was rich, salty and made a perfect dinner for two. I grabbed the recipe from NPR here, where they used a pumpkin instead. I'm not crazy about pumpkin — after years of eating pumpkin-flavored baked goods, I'm always disappointed to find that the real thing isn't sweet — so I substituted buttercup squash, which still gave me the bowl shape, the bright orange flesh and, yes, a hint of sweetness. We used a hunk of leftover fontina for the cheese. You fill it, bake it and then scoop out a bit of squash flesh with every spoonful of cheesy goodness.

It's a little late, but I have to think this would make a great entree for a vegetarian Thanksgiving, if you use a larger squash or pumpkin. I might try a Long Island cheese squash; they're large and could hold lots of filling, but they're relatively flat, so you'd have less chance of a filling that's toasty at the top but lukewarm and/or soggy at the bottom.

Whatever tweaks you make, go cook and eat this now!

Winter's Here

8:24 PM

So, I like snow. But this morning it added an extra 30 minutes to my already hour-long commute. The overcast sky also made the living room rather dim, and here it Portland it didn't snow so much as rain slushy sleet. My solution to a day of icky weather? A bright top and a big necklace.

pic name pic name

Red T-shirt, Gap
Necklace, White House Black Market (eBay)
Herringbone Pants, LOFT
Black patent belt, Target
Boots, Aerosoles via DSW


Tuesday, November 22, 2011 8:43 PM

I've always thought of this sweater as being burgundy, but since it's Thanksgiving week, I'll go with cranberry this time.

I wore the lilac blouse with my burgundy pencil skirt back in July, and at the time I thought of it as an "unusual" color combination. Well, I wouldn't consider it that anymore based on some of the pairings I've made since then. But I liked it, so I couldn't resist creating a fall version of the color combination.

It's gonna snow tomorrow!

pic name pic name

Cardigan, Banana Republic (eBay)
Blouse, Old Navy
Pants, Banana Republic (eBay)
Belt, Old Navy
Ankle boots, Macy's

At First Bright

Monday, November 21, 2011 9:53 PM

These pink tights were the clear choice to pair with this sweater. But it was my first time wearing brightly colored tights to this job, so I toned them down by covering them up with some tall boots. Next time I'll show more leg! It was also the first day where the temperature didn't crack 40, so that was a good reason to wear tall boots, too.

Sweater, Aeropostale (thrifted); Tank, J. Crew; Necklace, thrifted; Skirt, Target; Tights, Old Navy; Socks, gift; Boots, Aerosoles via DSW

What I Wore This Week

Saturday, November 19, 2011 4:29 PM

Our new apartment is flooded with natural light. At the old place I always had to turn on a floor lamp just outside the frame, and it was still dim. We're still moving furniture around, so I had a slightly different spot and setup each day this week. I'm hoping to start doing daily outfit posts next week, including details shots, so we'll see how that goes!

Blouse, Macy's; Pants, Banana Republic (eBay); Pumps, Nine West (consignment)
The first work day after our move, my clothes were far from organized enough for me to find things easily. So I went simple, simple, simple.

Sweater, Target (thrifted); Necklace, thrifted; Skirt, Ann Taylor (eBay); Heeled loafers, Rampage (eBay)
I don't wear a lot of patterns (though I'm slowly changing that), but prepare to see a lot of polka dots, which I LOVE. In addition to the blouse and skirt in this post, I have a dress, tights, shoes and a scarf that I just thrifted last week.

Turtleneck, Target; Skirt, Modcloth; Belt, Target; Flats, Bare Traps
I know the purple-and-red color combination is often associated with the Red Hat ladies these days, but I don't care!

Blouse, New York & Co.; Belt, thrifted; Dress, Old Navy; Tights, Target; Pumps, Nine West (thrifted)
This spring we were all color blocking. According to Allie, this fall is for "monoblocking," so here's my stab at it. Yes, I own a lot of blue. I also have lots of red/burgundy clothes, but I think that would probably be too bold for an entire ensemble. Also, Target? These tights are not what I'd consider "opaque."

You can't see much of the belt here, but it's covered in sequins! I thought the sparkle made a nice contrast to the slightly severe military-style blazer.

Thrifting Triumph

Thursday, November 17, 2011 10:13 PM

Thrifting luck: Some people have it. And by "some people," I mean Jentine. Seriously, she finds the most interesting and high-quality treasures in those Hamilton thrift stores. 

I'd say my thrifting luck is decent; I've found brand-new shoes and several great skirts. But it hit a new high last week on a visit to the Augusta Goodwill. I was looking for some ratty blankets to cushion our furniture in our move, and I did find them: two old comforters labeled "dog blanket — as is" for $2 apiece. Mission accomplished. But of course I couldn't leave without browsing the clothes and accessories as well. And here's what I found:

Yes, it's a scarf. I love stripes and I love purple and I love silk. But take a closer look:

My first designer thrift score! Usually the high end of what I find on the racks is Banana Republic or J. Crew. My Googling suggests that this is the real thing. I think the folks at the store must have overlooked this little scribble, because the usually seem to have some idea of what they're dealing with in terms of labels or materials — for example, on the same trip I came across a pair of Cole Haan pumps (not in my size) marked at three times the normal price for shoes. But the scarf was only $2, less than several of the polyester ones in the bin with it.

Anyway, coming across little gems like this is what makes thrifting my favorite kind of shopping. And it makes me even more excited for my next expedition — I think my luck is moving in the right direction!

Birthday Wishes

Monday, November 14, 2011 11:07 PM

This week I turn 26, which means I'm officially on the downslope of my 20s. Does that make me too old for a wishlist? I don't think so.

Canon PowerShot S95
I have yet to be bitten by the DSLR bug — right now I just want a new point-and-shoot to upgrade from our 4-year-old Canon PowerShot SD750, which doesn't even support remote capture.

Short, skinny black pants for work
My only pair of black trousers is a wide-legged pair from Banana Republic. I'd love a different silhouette that I could wear with either heels or flats. My mother-in-law wore a nearly perfect pair to our early Thanksgiving on Saturday. She said they were from Ann Taylor, and I think they may have been these.

Knee-high cognac boots


I've been on the hunt for a pair of these, with no luck so far. It's complicated by the fact that any shaft larger than 14 inches in diameter will leave my bird legs swimming. These Miz Mooz Flynns may be a possibility.

A winter hat from Queen of Hats

(Queen of Hats)
My only winter hat is a bright green knit cap from the Gap Factory Store. It's not exactly appropriate for work or going out. Queen of Hats is a charming local boutique, but some of their felt hats run a bit more than I'd spend on myself.

A cooking class

(The Black Tie Company)
This is Goal #18. A lot of cooking classes seem to have little to no relation to home cooking, but it appears that several of Black Tie's classes would actually be helpful — subjects like risotto, Latin-influenced cooking and the basics of French cuisine. Yum!

What I Wore This Week

Sunday, November 13, 2011 10:34 PM

Shirt, New York & Co. (thrifted); Belt, thrifted; Skirt, Gap (eBay); Pumps, Calvin Klein (eBay)
 We had a run of mild weather, with highs around 60. I took advantage with four days of bare legs.

Cardigan, Target (thrifted); Belt, thrifted; Skirt, thrifted vintage; Flats, Bare Traps
Look, the bruise on my knee (from bashing it against boxes in advance of our move) matches my skirt! In spite of the warm weather, I couldn't resist these autumnal tones.

Cardigan, Target; Tank, J. Crew; Belt, thrifted; Skirt, Modcloth; Wedges, Bandolino (thrifted)
 Like Tania, I'm a fan of gred (gray + red). I loved how the buttoned-up cardigan and full skirt created a prim, ladylike sillhouette here.

Black T, Banana Republic; Belt, thrifted; Skirt, thrifted vintage; Pumps, Calvin Klein (eBay)
It was completely unintentional, but when I imported this photo I realized I had worn all four of my red skirts in the space of one week! Thursday was a bit cooler and very rainy, and then Friday I had the day off and spent it moving.


9:51 PM

Back in college, I moved every year, not even including summer internships. We bought used furniture and then sold it at the end of the year, which was easy when there were lots of other students also moving. Nonetheless, I was always amazed at how much I had managed to accumulate since the last move and half-surprised at what a hassle it all was.

When J and I moved to Ohio three years ago, we fit as much as we could into our two sedans — that was it. But now we own furniture.

We had to find an apartment quickly when we moved to Maine this spring. We found it on the third floor of an 1865 house on Deering Street. We had the whole floor, probably 1,600 square feet, in a great location — a quiet, tree-lined street right on the edge of Portland's downtown. But the apartment got very hot in the summer and had temperamental plumbing; the kitchen had very little counter space and no dishwasher.

So this weekend we moved to a modern building that's even more centrally located in Portland. Our apartment is beautiful, though right now it's a mess. Maybe the best part is that it's a place I can imagine staying as long as we're in Portland, which means no more moving for another four or five years at the least. Because even when you're looking forward to your new place, moving sucks. Especially when the previous tenant didn't clean out the bathroom drawer where he apparently stored his toenail clippings.

What I Wore This Week

Sunday, November 6, 2011 1:09 AM

The snow melted quite quickly after last weekend's freak storm, but it stayed chilly throughout the week. In the past, I would have given up on skirts and surrendered to pants once temperatures consistently remained below 55, but now I've amassed a collection of tights to get me through until spring.

Dress (as a top), Old Navy; Tank, Hanes; Skirt, thrifted (no tag); Tights, Target; Pumps, Nine West (consignment)
A testament to the power of style blogs: I never would have thought of layering a skirt over a dress on my own. This skirt is taffeta and creates a soft, pleasing rustling when I walk.

Sweater, Alfani (thrifted); Necklace, Forever 21; Skirt, Target; Boots, Aerosoles via DSW; Cashmere socks, a gift
I bought this sweater in part because it's somewhat ridiculous: If it's cold enough to wear a heavy turtleneck, it's probably too cold for lace sleeves. This was my  first time wearing it, and I suspect it'll have limited applicability. For another juxtaposition, I went with bare legs plus tall boots and my warmest socks.

Shirtdress, Express (thrifted); Gray tights, Old Navy; Flats, Bare Traps
Along with the sweater above, this dress may also prove difficult to wear. The length is fine when I'm standing, but the skirt pulls open to reveal quite a bit of leg when I sit.

Blazer, Banana Republic (thrifted); Shirt, Gap (thrifted); Skirt, Gap (thrifted); Tights, Old Navy; Flats, Ecco (eBay)
How to wear a miniskirt to work: 1) Wait until fall so you can layer tights underneath. 2) Wear something conservative up top and button your shirt higher than usual. 3) You can get away with a lot on Casual Friday.