Archive for February 2012

Leap Day

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 11:09 PM

On this occasion that comes only once every four years, I figured I might as well try one of those jumping photos that some bloggers love so much. I don't know what kinds of cameras and settings other bloggers are using, but most of mine came out very, extremely blurry. This one is only very blurry; I guess maybe it caught me at the top of the parabola.

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Dress worn as a skirt, Old Navy
Red sweater, LOFT (consignment)
Faux turquoise necklace, thrifted
Blue belt, thrifted
Navy tights, Target
Gray boots, Miz Mooz Journey

My New Old Skirt

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 9:23 PM


Though I adore this skirt, I haven't worn it in two months. The last time I washed it, even though I followed the instructions on the tag, it shrank so that the lining was longer than the main layer of the skirt; I don't sew, so I had to take it to a tailor to shorten the lining. I actually picked up the skirt at the end of January, but in the meantime it had been out of sight, out of mind. Without the skirt in my closet, I had stopped brainstorming outfits for it. And with all the thrifting I did in January, I had plenty of other things to wear. It's now time to put this skirt back into rotation, especially as winter draws to a close.

Want to know a secret? This sweater is a bit roomy at the point where it tucks into the skirt, so to keep it from blousing out too much, I tucked it into my tights. Fortunately, the top of these tights is virtually the same shade of gray as the sweater, so I didn't have to worry about it peeking above the waist of the skirt.

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Gray Turtleneck, Jones New York Sport (gift)
Knotted necklace, Forever 21
Tomato red skirt, Modcloth
Black patent belt, thrifted
Houndstooth tights, Target
Black boots, Aerosoles

The Best Eggs

Monday, February 27, 2012 11:39 PM

Since I began to cook in my dorm kitchenette during sophomore year, I've gotten pretty good at it. It's mostly because I like to try new things and rarely cook the same dish twice. I also listen to my elders and betters, reading cookbooks very closely to pick up on tips for knifework, handling ingredients and the like.

This is all to say that I have a number of techniques in my repertoire, but there are a few things I felt I still needed, including poaching and deep-frying. I have not tackled the latter yet, but the former has become one of my favorite culinary tricks.

A poached egg in kale and roasted garlic soup

I don't cook fish because J dislikes most seafood, and we have chicken only a few times a year — and at those times it's a whole chicken, very little of which lends itself to poaching. So the only thing I've poached is eggs. I use the technique Mark Bittman outlines in "How to Cook Everything," which involves adding salt and white vinegar to the water. Poaching cooks the egg white totally, leaves the yolk nice and runny, and is healthier than frying.

As someone who cooks vegetarian most of the time, I've found poached eggs to be really useful as a way to add protein and heft to vegetables and grains, to turn food into a meal. Today my lunch was a bunch of roasted root vegetables, topped with a poached egg and some parsley pesto. And even if you use the best eggs — pastured-raised, organic feed, the kind that go for $5 or $6 a dozen at the farmer's market — it's cheap.

Poaching an egg takes some practice, but it's not difficult. I haven't figured out what I'll deep fry, but I imagine that will be trickier, and probably messier. It definitely won't be healthy.

Oscar Night

Sunday, February 26, 2012 10:45 PM

The field of Oscar nominees was fairly weak this year, so the only award where I really had a rooting interest was the one just given, for adapted screenplay. It's highly unlikely that the Emmys will ever give any love to "Community," so I am SO happy that Dean Pelton (aka Jim Rash) won the Academy Award. #sixseasonsandanoscar!

I tried to combine my beloved blue shirt with a little more color this time. By which I mean, combining it with another blue? Um, at least the yellow is a color. I think the issue is that most of my colorful bottoms are red, and this shirt's shade doesn't look the best with red.

Turquoise sweater, Gap (thrifted)
Blue button-front, New York & Co. (thrifted)
Yellow belt, Forever 21
Black jeans, J.C. Penney juniors brand (thrifted)
Black boots, Aerosoles

The Great White Shirt

Saturday, February 25, 2012 10:39 PM

I struggled a bit to get dressed this morning. I had these jeans on and switched out a few different tops and sweaters before realizing I had to get going to work. In the end I was saved by a garment as simple, classic and classy as it gets: the white button-front shirt. Sometimes, innovation is overrated.

White shirt, Banana Republic
Faux pearls, thrifted
Straight-leg jeans, DKNY Jeans
Cashmere socks, gift
Metallic flats, Bare Traps

Week End

Friday, February 24, 2012 11:00 PM

1) Or as the Dowager Countess might say, "What is a week-end?" Oh, "Downton Abbey," it's been five days. How I miss you.
2) Don't you love how some terms move from two words to hypenated to one word? Like to-night/to-morrow, teen-ager, etc. I was so happy when the AP Stylebook ditched Web site for website and e-mail for email.
3) This turned into layering-with-dresses week. It was only three days, but that's enough for a trend, right?
4) This is one of the rare outfits in which everything was purchased new.
5) I'm tired, I had a big Manhattan at dinner tonight, and I'm headed into work again in the morning. Write a cohesive post? Nah.

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Turquoise dress, Old Navy
Black turtleneck, Target
Knotted necklace, Forever 21
Black tights, We Love Colors
Cashmere socks, gift
Black boots, Aerosoles

10 Ways to Wear a Blue Button-Front Shirt

12:00 PM

Now that I've been taking outfit photos for a while (since June, though I didn't start blogging until November), I thought I'd take a look back at some of the ways I've styled my most-worn items of clothing. First up is this New York & Co. blue button-front shirt.

I thrifted this shirt last spring from a Goodwill in Ohio. I took advantage of a five for $10 deal, so it was only two bucks, and it's one of my favorite thrift finds. It's comfortable, the fabric stays crisp, and the color seems to go with everything. Of course, now that I put all these pictures together, it appears I've paired it only with neutrals, other than my pink jeans — and the burgundy cardigan, but that's practically a neutral.

The shirt was one of my items for the summer 30x30, which is the only one I've done. The first three outfits are from that challenge. The first two, actually, I wore the same day: one to work and one to a Portland Sea Dogs game with co-workers. Looking back, it's striking how basic most of these outfits are; two of them are identical except for black versus brown accessories. Over the course of the months, I've collected more accessories and learned how to use them better. I'm definitely more adventurous than I was in June.

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Considering this is one of my favorite shirts, it's kind of odd I've worn it only twice in the last three months. I'll definitely mix it up again, soon!


Thursday, February 23, 2012 10:10 PM

Sometimes I like to pile on multiples of one type of pattern. See: houndstooth, stripes, herringbone, plaid. Today I combined three types of dots. These polka dot tights are fun, but they're a little too subtle; I would have liked to go big with the tights in this outfit. I'm envious of the ones I've seen other bloggers wearing this winter — the sheer ones that have large (like 1" diameter) dots that really stand out. Or would those have been overkill?

Apologies for the blurry photo.

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Polka dot dress, Gap (thrifted)
Spotted blouse, Macy's
Black cardigan, Banana Republic (eBay)
Gray tights, Old Navy
Polka dot tights, Old Navy
Black flats, Ecco (eBay)


Wednesday, February 22, 2012 11:02 PM

I'm coming off a long weekend that actually felt long. Monday was a holiday for us, and I took another day off yesterday in exchange for the shift I'll work on Saturday. The first three days of my four-day weekend were filled with sleep, TV, cooking and baking, a showing of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," a nice dinner out, and collecting information and documents for our taxes. On Tuesday, J and I had our first shared day off in weeks, so we went to Boston to see his brother, who's having medical treatment down there. I'll savor the memories of time off while working this upcoming weekend.

On the outfit: I'm loving bright pink and navy. It's almost as good a pairing as red and turquoise. Those four colors are pretty much all I want to wear right now — they even look great all together — but I'm trying to show some restraint to keep more of my closet in rotation.

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Striped top, Talbots (thrifted)
Pink shirtdress, Express (thrifted)
Circle brooch, vintage
Navy tights, Target
Gray pumps, Nine West (consignment)


Friday, February 17, 2012 11:34 PM

This was perhaps a bit too casual, even for a Friday. I'd previously worn these jeans to work only on weekend shifts (here and here), but right now they fit my bum better than my jeans in more staid colors like blue and black. It was fairly warm, and I couldn't fit a blazer under my lighter coat, so I went with the cardigan instead. And I could have dressed this up with some high heels, but after four days of heels my feet wanted flats. After a comfortable but tiring day, I am more than ready for this long weekend.

Black cardigan, Banana Republic (eBay)
Green scoopneck T, Target
Glass bead necklace, thrifted
Pink jeans, Celebrity Pink Jeans (consignment)
Socks, Target
Black flats, Ecco (eBay)


Thursday, February 16, 2012 9:39 PM

This isn't much to look at, but I was especially bleary-eyed this morning. This is a repeat of the outfit I wore to celebrate Chanukah with J's family, with the addition of the tights.

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Camel sweater, Ralph Lauren Sport (gift)
Brocade skirt, Old Navy (thrifted)
Sequined belt, thrifted
Rubine tights, We Love Colors
Ankle boots, Macy's

A Little Bit Tough

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 10:58 PM

After wearing such a sweet, femme outfit yesterday, I decided to toughen up a today. But only a little bit; this is my first foray into pyramid studs, and this is not the typical thick, heavy pyramid stud belt.

I also brought a little toughness into my life with a trip to Portland Stage, where J and I saw "Trouble is My Business," an adaptation of two of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe stories. Theater is expensive, so we hardly ever go, but J loves hard-boiled detective fiction and films noir. The show conjured, as the program put it, "a world full of betrayal, hard liquor and goodbyes" — as well as lots of tough guys and gals. We loved it!

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Red sweater, LOFT (consignment)
"Turquoise" necklace, thrifted
Black trousers, Banana Republic (eBay)
Pyramid stud belt, thrifted
Black tights, Old Navy
Suede peeptoes, Nine West (thrifted)


Tuesday, February 14, 2012 9:08 PM

This is the seventh Feb. 14 that J and I have been together, and I can't remember how we spent any of the previous six. I guess that shows how much of a nonevent it tends to be for us.

I almost put off wearing this outfit because I've typically avoided wearing pink and red on Valentine's Days past, but it's getting warmer all the time, and I wanted to make sure I didn't miss the chance to pair this scarf with my delightful new patterned tights. Houndstooth strikes me as a classy, ladylike pattern, so this pink sweater seemed like a sweet complement.

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Pink cardigan, Banana Republic (thrifted)
Houndstooth scarf, thrifted
Black pencil skirt, The Limited (thrifted)
Houndstooth tights, Target
Mary Janes, Classified

Blue and Gray

Monday, February 13, 2012 11:26 PM

I took the color scheme of this outfit from a few weeks ago and recreated it with a skirt and shirt I've been neglecting this winter. I have plenty of blues and grays in my closet, so I'm sure you'll see these colors together again.

Part of the reason I haven't worn the skirt recently is it's unlined, which is supposed to create static problems with tights, but I had no problem today. On the other hand, I have a couple of lined skirts that love to bunch up when worn with tights. Does fabric science have an explanation for this phenomenon?

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Striped shirt, New York & Co.
Sweater vest, Gap (thrifted)
Navy pencil skirt, thrifted vintage
Turquoise tights, Old Navy
Cashmere socks, gift
Gray boots, Miz Mooz Journey

The Crop

Friday, February 10, 2012 10:35 PM

When I wore this blazer previously, the proportions were all wrong. I thought that meant I couldn't wear it with pants, except perhaps skinny jeans. Then I saw Kasmira wearing a cropped jacket with possibly the exact same pair of trouser jeans. The key, apparently, is a longer top.

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Cropped blazer, Forever 21 (consignment)
Striped T-shirt, Old Navy (thrifted)
Red beaded necklace, thrifted
Trouser jeans, Express
Boots, Aerosoles

Sky Blue Sky

Thursday, February 9, 2012 11:12 PM

I don't have much to say about this outfit, except that I really like the color of the sweater. I have another one in black, and they're flattering and comfortable. It's too bad they get stretched out and wrinkled in the course of just one wearing. I usually don't wash my sweaters each time I wear them, but with this one and its black sibling, it's necessary.

Sky blue sweater, Target
Collar necklace, Forever 21
Brown belt, thrifted
Gray pants, New York & Co.
Brown flats, Bare Traps

The Notch

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 10:30 PM

These pants have some great details. The herringbone, the button tabs and this little notch in the back. I'm not sure how well you can see, but the waistband is constructed so that the herringbone pattern forms chevrons in the middle. Unfortunately, in practice, my belt covered the buttons, and the cardigan covered the notch and the chevrons.

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Pink cardigan, Banana Republic (thrifted)
Empire waist top, New York & Co.
Tank top, Target
Necklace, thrifted
Herringbone trousers, LOFT
Patent belt, Target
Ankle boots, Macy's


Tuesday, February 7, 2012 10:59 PM

When I started to wear necklaces to work, about a year ago, I owned very few of them. This was one; I had bought it to go with the dress I wore to my sister-in-law's wedding, and I think I had worn it only that once. When I put it on as part of a work outfit the first time, I worried the whole day that it was too bold and looked tacky and like I was trying too hard.

But now that I'm much more used to wearing patterns and bright colors and accessories, this is just another necklace. So unremarkable, in fact, that today I went with the big necklace and the big belt. Of course, I'm all in black and gray here, but hey. Baby steps.

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Turtleneck, Jones New York Sport (gift)
Necklace, White House Black Market (eBay)
Elastic belt, thrifted
Black pants, Banana Republic (eBay)
Gray pumps, Nine West (consignment)