Sunday, September 26, 2010

9/25/10: Finally Fall

I'm on this gym kick. While it never lasts long, I take advantage of it while it lasts. So yesterday, I woke up at 8-something, was at the gym before 9 am, and started my day off with a "hardcore abs" class. I don't know what I was thinking, but I swear my stomach already looks better.

Anyways, after the gym, I put on some comfortable clothes to sit outside and study. Had I known that I would spend the rest of the day gallivanting around town with Fit for a Femme's clone, I would have dressed way cuter.

Tank: Old Navy, "two for $15"
Hoodie: via Pacsun Outlet, $4.99 in Spring 2010
Jeans: Bullhead via Pac Sun Outlet
Belt: ??, hand-me-down from friend
Boots: "Jestes" by Aldo, available on Amazon in some sizes for $39.99-$49.99
Note: I realize I am missing a September Shoe Challenge post for Thursday 9/23. I failed to get pictures, though I spent the day wearing skinny jeans, black puma sneakers with pink and green trim, a white belt, and a black tank.

9/24/10: In Front of The Class

As with graduate orientation, teaching orientation, and the first day of classes, my first day of teaching brought "what to wear" panic. I decided it was better to over-dress than under-dress, at least when it comes to convincing a bunch of undergraduate who might be the same age as me that I am their authority figure.

Top: Express, forever ago
Skirt: The Limited, $33.99 (after 15% educator discount) in Sept 2010
Bag: H&M, purchased in Austria in 2005, with fresh dye job
Shoes: "Kiren" by XAPPEAL at Rack Room Shoes, $14.99 in July 2010
Necklace: handmade by Page Rozelle, gift
Lips: Cover Girl "Outlast" lipstain color 440 covered with gloss
Nails: ??

I always thought "The Limited" was for old women. Then I went in there, and fell in love. Then I found out that with student ID or teaching ID, you save 15% on everything, including sale and clearance items. I'm now obsessed. I love this blue pencil skirt. It isn't quite denim, though the denim-esque fabric makes it a little more casual. Paired with a tee and flats, I didn't quite look like an undergrad, though the emerald nail polish kept it a little funky.

Seriously though, I'm obsessed with this skirt and this outfit. It was comfortable. I felt cute. And I felt like me. What more could I ask for?

As for the lip color, I am on a mission for the perfect lip product. I generally find lip sticks too heavy. Glosses tend to drive my dates crazy. I feel like I'm on the right track with this lipstain, though it seems to wear off quickly and the color doesn't sink in evenly. Question for you: What is your favorite lip product? How do you add subtle color? What about when you want dramatic color?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

9/22/10: Finally the First Day

You know the phrase, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." Well, in yesterday's case, it was true. No longer was I an undergraduate. No longer was I was a 20-something without a plan. Oh no, I was officially a graduate student on her way to a career in acadamia.

As you can imagine, I struggled over what to wear. On that first day, I sat in on the large lecture for which I will be leading a discussion section. I also met with a professor and the rest of my cohort for our teaching practicum, aka "how to survive Friday when you find yourself in front of a classroom full of inquiring undergraduate minds." I wanted to look cute, but not too young. Professional, but not too dressy.

I spent all of Tueday night trying on clothes, making outfits, and then starting all over. Finally, I settled on something. Then I woke up Wednesday morning, realized it was ninty-something degrees, and had to start all over.

Dress: Tommy Hilfiger via outlet
Shoes: Mudd
Bracelet: Handmade by me

As you can see, I settled on a wrap dress and low heels. I think I made a good decision. The students listened to me when I told them to move forward from the back of the lecture hall, I only got one blister, and I managed to stay relatively cool as I trekked across campus.

9/21/10: Coffee Shop

While my course load is still pretty light, I decided to get ahead. I walked to my neighborhood coffee shop, ordered an iced coffee, and worked by way through the first week's readings.

Top: ExpressBelt: No idea
Bag: H&M, purchased in Austria in 2005
Jeans: Bullhead via Pac Sun Outlet
Shoes: Converse via Ross, $19.99
My favorite part of this outfit, believe it or not, is the bag. I bought it five years ago when I was an exchange student in Austria, and used it for school. As you can tell by the picture, it's seen some wear (as well as some leaky highlighters). I'm going to dump it in the wash with a bottle of black dye to see if I can revitalize its greatness.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

9/20/10: Don't Sleep With Your Students

Yesterday was TA training for all new teaching assistants. Yesterday was also my first panic of "OMG! What do I wear?" You see, clearly I wanted to look cute. I was going to be meeting other graduate student (Friends? People to hang out with?). On the other hand, I also wanted to at least feign professionalism. 

Sweater: Future Paradise, hand-me-down from Aunt
Dress: Carole Little via Marshalls, $24.99 in July 2010
Purse: XOXO via Burlington Coat Factory, forever ago
Sandals: "Women's Arbor Sandal by Privo, $24.47 on Amazon in most sizes
Now, I realize this dress is a little short. Indeed, I went back and forth on it until I finally decided, "It's 80-something degrees and I have to leave the house now." It would have passed the middle school "fingertip rule," and paired with a cardigan, it's not like I was showing a ton of skin. I'm glad I brought the cardigan too, because it was quite chilly in the classrooms. It certainly wasn't the Wild Wednesday look I've created before.

Would I wear this the first day of classes? Probably not. Was the Professor lecturing to us on teaching practices wearing a shorter skirt? Without a doubt. What about you? How short of a skirt is too short?

9/19/10: Old Man Shoes

Sunday was a shopping day. A gift card from my birthday was burning a hole in my pocket, so I hit the mall in total comfort.

Necklace: Gift from Mom
Tee: One Step Up via Sears, forever ago
Belt: O'neill via Clothing Swap
Jeans: Calvin Klein Jeans via Costco, $19.99 in July 2010
Shoes: BC Footwear via now-defunct Polka Dot Shoes
I confess. I resisted on the "skinny jeans" trend for the longest time. Then I bought a pair. Then I bought another, and another. They look great on almost everyone. Note the almost. Even with just a tee and sneakers, I feel taller, thinner, and more confident in a pair of skinny jeans. Sometimes there is good in the fashion trends.

My other favorite part of this outfit is the "old man sneakers." I bought these at a now-defunct locally owned shoe store in my hometown. Like most shoes by BC Footwear, they comfortably mold to your feet. As you may be able to tell by the picture, however, they've reached the end of their lifespan. It's going to be sad to see them go.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

9/18/10: Oktoberfest

Yesterday I made the short trip to North America's largest Oktoberfest celebration. To be honest, it was too many people. The food and beer, while decent, simply didn't compare to real German food and beer. But alas, it was a good time with some of my cohortians. (Yes, we have made that word up. It's much easier than saying "with some members of my cohort.")
Tank: Old Navy, "two for $15" always
Skirt: Larry Levine, stolen from Mom
Bracelet: via World Market, gift
Sneakers: "Lori" by XAPPEAL via Rack Room Shoes, $14.99 ($7.50 if you consider the BOGO 1/2 off promotion) in July 2010

I've discussed before how I feel like I'm running out of time on sneakers and skirts. However, for a day like yesterday, it was the perfect solution. I needed shoes I could walk in all day. I also needed to stay cool. Except for one unfortunate incident involving some sort of grate in the sidewalk, I was ridiculously comfortable. I even matched the mysterious man dressed as some sort of German dog.

9/17/10: Getting Oriented

Friday was orientation day and thankfully, I feel much oriented. I now know what to expect from both the classes I am taking and the class I am teaching.

Though my department is incredibly casual, I wanted to dress up just a little. And when I say just a little, I really mean just a little. I could undoubtedly get away with wearing flip-flops and jeans, but what fun is that? To make it even better, Friday morning felt like the first day of fall. It was apparently a trick, as it was back in the mid-80s today, but the crisp weather certainly put me in the back to school mode.

Necklace: Gift from Mom
Burgandy tee: Old Navy
Green shirt: Old Navy
Slacks: Gap
Shoes: Aldo
Purse: ?? via friend's clothing sale
I absolutely love these slacks. Indeed, I have them in both black and the light grey/blue pictured. They are lightweight, comfortable, and cool, while still being a step up from jeans. The other fantastic thing about this outfit is the purse. It doesn't look especially large, but I easily fit inside a full size notebook, a two-pocket folder, my agenda, wallet, camera, makeup, keys, and a novel. Now that is what I call a perfect purse.

9/16/10: Lazy

Tee: Self Esteem via Goody's, forever ago
Khakis: Gap, forever ago
Shoes: BC Footwear via now-defunct Polka Dot Shoes
And the September Shoe Challenge continues. Not much to say on this outfit. It was a lazy day. I needed to throw on some clothes to run errands. This is what I grabbed. I like the subtle shine of the sneakers. I like the subtle shine of the shirt too, though I think this shirt will become a purse very soon.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

9/15/10: Neon Green

Today's plans revolved around getting internet hooked up so I could have a reliable connection and walking to the farmer's market for some fresh produce. It is about 0.8 mile walk each way and today was surprisingly hot for September up here. Shorts and a tank top was the only way to go, and these "stolen" shoes are quite comfortable. Like yesterday, they aren't the epitome of style, but they work quite well for trekking around time. Note to self: dig through the back of the closet more.

Tank: Old Navy, "two for $15"
Shorts: Calvin Klein via outlet
Sneakers: Rocket Dog, stolen from ex

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

9/14/10: Simple

Today's agenda consisted of trekking back and forth across my new campus as I attempted to get IDs, paperwork, forms, and myself in order. It was quite warm for a September day in the Midwest, so I knew I needed to keep it cool, comfortable, and simple. (I also needed to look decent for my student ID card picture.)

Necklace: handmade, gift
Tank: Old Navy, something like "two for $15"
Pants: Calvin Klein via outlet
Shoes: Simple Shoes via Dillard's, spring 2008

In keeping with the September Shoe Challenge, I dug these sneakers out of the back of my closet. While they are no great fashion statement, they are incredibly comfortable and incredibly earth-friendly. I bought them before a 6-week trip to Europe, because I knew I would need something comfortable and neutral. I wore them all through Germany, Austria, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Then I forgot about them.

If you haven't heard of Simple Shoes, you should look them up. Their shoes are made out of recycled materials such as car tires, carpet padding, plastics, and paper, as well as renewable and environmental-friendly materials like organic cotton and hemp. Most are also vegan friendly. Aside for an occasional rubbery squeak as I step, they are as good or better than most shoes on the market.

For today's grand expedition, I paired them with my favorite lightweight linen pants and a tank top, and accessorized with a pretty polymer clay butterfly necklace. I have no idea who gave me this lovely necklace, so if any of you readers recognize it, please let me know. I got several compliments on it, and I'd love to thank whoever gifted it to me.

Monday, September 13, 2010

9/13/10: Tie Me Up

Not only did I cross two things off of today's to-do-list (mail etsy items and important things to parents), but I actually went out and was social. Don't believe me? Look.

Anyways, I was super proud of today's outfit, because I made the skirt. Yes, that skirt is all made out of ties. Want to learn how to make a similar one? Check out this or this. I however, chose to finish mine with a zipper and a waistband. Otherwise, those tutorials explain the process well.

Tee: Forever 21, stolen from ex
Skirt: Homemade by me
Shoes: "Women's Ranford Sandal" by Privo, from $37.26 on Amazon
Bracelet: via Quarter Moon Imports, gift

The skirt didn't come out perfectly, but it was a good learning experience, and I love the burgundy-based color scheme. Paired with a simple tee and comfortable sandals, it was perfect for a warm fall evening out with friends.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

9/12/10: En Espanol

As I settle into my new home, I'm enjoying having almost nothing to do. My goals for the day were to finish sewing a skirt, recycle some boxes, and update my blogs. Rough life, huh?

Given the extraordinary amount of time I have on my hands, I could have found some amazing outfit. Instead, I kept it comfortable.

Camisole: Kirkland Signature via Costco, two for $12.99 in July 2010
Tee: Doe, via clothing exchange
Jeans: Vanilla Star, from forever ago
Belt: via Flea Market
Shoes: Xhileration, thrifted
Cat: property of next door neighbors

Now, I never wear heels. At 5'7" I am not especially tall, but I tend to roll with a short crowd. All my friends are short. All my relationships have been with people shorter than me. I'm not ashamed of my height, but I dislike feeling like a giant. I'd rather be the same size as everyone else. If I had my way, I'd be shorter, so when someone put their arm around me I'd actually felt protected.

That said, I like how it feels to wear heels. I feel powerful. I feel confident. I feel like I could kick your ass.
With today's orders of business, I could strut into the fabric store and buy those sewing machine needles. Best of all, the wedge style made these shoes quite comfortable. To be perfectly honest, I don't think I'd ever worn them until today. This is why I needed the September shoe challenge.

The rest of the outfit is nothing special. My favorite Costco camisole, a pair of jeans I've had forever, and a tee reading "un pez, dos peces, pez rojo, pez azul" (for those of you lacking in Spanish language ability or suffering from Dr. Seuss amnesia that is "one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish"). Gotta have my childish fun before I have to pretend to be a responsible graduate student.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11/10: Barney and the September Shoe Challenge

One good thing about moving is that it forces you to invoice your possessions. As I unpacked, I discovered that I have 38 41 42 pairs of shoes, excluding bedroom slippers and dance shoes. Since I started this blog, I have only pictured myself wearing 7 different pairs of shoes. And thus, I am creating the September Shoe Challenge: 

The September Shoe Challenge is to wear a different pair of shoes everyday for the rest of September. As today is September 11, and I am starting this TODAY, that will require 20 different pairs of shoes, 20 different looks, and 20 attempts at expanding my horizons. Clearly, a day may require shoe changes- i.e running shoes to work shoes, or casual shoes to going out shoes. That is fine. The point is I must wear a different pair of shoes for at least part of the day, preferably a part of the day where I actually leave the house.

I would love for you to join me on this shoe adventure, at least to the best of your ability. Let's dig out those pairs from the back of our closets. 

So, in honor of the September Shoe challenge, I present my "Barney look." 

Tank: Old Navy, always "two for $15"
Slacks: Tommy Hilfiger via outlet, $29.99 in spring 2010
Shoes: Puma via outlet, $39.99? in spring 2010

So, why my "Barney look" you ask? When I got these shoes, I was still coaching gymnastics. It was also hot, and I was in Florida. Thus, I wore these to work with my favorite purple running shorts. My delightful group of 4-year-old gymnasts proclaimed that my shoes were Barney colored. It stuck.

My favorite little one said, "Toach Tayla, tose shoes awe cwazy! But I'm cwazieor!" Ah, the honesty of youth.

While I am not a huge fan of the color pink, I make exceptions for hot pink and fuchsia. Today is proof. On a dreary Midwestern day where my only task was to unsuccessfully shop for a kitchen table, I needed all the Barney cheerfulness I could get.

Friday, September 10, 2010

8/26/10: Pretending at Back To School

On one of my last days in my hometown, I headed to my undergraduate campus to meet a friend for lunch. I knew it would feel weird to wander that campus as an alumnus. I knew I'd feel out of place. I knew I wouldn't be starting classes for another month. I decided to play a little game with myself and pretend I was starting school. I dressed up in my best "it's my first day as a graduate student" look.

Top: Express, forever ago
Skirt: Express, bought at friend's clothing sale for $5
Belt: via Kohl's, $4.80 in August 2010
Purse: XOXO via Burlington Coat Factory, forever ago
Shoes: "Kiren" by XAPPEAL at Rack Room Shoes, $14.99 in July 2010

This coral colored skirt was both the first high-waisted skirt and the first coral colored item in my wardrobe. I quickly discovered that I love the high-waisted look, but the color is still weird for me. I wear this skirt because I like it, but I'm not going to make the eye-popping shade a regular part of my wardrobe. Paired with basic black though, I like it. It goes equally well with white, though I've been afraid to try any other shades.

Question: What colors do you rarely wear? When you do wear those colors, do you keep it basic, or do you go wild?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

8/2/10: Traveling and Apartment Hunting

As promised, I am posting old things I never got around to posting.

At the beginning of August, I traveled to my future home to find an apartment. In hopes of looking like "I'm a young professional you want to give a good deal on rent," I dressed up a little.

Headband: Dollar Store
Shirt: Express
Skirt: Takara via Dillard's, on sale for something like $10.99 in July 2010
Purse: XOXO via Burlington Coat Factory, forever ago
Shoes: "Women's Arbor Sandal by Privo, $24.47 on Amazon in most sizes
Ankle Wrap: available at your local urgent care center or pharmacy

When I travel by air, I always try to avoid wearing metal and shoes with laces. I'd prefer not to be patted down and searched, and the best way to guarantee this is to waltz right through the metal detector. I also prefer not to fight with my shoe laces, so sandals have become my traveling norm.

The skirt and white top was breezy enough to keep me cool as I desperately searched the city for an apartment. The sandals were comfortable enough. The headband hid my messy post-airplane air. And not only did I find an apartment, but I found some amazing sidewalk chark art. All in all, a successful trip.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

8/29/30: Going Away and a Birthday

While it may seem that I had disappeared off the face of the Earth, I would like to assure you that I am very much alive. I have, however, disappeared from Florida. I am now happily settling into life in the Midwest.

Over the next few days, I am going to try to post some things I never quite got around to posting.

This year, I combined by 22nd birthday party with my going away party. I wanted something festive and fun, and I settled on the adorable dress I found at JCPenny (of all places).

I found the shoes on Amazon. While I am usually reluctant to buy shoes without trying them, I took a gamble. It paid off. Initially, they were very comfortable, but after wearing them all afternoon, I decided I could have used a half size larger (which, of course, doesn't exist). However, like most shoes by BC Footwear, these are leather. I think they will stretch.

Dress with Belt: East 5th via JCPenney, on sale for $27.99 in August 2010
Shoes: "Women's Escalator Flat" by BC Footwear, via amazon, on sale for $19.99 in August 2010