Wednesday, June 29, 2011

OOTD: Back to Work

Although I've been hard at work studying for the bar exam this summer, I haven't sought out any meetings with Weight Watchers since moving down to D.C.  You may remember that I'm working as a receptionist for WW this summer to have a bit of extra shopping money.  I waited for a few weeks until getting settled in my new apartment before taking on any new jobs, but I felt ready this week and was able to work two meetings today.

Perhaps the idea of working for a paycheck drew me to the pinstripes in my closet.  This dress is a wee bit small on me, but I seem to be at the lower end of my normal weight range right now so it fits more comfortably than usual.

The scarf around my waist was inspired by that thatdamngreendress's suggestion (in the context of traveling) that a versatile scarf could be used as a belt.  This little reminder really helped with this outfit, I think.  I wanted to wear my big J.Crew flower pin, but it looked out of place on the dress by itself; the off-white patterned scarf helped tie it together, I think.

What say you?  I don't usually wear pins so I'm still feeling out the territory.

I have no idea how to contextualize this photo, but I thought it was cute so here ya go.

In this Outfit
Banana Republic Shirt (thrifted)
Anthro Fifth Form Shift (4)
Anthro Pacific Shimmer Earrings (here)
UO Globe Watch Pendant (here)
J.Crew Flower Pin
Anthro All That Remains Bobbies (these suck)
UO scarf circa 2007
Anthro Pirouette Flats (9)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Monday Night Jazz

Every Monday night (except for next Monday, July 4), a 17-piece jazz orchestra assembles at Bohemian Caverns on U Street.

Bohemian Caverns is exactly what it sounds like...a dark basement performance space designed to look like twisty underground caverns.  It's a bizarre setting to be listening to jazz, sipping sangria martinis, and eating soul food, but it works.

The show costs $7 and it lasts from 8pm until 11pm, with a short break at around 9pm between sets.  The music is very cool, spotted with brilliant and soulful solos on each instrument in turn.

And you know what, if you go to a few bars on U Street afterwards, nobody would blame you if you decided to splurge on a chili dog and some chili cheese fries at Ben's before heading home...

What I wore, by way of the ever-classy bathroom shots:

In this Outfit
Anthro Airy Weave Pullover (S)
Anthro Twinkle Twinkle Dress (4)
Anthro Punchcard Belt (M)
Anthro Frozen Globes Necklace
Owl Earrings from an NYC street vendor
Anthro Headband
Impo Shoes (via, maybe?)

Monday, June 27, 2011

OOTD: Summer Lovin' Layerin'

It's funny---I spent months looking forward to the end of winter so I could finally whip out my warm-weather clothes...but now I find myself staring somewhat wistfully at my cardigans and light long sleeve shirts.

What gives, brain?  Get out there and just enjoy this warm weather!  (On second thought, brain, why don't you just enjoy the warm weather from right where you are, inside my skull.  Don't get out of there, please.)

Regardless, I thought maybe this lacey long sleeve dealio would be cool/airy enough to take me through the evening, but after a few hours I got too hot and stripped down to my underlayer:
The photo on the left was taken a few hours later, when I got home and began trying on my sale acquisitions (the flats and the bassotto necklace).

My favorite thing about this outfit is the way the neon pink pops underneath the lacey top.  You can't make it out very well in the full outfit shot, but you can see it in this close up:

How are you all transitioning from cold to warm weather?  I had a few weeks where I think I was dressing very awkwardly as I tried to adapt my developing style to the developing whether.  I think I've got a handle on things now, though.  Perhaps.

In this Outfit:
Anthro Lacey Top (name?)
J.Crew Outlet Tanktop
Anthro Draped Jungle Skirt (6)
Anthro Open Spaces Wedges (40)
Anthro Bauble Bunch Necklace
Anthro Bright Bulbs Posts

PS:  I totally forgot to mention that I bought these during my Sale Haul hiatus:


Long-desired, finally acquired!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sale Haul -- Making up for Lost Time

Between the chaos of moving and not having internet for over a week, I've been negligent in publishing my most recent sale hauls.  Here's the combined three-week total:

Sale Haul - Backlogged
If you've been around for a while, you should be may be surprised at how LITTLE damage I managed to do in nearly a month.  Not to mention I'm returning (or have already returned) almost half of the stuff from the above set:


Let me assure you, if I could post my sale haul from the last few weeks, you would recognize my shopping habits.  (I need stuff for the apartment!)

Regardless, lots of photos and mini-reviews (plus, I need your advice on the "maybes"!) after the jump.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

[Browser] Window Shopping the Kate Spade Sale

I found out from Kate Spadeaholic that new sale items were added to Kate Spade's website today!  Oh, why oh why can't I already be making my law firm paycheck??  Fantasy shopping will have to do for now.

Use code elledecor50 for $50 off a purchase of $250 or more!

(Before I go on with the list, let me just say how much I appreciate your honest, thoughtful, encouraging, heartfelt comments in yesterday's post.  The conversation continues!)

Victoria Falls Lacey, $225 $158
(Guys, I'm on the verge of pulling the trigger on this one.  It's the same color as my beloved but stolen wallet.  I replaced the wallet already with a less exciting Coach one (here), but I think I may buy this and sell the other one at a loss on eBay.  It makes my heart go pitter-patter.  Anybody familiar with Kate Spade sales?  There are 100 left.  Should I be concerned about acting fast?  What's the average?)

Mott Street Sammie, $245 $172
For those coveting my awesome cinnamon coach bag (purchased here, worn here), this one is very similar.  PS:  I've worn that bag pretty much every day.

Enchantment Under The Sea, $95 $67
I can't for the life of me tell you why I like this.  I wouldn't actually buy it, but someone else should for the kitch value.

Chrystie Street Large Anisha, $445 $312
I am such a sucker for this color.  And for large totes.  If I had a real paycheck right now, I'd be doomed.

Head in the Sand Melinda $425 $191
This is an older sale item, and man do I heart it.  Really, really tempted to throw this in with the wallet.  I've been hunting for the perfect blue bag for a long time.  (edit:  blah, it looks like this may have already sold out.)

Sunny Elaine Dress, $425 $255
Did you know that the color yellow has been scientifically proven to make you happier?  It's hard to justify this price for what looks like a simple silk/cotton dress, but it's pretty to look at!

Palm-Print Fleur Dress, $445 $312
So fun and summery!

Melody Dress, $445 $312
Be still my heart!

Lido Shoes, $99 $69
Did I mention that I'm a sucker for this color?

Straw Sunglasses Hat, $75 $53
Come on now.  Don't even try to tell me you didn't smile when you saw this.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Eat What You Want

I tore into the tube of raw chocolate chip cookie dough with my teeth, right there in the middle of the street while walking from the grocery store back to the room I was renting in a D.C. house.  I dug into the tube with my fingers and ate half of the tube in less than a block.  Disgusted and yet strangely satisfied, I tossed the rest of the tube in a garbage can.

Get ready, folks, because I'm about to put myself out there.

Demolishing that tube of cookie dough in the summer of 2010 was my rock bottom.  My eating had spiraled out of control since hitting my goal weight at the end of May.  I had plateaued for about four months before finally losing the last two pounds to reach my goal (which I have since raised by those two pounds).  The long slog towards goal had been demoralizing but I hadn't realized how much so until I began my summer job at my firm.

Surrounded by free snacks in the break room, three-course lunches at nice restaurants every day, happy hours, dinner events, parties, and my non-firm social life, I soon found myself giving up on any semblance of restraint and swinging completely in the other direction.  Not only was I indulging, I was over-indulging.  Heck, I figured, if it was this difficult to resist foods and stick to a reasonable diet, I might as well just eat EVERYTHING.  You can read my mid-summer reflections on the situation---along with an AMAZING mental visualization by Martha Beck---here.

That afternoon with the cookie dough, I spent about an hour convincing myself that NO, I did NOT want cookie dough.  No.  I did NOT.  No.  Definitely not.  Do NOT go get cookie dough at the store.  Just DON'T LEAVE THE HOUSE.  NO!  But the only thing I could think about was cookie dough, and when I finally got my hands on it, I ate over 1000 calories in cookie dough in less than three minutes.

Cookie dough has always been my kryptonite.

After the summer was over, I got my behaviors back on track by heating healthier foods in reasonable portions.  But more important than my behaviors was the psychological goings-on behind them.  In other words:

What the heck happened to me last summer?

How did I go from a healthy eater at her goal weight to a fledgling binge/compulsive overeater who was mainlining cookie dough on the street until her stomach hurt?

Little known fact:  before getting started on heroin, Bubbles was a cookie dough addict.

Now, I want to stay at a healthy weight for my entire life.  But something clearly went wrong for me last year.  In order not to repeat my mistakes, I've spent a lot of time thinking about my dieting and eating behavior that led up to that moment on the street with the cookie dough.  I've come to the point where I think I may have a coherent observation to share.  My big mistake while losing/trying to maintain my weight?

I didn't eat what I wanted.

Now, I understand why this sounds a bit counter-intuitive.  In my cookie dough story, I wanted the cookie dough, I ate it, and that certainly was not a healthy or laudable behavior.

The problem, rather, was in not allowing myself the foods I wanted while trying to "be good."  In trying to save Weight Watchers points or cut calories or whatnot, I was constantly turning down cake, avoiding situations where I'd have to drink a lot of beer, lightening up recipes, or choosing alternatives to my favorites ("Hey, this red velvet yogurt is just as good as a slice of red velvet cake!  Seriously!  I can't even tell the difference!"  ::grits teeth::).

This did me a disservice for several reasons:

1.  I was lying to myself.  Red velvet yogurt is NOT the same as a moist, dense slice of red velvet cake with cream cheese icing.  It's just not.  In no universe is it the same.  Trying to tell myself that I was just as happy with the one as I would have been with the other created a cognitive dissonance that I eventually overcame by gorging myself.  I was devaluing my own wants, desires, and worthiness by telling myself that I didn't want what I really wanted.  Eventually, I rebelled.

2.  I created a taboo around foods.  By telling myself, "NO!  You CANNOT HAVE!" I just made myself want it even more.  That's just human nature.  If I tell you to think about anything you want right now, but just DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES THINK ABOUT PINK ELEPHANTS WITH SPARKLY WINGS---well, it's really hard not to visualize those damn pink elephants.  Same with food.

3.  I developed a "Screw It" mentality.  Cookie dough costs a lot of WW points.  It's also pretty calorie-dense.  By not allowing myself to have it because it's a "bad" food, if I do have it, I've breached some kind of rule or protocol.  In my mind, this linked to "Oh well, game over."  And if the game's over, then I might as well just go for a few cupcakes too then, right?

All of these realizations were essential to addressing the behavior.  I found a lot of insight in Geneen Roth, whose attitudes towards self-love, self-trust, and overcoming emotional eating helped me complete the puzzle and come up with a plan to heal the damage I'd inadvertently caused by trying to be a "good dieter."

(Available here for $9)

After yo-yo dieting for most of her life, Geneen Roth had a radical idea:  she'd give up diets and just eat whatever she wanted.  The only catch:  she would stop eating when she felt physically satisfied.  That was the only rule.  Any food she wanted, any time, but she had to actually be physically hungry.  Within a few years, she'd lost 60 pounds and found herself at a healthy weight.


Here was the thing:  removing the taboo around foods allowed Geneen to listen to her body's hunger signals and desires without implicating the crazed animal inside all of us that is afraid of being starved.  She gained some weight for several months, since (woman after my own heart) the only thing she wanted to eat for dinner for the first two weeks was cookie dough in various forms.  Eventually, though, she balanced out.  She healed the wound inside her that had been caused by deprivation dieting.  She craved chicken.  She wanted some vegetables.  She still ate cookie dough, but once she assured herself that there WOULD be cookie dough in her future, she was free to eat other foods.

Geneen Roth was willing to gain a hundred pounds or more if she had to, just to prove to herself that she could trust herself and her desires.  Adapting Geneen's insights worked for me.  Here's what I learned:

  • My appetite is not infinite.  There was a point when I truly believed that, if left to my own devices, I would eat mounds upon mounds of cookie dough without stopping.  Allowing myself those foods when I want them has taught me that I DO actually want to stop eating them.  Surprisingly, I often want to stop eating after having a reasonable portion.  I used to overeat these foods in large part because I knew I wouldn't let myself have them again after "misbehaving" and overeating them.  Once I removed that element, I was free to listen to my hunger signals and trust that the foods would be back the next time I wanted them.
  • Sometimes my appetite is not even for food.  Limiting myself to moments of physical hunger before eating taught me to recognize moments of emotional hunger.  Often when I found myself craving ice cream in the middle of a 2am study session, what I really wanted was not to eat, but just to go to sleep.  Sometimes when I wanted a pint of beer what I really wanted was just to fit in, feel social, and relax with my friends.  On those occasions, I found another way to satisfy my desire.  As Weight Watchers likes to say, "If hunger isn't the problem, food isn't the solution."
  • There is a difference between "I like that" and "I want that right now."  While "dieting," it's easy to feel that, at any moment, you would drop everything and slap someone in the face if necessary just to get a cupcake.  When you really trust yourself to eat what you WANT, you realize that what you WANT may not be what you LIKE.  I love cupcakes.  But just because I pass a cupcake shop, does that mean I really want to eat a cupcake right now?  No, it doesn't.  With that self-trust comes a sense of self-awareness---I don't actually want a cupcake right now, even though I like them and know a cupcake would taste good.  Next time I actually DO feel like a cupcake, I promise I will eat one, but that time is not right now

But most of all, you honor yourself.  This point above all.  Allowing yourself to eat what you want really addresses the fundamental issue at the heart of a lot of strange eating habits---that you deserve to be happy.  Let me say that again.  You deserve to be happy.  Geneen uses an example of a woman in one of her workshops who was about to sit down to a nice dinner she'd prepared when she realized that the only thing she really wanted to eat was a slice of lemon pie from a diner twenty miles away.  So she waited patiently for her husband to finish their dinner, and then they drove, in the rain, to this diner where she ordered a slice of lemon pie.  After three bites, all of which she savored, she realized she'd had enough.  Really, the pie was (on some level), about assuring herself that she was worth it.  She was worth driving half an hour on a whim, and her desires were worth satisfying.  It wasn't even about the hunger.

But if it had been about hunger, she (and you) are worth satisfying in whatever way you want.  Who says you have to eat dinner first?  Why not order the brownie sundae as your entree if that's what you really want?  I found that when I did this, I freed myself not only to listen to my hunger signals (I seriously do not WANT to eat to the point of physical pain...a small portion of sundae is usually more than enough), but I also sent myself the message that my desires are important and deserve to be recognized.  I deserve to eat what will satisfy me, and I deserve to throw out half the sundae if I don't want any more without feeling badly about wasting it.  It's not about overeating, although admittedly it's a very fine line.  "Eat what you want" is shorthand for listening to my body, my hunger signals, and my desires.  Because I am worthy of my own desires.  And so are you.  And we are worth more than a half-tube of cookie dough.

When I embraced that message with my eating habits, it had a way of lifting me up in other areas of your emotional life, too.  A healthier relationship with food was just the start.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject.  Do you have a healthy relationship with food?  If so, has it always been that way?  If not, what do you think is going on?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

OOTD: Settling In

Ahhh, this place is starting to feel like home.  I've got two boxes still---both awaiting the purchase of a dresser---and two old CRT TVs that need to be sold to make room for a used HDTV that I bought from my BF's housemate.  Other than that, though, my pictures are hung, my kitchen has been cooked in, and I mostly walk around barefoot.

My favorite part of the new place is that I get enough light during the day to support a decent herb garden!  In New York, my attempts at growing herbs in my kitchen failed, perhaps because all of my windows looked out onto walls.  Ahhh, the glamour of the city.

I love being able to walk over to my windowsill and pluck something fresh to add to my food!  I've got oregano, cilantro, mint, rosemary, tarragon, parsley, chives, and basil on the windowsill.  There's also a fantastically fragrant lavender plant sitting on my dining room table and pleasing my Jewish schnozz.

Not only that, but it only took about fifteen minutes after I woke up this morning to remember that it's an Anthropologie sale day!  And there are actual sale items!  (See Roxy's post here.)  Are you getting anything?  I'm excited that the Blazing Rays Blouse finally went on sale.  I had to order it on charge-send from NY, but once it arrives I promise you an overdue sale haul post.

Ahhh, it feels good to be back.  I can almost forget that I'm way behind on my bar exam studying.  Erm, almost.
In this Outfit:
Anthro Botanical Crossways Dress (6)
Anthro Heat Index Pullover (M - way too big, but the only size left)
Urban Outfitters Leaf Belt (M/L) (here)
Anthro Pave Posts in Pearl (here) (PS: I've been wearing these basically every day)
Anthro Reed Snake Flats (8.5)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lion Tries to Eat Baby at the Zoo

Simultaneously hilarious and disturbing:

Do you think this baby grows up happily believing that lions are friendly and want to play with him?  I don't think he realized that he was going to be lunch...

I hope you guys were the baby instead of the lion this weekend!

Friday, June 17, 2011

OOTD: So, did this work?

I know this outfit is pretty weird.  But I kind of love it.

The Backstory:  I was working with limited means on a mini-vacation earlier this week; as often happens with BF, we ended up stretching our vacation for extra time (it's hard to go home sometimes, isn't it?) so I had to create an extra outfit out of my lightly-packed duffel bag.

In My Bag:
In my Suitcase

Packing for a friend's wedding and then several days at casinos.  Not surprisingly, the magic J.Crew shoes went with everything, and I could wear them for five days straight without any discomfort.

I like the pattern mixing in this outfit.  I think it works because the lack of color in the Southward Stop Shirtdress seems to minimize the clash between the outdoorsy pattern of the dress and the bright stripes of the shirt.  Added bonus: the Southward Stop can be a little pull-y in the chest (anyone wanna trade their size six for my size four?) so the shirt covers up that problem area.

Incidentally, I know I told you last week that these shoes are magic, but I think the shirt is magic, too.  It goes with everything and is so comfortable and somehow effortlessly sexy in that "I just rolled out of bed and ooooh, the ennui of it all" kind of way.

So, what do you think?  Does this outfit work or is it just too bizarre for you?

In this Outfit:
Anthro Lining-the-Field Scoopneck (S) (here)
Anthro Southward Stop Shirtdress (4, but need a 6)
J.Crew Collins Leather Platform Peeptoes (here)
J.Crew Necklace
Anthro Pearl Pave Posts (here) (um, these are also magic)

PS:  Thanks for being patient with my infrequent posts.  I STILL lack internet in my apartment, so it's pretty tough to get on a regular posting schedule.  The landlord is on it, so hopefully things will get sorted out soon.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

OOTD: Stealing a Moment

Well hi there!  Long time no see, dear readers!  Things on my end this week have been absolutely b-a-n-a-n-a-s and I've barely had a moment to take a snap, let alone construct a blog entry.  Add to that the fact that I'm in class to review for the Bar Exam four hours a day, not including homework, plus I still don't have internet hooked up in my new apartment and...well...let's just say I've been a bit disconnected.

My move on Friday went smoothly; my law firm paid for me to get movers, and the movers packed up my entire NYC apartment and moved it all down to DC.  They unloaded all the boxes for me on Monday morning, but left me to do the unpacking.  Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but holy Hell, I think a rainforest has now been completely deforested as a result of all the packing material these guys used:

My living room was impassible for a few days!

No exaggeration, this is how much paper was used to wrap up the small glass to the right.

BUT, now I'm almost entirely unpacked and the place is starting to feel like home.  It'll take another week before everything is totally settled, but I'll give you the tour soon!

This is what the front of the house looks like!  I'm in the basement like a champion!

In the meantime, what do you think of this OOTD?  BF (who I now live a mere three minutes' walk away from) doesn't think the belt works with the dress, but I chock this up to his male fashion sense.  Do you agree with him?

Incidentally, I'm a huge fan of this belt.  It's called the mirror image belt and it was a mere $10 at Anthropologie!  I actually bought it online last week (I owe you a Sale Haul...or two...) for $30, but it was reduced to $10 this week and I got a PA.  Oh, happy day!  I love its size; it creates an amazing, hip-y silhouette, don'tcha think?
In this Outfit:
Anthro Seaside Fields Dress (8)
Anthro Necklace (anyone know the name?)
Anthro Pave Posts in Pearl (here)
J.Crew Collins Leather Platform Peeptoe in Tawny Orange (9.5, but I'd say they run TTS) (here)
Anthro Mirror Image Belt (S/M) (here, but currently sold out)
Fossil Watch

PS:  These J.Crew shoes are going to be my magic shoes this summer.  They're technically a half size too big, but they're still comfortable and fit me fine and they were the only pair left in the store so we're all going to just have to accept the size discrepancy and move on with our lives.  They're magic because they take seemingly EVERY outfit up a notch, they are walkable, and they are the perfect color.  Hoorah for good investments!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

OOTD: Bursting the Bubble

I sometimes love irrational things.  (Remember these?)

I think this skirt may be an example of irrational love.  It may look normal from the front...

But if you happen to catch me at a ninety degree angle:

Holy bubble skirt, Batman!  Watch where you're walking with that thing or you'll knock somebody down!  I don't know what it is about this skirt.  I do know that I love the vibrant colors, the bright waistband, the length, and the pockets.  

And, if I'm being honest, I love the crazy bubbly nature of it, too.  It's just so patently absurd in its shape that I just can't help but adore it.  Its oddity worked in my favor...I bought it when it first went on sale, but it must have been selling so poorly that it was marked down another 50% just a week later!  I received a price adjustment and am happy as a clam with my purchase.

Bonus for the boyfriends:  when wearing this skirt, it's also very easy to answer honestly to the question "Does this skirt make my butt look big?"
In this Outfit:
Shirt by Grace via T.J. Maxx
Anthropologie Garden of the Spectrum Mini (8)
Frozen Globes Necklace (remember when I was worried I might not wear this twice?  Done!)
Xhileration for Target shoes (circa 2007) (PS: am I crazy to think that these shoes might play well with this skirt, too?)
Necklace via a street fair in NYC
Anthro studs
Fossil watch (similar here)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hasta Luego...

Farewell, New York!

As of today, the lease is up on my law school apartment and I'm heading down to Washington, D.C. to officially begin my post-grad life.  I am spending most of the summer studying for the bar exam (it's at the end of July) and then will be traveling through most of August and the first part of September.  I start my law firm job in mid-September.  I look forward to telling you more about my new neighborhood, new apartment, and new goings-on!

DC-themed mini golf at H Street Country Club.

Me and BF at a Washington Nats Game

Big life changes like this move excite me.  I love the feeling of directing my own destiny.  As much comfort as I draw from established routines, making moves---geographic, social, psychological, professional, whatever---comes with a feeling of power and self-efficacy that is second to none.

I am so thrilled to be living in one of my favorite neighborhoods in D.C., to be living by myself (for the first time in my adult life!), and to be DONE with bi-monthly commutes on the Chinatown bus to see my long-distance boyfriend.  I am ready to spend the summer learning the black letter law I'll need for the bar exam and the prospect of starting my CAREER in a few months---instead of just taking another odd job---makes my heart beat faster.  I love my firm and my office and I look forward to working.

In my second year of law school, I bought this "Keep Calm and Carry On" decal for my locker, which was located in a relatively high-traffic area.  The kid  whose locker was next to mine, a first-year student, had his red decal custom-made in response:

Even with this sense of happiness, I will certainly miss New York City.  Although I'll be back often for work and for play, I'll miss 24-hour establishments, the parks, the four Anthros within easy distance*, and the security of knowing that if ANYTHING cool is happening ANYWHERE in the WORLD, eventually it will make its way to New York.

* Fortunately, there are two Anthros and an accessories boutique in D.C., and then two more stores in driving distance in Virginia.

Nathan's July 4th Hot Dog Eating Competition on Coney Island.

Part of the reason I decided to go to law school in New York was so that I could check NYC off my "list" and take any job I wanted post-grad, without feeling bound to a job in NYC just so I could experience living here once in my life.  Now that I've spent three years here, I realize that I'll never really be able to take New York City off my list of places I want to live.  This city will always be one of my favorite cities to live, and I know that this isn't goodbye.

Ice skating in Rockefeller Center.

View from the terrace of my Law Review building.

A performance at Brandy's Piano Bar.

Until we meet again, fair city.  Until we meet again.

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