Thursday, November 29, 2012

OOTD: Variations on a Theme, Part Two


I am loving winter teal. Can't get enough of it. I saw someone in the office wearing teal pants today and I almost shouted at her, "TEAL! I LOVE IT!" but I feared the shock would cause her to fall over and then I would get in trouble. So instead I just gave her a knowing look. A look that said simply: "Teal."

Previous variations here and here.

While I am sure of my love for teal, I am still on the fence about maxi skirts at the office. I love this maxi skirt, and I've worn it to the office twice before. I feel like it worked both times, although the second outfit is probably a bit more professional than the first:

(Outfit posts here and here)

But every time I contemplate another outfit utilizing the maxi skirt, the words of a random Corporette article about Maxi skirts at the office ring in my ears:

". . . I cannot endorse a maxi dress or maxi skirt at the office unless you really, really have a very creative, free wheeling kind of office, in which case, hey, knock yourself out. (And I say this as someone who loves me a maxi skirt for the weekend, or for summer nights, or for working from home — super comfortable!) They’re just too vacation-y, too breezy, too “where’s my mai tai?” for the office."

I mean, on the one hand, I totally get it. On the other hand, I want all of my maxi skirt outfits to be the exception to this rule. :-\

Am I smoking fashion crack here? Do you think maxi skirts are de facto inappropriate for the office, or do you think there are ways to style them so that they look crisp and professional? I'm willing to concede that they should not be worn on days you know you have client meetings/presentations/etc., but for your day to day, this is fine, right? I wouldn't mind running into my boss partners in the halls wearing an outfit like this, but then again I tend to veer a bit toward the "Just put a blazer on it and you're good to go" end of the spectrum.

I don't know; what do you think?

In this Outfit:
Anthropologie Lengthening Rays Maxi Skirt (4, one size down) (a little bit similar, but mullet-y) (on ebay)
Old Navy Top (S) (different patterns)
Kate Spade Doodles Pen necklace (similar on etsy)
Kate Spade Head in the Sand Melinda (similar in color and texture; similar in color and shape)
Old Navy Sueded Pointed Toe Flats (9, TTS) (here)
Style & Co. Blazer (similar on sale at Kohl's for $33, similar also at Kohls' for $46)
Michael Kors Davenport Chronograph Watch in Rose Gold ($100 here on ebay for another day)
Bracelet from Payless (similar at Kate Spade; cheaper and chunkier)
Hairpin from Modcloth (free with order of something else)
Earrings from Eastern Market (Kate Spade, $22, $10)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

OOTD: Variations on a Theme, Part One

Orange and teal. Who'da thunk it?

A few weeks back, I had my first (I think) successful foray into this color combination with this outfit:

Original post here.

I loved these pieces together so much that I decided to repeat the general idea, except this time I wanted something to wear to work:

In this Outfit:
J.Crew Rugby Stripe Boatneck Top in Modern Red (XL, shrunk in the wash) (here)
J.Crew Minnie Bi-Stretch Wool Pants (6T) (here in other colors)
J.Crew Enamel Bracelet (similar colors by J.Crew, similar and cheaper by someone else)
Michael Kors Davenport Chronograph Watch (on sale here, similar and slightly cheaper by Tommy Hilfiger, similar with a white face for $70 at J.C. Penny, extraordinarily similar for $38)
Seychelles Password Pumps (9) (similar in suede, similar in not-suede)
Kate Spade Kingsbury Shelby (sold out)
Thrifted Necklace (similar for $40, similar for $16)
Earrings from Eastern Market (flea market in DC) (similar-ish by Kate Spade, similar for $22, way less similar but still teal and $10)

Fun, comfortable, and it almost feels like the teal works as a neutral! Maybe it does compared to the bold orange in the sweater? How are we defining "neutral" nowadays, anyway?

Also, have I told you yet how much I love this purse? I know I shouldn't be shopping like I have been this month (that's a whole 'nother post), but this bag was barely over $100 with extra discounts from Kate Spade it's it's so big and roomy, and yet so sleek-looking. Plus, it goes with almost everything and the patent leather cleans easily.

Darn you student loans, and darn you stupid big paycheck, tricking me into thinking all of that money is actually mine. (And darn you Kate Spade, for seeming to validate my inability to let a tempting deal on a lovely handbag pass me by.)

Monday, November 26, 2012

(Cyber) Monday Mishmosh

Happy Cyber Monday, e-friends!

I spent my Thanksgiving in Florida, where I'm from, chowing down on family classics and only occasionally billing a 15-hour day.  I scheduled my return flight home to occur the morning of Black Friday, thinking that this would prevent me from shopping.


(For those wondering about my budget, I got a pay bump a few months ago, and instead of putting the extra money towards my loans, as I should be, I've been shopping.  I know, I know.  Working on it in that vague but also inevitable way that I am working on losing five pounds.)

Anyway, here's a few fun Cyber* Monday finds:

Doesn't this LC by Lauren Conrad ponte dress remind you of the Kate Spade Dotted Magdalena Party Dress?  Except that it's $36?  With an extra 20% off with code CYBER20, plus an extra 8% off with eBates.  (I bought this in teal.)

*  Does anyone else hear "cyber" and think of predators from AOL chat rooms/instant messaging circa 1995?  ("You wanna cyber?")  Just me?  Okay, forget I said that.

Speaking of Kate Spade, here's a book clutch on MEGA sale.

Great Expectations Book Clutch -- $149 until midnight!  (This is the only "title" on sale.)

Did Kate Spade only do this because I recently said their book clutches never go on sale?  Even my dictionary clutch recently went on sale (here)!  If so, man, Kate Spade never offers 50% off discount codes...

For those of you who love my blue suede Seychelles Ampersand Pumps (worn, e.g., here), these cute Kelsi Dagger wedges from are sort of similar!  (here for $48, but beware that 6pm makes you pay for return shipping and they do NOT provide smart labels. :-\)

Finally (warning, onslaught of affiliate links, because why not we're talking about shopping and I'm doing some legwork/fingerwork), eBates is offering significant cash back at Gap/Banana Republic/Old Navy (10% --- and these stores are already doing a 30% promo on their own!), Kohl's (8% (plus 20% off with code CYBER20)) and Sears (10% (I've never bought clothes there, but they are good for housewares/kitchen stuff/electornics)!  Plus they are doing 6% cash back at J.Crew (plus extra 25% off today, and 50% off everything at the Factory!), Nordstrom, and Macy's.  I've gotten several checks from eBates just for buying the same things I'd planned to buy in the first place, so you might as well sign up for an account if you haven't already.  If you use the link I've peppered around this entry, we'll both get a little bonus, too!

Also, this is what I wore on a weekend trip to Atlantic City** this weekend:

In this Outfit:
Old Navy Polka Dot Chambray Button-Down ($25 here in larger sizes, not including aforementioned mega-discounts)
Ann Taylor Loft Sweater (last year) (similar)
J.Crew Factory Matchstick Jeans (size 30) (similar, today only $40)
Old Navy Pointed Toe Flats (same style in different colors)
Marc by Marc Jacobs Marci Watch ($175 here (with maybe 6% off through eBates?  Unclear))
Ann Taylor Stacked Gold Rings (here, 40% off for Cyber Monday)
Tory Burch Eyeglass Frames

Did you partake in Black Friday?  Or are you participating in Cyber Monday?  I cannot handle the mob scene of Black Friday anymore, and with an underwhelming 25% promo at Anthro and with the availability of all sales online, I didn't feel like I missed out!

** For those of you interested in a poker training session, I haven't forgotten and it WILL happen!  I'll post a poll with possible dates within a few weeks.

Monday, November 19, 2012

OOTD: Narcisso Rodriquez for Kohl's

I LOVE the designer collaboration trend. LOVE it. Even when poorly executed, I relish the idea that high-fashion designers are beginning to realize that inventive design can be made accessible at a number of price points at a great profit and without diluting the value of their brand.

The other week, Kohl's released its designer collaboration with Narcisso Rodriquez. Now, I own one piece by the regular Narcisso Rodriguez (gifted from a very lovely and generous partner who no longer wore it):

Narcisso Rodriguez Skirt (outfit here)

However, I could not resist the siren call of Kohl's 30% discount on all NR items right out of the gate, along with free shipping and a good return policy, so I placed a few items in my cart.

Here's the dress I decided to keep:

In this Outfit:
Rodriguez for Kohl's DesigNation (size S, although the size chart said I should have been a M) (is this seriously sold out already? I don't see it on the website)
Old Navy Sueded Pointed-Toe Flats (here) (TTS)
Kate Spade Baxter Street Priscilla Purse (on sale here)
Marc by Marc Jacobs Marci Watch (here)
Initial necklace gifted from great aunt (similar)
J.Crew Tights (similar for $13.50)

I can't tell whether this dress is flattering or not? I know that it feels like I'm wearing pajamas when I have it on, and that it's machine washable AND TUMBLE-DRYABLE and all of these things are just fine by me. I realize it's supposed to be kind of sacky, but is it too sacky? My shoes got all of the compliments when I wore this outfit to work, so I can't tell if the dress was a whiff or if it works for me.

Thoughts? I suppose I could try belting it, but that seems to defeat the sackalicious pajamarama purpose of the whole thing.

Did you buy anything from the Narcisso Rodriquez collaboration yet? Are you going to? Any collabs you are particularly looking forward to?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

One Chartreuse Shirt, Many Ways

I love the color chartreuse. Not quite neon, but still bright, appealing, and adds instant color to many outfits. My chartreuse cardigan from Anthropologie is one of my most-worn accessories:

Even my Kitchenaid stand mixer is chartreuse!

So it should come as no surprise that I have gotten a lot of use out of a chartreuse top from Ann Taylor Loft.

For Work:

Ann Taylor Blazer (6) (similar)
Ann Taylor Loft Top (S) (similar)
Anthropologie Million Pleats Midi (M) (similar for $20)
Old Navy Sueded Pointed-Toe Flats (9, TTS) (here, also in a bunch of other colors)
Kate Spade Kingsbury Park Shelby (on sale for $150 here, also in black and yellow)
Kate Spade pencil necklace (knock-off here for $12.50)
Michael Kors Davenport Rose Gold Watch (on sale here for $190)

For Play:

Target Blazer (L)
Ann Taylor Loft Top (S) (similar)
AG Farrah Jeans (29) (on sale for $128 here)
Payless Chelsea Flats (9, TTS) (here)
Ann Taylor Stacked Gold Rings (here)
Target Multi-Chain black and gold Necklace
Marc by Marc Jacobs Marci Watch (on sale here for $150)

Ann Taylor Loft top (S) (similar)
Ann Taylor Loft colored jeans (6) (similar)
BCBG shoes (old) (similar)
Kate Spade Baxter Street Priscilla (on sale for $200 here)
Michael Kors Davenport Watch (on sale here for $190)

Ann Taylor Loft top (S) (similar)
H&M mauve floral lace cardigan (M) (old) (similar color)
AG Farrah Jeans (29) (on sale for $128 here)
Ann Taylor Stacked Gold Rings (here)
Payless Chelsea Flat (9, TTS) (here)
Kate Spade Kingsbury Shelby (on sale for $150 here, also in black and yellow)
Marc by Marc Jacobs Marci watch (on sale here for $150)

Do you have a color you know you can trust? What is it?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Race Report: Run For Your Lives 5K

Back in the spring, I wrote about a health and fitness iPhone app called "Zombies, Run!"  The app is essentially an audiobook about the zombie apocalypse broken into chapters ("missions") that you complete by going for a run.  Periodically during your run, you'll be alerted to the fact that zombie hordes are approaching, and you'll need to speed up (as measured by your iPhone's GPS) to evade them.

Well, a few weeks ago, I ran the live-action equivalent of this app at the Run For Your Lives 5K in Darlington, Maryland.

(all good-looking photos courtesy of my co-running co-worker, unless otherwise marked (erm, sorry Capstone...); all crappy iPhone photos and videos by me)

My coworker and I before the race.  Anonymized for her, well, anonymity.

Run For Your Lives is a simple 5k.  With obstacles.  And mud.  And freezing cold neck-deep water.

Oh, and zombies.

There were about fifteen "zombie zones" that were chock full of aggressive* undead who all wanted a piece of you.

* Caveat:  The zombies seemed to take pity on you if you fell or slowed down to catch your breath; I sort of hoped they would show no mercy and all swarm on fallen runners (until I actually fell, at which time I was all like, hey thanks for not eating my brains you guys).  Also, the zombies stayed within the vague confines of their zones, so if you needed a break you could stop just before or past the zombies and they would not come for you.  And I needed many breaks, because I was sprinting through those guys at 110% exertion.  That said, the zombies got a lot more vicious towards the end of the course so as to leave fewer people "alive" at the finish line.

(Cut because I posted a ton of photos and don't want to crash your web browsers.  You want to see them, though, so click through.  Also I'll tell you whether I "lived" or "undied.")  (Okay, fine, I'll tell you now, I lived.)  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Things I Love About Being a Lawyer

What's better than waking up on Monday to a beautiful, warm autumn day?  Not having to go to work on a beautiful, warm autumn day, of course!  It's veteran's day here in the U.S. and I am . . .

. . . at work.

We don't actually get many real "holidays" as junior associates at a big law firm.  Regardless of whether the government is closed, there is still work to do and still hours to be billed.  So I figured I'd spend a bit of time reflecting on the reasons why I love my job despite the fact that my three-day weekends are few and far between.

  • My work is usually intellectually challenging.  It took seventeen twenty years of education and one two-day professional examination to reach the point where I was even qualified to take this job.  Because of the caliber of my law firm, we often get the types of cases and legal questions that are complicated, difficult, or downright intractable.  This means that very little of my work is routine.  While this can make my day-to-day tasks difficult, it also provides a great sense of accomplishment once problems are solved.

  • (Some) freedom to follow my whims.  A lot of times, I have some degree of control over my moment-to-moment workload.  Although I don't set many of my own deadlines, I do get to decide how to plan out my day with these deadlines in mind.  If I don't feel like researching something?  I can take a stab at drafting that motion for summary judgment.  Writer's block?  Why not read a few cases or depositions?  Don't feel like reading or writing?  I'll diddle around on powerpoint for a bit and work my creative muscles.  I love being able to jump from task to task, seeking respite from one type of activity by utilizing a different area of my brain.

  • The stakes are high, but it's all just money in the end.  I love the fact that the cases I work on are very important to our clients (and in some cases to the legal community for the value of precedent), but generally boil down to money.  Nobody is dying or going to jail if I have a bad day.

  • My office is wonderful.  I don't know too many people who enjoy the people they work with or their office environment as much as I do.  I feel very lucky to have great coworkers, great bosses, and a lovely space in which to work.

  • I'm fulfilling my childhood dream.  Sure, most kids had more fun childhood career fantasies, but I have wanted to be a lawyer since the third grade.  It feels good to actually be an Esquire!

And, of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the business casual dress code.

In this Outfit:
Madewell Dress (similar on sale at Madewell, 25% off $150+ with code WOOHOO)
Anthropologie Shadowsleeve Cardigan (similar at Old Navy for $17 + 20% off)
Kate Spade Studs (similar in shape, similar in color, similar not by Kate Spade for $16)
Anthropologie Evolution Ball Necklace ($20 here) (it feels as testicular as it looks, I assure you) (also, I had to go through several damaged necklaces in the store before I found a good one, suggesting perhaps that quality and durability is somewhat lacking?)
Ann Taylor Ring from Gold Stacked Ring Set (here)
Jessica Simpson Minna Wedge (9.5 -- went up half a size) (here in other colors or here on sale in limited sizes)
Marc by Marc Jacobs Marci Watch (on sale here for $150 -- only two left)

I "bought" this watch with Amazon credit card rewards points!

So, tell me about your jobs!  What do you do?  Do you like it?  Are you doing what you thought you would be doing at this age?  Bonus points if you have the day off today!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lessons in Distraction: Hiding a Muffin Top

I'm at that awkward point of weight gain where almost all of my clothes still fit, but a few of the bellwether items (e.g., the jeans that fit me just right at a normal weight) have started to show signs of distress. I don't want to gain any more weight than I have and I'm slowly working my way down, but in the meantime some of my clothes are a bit less versatile than they once were.

For example, these jeans:

Back in my fitter days, I could wear these low-rise babies with my choice of top. My closet was my oyster. Now, sadly, I experience a little bit of this situation:

So, my formula for drawing attention away from my sweet, sweet muffin top?

In this Outfit:
Style & Co. Blazer (Macy's) (M) (here in plus sizes) (similar for $40)
J.Crew Rugby Stripe Boatneck Top in Modern Red (XL, very big on me.  I'm usually a M in J.Crew Sweaters and a L would have been more appropriate for a slouchy look) (here) (last worn here)
Old Navy Printed Flats (9, TTS) (here)
Kate Spade "It Takes All Sorts" Necklace (similar-ish for $23)
Kate Spade Square Rhinestone Earrings (similar in shape, similar in color, similar not by Kate Spade for $16)
Michael Kors Davenport Chronograph Watch (here)
Kate Spade Dictionary Clutch (here)

1. Loose top. (Obvy.)
2. Tailored outer layer. (I am not a plebian.)
3. Cute patterned shoes and clutch to focus attention on my accessories.

I guess the best way to handle the muffin top would be to get rid of it, but where's the fun in that?

(Incidentally, I wore this outfit to see the movie "The Sessions," which is about a severely disabled man who hires a "sex surrogate" to provide sex therapy by having sex with him. Bizarre, but it's very highly rated on Rotten Tomatoes. Have you seen it? What did you think? I'm still processing it, but mostly it made me feel very awkward.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

On Discussing the Election

It seems trivial to post an outfit the day after election day.  Although I feel a great deal of relief and enthusiasm for the four years to come, I remember how I felt around this time in 2004:  crushed, afraid, demoralized, rejected, angry.  If you are even the slightest bit political, there is no worse feeling than seeing a candidate you distrust or think is bad for the country be reelected.  After George W. was put back in office in 2004, I could barely look at Facebook because the celebration of my Republican friends felt like a personal insult.

So, while I am thrilled, I also know how painful this day is for those of you who were hoping for a different outcome.  Let's all try to be a civil as possible with each other today (and for the next four years), shall we?

Below, I'm compiling a bunch of interesting links and photos to contribute to your discussions of the election today, to the extent you have them.  Let me know what you think, and if you have anything to add please leave links in the comments!

Five-thirty-eight.  No discussion of the election is complete without understanding Nate Silver, statistical whiz kid.  Silver correctly predicted the 2008 presidential election (49/50 states correct), the 2010 midterm election, and the 2012 presidential election (50/50 states correct).  In fact, he is so eerily dead-on that the site, Is Nate Silver A Witch? has already cropped up.

Even when the Gallup Poll had Romney taking a lead, Silver explained why Gallup would be proven wrong.

Strategy discussions.  It's interesting to read Democratic and Republican takes on why this election turned out the way it did.  My favorite theory is that these results were a repudiation of the Republican strategy to block Obama's initiatives for their own political gain.  Of course, Forbes would tell you that we've all just decisively placed ourselves on the path to ruin.  Ultimately, this election belonged to women and Hispanic voters, in my opinion, whose records demonstrated that Republicans are going to have to recraft their messages on immigration and women's rights if they hope to take back power.  Relying largely on white men just didn't cut it this time.

The Electoral College.  Obama's narrow win in the popular vote draws attention to the role the electoral college plays in our voting system.  How much do you know about the electoral college?  I thought this video, which displays the size of the states in the Union relative to their status as swing states influential to the electoral college was fascinating and was a very quick watch.  It does a good job of illustrating the practical impact of swing states and the electoral college on election spending:

The Amazing Morphing Campaign Money Map from NPR on Vimeo.

Amazing Voting Stories.  If you want to stay completely nonpartisan in your conversations today, it's a good idea to focus on the importance of voting rather than the outcome of the election.  I enjoyed reading stories about voters overcoming the odds, like this woman who voted while in labor.  Her contractions started at 3am but she didn't want to miss her first presidential election, so she waited to go to the hospital until she could make it to the polls.  By the time she got there, her contractions were five minutes apart!

Voter referendums.  Marijuana legalization, gay marriage approval --- lots of amazing things happening in states this year, too!  Admittedly, these are not nonpartisan issues, but they make for interesting discussion.  I read one article that referred to the marijuana legislation in Colorado as "end[ing] marijuana prohibition."  Could marijuana become the next alcohol?  And, while not a voter referendum, three cheers to Tammy Baldwin, America's first openly gay Senator.  Progress!

Nonsequitors.  A few random LOLs:

What do you think of this old anti-women's suffrage pamphlet?

And don't forget...this election is probably not worth losing friends over.  Gala Darling wrote an article about how Mercury being in retrograde for the next week means that all of us will be less precise with our language and more prone to miscommunications.  Although I don't put much stock in astrology, I don't think it could hurt to be extra patient with friends on both sides of the aisle this week.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New Haircut, New Season

Here it is:

Basically, I took the two photos Michelle posted in my "help me with my haircut" post (along with a few pictures I found on pinterest, also at Michelle's suggestion) to my magical hair lady in New York (Julie at Jude & Me salon) and said, "arg, I dunno, something like this or shorter, and choppy, and I don't know. Please help me." The woman has never given me a bad haircut in the three years I have been going to her and she has that wonderful ability both to make sense of my indecision and also to make sense of my decisions when they are bad ones (i.e., "You really should not get a faux-hawk if you don't want to spend more than five minutes on your hair every morning.")

I love this cut! It's different enough from my last short haircut to feel new, but still similar enough in length and layers to give me the same flattering/framing effect.

Also, it's short enough that I don't mind blowdrying it in the morning, because it really only takes five minutes. I think that must be the max amount of sleep I'm willing to lose for my hair.

In this Outfit:
Tommy Hilfiger Sleeveless Belted A-Line Dress (M, slightly big) (here) (was <$40 in an actual Macy's brick and mortar store)
J.Crew Jackie Cardigan (M) (here, 25% off with code OURTREAT)
Sam & Libby Elliance Pumps ($22 here)
Michael Kors Davenport Chronograph Watch in Rose Gold ($199 here)
Ann Taylor Ring (from Gold Stacked Ring Set (here, 30% off with Friends & Family discount)
J.Crew belt (similar)

Yay for changes!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Last pre-haircut OOTD!

I followed your suggestions and got my hair cut above the shoulders last week, but I've been hesitating to show you because I wanted to finish posting some of my backlogged outfit shots. There were a bunch of them, or so I thought, but when I went through my photos today I realized that most of the photos are not worth posting.

But I thought this one was cute and interesting, so I'm sharing here. I wore this on a day that was breezy and cool but only in the low 70's. This seemed to be a good combination of warm-weather colors with cooler-weather weights and textures.

Sweater: J.Crew Rugby Stripe Boatneck Sweater (here) (this is an XL because it was the only size left in this color.  I call it "slouchy."  Also, I washed it in the machine and it only shrunk length-wise, not width-wise.  FML.)
Skirt: J.Crew Factory (6, TTS) (here)
Flats: Old Navy Faux Lizard Pointed Flats (9, TTS) (here)
Earrings: Alexa Crawford (circa 2005) (similar for $15 here)
Michael Kors Chronograph Watch
Banana Republic Rings

I bought the sweater during J.Crew's 30% off sale a few weeks back. I know, I know, I am WEAK you guys. I'm inching towards my budget and more self-control, though...I haven't bought anything in Nordstrom's half-yearly sale (yet) (although I have a few things in my cart).

It's just, stuff can be so CUTE. Take, for example, this Kate Spade Dictionary clutch (here) (which was 25% off when I bought it during the Friends & Family sale a few weeks back):

I mean, crikey, am I made of steel?

No I am not.  No, I am not.
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