Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Jewish Christmas, Canadian Tuxedo

Happy after-Christmas shopping day, everyone! I hope your respective holidays were delightful. I spent Christmas partaking in "Jewish Christmas," which, for the uninitiated, consists of going out to see a movie and then eating Chinese food.

FYI, we have a secret treaty with Chinese restauranteurs, providing that they will keep their restaurants open on Christmas and we will eat there.

Here's what I wore to celebrate the occasion in comfort:

Lookin' sharp in my Canadian tuxedo, eh?

We saw Les Miserables and I thought it was great! I never saw the musical although I was familiar with some of the songs. Anne Hathaway CRUSHED it with her performance of "I dreamed a dream." Now that I've heard the song sung that way, it's hard to imagine it any other way.

Now I'm on my way out west for a quick vacation in San Diego and Las Vegas. Anyone been to San Diego? Anything I can't miss?

How did you spend your day off from work yesterday? Any holiday traveling in your future?

In This Outfit:
Forever 21 lace cutout chambray shirt (L)
AG Cigarette Stilt Jeans (30)
Payless Chelsea glitter flats
Anthropologie encircled effulgence posts
Michael Kors Runway Chronograph watch in Bronze (here)
Glasses c/o GlassesUSA (review pending)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Financial Update

Well, we're almost twelve hours into the supposed End of the World here in EST and buildings still appear to be standing and nobody I know* has been raptured, so I suppose the world will continue as usual.

The genius status update of one of my friends.  Why didn't I think of this?

*  Admittedly, the portion of the population least likely to be taken up in the rapture.

Since many of you were interested in following my progress on the student loan front, I think we're long overdue for a bit of a financial/loan update.


As you may recall, back in May I posted about my commitment to redirect my financial priorities and more quickly repay my student loans.  The plan utilized Dave Ramsey's "Snowball Method" of debt repayment, in which you pay the minimum payments on all of your loans except the smallest, which you pay off with all of your remaining money until it's gone.  Then you roll that minimum payment into a "snowball" payment, which you put towards the next-smallest loan, and so on.

I also put myself on a $100/week budget for food, clothes, and other expenses.

  • No more debt snowball.  I met with a financial adviser in the fall.  I brought him a spreadsheet of my loan amounts and interest rates, and he almost laughed me out the door when I told him about the snowball method.  Although I understood that it was not the most mathematically optimal way to pay off loans, I appreciated the psychological benefit of seeing quick results associated with faster repayments.  However, the financial adviser actually calculated the amount of money I pay in interest per year towards my largest highest-interest loan, and it came out to $3,600.  $3,600 every year I let that thing sit.  I realized that even with a few shopping sprees that might be associated with being demoralized from paying down a huge loan for ten months, I still would not spend $3,600.  So I switched gears.  I am now paying off my highest interest-rate loans first.
  • The $100 budget is not working so well.  I have not yet figured out how I'm going to change this budget, but I haven't been sticking to it and need to revise the plan somehow.  I'm thinking of making it so that weekly groceries do not come out of the $100?  Also, I may simply institute a "one in, one out" policy in my closet, since despite a recent closet purge I have once again managed to cram the thing full of stuff.  Vacations are another story; the curse and the luxury of my paycheck is that I don't actually need to save up for vacations.  Although I recognize it is a good habit to save for vacations, I also recognize that I won't be able to take totally spur-of-the-moment and unencumbered-by-kids vacations forever, so I'm okay with enjoying that particular class of spontaneity while I have it.


Check it out:

Heck yeah!

As of today, I have now fully paid three of my student loans, plus one of my familial loans.  Two of them are lower-interest loans (pictured above), one is one of my two highest-interest (more than 7%) loans, and the family loan had 0% interest but a fixed repayment plan. 

Man, it felt great to get this letter.

We just received our annual bonuses at the firm today, and I put the money towards knocking out my baby high-interest loan and taking a chunk out of the big one.  The big one is my next target, and with my loan payment next month, it will drop into the next-lower 10k range.  After a year or so of payments on the big one, I will have taken care of the two loans with the highest interest rates, and will move on to my loans with ~7% interest rates.

I have also reduced my total student loan debt by about 15%.

It feels good to take a minute to appreciate the progress I have made so far.  It hasn't been easy to watch so much of my pay disappear into loans each month---this month's loan payment basically felt like pushing a decent used car off a cliff---but I can see progress and I feel motivated to continue.  Once the holidays are over and I get back into a lower spending bracket again, things will only move faster.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

In-Case-Friday-Never-Comes Funday: Some Thursday LOLs

I've stumbled across a few fantastic spots in the internet lately, and I would be remiss if I did not share them with you.  Perhaps I should save these tidbits for a Friday funday, but if the world ends tomorrow then where would we be?

Some Dog .Gifs

This one was my favorite:

Although this one is actually me most nights:

Speaking of .gifs...

Check out this hilarious .gif one of my friends made, using my failed fashion modeling as inspiration:

Hey, I just have one thing to say:


Thanks for the awesome .gif, Michelle!  (Check out her blog here.)

Worst Autocorrect Mistakes

Oh man, you guys MUST check this out.  Some of these are HORRIBLE!

...and those are not even the WORST-worst ones!

Post-Rapture Pet Care

Wondering what will become of your pets after the rapture?  Fear no more!  These athiests will take care of them.



For a Mere $150, George Takei Will Help You Come Out to Your Families During Christmas Dinner

"And if ANY of you motherf*ckers try to give him ANY kind of sh*t about it, I will come back here and F*CK YOUR SH*T UP.  Let him be gay, damn it."

Awesome Piano Rendition of "That's What Makes You Beautiful"

Don't even try to pretend that you are too cool for One Direction or that you don't like this song.  I have never seen a piano played quite this way before --- the video is enthralling!

Edited to add these two twitter burns found on my Facebook newsfeed:

See also, the subsequent back and forth:



Have you found anything worthwhile around the internet lately?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Two-for-One OOTDs: Mixed Berries

Somewhere in the shopping haze that was Black Friday, I decided that I NEEDED a pair of majorly-on-sale Diane Von Furstenberg silk raspberry-colored trousers.

$102 Here.  (Don't forget to sign up for eBates if you haven't already!)

I bought them. I tried them on. They were heavenly. The color was divine. But I simply could not justify keeping the pants, despite the deal. First and foremost, the size I purchased (10) was WAY too big. Although I could have exchanged the pants, I truly hate the fact that they are dry clean only. I despise paying to dry clean clothes I have already spent money on.

So back they went. And although the cut of these DVF pants was lovely,* I decided to buy some machine-washable berry pants instead.

* I should qualify this, because the boyfriend took one look and scrunched his nose, so perhaps take my opinion with a grain of salt.  They do have a bit of a drop-crotch/embrace-the-FUPA thing going on, but I'm all about that.

In fact, I wound up with not one, but TWO different pairs of berry pants in their place, with each pair costing 1/4 the price of the DVF pants.

ASOS Peg Trousers with Pleat Front (now $20, but only in blue); Ann Taylor Loft Marissa Straight Leg Pants ($35 here, plus take an extra 40% off with HOLIDAY40 code)

Here's how I wore them to work:

This facial expression says:  I continue towards my goal of becoming a fashion model.

In this Outfit:
Ann Taylor Loft Sweater (last year) (M) (similar on sale at J.Crew)
ASOS Peg Trousers with Pleat Front (now $20, but only in blue) (US 8)
Banana Republic Belt (here)
Target Necklace (similar at F21 for $7)
Michael Kors Men's Chronograph Runway Watch in Bronze (here)
Kate Spade Kimmy Wedge (here)
Coach Pave Ball Earrings (similar <$20)
Ann Taylor Gold Stacked Ring Set (here)
Glasses c/o Firmoo (review here) (glasses here)

Someone should start a blog called "Chambray and Pearls."  Maybe I'd read that.  Although I guess lots of people have come up with outfits called the same.

In this Outfit:
Forever 21 Denim Shirt with Lace Cutout (similar)
Random Pearl Necklace from Macy's (similar)
Pearl/Rhinestone Studs (thrifted/gifted) (kind of similar in this set for $7)
J.Crew Pearl Bracelet (similar at Anthro)
Glasses from Firmoo with my new Rx (NOT c/o...updated review pending) (glasses here)
Jessica Simpson Minna Wedge (here) (see yesterday's caution about buying this wedge in black patent)
Ann Taylor Loft Marissa Straight Leg Pants ($35 here, plus take an extra 40% off with code HOLIDAY40)

How do you feel about quality over quantity?  On the one hand, I think DVF's pants were cut wonderfully and the silk felt so lovely.  On the other, the cost of a dry clean only item over its life will only increase, and I was able to buy two similarly-colored, albeit less valuable, pants for half the price of the on-sale designer pants.  At what point do you spring for the designer item and at what point do you go for a less expensive piece?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

OOTD: Taking Strides (?)

Look, I took photos with a real camera last week!

In this Outfit:
Ann Taylor Loft Sweater (last year) (similar in stripeyness, similar and cheaper than that last one)
ASOS Peg Pants With Braces (but braces taken off) (US 10, maybe slightly big) (here) (similar)
Jessica Simpson Minna Wedge (9.5 - half size up) (here, although I can't recommend these shoes in black patent.  Don't get me wrong; I adore the shoes.  The height is perfect and the curve of the toe is perfect.  However, over the last few wears I've noticed that the black patent surface is very easily damaged.  It started with one scuff on the heel that rubbed off the patent coating (leaving the white under-material showing), requiring repair with a permanent marker.  I recently took them in an overnight bag and they came out looking even worse.  I have these shoes in the gray leather as well and while those scuff, they at least do not seem to be losing the outer coating.)
Kate Spade Kingsbury Park Shelby (similar for $80)
Magnifying Glass Necklace (thrifted/gifted) (similar) (similar on etsy:  here for $90, here for $50, here for $30, here for $15)
Marc by Marc Jacobs Marci Mirrored Watch (here)
Tory Burch frames

Well, I didn't take the photos; a buddy of mine who is a burgeoning pro with a DSLR took them.  Now I know how all of those professional fashion bloggers with photog boyfriends feel when they go out in late afternoon to take outfit photos in ideal light:  It was fun to have someone around to pose me and tell me how to stand, look, etc.  It takes a lot of the pressure off!

Look at me.  So relaxed.

On the other hand, it applies a completely different kind of pressure.  It took me almost an hour to get dressed the morning we took these photos, and THIS was the best outfit I could come up with.  For some reason, knowing that someone was going to take time out of her day to take photos of my outfit with an actual GOOD camera made me feel like I had to wear something really special...but then after 45 minutes of tossing clothes around my room in an increasing frenzy I just had some sort of breakdown and put on comfy pants and a sweater.  And I don't even care that I mixed blue and black because I just needed to get out the door before 11:30.

The moment immediately before I put out this outfit is represented by the point marked "SYSTEM FAILURE."  (source)

Another thing that happened:  I learned that I am a really awkward walker.  We tried to take a very fashionable "walking" photo, and this is what we got (I post this because I like you guys and owe you some laughs):


Literally, the direction was, "Walk fashionably," and this is what I came up with.  Let me be clear:  I was not trying to be funny while posing for this photo; I was trying to channel Tyra Banks from an episode of America's Next Top Model.  Let me be even more clear:  this is one of the least exaggerated of the walking photos.  There were some where I looked even MORE like Gumby.

In fact, I think I am more gumby than Gumby.  Except that Gumby can keep his eyes open while he walks and I cannot.  (source)

So, in sum, I had a lot of fun taking real photos although it did confirm for me the fact that I do not have a future as a professional casual fashion model.  Ah well, I'll stick to law, I guess.

Thanks to my (anonymous) friend for the fun photo outing!  Maybe my modeling skills will improve over time?

(Also, PS, hey:  Did you notice that BHLDN is having a 40%-off-sale-items sale?  I'm not getting married anytime soon, but I'm drooling over a party dress.  They've also got adorable shoes (including some Chie Miharas!) and intimates, some of which are SUPER cheap with the extra 40% off!  FYI, the adjusted price will appear when you put the items in your cart.)

Friday, December 14, 2012

An Open Letter To: Women Who Leave Pee on Toilet Seats

Dear Women Who Leave Pee on Toilet Seats,

I have been meaning to write to you for quite some time now, but it's been difficult to figure out how to address this letter because who are you, really?

Are you some rare breed of woman who has never in her life walked into a public toilet stall and gazed in horror upon a messy toilet seat dripping in human urine?  Have you never felt the gut-churning disgust that comes with the realization that there is a long line to use the restroom and you are now stuck with the task of either leaving the problem for someone else or nutting up and gathering an inordinate amount of toilet paper to clean the seat while minimizing potential paper soakage and the resulting piss-on-skin exposure?

Because if you have ever been in that situation, I struggle to comprehend how you could possibly perpetuate the ugliness that is urine on a lady's bathroom seat.

Please, women, help me understand you.  Help me to see pee on a toilet seat and feel flushed with sympathy for your plight while I, in turn, flush lots of your-pee-soaked toilet paper.  Surely this could not just boil down to the fact that you are inconsiderate, could it?

Were you being chased?  Did you have a head start of mere seconds, leaving you only just enough time to stop and pee in a restroom but not enough time to wipe up your anxiously splattered bladder juice?

Did a small reptile emerge from the toilet and attack you mid-stream?

Do you hate other women and want them to suffer?

Was there a worse stain on the toilet seat that you considerately decided to pre-soak with nature's astringent?

Were you juggling at the time?

Is your pee endowed with magical qualities, bestowing superpowers upon anyone who touches it, and peeing on toilet seats is the only way you can think to spread your gift without exposing yourself as a genetic mutant?

Are you four years old?

Are you legally blind?

Were you blinded by rage because someone else also left pee on the toilet seat, so you just left it there/made it worse?

Do you have a very long urethra?  Perhaps it's a penis?

I might be willing to accept any of the above scenarios.  Understanding begins with communication, Mystery Woman Who Leaves Pee on Toilet Seats.  Help me understand how a grown woman is still leaving behind a messy toilet seat.  Help me.

Because right now, I got nothing.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

OOTD: Winter Tweed

Is there anything more reliable than a basic tweed skirt in winter? A skirt that plays well with your closet, keeps you warm, and is office-appropriate? I think not.
I found this skirt at a consignment store over the weekend and couldn't wait to wear it. I wanted to wear it again today but I figured twice in one week is probably overkill.
I'm bracing for a very long night at work tonight; I have a self-imposed deadline to meet and my progress so far has been slow, to say the least. Do you ever get to a point where you've basically resigned yourself to working late, so you become less productive because you know you're working late anyway, which then necessitates working late? In a vicious cycle of predeterminism? No, just me?
In this Outfit:
Old Navy 3/4 Tab Sleeve Blouse (S)
D&G Tweed Skirt
Forever 21 Necklace
Kate Spade Earrings
Manolo Blahnik Pumps (gifted)
Marc by Marc Jacobs Marci Watch
Tory Burch Frames

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

'Tis the Sequin for Holiday Trends

Remember this lovely bolero Anthropologie put out last year?

Anthropologie Starshine Bolero, sold out

As you may recall, I bought this on sale last year and got a ton of wears out of it in December.  After December?  Less so, but it's still fun for weddings or girls' nights out (after an appropriate no-sequin-after-the-holidays resting period of a month or two).  Something interesting always seems to happen to me when I wear this bolero.

Biggest downside:  It conducts static electricity like a champ.

The key to fun seasonal accessories like this is to buy them on the cheap.  I was reminded of this bolero (and my philosophy on cheapness) while strolling through Forever 21 recently because they have a strikingly similar option available for <$30:

I could not ascertain the style number from the tag in the photograph, but maybe someone with more photoshop skills than I can do it.  This particular jacket doesn't seem to be online anymore, but I found these others:




...or the closest contender to the jacket I saw in the store (perhaps it is the same one?), this plus size cropped jacket:

(also available in black and silver) (here)

And incidentally, you can get 12% off your purchase at F21 today with code 12OFF.  Not significant really, but it's a nice bonus.

Do you embrace any holiday trends?  I will admit to buying a red tartan scarf the other week!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Not-So-Secret Oatmeal Trick

Get ready, I'm about to drop some knowledge on ya:

Next time you're about to microwave some oatmeal, drop one of these guys in the bowl first:

Of course, I recommend you crack it first. And mix it all up with the oatmeal. (You can use just the white if you don't like egg yolks.)

It'll add a nice dose of hunger-satiating protein to your breakfast and (if you use only the white) few additional calories.

Also, it makes the oatmeal turn out nice and fluffy.

Also, anybody who sees you will be like, "WTF are you doing you psychwad?" but then once you explain it to them will feel indebted to you for life. Or at least for breakfast.

Monday, December 10, 2012

OOTD: The Prodigal Pants

Was it only a year ago that I said I hated wearing pants? Really, I think the issue was that I hadn't found any pants I liked that worked well for the office (as evidenced by the picture linked just there, which I will not repost because I'm slightly horrified I wore that outfit).

Well, happily, I think pants and I have come to an understanding over the last year:

Since I have become more comfortable fitting pants into my personal style, I decided to branch out into a different cut of pants than I usually wear. While I generally rely on slim or cropped pants, I felt it was time to give wide-legged trousers a shot.

I like the look! I think I'd generally err on the side of a slimmer fit top to counterbalance the wide legs of the pants, but I am completely blinded by my love of this J.Crew top and I will wear it unflinchingly with almost any bottom in my whole closet, as you've probably noticed.

Given that I only got this top a month or so ago, and given that I also have worn it several times with some not-exciting-enough-to-post jeans, I'd say the top is earning its keep.

Anyway, in case you couldn't already tell from the cropped pants, once I find something I love I tend to stick with it almost obsessively.  All this to say, it's nice to play with a wider leg design.

Do you have a style of pants that you find works best for you, or are you an equal opportunity pants-wearer?

 In this Outfit:
J.Crew Rugby Stripe Boatneck Top in Modern Red (wearing size XL) (here)
J.Crew Factory Wool Flannel Wide Leg Trouser (size 6) (here)
J.Crew Belt (similar for <$20)
Jessica Simpson Minna Wedge (size 9.5 - half size up) (via Modcloth - "You Rock Wedge" (only size 7.5 left)) (also on sale here)
Forever 21 Floral Collar Necklace (sold out online) (similar) (similar)
Kate Spade Kingsbury Park Shelby (available in Kate Spade's surprise eBay sale here in black or here in yellow )
Anthro Bright Bulb Posts (very similar on Piperlime for $22)
Glasses c/o Firmoo (reviewed here)

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