Thursday, January 31, 2013

Another Pajamas OOTD + Quickie Review

In case you couldn't tell from some of my recent posts about wearing pajama-like things to work (see, e.g., here and here), I have been really into wearing pajama-like things to work.  Today, I even took pajamas-on-a-workday to another level by wearing literal pajamas on a workday...but I'm home sick on my couch recovering from gum surgery, so I suppose this doesn't really count.  (Although I have worn this particular pajama dress to work before.)

(Incidentally, I'm doing okay post-surgery.  Swollen and tired, and completely sick of my liquid diet already --- less than 24 hours in.  What was going to be a week-long juicefest just-for-the-heck-of-it-since-I'm-already-on-a-forced-liquid-diet will probably now be no more than a day or two until I get the green-light to eat soft solid foods without hurting my stitches.  This sucks!)

But that is neither here nor there.  I'm convalescing but I wanted to show you a dress (NOT actual pajamas) (although it does sort of resemble my previously posted pajama dress) that I bought two weeks ago that I adore:

Cute, right?  Pajama-like, warm, and MACHINE-WASHABLE!  I usually don't go for sheathy dresses like this because I live in constant fear of being the subject of inaccurate office pregnancy rumors (darn you fat-accumulating belly), but I just love this thing.

Plus, I can always just walk around with my hands on my waist.

Right?  Problem solved right?

Anyway, if you read Kristin's blog, you may recognize the necklace I'm wearing.  Kristin and I both received the same necklace c/o Red Envelope!  (Read Kristin's review here.)  I had never heard of Red Envelope until they contacted me about reviewing a product, and I was impressed with the selection.  It seemed like a good place to buy a gift for those hard-to-shop-for people in your life.  (Hear that mom?) (For another Red Envelope review check out Jenni's review here.) 

The necklace is called the Good Luck Necklace.

The necklace is delicate and seems well-made.  I am NOT easy on jewelry, and this has withstood several weeks of wear and (literal) tear.  I even wore it in the shower once.  I haven't noticed any discoloration and it hasn't turned my neck green or anything.  It fills a nice spot in my wardrobe for "delicate gold necklace."

Also, it came packaged very nicely:

This necklace came from Red Envelope's "Romantic Jewelry Line," which seems filled with cute things for Valentine's Day.  Perhaps leave this page open on your computer for your boyfriend/girlfriend to find?  If this is your thing.

My biggest complaint:  it was not actually good luck.  I wore it to my home poker game the other week and I did not win.  :-(

In this Outfit:
Lauren Ralph Lauren Geometric Print Long-Sleeve Dress (6) (on sale here)
Lucky Brand Andria Boots (8.5) (similar)
J.Crew Tights
Necklace c/o Red Envelope (here)
Kate Spade Earrings
Tory Burch Glasses Frames
Marc by Marc Jacobs Marci Watch (on sale here)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Weekend Dietary Hijinks

I think we had kind of a fun discussion last week in response to a photo I posted of my breakfast. The debate focused on the relative health value of the breakfast and sort of ultimately boiled down to a discussion of meat v. vegetarian carbs v. processed foods. I almost believe that there are as many "valid" diets (or ways-of-eating-for-life) as there are people in this world, because you can find scientific support for pretty much any eating plan nowadays.  (Except probably processed foods.  I don't see too many people sticking up for processed foods, except to say that perhaps in moderation you won't kill yourself with them immediately.)  I personally am easing myself into a paleo-like experiment* for the next couple months, but as much science as there is behind such a diet, there is as much science behind the opposite (vegetarian) diet and everything in between.

*  Let me take a moment to clarify that I am not "dieting."  I'm trying to figure out a new and healthier way to eat, because I feel like I need to change something in my diet.  Diet here meaning way-of-eating, not temporary caloric restriction.

Anyway, this post is not about healthy eating. In fact, if we try to "issue spot" the number of problems with my eating this weekend, we will all get very tired and take a nap under our desks within a couple of minutes. Let's not talk about healthy eating today. Instead, let's talk about what I did this past weekend.

First, a bagel-making class.

Here is my shameful Jewish girl secret: Every time I have attempted homemade bagels they have failed. (Or so I thought.) They taste fine, but they bake up weird and flat.  [Edited to add:  What's a Jewish girl's favorite thing to make?  Reservations!  hyuk hyuk.]

This was my most recent attempt a few months back:

I mean, Cupcakes & Cashmere I am not. (HOW DID HERS GET SO ROUND???)

So, when a friend alerted me to a bagel-making class at a community college in Arlington (part of their adult education curriculum), naturally I could not wait to sign up. I was hoping for the secret to nice round, puffy bagels.

I didn't get such a secret, unfortunately, but the class was still a fun way to spend a Saturday morning. The type of 20-somethings who don't mind giving up a bit of sleep on a weekend to bake and eat bagels are my type of people.

1 - "proofing" the yeast. 2 - letting the dough rise (in the bowl) and letting myself rise (in the coffee cup). 3 - the instructor shows us how to shape the bagels by poking a hole in them. 4 - topping the bagels. 5 - bagels that the instructor put together that rose overnight, which we baked in class. 6 - eating the spoils.

This is the recipe we used.

We got to take home the bagels we assembled in class to let them rise overnight and to bake on Sunday. But instead of baking bagels on Sunday, I experienced a different kind of food overload.

Second, a trip to All-You-Can-Eat "Farmer's Market Brunch" at Farmers, Fishers, and Bakers

Lordie, lordie lordie.

Understand: FFB is the type of trendy, urban hipster type of restaurant that serves "sustainable" "farm to table" American food. It's the classic type of place you'd want to go for brunch. So when I heard that they offered an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet featuring everything on this menu...

...naturally I had to check it out.

(source, because let's face it, I was way too eager to eat this stuff to actually take my own photo)

It did not disappoint. The food was good --- not exceptional, as is the curse of most all-you-can-eat situations, but quite good --- and the experience was SO much fun. Tons of food, not just on the buffet but also circulating around you. Waiters came around with trays of biscuits, cinnamon rolls, eggs benedict, flatbread, and SUSHI.

Show me a person who can resist a warm cinnamon bun and I will show you a Cylon.  (source)

Also, bruleed grapefruit is NO JOKE.

Does this make anyone else want to buy a brulee torch? No, just me? Okay.

The biggest negative was that the line for the first brunch table (the veggie table) got somewhat long at points, but if you didn't want anything from that table you could skip it, and at max I think we waited about five or ten minutes before we reached the kale salad.

How did you spend your weekend? Are you as big a fan of brunch as I am?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quickie: Recommended Reading

Just a quick post this morning, as I'm actually attempting workplace productivity for the next few days before I lose the second half of the week to a slightly horrifying dental procedure + recovery time.  (Silver lining (?):  I'll be on a forced liquid diet so you'll get to read about YET ANOTHER BLOGGER exploring juicing!  SOMETHING NEW, AMIRITE?)

So as not to leave you with NO reading material on this Monday morning, I'd like to introduce you to my friends Sara and Lacey.  These ladies are undertaking an impressive challenge in 2013:  they are doing one "new thing" a week for 52 weeks and blogging about the experience.

This is Sara:

Sara lives in Knoxville and describes herself: "Tennessee Law alumna. Judicial clerk. IP Nerd. Foodie. Coffee lover. Mac enthusiast. Yoga addict. Shutterbug. World traveler."  So far, she has gone belly dancing, made candles, and baked a pie (among other things)!

And here's Lacey:

Lacey lives in D.C. and, like me, is an attorney at a big firm here.  She has a poodle-springer mix named Callie and says her "vices are dark chocolate and procrastination."  So far, Lacey has gone ice skating, attended an embassy event, and rung in the New Year in NYC.


I have noticed that adding more non-shopping-related blogs to my Google reader has lessened my desire to online/IRL-shop and has helped highlight other areas of my life and other interests.  For example, following fitness blogs has helped me take more pride in exercise, and following some healthy food blogs encourages me to eat better more often.  Do you find the same with your RSS reader composition?  I think that reading these girls' posts has encouraged me to pursue more adventure in my life!

What do you think of this kind of project?  The idea of making a list of new things to do each week seems difficult to me; I think I'd prefer to just resolve to be more adventurous in general.  But then again, that's probably the type of vague resolution doomed to fail!  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Funday: A Non-Exhaustive List of Things that Disproportionately Piss Me Off

In general, I'd say I'm a pretty happy person. I like my life and my job, and I feel good about myself on the whole. I don't carry around a lot of anger towards people in my life. Instead, I prefer to find a way to forgive people for perceived or actual wrongs and move on with my day. I mostly believe that holding onto negative emotions hurts us more than it hurts the source of our anger, so why bother?

...with some exceptions.

For reasons I can't explain, I've noticed a few things in life that make me completely ragey. Blind with anger. These things evoke in me a fury completely untethered from the reality of the (small) offending slight.

What are these things, you ask?

1. The Security Guard at my Office Building Telling me to "Have a Good Night" Between 6:30pm and 8pm When I Am Only in the Lobby to Pick Up Dinner Before Going Back Up to My Office for Several More Hours of Work.


Listen, ma'am, I know you mean well when you wish me a good night (which is why my anger is disproportionate -- see?). But there is nothing worse than hearing someone wish you a good night when you have many more hours of work ahead of you. That innocent greeting takes my focus away from reading case law and instead directs it to the comfy couch, quilt, and Netflix that I will NOT be enjoying tonight.

Even worse, half of the time when you wish me good night you can SEE the delivery guy with my dinner waiting in the lobby. And even more, you can SEE that I'm not even wearing a coat, nor am I carrying a purse. What kind of person steps into 20 degree weather to walk home without a jacket or a purse? Isn't it more likely that I am picking up the dinner you see waiting TWENTY FEET in front of you and then going back upstairs? ISN'T IT?!

2. Getting Too Many Sets of Utensils in My Delivery Order

While we're on the subject of picking up food, you know what else gets my goat? Opening up my bag of delivery dinner --- which I ordered for MYSELF --- to find FOUR SETS OF UTENSILS. Excuuuuuuse me, Judgy McRestaurant, but the amount of food I ordered is perfectly reasonable for ONE PERSON to eat. Do I need you suggesting that I am actually trying to feed a small army? NO I DO NOT. Good DAY, sir.

3. People Who Put a Purse in the Empty Seat Next to Them on the Metro During Rush Hour

Dude. You know this train is going to get crowded and that eventually seats will run out and people will be standing. But you've apparently paid WMATA for a first-class metro seat today because you have allocated a double-wide area for yourself by placing your stuff on the seat next to you. I'm not talking about the people who have a legitimate overload of stuff or small children and need extra space.

I'm talking about YOU, who has a small extra bag, which is probably carrying a bunch of lollipops you stole from babies because YOU ARE A TERRIBLE PERSON. Put your bag in your lap! Put your bag in your lap, mofo! I want you to know that I take special joy in asking you obnoxiously, "IS THIS SEAT TAKEN, ASSHOLE?" (give or take) because I know it's NOT and I'll be damned if I'm going to let you get away with this tomfoolery. I SEE WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND IT'S NOT GOING TO WORK. DO YOU HEAR ME??

4. People Who Stand on the Left Side of an Escalator

STAND TO THE RIGHT. STAND TO THE RIGHT. STAND TO THE GEE-DEE RIGHT FOR PETE'S SAKE. I'm glad you have all the time in the world to get to where you're going but some of us have actual stuff to get done today that doesn't involve looking at your butt from further down on the escalator.

5. People Who Call Me "Babe"

I'm not your babe. I don't plan to be your babe. In fact, I don't think I'm ANYONE'S babe. I hate that patronizing, demeaning nickname and every time I so much as hear it I experience a full-body cringe. When someone says it TO ME I immediately want to take a shower and scrub the word off of me. THE ONLY PERSON ALLOWED TO CALL ME BABE IS THE PERSON PAYING OFF ALL OF MY STUDENT LOANS. Oh, wait, am I hearing correctly that such person is NOBODY? Oh, yes, great, then NOBODY.

6. People Who Touch Me in Lieu of Saying Hello

While we're on the subject of people violating my autonomy with over-familiarity, let's just err on the side of DON'T TOUCH ME, okay? I don't want a backrub, I don't like it when you want to squeeze my shoulders to say hello, just SAY HELLO VERBALLY. USE YOUR WORDS like a normal person. I have been touched in worse ways against my will and you imposing your creepy shoulder squeezing on me just brings it all rushing back. Just pretend we are in kindergarten and KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF!

My shoulders were not tense a minute ago, buddy. Your forced backrub: DO NOT WANT.


...I'm sure I'm forgetting some things. (Heck, I only had three things in mind when I started this post.) What are the things that drive you up a wall even though you know they probably shouldn't?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

OOTD: Blinded by the Minnie, Part 2

Last week, I mentioned that I was irrationally obsessed with the J.Crew Minnie Pant, and although it wasn't the most flattering pant I owned, I still have it in four colors and wore it twice the other week.

I already showed you the first outfit...

...and here's the second:

In this Outfit:
Ann Taylor Loft Sweater
J.Crew Factory Chambray Button-Down
J.Crew Minnie Pants in Bi-Stretch Wool, Charcoal (6T)
Jessica Simpson Minna Wedge (9.5, .5 size up)
Kate Spade "It Takes All Sorts" Necklace
Glasses c/o GlassesUSA (review)
Marc by Marc Jacobs Marci Watch in Gold

I did not mean to wear chambray with these pants twice, but I think they do best with a somewhat loose-fitting top to balance out the tight fit. Not to toot my own horn for a very average outfit, but I also liked the way the light and dark colors worked here. It felt wintery but not depressingly so!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The best way to start a Monday!

Good morning! I am in a fantastic mood on this Monday! Why, you ask?
* I started a new exercise regimen last week and my endorphins are flowing! I'll tell you more about it once I settle into a routine.
* I've been trying to eat a bit more cleanly...i.e., I'm reducing my intake of refined sugars and carbohydrates. I'm not cutting them out entirely or being that restrictive psychologically, but I have been consciously trying to opt for other things I also like instead. It's been making me feel more happy and energetic!
* I'm on a business trip to San Diego through Wednesday**, and I get to fly first-class! I am such a nerd about perks; I know first-class is no big deal to some people, but I totally get a thrill from being in a special security line, getting to board first, and being in a comfy seat. Plus hot towels! And lots of snacks! And BREAKFAST!
Omelet with "white cheddar cheese" (it looked and tasted like American cheese, but who cares), turkey sausage, potatoes, fruit bowl, and biscuit (which I left behind, because hey if I'm going to eat a biscuit, it's going to be from the likes of here).
Yay for perks! I can't wait until I'm rich enough to fly first class on my own dime without batting an eye.
** I am kind of sad to be missing inauguration day in D.C.; It would be interesting to see it. Then again, while I ordinarily love tourists, the huge influx of street-clogging bodies this weekend has been a bit unbearable, so maybe it's for the best that I am not here.
Do you get the day off today? How are you spending it?

PS: Check out the funny text message exchange I had the other day with someone who had the wrong phone number (I'm the person in the green bubbles):

LOL. Charming, buddy.
Hope you've got a great day ahead of you!

Friday, January 18, 2013

OOTD: Blinded by the Minnie

The thing about stores like J.Crew or in-house brands like Halogen (at Nordstrom) is that once you find a size and style of something that works for you, it's easy to go a bit off the rails and buy it several times in multiple colors.

Such was the case with me and the J.Crew Minnie pant.

J.Crew Minnie in bi-stretch wool, here, with extra 30% off with code STYLEFIND

Why did I develop such an unnatural fondness for this pant, which is very unforgiving of normal undergarments and sort of makes it look like something is wrong with my crotch?  (You can even see it a bit in the model above.)

I can't tell you that. All I can tell you is that over the course of a year I acquired it in four colors.

Then again, I wore two different pairs this week and I liked the outfits, so I guess that's something. Then AGAIN again, I felt the need to digitally retouch the frontal area of the photo below, so I guess that's something else.

In this Outfit:
Polka Dot Chambray Button-Down, Old Navy ($25 here (+ 15% off) in sizes XL and XXL, and in descending order of price, similar at J.Crew, Gap, Kohl's)
J.Crew Minnie Pants in Bi-Stretch Wool (6T) (here, + 30% off with code STYLEFIND) (now that you mention it, these boulevard green ones are quite nice...)
Payless Chelsea Flats (9) (here, TTS)
Michael Kors Oversized Runway Watch in Bronze (here, or on sale here)
Glasses c/o GlassesUSA (review here)
Forever 21 Collar Necklace (Doesn't it look a lot like this one from Anthro?? Except it only cost $8?) (similar)

If only I could retouch the weird crotch of these pants IRL...

Do you have any items of clothing that you are irrationally addicted to?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

OOTD: Pajamas to Work, Part Infinity

Gawd, how I love wearing comfortable, pajama-like outfits to the office. Is there anything more wonderful than the feeling of being at work, looking professional, and also feeling snuggled?
Yes, of course there is, but as far as office-based pleasures go, wearing something that feels like a blanket is close to the top of the list.
I got this J.Crew sweater dress a few months ago at the J.Crew outlet in Atlantic City and I've had a lot of fun with it so far this winter.
Simple and unadorned, with big earrings, a statement watch, and my-flesh-colored wedges.
Accessorized with black for a rainy day:
Covered with a magic teal blazer:
(These are the amazing magical Payless Chelsea Flats, which I have in three colors now. They are so great that I am about to purchase backup pairs of my three colors, along with a pair in black. I adore them.)
Sidestory: I realized after walking out the door that I was dressed in the colors of the BBYO chapter I participated in for a couple of years in high school! (N'Shamah. Colors: Purple and teal. Mascot: Tigger.) Any other Jewish kids around here do BBYO? I never quite fit in there and mostly felt awkward at all of the events, but I suppose it was a good growing experience...

Monday, January 14, 2013

OOTD: Redemption?

The last time I wore this dress, the general opinion seemed to be "meh." I agree that, due to its lack of structure, it runs the risk of tending toward frump.

Perhaps it's cheating to add my favorite black blazer and call it a day? Is that too easy?

I hope not, because I'll all about easy. Especially when easy feels like pajamas.

In this Outfit:
Narcisso Rodriguez for Kohl's Dress (S) (here for $30)
Urban Outfitters (Silence & Noise) Blazer (L) (similar at Kohl's for $30, similar in gray for $50)
Omega Seamaster Watch (similar by Omega) (similar for less than $150)
Anthropologie Hoop Earrings (similar) (geez, I swear I am not trying to put all Kohl's stuff up in here, that's just what I'm seeing for (relatively) cheap when I search for similar items...)
Ann Taylor Necklace (similar)
Jessica Simpson Minna Wedges (9.5 - half size up) ($50 here) (note that the black outer coating on these shoes comes off very easily.  I am constantly touching them up with a permanent marker.  I love them and wear them twice weekly, but the gray colorway has held up much better than the black patent.)
Tory Burch glasses

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Another Glasses Review:

You may have noticed that I have been wearing glasses with some frequency over the last month or so.  (See, e.g., here, here, here, and here.)   While I have always worn prescription lenses, I have generally opted for contacts. Then at my annual eye exam last month, my optometrist told me that not only had my vision gotten worse, but I also had a scratched retina that would require me to wear glasses until it healed.

In the last few weeks weeks, I have rediscovered how fun it is to have a variety of frames to chose from each morning. Although I previously thought of glasses only as a necessity, I was reminded that they also function very effectively as accessories---changing an outfit, a look, a face, with hardly any effort.

Left to right: Tory Burch, Firmoo (not c/o...updated review pending) and GlassesUSA (c/o)

That's why I was so excited when contacted me about trying out a pair of their glasses in exchange for my thoughts on their service (and for a few links in this entry, which you'll find randomly below).

GlassesUSA provided me with a modest giftcard, which I then used to pick out prescription frames of my choice. I appreciated that the review process involved going through the regular ordering system, as it allowed me to gauge the customer experience. (You may remember from my Firmoo review that I was not able to judge shipping time since I placed my order through a marketing person.)

So, here are my thoughts.

1. The Glasses Selection Process:
I was impressed with GlassesUSA's selection of frames. They have options ranging from low-end (~$40) frames to designer glasses by famous names ($150+). I loved the search filters available, which allowed you to narrow your results to frame size, shape, color, gender, and style.

They also have this fun Virtual Optician feature that allows you to take a quiz to determine your "Frame Personality":

In my dreams...

Although I don't especially like the eyeglasses associated with my assessed personality, it was still fun to take the quiz!

Incidentally, the first time I took this quiz, my result was "the Fashionista."  Just FYI.

I settled on these frames, which --- full disclosure --- I found after clicking the "Vintage/Nerdy" glasses subcategory. I KNOW I KNOW I AM ALL TEH STEREOTYPEZ.

I have no idea why these are marked $150.00 $69.00.  Is this a brand anyone has heard of?  Seeing nebulous discounts off of the "MSRP" makes me skeptical.

As you can see, the prescription glasses were $69 and it was an extra $19 for optometrist-recommended UV coating and anti-glare protection.

There are sunglass options, too, including Transitions lenses, although I thought those were cost-prohibitive at $100+.

2. The Ordering Process
Checkout was straightforward, however I was annoyed by the way GlassesUSA utilizes promo codes. Although their website advertises "free shipping both ways" at the top, in actuality you can only get free shipping with the use of a promo code. For most situations, this would not be a problem because you would simply enter a promo code at checkout (GlassesUSA seems to offer frequent promo codes with %-off and free shipping).

However, GlassesUSA's system allows you to enter only one promo code per purchase, and gift cards are counted as promo codes. So, if you get someone a GlassesUSA gift card, they will not be able to take advantage of free shipping or any of the advertised discounts. Furthermore, if one section of the website offers you a special promo, for example this one... then forfeit the 50% off promo code currently available on the GlassesUSA homepage.

This is super-annoying. It would be an easy fix to allow the entry of multiple promo codes, or at the very least to categorize a gift certificate differently than a coupon code, but as of my purchase this fix had not been made.

3. Delivery
I placed my order on December 13, 2012 and my glasses arrived at my office exactly one week later.

They came with a cushy case and a handy lens-cleaning cloth.

The glasses appeared true to the description on the website. The quality was good and the plastic felt substantial.  The prescription was also very comfortable on my eyes. I don't know my pupillary distance, but the default setting of 63 worked well for me. (Note: I think it's very important that you get this number. I ordered other glasses with a lower setting from a different website and they strain my eyes more than these do.)

4. Use and Abuse
After a few weeks of wearing these guys, I'm a fan!

At the San Diego Zoo, wearing Reece Jakob 6003 Brown c/o GlassesUSA.

I have dropped them a bunch of times and they don't seem to have scratched. The lenses get dirty pretty quickly, but perhaps that comes with the territory when you're wearing big catch-all frames?

Because I liked the glasses, I didn't have a chance to test GlassesUSA's claim that you can return any pair you don't like for free.

5. Overall Conclusion
GlassesUSA offers a good selection of glasses at an "okay" price. Without discounts, their prices and frame options are comparable to what you might find at a brick & mortar eyeglass store in your neighborhood, but without the advantage of trying frames on your actual head. (Note: there IS a virtual try-on feature.) The purchase makes sense where you can use a 50% or 75%-off coupon with free shipping, which would allow you to find a bunch of nice frames under $30.

My final purchase for frames, lenses (with the $19 add-on for anti-glare and UV coating), and shipping cost $83 (which was covered by the GlassesUSA gift certificate). If that money had been coming out of my own pocket, I would have preferred to try glasses on in a store for one of those "buy two Rx frames + lenses for $100" deals eyeglasses stores sometimes offer.

However, to the extent that you can use discounts to get your frames + lenses to under $30 or $40, it seems worth the cost to buy glasses here (as long as you can get free shipping, which I didn't, and free returns, which I didn't test).

I hope this was helpful! Thanks to GlassesUSA for providing a gift certificate to the site, which made this frames/lenses purchase and subsequent review possible. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

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