August 31, 2010

Scenes from a Bridal Shower

My bridal shower was this weekend and it was such fun! It is rare that I get to be with all my female relatives at once and the chance to unite them with Chris's lady loved ones made me even more happy. Although things weren't logistically perfect (parking was an issue because of a nearby street festival we weren't informed about; the seating arrangements were disorganized due to an overwhelmed staff; and the service was slow because the space gave us one fewer server than we were promised for our number of guests) I had an amazing time and felt emotional overwhelm because of all the love and support in the room.

It was thrilling to be surrounded by so many women I adore and their generosity, enthusiasm, and love floored me. I don't know how to adequately let them know how meaningful the day was for me but I hope (as I draft the many thank you notes that I am excited to write) my gratitude was as evident in the moment as it will be in my follow-up correspondence. As an aside, I just love hand written thank you notes. It surprises me that they are becoming such a rarity, with many people opting instead to print canned text onto photo cards. The ghost of Emily Post must be rolling...

I was especially impressed by my little sister who is my Maid of Honor. We are ten years apart and I joked for years when she would ask "when are you getting married?" that I couldn't do so until she was mature enough to execute a shower as my maid of honor. It seemed like she took my gentle ribbing seriously because she was so incredibly organized and poised. Her decision to follow in the footsteps of my very creative and thoughtful schoolteacher mother comes as no surprise. She will make a wonderful teacher just as my mom has! Every time I went home to visit her and my folks, both of them would tell me with such excitement about where they were in the planning process. Although I am used to my mom's ability to execute a party, I am astounded by the woman my sister has become and I couldn't be more proud of her. 

By the time Chris arrived, I was tearing up (for the second time... I full on cried at least once and maybe twice. It is a bit of a blur haha!) and he hugged me reassuringly. My bridal attendant friend Rachel (who originally introduced us!) told us to take a funny photo with the canvas picture of ourselves.

As you can see I wore an Anthropologie ensemble. Bold Boutonnière with Cartography Cardigan. I decided to wear some purple satin flats since my color is purple. The no cut cake was so delicious. I love Bethel Bakery!! And although the service issues at the restaurant produced some challenges, I thought the food was very good. All in all, it was a great time and I am reminded again of how fortunate I am. I have so much to be grateful for and a lot to look forward to. This song plays on a continual loop as I think about all this.
No wonder I get overwhelmed and cry more often now...

August 30, 2010

New Faculty Orientation Outfit

As part of Fashionable Academics' Back to School CFP, I have snapped a few shots of my orientation outfits. I've had to go to many days and many locations of these (even though I realized a lot of the information was redundant, I viewed it as an important ritual and networking opportunity). I realized on the first morning of orientation that the shirts I was planning to wear were stained or wrinkled or just inappropriate. So I wore a subtle See by Chloé printed dress.

It was a little casual but I figured I would be trekking around campus all day and could switch into heels for the fancy welcome dinner that followed immediately after.

The next day I had time to iron my shirt and put together this ensemble from Tibi and Ann Taylor Outlet. 

The third day was much larger and would involve faculty from all across the university so I went a little more conservative with a top by Theory and an Ann Taylor Loft skirt. The shoes are Nine West. I carried my Jenny Yuen Gatsby bag all week. What are you wearing for your first days?

August 26, 2010

Weekend Dinner OOTD: Leifsdottir Dress

I met up with some friends for dinner last Friday and had a blast catching up. It had been far too long and I wish I could post a photo of the fantastic MBMJ dress one of my friends wore. I didn't have my camera, sadly. I wore a repeat of the Cathedral Garden/Curled Zinnea dress by Leifsdottir and paired Anthropologie somewhat uncreatively with more Anthropologie by way of Gabriel Brothers: Delman Mercedes sandals. I carried a bag by Balenciaga.

Tomorrow I'll have an update with the outfits I wore to the various "new faculty" orientations/events this week. Among many other academic bloggers, I am participating in the Fashionable Academics Back to School Conference! Be sure to also check out Panel 1 and the list of participants.

Lastly, the very stylish blog, Breakfast at Gigi's is having a giveaway for a $50 giftcard to anthropologie! Check it out here!

August 25, 2010

My Back to School Indulgence at Larrimor's in downtown Pittsburgh

I've always looked forward to the fall season and not just because of the wonderful clothes. My nostalgia for this time of year stems from my childhood. As the daughter of a schoolteacher, I'd help my mom set up her class room. We'd decorate and assemble welcome kits for her new students. I'd pretend to be the teacher and imagine what it would be like to have my own big desk in the front of the room. Every year when she tells me she is about to embark on this tradition, a part of me wants to drop whatever I am doing and meet her at school. Sadly, this summer was particularly too busy to do such a thing.

The excitement of shopping in anticipation of a new school year is also counted among my fondest memories of summer. It might seem silly or simple but the ritual of stocking up on pens and pencils, being indulged with a brand new big box of Crayons, tucked into a fresh bookbag, picking out the first day of school outfit, and the entire process of preparing for what is to come was always so satisfying to my childhood self. Sure I would lament the end of summer like any other kid, but the newness of everything (teacher, grade, locker, bus rider friends, lunch table mates, etc.) and my curiosity about who would be in homeroom were almost too much to bear by mid-August, anyway.

In a way things haven't changed. I still consider the end of summer to be a bit bitter but mostly sweet. I am thrilled by the transitions that await me. And I still rationalize a few indulgences in my current "back to school" anticipatory ritual. This year's was a bargain found at a very lovely Pittsburgh store.

This Burberry jacket was from the 70% off sale rack at the beautiful and well appointed Larrimor's in downtown Pittsburgh. I stopped by the new space for the first time the other week and was so impressed by the level of service and attention I received even though it was kind of obvious I was only there to scope the sale.

The salesperson was attentive without being intrusive. She informed me of the sales in men's and women's, let me know it would be going on until the stock was gone, and gave me her card. I was pretty excited when I spotted the Burberry jacket hanging in the sale section among a bunch of gorgeous but at the moment for my lifestyle, too-fancy dresses. I was also impressed by the stock. For some reason, I always had an impression that the Pittsburgh shopping institution catered to an older crowd and wouldn't have things to my taste. That wasn't the case at all and a number of the fall arrivals caught my eye. Sadly my budget couldn't justify anything full price. But the experience made me confident that I should return. And it made me already recommend the store to a number of friends.

August 24, 2010

A Weekend Road Trip

(photo from

Three states. One day. Many goals. Last weekend Chris and I were invited to accompany our friends Elaina and Adam to the Homer Laughlin China Company outlet in Newell, West Virginia, where the company factory is also located. Homer Laughlin China manufacturers the iconic and vibrantly colorful Fiesta dinnerware.

We decided to take the scenic route and stop at a number of SWPA's exurban treasures. En route, we stopped at Kretchmar's Bakery in Beaver County.

The strip on which the bakery is located has so many adorable little shops! We couldn't resist posing with this life sized playmobil buddy waiting to greet visitors to a cute little shop called Castle Toys and Games.

Along the Ohio River we passed a massive nuclear power plant.

Just as soon as crossed state lines to arrive in Ohio, we were crossing another bridge to wind up in West Virgina. Once we got there, it was hot but the view along the river was pretty beautiful.

We were greeted by a Fiestaware Garden:

And before we left, we snapped some photos of the incredible mountain of unusable Fiestaware across from the factory.

I am pretty sure they grind this stuff up and reuse it which is why it is so carefully organized by color. We noticed that a lot of the pieces seemed to be pretty in tact from the vantage point of the fence (which I imagine is there to prevent people from rummaging).

We all scored a few exciting pieces and didn't miss out on the chance to snag some mysterious grab bag items on our way out. You can read about Elaina's earlier trip to the outlet which includes photos of outlet finds and delicious donuts, here.

August 23, 2010

Reviews from the Anthropologie Sale Rack

I haven't had a lot of time to visit many stores unrelated to wedding business. But I had a few minutes to stop by Anthropologie following my most recent wedding dress fitting appointment. I justified the indulgence because I was returning the Lanai Breezes Shift I reviewed previously. Because I had limited time, I made a b-line for the sale section. With all-things-bridal on the brain, I immediately grabbed the ethereal, ivory-hued Tea and Sweets dress. I was surprised to see this was sized with the letters SML rather than anything numerical. The above is a medium. I learned it was very stretchy and acceptable, if not a bit low cut. You can see the full slip I wore that day peeking out from the sweetheart neckline of the dress. I wore it so that I could remain modest in the hands of the seamstress and staff at Anne Gregory for the Bride. And I didn't feel like removing it for a quick dressing room run. But I am glad I kept it on so that I feel comfortable sharing this photo. Allowing the dress to be as low cut as it would have been on its own might have required me to add a PG 13 rating to this blog. If I had more time I would have tried the small in this dress though I would have feared the bust shape would have been even skimpier.

Next I tried another ivory garment by Deletta called the Breakfasting Dress. Oh my! I can't help but marvel at how horrible this dress looked on me. I almost didn't want to share the photograph! Another stretchy S/M/L sized dress. I grabbed a medium. Maybe the small would have helped but it is doubtful. I suspect that nothing could have salvaged this dress on me. The fabric is so thick and substantial. It just hung stiffly off my body. I have seen it look good on many but it was a bad scene here.

Cinderella's Hour Chemise was as cute as the long-since sold out key print Simply Inviting Chemise. And the fit was identical. I am wearing a medium. Also pictured is the Precious Metals Cardigan which I loved. I took a medium in this and was about to purchase it because it was definitely a nice value at the sale price. Then I saw a big bright pink lipstick stain on the arm (I don't wear pink lipstick so it wasn't from me). It was the last one of my size in the store so it wasn't meant to be. When I got home it had sold out from the website. Oh well! But it is really soft to the touch and fit true to size.

Lastly, I tried on this mystery skirt from the second cut sale rack. It was $19.99 if I remember correctly, but the sizes were limited. They mostly had larger sizes available if you are looking for it. This is a 6. It fit alright but I might have preferred an 8.

I left empty handed, save for a few unmentionables from the second cut intimates bins. But the sales are pretty good right now! I am curious to see what if anything will be marked down tomorrow!

August 22, 2010

Surreptitious Salon photo

I had a make up trial on Saturday at MCN Salon in East Liberty. This photo was snapped when I had nothing but some eye shadow on. It was a fun morning and the salon space is gorgeous. I was kind of  floored by the volume of attractive customers and staff. Though I'm super happy with my amazing hair stylist, Erin, I really enjoyed getting my make up done in a salon/by a pro for the first time ever. My future mother-in-law was so sweet to suggest this. I was planning to do my own even though I'm not skilled at all in the realm of make up.

August 20, 2010

Repeat OOTD Chloé Van Gogh dress

I recently realized that my outfit pick for the shower is just a tad too short sans tights to sit down and open gifts in front of all my female relatives. So now I am back to the drawing board, trying to decide what would be a good look. I am contemplating wearing this Chloé dress that I wore this week. It is long enough and loose enough in the skirt that I will have some coverage. Here it is shown with Caparro purple satin pumps and a belt from Anthropologie.

August 18, 2010

7th Anniversary Outfit of the Day After

Yesterday the coupledom of Chris and me turned 7 years old! And to celebrate we spent the evening screenprinting reply cards for our wedding invitations. Perhaps it was not the most romantic commemoration but definitely true to us. Low key and without much fanfare. Today we did a few things that were a bit more festive. And I wore something girlie for the occasion.

 Blouse from H&M (bought in Paris in 2005)
Skirt from Anthropologie (via Gabriel Brothers)
Chloe zipper flats
Marc Jacobs quilted Blake handbag

To celebrate our anniversary we bought a few of our favorite cookies (specifically the macaroons from Enrico Biscotti in the Strip District).

(this particular photo was from Chris's bday but the cookies are the same)

We ate delicious tacos from the cart outside of Reyna Foods. But perhaps most exciting, we went to the beautiful City County Building in downtown Pittsburgh to get the paperwork started for our  marriage license.

In PA, because of the legacy of the state's founders, specifically, people of the Quaker faith, it is possible for couples to marry via a license that they self-declare. We will be doing our own "self uniting" ceremony with a dear friend serving as emcee. He will announce (and not pronounce) us to be married. We joked about this distinction and this moderate amount of power while taking the photo at the top of this entry. It is a "self-uniting photo" much like our self-uniting license.

As we raised our right hands to swear the information we had provided in the marriage license interview/paperwork was true, my eyes filled with tears. I was a little overcome when I realized I was in the midst of one of those small yet significant moments you will remember for a lifetime. And it felt so quiet and mundane. So intimate and low key. Also very true to us. The wedding with our family and friends will be wonderful and we are lucky to know so many who wish to celebrate it. But I find these little bits and pieces that are only shared between Chris and me to be equally dear and special.

August 17, 2010

Scalloped hem dress OOTD

I wore this to dinner on Sunday at Chris's mom and stepdad's house. The dress is something I picked up in St. Barths when we went for Thanksgiving in 2007. The belt is from Anthropologie. The shoes are just flea market finds. I hadn't worn the dress in a long time but the scalloped hem and trim reminded me of a lot of recent skirts and dresses from Anthropologie. I am trying to squeeze in as much summer clothing as possible before Labor Day.

BTW, there is a HUGE list of sale items and second/third cuts over at Effortless Anthropologie. Be sure to check it out if you are looking for deals this fine Tuesday! I'm sitting this one out but I'd love to know what others are getting.

August 16, 2010

Tibi Skirt OOTD

Just a quick outfit post. Wore this the other day. Also plan to wear this for one of the many new faculty orientations/dinners/parties to which I've been invited in the next few weeks. Tibi skirt I bought on the Outnet, Sinequanone top I bought in St. Barths, Chloé pumps.


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