September 30, 2010

Scenes from my Bachelorette Party

My bridal attendants are all family, with the exception of my dear friend who introduced me to Chris. Because of this and because of my own personality, it was important that the activities I planned to celebrate my last days of "singledom" (as if living with Chris for five years wasn't a legitimate, committed, and recognizable partnership, in and of itself!) were in good taste and rated PG. There would be no hot pink feather boas. No plastic tiaras. No bedazzled "Mrs. Chris" thong underpants. No cookies or ice cubes in the shape of genitalia. While I don't begrudge those who go that route embracing fully the silliness and fun of bachelorette party culture, I'm 30. And even if I was 21, that route has never been me. Unfortunately, my budget for the event was fairly limited and I forwent the tradition of allowing my attendants to pay. I think they've bore enough economic and planning burdens in finding their own dresses, shoes, etc. with little guidance from me beyond a broad color idea. So a spa weekend or out of town trip were definitely off the table. Instead I opted to book a formal tea service at a local, historic hotel.

The Omni William Penn has hosted tea service in its Terrace Room for decades. Our table overlooked the ornate, grand lobby.

Though the service was a bit slow, the food was delicious. Embarrassingly, we were too hungry to remember to photograph the snacks. But I think it was fun and I will remember it fondly since it was a nice, low key occasion to spend time with my loved ones. Afterwards we worked like a factory to execute the modest favors.

I still need to print up tags with information about the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank but am relieved to have them otherwise completed. We took a quick walk up to the annual Little Italy Days festival in Bloomfield. Then we headed to Oakland to meet up with Chris and the guys. Chris's event was also designed around his tastes and interests.

His brother booked a private room for karaoke (called Norebang) at our favorite Korean restaurant. Food and many Sapporo beers and lively singers combined to produce lots of fun. Above, Chris and I were singing Hall and Oates! To round out the night we went to Gooskis. By then the crowd had thinned out a bit but it was still a wonderful time. I know Chris almost had too much fun and even paid for it with a headache the next morning. Thanks for reading!

September 29, 2010

Men Don't Make Passes At...

New York and Company chambray dress shirt
Lauren Moffatt "Daisy Quarters" skirt
Spanx tights
Salvatore Ferragamo Varinas

I noticed from looking through recent blog posts that I have neglected my beloved glasses for the last few months.  I often do this in summer. The lure of the option to wear non Rx sunglasses during sunny, summertime weather is enticing. This particular summer was exceptionally hot with fewer rainy, dreary days than usual. My decision to wear contacts so often made sense because of it. But on Monday, the weather was cloudy and rainy so the act of putting in contacts felt especially taxing. I decided not to bother.

Then I realized that I hadn't yet taught while wearing my glasses this semester, so I found myself conflicted. Should I wear glasses and potentially provoke student commentary about my looks (which makes me uncomfortable)? Do I want to wear contacts all semester? Ultimately I opted for glasses. And I didn't receive any commentary at all about them, thankfully. 

Although I don't think students pay a lot of attention to what I wear/how I look I do realize they pay some attention. I know this from previous comments and compliments over the years, some of which wound up in my official university evaluations from students. Perhaps this kind of thing should have embarrassed me, because it meant my outfit choices that semester were especially remarkable (in the sense that they were worth remarking about)? At any rate, I do wonder if I push too far the limits of sartorial flexibility afforded to academics. In some ways, I guess it mattered both more and less while I was teaching as a graduate student. And maybe I am over-thinking things entirely. I am prone to that.

What do you think? Those of you who are teachers/profs: do you think carefully about making drastic physical changes during terms/semesters/school years in an effort to minimize commentary from students?

September 28, 2010

Tiered and Ruffled Outerwear is Everywhere!

Yesterday, I took out my Two-Paths trenchcoat for the first time this fall. And while I still adore it, I noticed there are plenty of options for people who might have let this one pass them by. Take a look! My favorite is the purple number from Delia's.

September 27, 2010

Bikes and Maps and an office tour

This weekend was full of Bachelor/Bachelorette Party and wedding prep fun. Thus things fell quiet on the blog. Here is a quick outfit update from Friday (when it was like 90 degrees...ugh! It might sound ungrateful to summer, but I am so ready for fall). I decided long ago to treat the Cartography map print Cardigan like a neutral, despite its print. And I think it looks quite nice with the muted washed navy of the Two-Wheeler shirtdress. I wore it to work and it was a big hit. I'm still trying to figure out how to leave my tripod at home but snap clear, acceptable photos in my office. Anyway, I paired these pieces with a Linea Pelle belt, Burberry jeweled flats, and my Jenny Yuen Gatsby bag, which has become my go-to work bag. It is big, professional enough, understated, lacking in branded fodder/logos, and neutral in color. It made an excellent birthday present from Chris last April and I am thrilled with its usability.

You can see some bonus office decor, in the above shot so I figured I would share the things I've done to make my work space feel more me.

Here you can see one of my shelves. I used some throw-away posters I found in the basement of the basement of the Smithsonian (aka, where my very prestigious predoc fellow office was located during the remodel) to add color. They were from jazz festivals of years previous. I found a pretty feather-filled pillow at Tuesday Morning that matched the purple of the chairs. And I got the rug (which you can see in the first photo) at TJ Maxx. Although my book shelves are currently somewhat sparse, they will be filled further when/if I decide to bring more of my stuff to work.

My desk is a little messy but before I began this job, my mom bought for me a number of pretty metal organizers that keep everything in place. So the mess here is misleading. It is typically quite ordered. I don't have close up photos of the items, sadly. But they were a great gift! You also can see my humongous Dell laptop. I'm a Mac gal so using this machine has been quite the adjustment.  But I am glad to have something new and portable to supplement my Macbook! I hung above my desk some framed prints from Paris. I bought them in Montmartre. On the far right hangs an excerpt from an older map of Pittsburgh (specifically, my neighborhood). Hung kind of crudly with sticky tack, are some more finds from the Smithsonian. These were from the Archives Center where I spent the bulk of my predoc research time. They're all advertising history pamphlets for various iconic American brands.  Lastly, you will see that I  brought a lamp from home because the lighting in an office can be so garish. I should have turned it on for this photo!

This is my new friend who chirps outside my window, at least until winter. He is nicknamed Dr. Chippy, to remind me that although I have a job I like, I need to finish my degree/dissertation asap. If Dr. Chippy can do it, so can I. Thanks for reading!

September 24, 2010

Another Anthro Mystery Item: Ruffle Skirt

This tiered ruffle skirt by Girls from Savoy is still not up on the website for some reason but it has been in my store for weeks. It is a stretchy knit wool material, unlined, with a pull on waistband. It is sized s/m/l. I tried on a medium and it was definitely too snug. I should have sized up to the large and I would if I was going to buy it. I like the ruffle details but I already have dresses similar to this skirt.

The multi-neutral colored ruffles reminded me a bit of this Marc by Marc Jacobs Dita dress from a few seasons back. I have long coveted the taupe/gold version seen here on Blair Waldorf.

I have the plain black one:

(photo taken while I was teaching in Feb. 2009)

The Anthro skirt's ruffles also brought to mind this other Marc by Marc Jacobs dress from a while back. The skirt is really cute and versatile but because I feel like I already have similar pieces I have no interest in it.

 (photo from 2008)

What do you think? Will you wishlist this one once it is on the website? For another perspective on fit and quality, you can see Kim from Anthroholic's review here.

September 23, 2010

What I Wore for the Last Day of Summer

I coveted this Marc by Marc Jacobs Floating Lotus dress when I first tried it on at the opening of the Washington PA Tanger Off Fifth Saks Outlet. When I went there last weekend to see their clearance, this was left behind. I snagged it for an excellent deal and paired it with a ruffle crop cardigan from the Gap and Chloé flats. My hair sort of looks crazy. I went to bed with it wet because I was exhausted. And I took these photos at 7 in the morning, so I was still tired with my hair was still wet. The parts that were dry were a little wacky looking. haha The good news was by the end of the day, the extreme humidity led my hair to curl even more than usual. I am excited to get a haircut tomorrow with Erin. The layers really need to be made back into layers since they've grown out. Excuse the bleariness and blurriness of these photos, btw! :)

I chose it because it was going to be 87 degrees and it was also the very last hours of summertime. I will soon pack this springy number away but wanted to wear it at least once before that happens.

September 22, 2010

Mystery Bird Dress from Anthropologie

Last week I ended up in the Mt. Lebanon Anthropologie after my dress appointment and was shown a new item that I haven't yet seen on the website (maybe I overlooked it). If you have info on this dress, please share it! It is beautiful and although I liked it very much, I didn't buy it. I can't recall which in house brand made it. Maybe Floreat? It has a thick canvas type linen fabric and a pretty obi belt. But the best part is by far the beautiful birds and print. I am such a sucker for a print and for birds and this combines both!

I tried on an 8 which ended up being too small. I didn't grab the next size up because I was sort of in a hurry. But the 8 fit ok in the bust and waist. The main issue with it was the hips. They ran narrow. For this silhouette I should have predicted a narrower fit that would necessitate the need for a bigger size. The length is refreshing because it is a bit longer. The sleeves were pleated and cut in a way that seemed complimentary to many body types.  And the deep colors of the printed fabric will work so beautifully for fall! I will wishlist this as soon as I can figure out what it is named. What do you think?

September 21, 2010

My Delicates Haul from the Anthropologie Sale!

I was enamored of so many pretty sets this summer but with the wedding coming up, I tried to restrain myself. Even though a number of my favorites ended up selling out online, I managed to score a few in store for great deals! The Empire State set was available in my size and others at the Pittsburgh Bakery Square store. I was thrilled to find it for a discount!

And the Poppy Seed set received second cuts last week! I got both the stripes and the flowers because the sets became so reasonable after mark downs. I wonder why these items remained so plentiful in my local stores, even though they were clearly coveted on the website? At any rate, I was excited about these pretty finds.

Wedding Annals: Giving Back

In the spirit of acknowledging the great privilege it is to throw a wedding, and with a desire to give back to a community that has provided the backdrop for our relationship, Chris and I decided to organize a benefit concert. The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is an organization with an objective to combat local hunger. What is most impressive is their ability to do so in a most efficient way. Their operating costs are minimal compared to the aid and services they provide to families and individuals in need.

Theirs is a cause we have supported for years and one that we hope transcends political ideology. We chose it because food has been central to our coupling. So many of our memories from travel and from our early courtship involve food we have cooked and food we have shared.  Hunger is an issue that we hope will not divide or offend our wedding guests, who come from a variety of ideological perspectives. With information about the Food Bank and website, our guests will receive a modest but classic favor of jordan almonds (in addition to being invited to indulge in our Pittsburgh cookie table, complete with take home boxes) because we decided to utilize some of those funds for this donation.

The benefit will occur on the Saturday a week before the wedding. Our dear friends who are members of local bands have generously agreed to perform. Other friends who work for the organization will be in attendance to speak about the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Admission is $6 or $4 with a bag of canned goods. Everyone is welcome. Hope to see you there!

September 20, 2010

Recent Outfit Post: Curled Zinnias and Precious Metals

I was so excited when the Precious Metals cardigan went on a quick sale. The big bow was so fun but the price tag was too high at retail. I wore the above to my most recent dress fitting for the wedding. Precious Metals cardigan from Anthropologie; Leifsdottir dress via Gilt; Chie Mihara Lumi flats; Spanx tights; and my Larrimor's Burberry score.

My future mother-in-law came with me and got to see the dress in person for the first time. I was excited to show her the beautiful space and selection at Anne Gregory. And I was thrilled that she loved my dress as much as I do! Afterwards, we had cocktails at Mitchell's in the Galleria and stopped by Anthropologie. It was a very fun afternoon! I don't have a lot of time to update with the wedding fast approaching but I hope to do an entry this week that is wedding-focused.  And write a bit more than just a fast snapshot and outfit description. We'll see if I can find the spare time.

Regardless, thank you for bearing with me while I try to keep things active around here even though I lack the time to write more thoughtful and involved posts.

September 19, 2010

Brief Meeting Blazer Review

I've been on the hunt for the right professorial jacket/sportcoat and although I am leaning toward the Alma Mater jacket, I am not yet convinced. So the hunt continues. It might be sold out on the website but the Brief Meeting Blazer was available in my local store this week so I was excited to see why people were clamoring to buy this one. It unabashedly drew inspiration from a much more expensive Elizabeth and James blazer that I missed out on when it was for sale. See reviews from Effortless Anthrpologie here and Goldenmeans here.

The jacket fit on the smaller side of things. I tried a 10 and it pulled a little at the bust. The fabric was pretty soft but not stretchy. Light enough to wear in fall but the dark navy color made it winter appropriate. Quality wise, it didn't strike me as any nicer than something you could find Banana Republic or Ann Taylor Loft. The design of it must be enough to make it sell out before sale time. I have it wishlisted in case it makes it to sale in stores but am going to let this one go for full price.

September 17, 2010

Quick Outfit of the Day

I have to be honest, I am not wearing this today. I wore it Wednesday when I remembered to bring my point and shoot to the office. I was curious about the lighting and the setup. I didn't bring my tripod so the angle is weird and the lighting is TERRIBLE. Seriously cannot recall if I've ever looked more sickly... and my hair has a great cast of green to it. But my first OOTD taken from my very own office had to be shared...

Wearing Nanette Lepore dress, tights from the end of season sale at Anthropologie last winter, Chloe lock flats, and a Charter Club cardigan. 

BTW don't forget to enter my Anthropologie Gift Card Giveaway

September 16, 2010

Refined Cord(uroy) Reed Shirtdress Review

Like many I loved the simple 1950s inspired shape of last spring's Reed Shirtdress. When it was released in corduroy for fall as the Refined Cord Shirtdress, I was a bit hesitant because what I liked about the silhouette from before was its lightness.

Though this photo is a little blurry, you can see how the wind gives it movement. It moves really nicely and the heaviness of a cord might negate that. I tried on an 8 this week and was surprised that it seemed less poofy than the Reed. Perhaps the heaviness of the corduroy streamlined the skirt? Regardless, I found this to run larger than the earlier version. The elastic panel in the back of the Refined Cord is much stretchier than it's previous iteration. The metal buttons are really nice and the cord is thick and durable. I am not sure that I will buy this since I have the Reed in a solid and a plaid, but it is definitely a great dress that fits a bit larger than the other.

September 15, 2010

Bird Skirt OOTD and Obscured Floral review

I made a quick trip to Anthropologie to see if the Dagmar Shirtdress or the Sugar and Cream dresses were pieces I wanted to own now that they were on sale. I ended up leaving empty handed but snapped a quick outfit photo. I wore a bird skirt that I purchased at the local indie craft extravaganza, the Hand Made Arcade a few years back.

You can see the bird a bit better here. The skirt itself was made from a recycled pair of brown dress pants from Old Navy! I paired it with a cropped ruffle cardigan from the Gap, an Old Navy tank top, some Hue tights and  Delman's Wonder striped suede flats.

I tried on Dagmar in a size 8, like I had wanted but it was a little large. The 6 was still a little small. Goldilocks fit conundrum strikes again! I also grabbed the Obscured Floral Dress by Deletta.

This is a medium. I wished I had grabbed the small. The fabric is stretchy and has give. The pockets are nice. The v is cut a little deep and has ample room for an ample bosom. The hips are roomy. The waist isn't tight. I'd say this runs large. I was able to get it off and on without realizing I hadn't unzipped the side zipper. I love this print and it can be easily winterized. But I passed anyway.


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