July 31, 2011

Summer safari OOTD

Anthro top
Lauren Moffatt skirt (via Gabriel Brothers)
J. Crew cardigan
Chloé flats

I look so dour in these photos. I don't know why. I didn't have a bad day or anything. It has dawned on me that the summer months are passing swiftly. But this doesn't upset me beyond the usual, "omg there was so much more I needed to get done" panic that seems to be a constant in the life of an academic. Though we are approaching the final weeks of summer, I comfort myself with the fact that my favorite season is around the corner! I noticed that I look sort of racoonish in these dour pics, which is a good lesson to either remove my sunglasses if I'm going to be outside or make more of an effort with make up. Anyway, I took a photo of my bracelets.

I'm not throwing a proper arm party but the proliferation of bloggers sporting arm parties has influenced me just enough. I wore this outfit to the Strip District and to get some lunch. I know it seems crazy in this weather to have a cardigan (no matter how short-sleeved) but I promise that too many restaurants keep things just frigid enough to need one.

July 28, 2011

Before I send back to Bloomingdales...

See by Chloé dress

Is anyone interested in these dresses (obviously both are new with tags and authentic)? Both are size 10. One runs small (the See by Chloé) and the other runs large (the Kate Spade). I got good deals on them and would ask what I paid. Kate Spade was 60% off and SbC was 75% off. If interested, please email me at jesspgh at gmail dot com.

July 27, 2011

Vintage Grand Prix

Speaking of math being hard, Elaina and I referred to this as the Barbie car.

Every year Chris tries to convince me to attend the Vintage Grand Prix with him in Schenley Park. And every year it is held on a sweltering weekend in July during which I cannot muster enthusiasm for anything other than the Polish Hill Pool (and maybe some popsicles). Not to be some "math is hard" lady stereotype but I don't know anything about cars and I don't really plan to change that in the near future. So I have managed to avoid Pittsburgh's Vintage Grand Prix for the entire duration of my relationship and my life before it.

This year that changed because my friend Elaina invited me to go. Her parents show their MG with the British cars in the show. Chris was so excited to finally attend this event with me AND to hang out with people who actually show a car in the event. The MG happens to be his favorite classic car but in general, he just likes anything that involves nerding out with a dad. It seems that dads everywhere adore Chris because of his nerdy enthusiasm for a broad array of dad-friendly subjects.

Even though it was hot, I actually had fun at the Vintage Grand Prix. Elaina's mom was kind enough to pack a picnic full of snacks that she set up underneath a big tree. And Elaina's dad was happy to walk around with Chris, discussing car things. I might even agree to go again next summer when Chris inevitably asks if I want to.

July 26, 2011

Scenes from Maine

It has taken me forever to write about Maine. This was my first trip into New England (outside of Boston) and I very much enjoyed it. The parts of Maine I saw were beautiful and temperate, full of farms and small businesses. A lot of the quaintness I envisioned from being an avid Gilmore Girls fan rang true (albeit in a less comical and exaggerated way). I loved the sleepy beach towns south of Portland, near Kennebunk and Old Orchard Beach. And Portland itself seemed like such a cool place to live! I wish I had explored it with the thoroughness I usually dedicate when I am not traveling with my dog. I was glad to have Speck with me but the anxiety I felt about requesting her admittance to place after place meant that I went into fewer places than normal.

We could have probably left her at the place we stayed but it made me nervous. You see, we were cat-sitting for some friends at their historic farmhouse. The home is in the process of being rehabilitated and things are pretty rustic. No locks on the doors. No electricity outside of the kitchen. Plenty of dangerous places currently under construction on which a curious pup might hurt herself. And she was a nervous Nellie, in an unfamiliar place. Leaving her at home made her (and me) too worried. So we brought her everywhere. We even bought her a ticket to ride the ferry! And picked only beaches where she was permitted.

For the Fourth of July weekend, we bought live lobsters from a stand at a gas station. They were $5.99/lb.

We took in many sights and ate a lot of seafood. We visited many farm stands and tried to buy as much fresh cheese and produce as possible. We also found so many delicious homemade ice cream shops. Overall, Maine was a wonderful place and I hope we can someday return. I am glad we had the chance to visit for a few days. You can see more photos after the jump.

July 25, 2011

Hair on my mind

For my entire post-adolescent life, I have had a love/hate relationship with my hair. In the early 90s, it was never straight enough to necessitate a perm, but never curly enough for me to not want one anyway. In the late 90s, it wasn't big enough to be "Carrie Bradshaw big" and it was too prone to frizzing (especially in the humid climate of Pittsburgh) for it to behave when I straightened it with blow dryers and round brushes (remember, this was an era before the ubiquity of the flat iron). At the turn of the millennium, I began experimenting with short, blunt styles, boxed hair dyes, and many-a-self-inflicted-bang-trims-gone-bad. Within the last few years I decided to grow it long again (in elementary school one of my idols was Crystal Gail and I kept the longest hair I could grow in little kid homage to her).

While my 20s were about experimentation and forging a sense of independence, my early 30s have been mostly about acceptance. I accept that my nose has a large bump that I don't have to hide behind in hipster glasses (although there are plenty of days when I do so anyway). I accept that my thighs have always touched (the source of my dreaded summer chub rub... thank goodness for cotton bike shorts). I accept that my skin still breaks out, just as lines around my eyes and mouth begin to deepen. And I accept that my hair will never be like Lauren Conrad's or Kelly Kapowski's or Jennifer Aniston's. It has always been too thick and unruly for me to emulate Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and the legions of women she inspired.

So now I just go with it. I use curl-friendly shampoos, try to wash only a few times a week, and condition excessively. I keep a diffuser attachment on hand and hot rollers for those days when the mane must be appropriately tamed. Though it never looks as great as it does after a day at the beach, accepting its moderate chaos has been liberating.

When a representative from Misikko.com contacted me, asking if I would review their top hair dryer, I was flattered and eager. They sent me a product from their HANA line (the HANA Air Hair Dryer) and it arrived swiftly. I used it the first day I was back from Maine. The package came with all sorts of goodies!

My hair typically takes forever to blow-dry. Because I am lazy I often leave it to air dry (especially in the heat of summer). But air drying is never ideal for my heavy thick hair. If I air dry, the roots dry last and I'm left without height or body (but plenty of flyaways). When I do use a hair dryer, to save myself from the boredom, I usually towel dry, then hit the roots with a medium heat for five minutes, and let the natural air do the rest.

The HANA is the most powerful and efficient hair dryer I've ever used. I was thrilled with how quickly it worked. Even on a very hot day, I could handle being underneath it on the medium heat setting. And afterwards I was pleased with how voluminous and shiny my hair looked. Because I had also used a new shampoo that day, I decided to give it a few more times, so that I could pinpoint the source of this really good hair. And indeed it was the hair dryer. Some general thoughts: The extra long cord is so great. It really allowed me to maneuver the dryer more easily since it is far longer than my previous dryer's cord. It is a little heavier than your average hair dryer but not so heavy that it starts to wear on you during use. There is a convenient button that offers a cool burst of air if you are using a higher heat setting and need a break. It looks super sleek and comes with an attachment shown below.

Thank you, Brian at Missiko for sending one my way. If any readers are in the market for a hair dryer or flat iron, the coupon code HANA10 will take $10 off any Hana purchase from Misikko.

One trick pony

Juicy Couture dress from Gabriel Brothers (years ago)
Delman wedges
Anthro blouse and belt

I keep expecting the heat to break and I keep finding things that look nice with the back porch blouse so I am indeed a one trick pony lately. When I'm not wearing cover-ups, cotton skirts, or my favorite Old Navy shorts with a tank top, I'm wearing some version of the above.

July 21, 2011

And the sky was made of amethyst

Amhara skirt
Ann Taylor Loft top
Baggu bag
 Amethyst pendant necklace (c/o Anjolee)
Chloé flats

Although my birth stone is technically the diamond, I have been devoted to the color purple for as long as my relatives can remember. My aunt loves to remind me of the haphazard kiddo pronunciation I would employ as a toddler (which sounded more like "poupull" than purple). So I was excited to be contacted by the folks from Anjolee when they asked me if I would review an amethyst and diamond necklace. Their unique website offers customizable pieces (diamond necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets, etc.) that you can design based on your preferences. I selected a white gold necklace with an amethyst and diamond pendant (though, in this case the "diamonds" from my necklace are actually cubic zirconia). It arrived in a very shiny wooden box and I couldn't wait to wear it.

Since then, I've paired the necklace with so many different types of outfits, both dressy and casual. Here I paired it with a skirt from Anthropologie and a top from Ann Taylor Loft. In wearing it, I've noticed a few things that I am happy to share for the review. While I love the look of the very delicate, simple chain, the clasp is tiny and a little difficult to fasten without the assistance of a friend. I have no trouble removing it myself. The amethyst pendant stays front-facing most of the time and the clasp of the necklace didn't seem to migrate toward it. It looks really nice with other silver-toned/white gold jewelry, so I enjoy layering the piece with things I already have. This necklace would make a lovely bridesmaids gift or occasion present. I know I loved receiving one!

Anjolee have expressed interest in hosting a giveaway for my readers in the near future so be sure to keep an eye out for that! Thanks for reading!

July 19, 2011

A Tail of Two Fits: Sale Goggles Strike Again

Two silk dresses from See by Chloé

I have blogged my growing interest in the prints and styles of diffusion line, See by Chloé before. And I think I have also blogged my frustrations over how erratic sizing can be for women's clothes, even within the same brand. This story is about both and sale goggles are to blame. Although I haven't been shopping much lately the various sales eventually became too tempting to skip.

Not long ago I had some killer stackable coupons for bloomingdales.com. With them I stocked up on practical things like hosiery and underwear. But I also threw in this dress.

As usual it was the least practical of my purchases that excited me most. When the dress arrived, I marveled at its deep shade of plummy purple (my favorite color!) and immediately put it on to find that it was too small. I had ordered a size up to account for the straighter cut through the hips but it was still too small. And it was such a great deal that I haven't returned it yet (thanks in part to their relaxed return policy and because I am debating whether I should pass along the deal I got or keep and turn into a top... I will probably just return).

Fast forward to last weekend. Outnet.com announced their weekend shop-in promotion that applied only to See by Chloé stock. The dress I had coveted was suddenly reduced further from the clearance price.

With my recent experience reminding me of SbC's odd fits, I studied the product measurements (as I find them to be typically reliable). The size I needed was still in stock so I ordered it. It arrived quickly (as Outnet stuff always does) and I tore into the box to see how it looked. Although the print was as pretty as ever, the word tent didn't even begin to describe the cut. The measurements were off by 6 inches in some places!

I can't win this month, but I guess I can keep singing my "I'm barely shopping" tune on the technicality. In this era of mass production and technological development why is standardization in sizing such a lofty dream?

Pittsburgh Shopping Guide: Men's

Not long ago I was contacted by a producer at CBS Local to create digital content for the KDKA.com/CBSPittsburgh website. My first article went live today! If you are a Pittsburgher, ex-pat, or visitor who is interested in Pittsburgh shopping, be sure to check it out and share with your friends!

July 18, 2011

Weekend Dinner Outfit

Anthro dress and top
MBMJ pumps

I know I say this all the time but I feel so swamped right now with work/academic writing that I can't blog in-depth or come up with interesting outfits. This is basically the same thing I wore the other week but with a swapped dress. It was from before Maine which is why I am not as tan. And it evidences how far behind I am on blog posts. Forgive my backlog and brevity!

July 16, 2011

In which I dress the colors of a watermelon

I wore this to the pool (though I did have the forethought to put in my contacts after I snapped this photo). The local city pools are such a great deal if you can get into a "pool family." Basically a bunch of us go in for group passes and spend about $15 each for unlimited access! I haven't had a lot of time to go yet this year. But I hope to correct that soon enough! I'm headed back today and maybe tomorrow. It should help me maintain my Maine tan. :)

The shirt is something I bought in Rio from an adorable little shop called Cecilia Brandao. It features an image of the street car that takes you from the steep hills of Santa Theresa, into downtown.

Chris bought a shirt there too, and he wore his right away.

It's also related to the street car, as it features one of the more harrowing parts of the route. I've posted this photo before but it is one of my favorites from our trip. It was taken right after the street car kind of quit on us. It did so shortly following the Los Arcos De Lapa aquaduct it must traverse before it reaches the station.

(image from this fantastic blog featuring old post cards, here)

The historic street car is the oldest trolley of its kind in all of South America. And it is an incredible bargain! So even though it feels a little dangerous when you are going across the very high aqueduct, it is definitely a worthwhile experience. 

My khanga sarong scarf is also from Brazil. I am kind of dying to go back, if you can't tell. :)

July 14, 2011

What I ended up wearing to the faculty retreat

Ancient Myths maxi skirt
Limited (via Gabes) dress shirt
Delman wedged sandals (via Gabes, via Erin of Shoe Love)

I was very grateful for the input everyone offered about the appropriate attire for a faculty retreat. It became clear that if I wore the Babergh, I was going to be too dressed up and uncomfortable for a full day of strategic planning meetings in July. People were dressed less casually than I predicted so I fit right in, wearing the cotton Theory dress on day one. But I noticed many of my female colleagues wearing bright colors and maxi skirts with sandals. For day two, I took their lead. It was less hot and I was quite comfortable! I feel a little stumpy to be wearing a maxi length, but I love the print so much that I decided to keep this skirt.

July 12, 2011

Dinner Outfit

Anthro dress and top
Michael Kors bag
Misc bracelets

I wore a plain black cotton dress (see me wearing it last year, here) to day one of the faculty retreat today. I am glad I went with that and not the dressier Babergh so thank you all for the feedback! The other night I wore this to dinner with some friends. To be honest I removed the layer pretty quickly because even into the evening, it was just too hot!

I am exhausted so that's all for now. Thanks for reading!

July 11, 2011

Faculty Retreat

Babergh dress
Anthro cardi from like.. 2005 or 2006ish?
Chie Mihara pumps

I have to attend some meetings on campus this week and am trying to determine what to wear. I like this outfit but I feel like I will probably be a little overdressed. Especially for summer time when campus is pretty quiet and most of the students are off. I worry I will show up and everyone else will be in Tevas and cargo shorts or something. The higher ups will be in attendance so I think I would rather be more rather than less formal. What do you think?

July 10, 2011

Maine-ly abstaining from shopping

I was in Maine for the last 10 days or so (if you count the time spent driving) and as much as I enjoyed it, I am really glad to be home. I will write about the trip later on but one of the things I got to do en route was stop by the renown Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets in New York. It made a logical halfway point for a break in the drive and I was eager to visit a place I had heard about for so long. Although the store selection was overwhelming, I had limited time and was traveling with Chris and Speck, the dog. For this reason I chose the stores I wanted to visit carefully and browsed swiftly. I was able to visit Chloé, Balenciaga, Barneys, Off Fifth, Neiman Marcus Last Call, and Kate Spade. If I had unlimited time, I would have also gone into Prada, Burberry, and Tory Burch.

I was surprised by how dog friendly most of the stores were! Speck accompanied us into Barneys, Off Fifth, and Kate Spade. In Barneys they even gave her a bowl with fresh water! I didn't buy anything except for some road snacks from Off Fifth (thanks to the Mystery Money promo, they were basically free). I did see a dress I've coveted for a while in the Chloé outlet, but even the outlet discounts were too spendy for my budget.

Maine itself was kind of a clothes shopping desert, save for Portland in which cute stores abound but I didn't shop... even the outlets in Freeport where the L.L. Bean flagship store is located had nothing I wanted. I did buy plenty of food, though. Ice cream, lobster, farm fresh cheeses and produce, etc. I didn't succumb to vacation goggles OR outlet goggles. Both can skew tastes with the lure of the novel. I did buy some things at the New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlet. But libations are different. :)

July 04, 2011

Burnt Orange, Ivory, and Blue

I caved. Found a great deal in my size on Ebay. Then it went on supersale on the katespade.com website so I would have caved anyway. What's more American than being excessive and indulgent? Sort of kidding... I'm not the best at being a patriot when hard-pressed. But I did feel a lot of national pride when I stumbled into a restaurant that stocks the Coppola Winery Sofia (which is blanc de blanc in a pink can with the most technologically advanced straw I've ever used).

Ever since I heard that this absolutely ridiculous product existed, I've wanted to check it out. It was decent. I wouldn't spend restaurant mark-up prices for it ever again, but if it was on special at the liquor store, I might bite again because of the novelty.

Hope you have a Happy Fourth!


Related Posts with Thumbnails