Friday, April 29, 2011

Beach Weekend

I'm headed off to the beach with Cary and some friends this weekend, and I'm running late with the packing, so there's only time for two pictures and about four more sentences today. This outfit meets all my requirements of beach trip fashion: airy, nautical (check out my belt), low maintenance, and comfy in the car. Hopefully I will have some beach pictures to share on Sunday evening. Got to run - the luggage is staring at me, demanding I put it in the car. (See, four more sentences!)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sweet Home Alabama

Reasons to dress down on a Thursday:
  1. I'm grading papers at home. The only people who will see me today are the people in the grocery store, the cats, Cary (who can't get rid of me), my sister and brother-in-law (who can't get rid of me), and my friends Jose and Adrienne (who could get rid of me but probably won't).
  2. It's 90 degrees out.
  3. Apparently the Apocalypse has arrived in the South in the form of ginormous tornadoes. While I wasn't anywhere near the insane damage that happened yesterday, the same storm system is coming my way today. I don't think we're supposed to see tornadoes, but inclement weather calls for comfortable clothes.
Seriously, did y'all see the footage of those tornadoes in Alabama? My aunt and cousin live in Birmingham, and I spent a good hour thinking they might have been sucked up by the 1.5-mile-wide tornado that ripped through town. They weren't (although they did spend some quality time hanging out in their basement). And I was just in Tuscaloosa, home of the University of Alabama, a city which is completely devastated now. The people there were so gracious and the town is lovely. Since I live in another Southern college town, Tuscaloosa is especially on my mind today.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

One Dress Three Ways: On Campus

Yesterday, I went into Target, intending to buy shorts or a cute top for my upcoming trip to the beach this weekend. Instead, I bought this dress. I had sternly ordered myself not to buy any more dresses for a while, but as soon as I saw this one, I knew it would be well worth the $20 it cost. It's black, which is a flexible color, and it's jersey, which is a flexible fabric, and it's drapey, which means it can be dressy or casual. So I bought it, and am challenging myself to wear it three different ways in the next week. The above shot shows you what it looks like unadorned (as well as the lovely concrete slab that is my back porch).

Here's how I wore it today:


This is a pretty casual look, good for relaxed days on campus like today. I would probably wear this to teach as well, sneakers and all. I would definitely have to think of some other way of covering my shoulders if I were going to be outside much though, because The Heat and Humidity have arrived in the Deep South. If you've ever been here in the summer, you know why they deserve capital letters. It's That Hot and Humid. 93 degrees in April, y'all.

I also wanted to share a picture of the bracelet I'm wearing today. This was my grandmother's (as was my dogwood blossom necklace, but I couldn't get a good picture). Her name was Tunie, and this bracelet was a gift from a guy named Ed, whose name is engraved on the inside. I love wearing it and thinking about what a heartbreaker she must have been - she was a model, as well as Miss Greenville, South Carolina in the '40s - and wondering what happened to poor Ed, who, sadly for him, did not turn out to be my grandfather.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Whip My Hair (Or, You Know, Pin It Severely. Either Way.)


Check it out, y'all! My hair is in a teeny ponytail! Yay! I haven't been able to put my hair in a ponytail in almost five years. I loved having short-short hair, but being able to do stuff with it again is so much fun. Sure it needs a scarf and several bobby pins to help it (did you know they make blonde bobby pins now?), but it's up and I'm excited.

Also, notice how I'm color-blocking my accessories again? My scarf is turquoise and my shoes are green. I think this is a step up from color-blocking my shoes with my jewelry, which I did last week. Maybe next week I'll give actual pieces of clothing a try. I've got one toe in the water, y'all. One step at a time.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Siren Call


I bet this outfit is not exactly what you expected when you read the title of this post, is it? The truth is, I casualed out today after spending most of this past weekend dressed up for Easter. On Saturday, I wore a sundress to Cary's family's Easter dinner, and yesterday, I wore pretty much exactly the same thing as I wore on Friday. So today, after all that dressing up, and on the first student-free half-day of the between-semester break, I couldn't resist the siren call of my jeans and sneakers.

Is this my most creative outfit ever? No. Am I wearing these jeans for approximately the 87th time since I bought them a month ago? Yes. But I was comfy for the office work I had to do today, and I felt cool. (Not temperature cool though - it was 90 degrees here today, yuck.) I promise I'll wear something more interesting tomorrow.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Graduation, Inspiration

Brian's Etsy shop (Happy birthday, Brian!)

The end of the semester at any university is a time full of pomp and circumstance. Commencements happen left and right at my giant state university, and everyone always knows someone graduating (in my case, it's my brother-in-law Mike, from pharmacy school. Congrats, Dr. Mike!). The program in which I work is a transitional program for international students to improve their English before continuing their education elsewhere, so no one ever really graduates. As a result, we have a commencement ceremony at the end of every semester and recognize everyone, whether they're returning or not.

Commencement was this morning and since I'm one of the hand-shakers, I wanted to look nice. I normally wear flowery dresses and skirts to spring commencement, but today I switched it up a little. I borrowed liberally from Jessica at Monster Cakes, who wore something very similar yesterday and looked adorable. I added some new nude heels, a trend that I was reluctant to embrace at first, but am seeing the benefits of now. Hello, longer-appearing legs!

And now, some Friend Friday inspirational questions for this inspirational commencement day:

1. What celebrity/celebrities do you look to for fashion inspiration? I tend to draw more inspiration from real life people and other bloggers, but my favorite sartorial celebrity is Audrey Hepburn. Everything she wore was timeless and figure-flattering. I like to wear feminine, simple clothes like hers.

2. When it comes to your own personal style, what inspires you? Reading other blogs really inspires me. Since joining the blogging community, I've taken a lot more fashion risks (for me) because I can watch others try them out first. I also grew up with a very fashionable mother and grandmother; in fact, my grandmother was a model in the '40s. They both taught by example that caring about style isn't shallow or silly, but an important part of taking care of and expressing yourself.

3. How do you hope to inspire your readers? I hope to show my readers what I just described learning from my mother and grandmother. Too often in academia, fashion is associated with shallowness. Serious academic women wear serious academic clothes, and style is left to the sororities. I just don't think that has to be true. I have a master's degree and I work in a highly accredited program at a highly accredited university; if I can wear cute clothes, everyone can.

4. Outside the realm of fashion, who/what inspires you? Well, my husband inspires me. He's intelligent and passionate about his field of work (and really, life in general), and fearless about trying new things. I tend to be more cautious, so his willingness to give anything a try inspires me to do the same. I've already described how my mom inspires me, but my dad does too. He is a real renaissance man - an engineer who writes music and take pictures and reads Dostoevsky, and a great example of pursuing a life of many interests. Finally, my students inspire me. The courage it takes to move to a new country is immense, and they all adapt with enthusiasm and an open-minded approach to their host culture. I want to be equally brave and flexible when I travel.

5. And since Idol is ending, what songs inspire you? I've always been inspired by the Beatles - I've listened to them so much, I feel like they're old friends. (If you're reading this, Sir Paul McCartney, I think we could be friends in real life. Please?) I'd say "Blackbird" is their most inspiring song for me. Blackbird singing in the dead of night/Take these broken wings and learn to fly/All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise. How could you not be inspired by that?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pigtails to Work


I've been growing my hair out for a couple of months now, and it's finally long enough to do something other than hang there. It's not quite ponytail or braid length yet, but it is long enough for pigtails. I've been pulling it back this way to go to the gym and when I'm at home, but I haven't tried it for work. Mostly, I think pigtails are out of place for grown-ups with jobs, but today was a very casual day (no classes, only grading, and only for half a day) and the temptation to do something with my hair overpowered me. So here you have it: pigtails to work. I'm waiting for the fashion gods to smite me.

I tried to avoid looking 12 years old by adding a scarf (recognize my belt from Tuesday?) and not wearing overalls (which are on the racks in Target now, FYI). I'm not sure if I succeeded, but I felt cute and no one asked me where my mother was when I stopped in the grocery store on the way home.

What do y'all think? Are pigtails okay for adults? How casual is too casual?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Last Day of School


Today was the last day of class for this semester, and the day when all my grades were due for my ESL classes. And since it's the end of the semester, this week has also been the week for people with problems who want my help solving them RIGHT NOW. Everyone with a toothache, cancelled flight, petty disagreement with their roommate, or weird rash has been in my office from the time I arrive until the time I see a chance to escape and flee to my car all week, leaving me no time to grade anything. I had to go in at 8:00 this morning and lock myself in my office to get it all done. Add in the fact that I had a job interview on Monday, and I'm surprised I'm not passed out at my desk right now, with a group of students throwing a battering ram at my office door.

So for today, I wanted an outfit with minimal thinking required. Yay for dresses, the insta-outfit. This dress is pretty warm, so I think this will be its last outing until late fall. I'm glad I got one more wear in today. I also stuck my toe into the pool of color blocking - you see how my shoes are yellow, my bracelet is orange, and my necklace is coral? I think that counts as very subtle color blocking, don't you? Maybe someday I will progress to actual articles of clothing being color blocked, not just accessories. But that is for a day with better functioning neurons, and that day was just not today.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shoes R $8.88

A couple of months ago, my mom told me that she had gone to a store in my hometown called Shoes R $8.88 and had discovered that my junior high boyfriend was the manager there. Our relationship was short-lived, as most relationships between 13-year-olds are, but included such memorable moments, like our English class's production of Romeo and Juliet, in which we were the title characters. There's nothing quite as romantic having your first kiss in a school hallway while ostensibly "practicing" for the hands-down worst Shakespeare performance of all time. And I do mean the very worst - among many mishaps, Romeo forgot his entire suicide monologue, simply saying, "I die," and lay down on the floor like a person getting into bed instead of dying of self-poisoning. Everyone told me I stole the show, but I think that was a nice way of saying that I was the least awful. After all, I memorized my lines, which couldn't be said for poor Romeo.

So when Cary and I went to visit my parents last weekend, I knew I needed to go to Shoes R $8.88 and see what ol' Romeo was up to. So Mama and I went, and there was Romeo, managing away. He even greeted me by saying, "But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?" which was very impressive considering how many lines he forgot on the night of the actual performance 14 years ago. We chatted for a few minutes and he seemed to be doing well, thinking about going back to school in a variety of fields. And then I felt obligated to buy some shoes (I know, twist my arm), so Mama and I scoured the selection of $8.88 shoes and came up with these green sandals. I really like the color, and if they fall apart in three months, they were only $8.88. And I got to revisit my star turn as a Shakespearean heroine, which for me, was worth at least $8.88. I'm sure Shakespeare would agree.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Job Interview

Brian's Etsy store

I haven't said anything about this on the blog before, but I interviewed this morning for a core faculty position in my department. Right now I'm an adjunct, which means that I have to have my contract renewed every semester (with the possibility of losing my job if enrollment drops), and also that I have no health or retirement benefits. The job I interviewed for would be essentially the same thing I'm doing now, but with an annual nine month contract and benefits. The department has been talking about adding these positions for almost a year, so I have been looking forward to applying and interviewing for a long time. I should know something by the end of this week or beginning of next.

So, what do you wear to be interviewed by your colleagues for a job you're kind of already doing? I knew I wanted to rely on my blazer and a pair of dressy trousers, but I didn't want to look boring. That's one of the great things about working in academia - creative self-expression is encouraged. So I put on this watermelon-colored top and what my mother and I call The Shoes of Salvation. I debated the appropriateness of animal print shoes for a long time, but these shoes give me confidence. The pants are hemmed a little short for them, but I needed to feel confident so I wore them anyway. And I actually got compliments on them from members of the search committee, which I figure can't hurt, right?

Friday, April 15, 2011

This Is the Solution on Friend Friday


It's Casual Friday (or for me, Even More Casual Than Normal Friday), so I decided to put the Power of the Blazer to the test and see how much it could dress up light-wash jeans and Converse All-Stars. I wasn't sure it was working, and then I had this conversation with a Middle Eastern male student about my age (name changed):

Abdullah: Emily, I have question. Maybe it's stupid, but I want to ask.
Me (anticipating serious grammar question): Sure.
Abdullah: Every day I want to look nice. Then I am late to school because I can't decide which clothes.
Me: Ooookaaaay...
Abdullah: And then I think, Emily always look nice. So how you do this every day and not late to work?
Me (quickly shifting gears from grammar): Decide what to wear the night before. Then you won't be late.
Abdullah: Okay. I decide before one night. This is the solution.
Me: Yes. This is the solution.

So, big shout-out to Abdullah for affirming my fashion choices today, and here's hoping he won't be late to class on Monday.

Now for some Friend Friday questions about gratitude:

1. When it comes to me personally, I owe a lot of who I am to: My parents and my husband. Obviously, my beliefs, my faith, my outlook on life, and many of my interests have to do with who raised me. I'm very blessed to have parents who are emotionally and spiritually healthy people, and who have encouraged me to be and independent and healthy person myself. I owe a lot of loosening up to my husband. When we met, I was pretty tightly wound, and while I'm still not the most relaxed person on earth, I'm much better at laughing instead of crying at what life brings me now because he is good at it too.

2. When it comes to me professionally, I owe a lot of who I am to: My 4th-6th grade teacher, Mr. Mason. I loved to read when I came into his class, but when I left, I had a huge appetite for language and literature. We did everything from diagramming sentences (the beginning of my love of grammar) to performing abridged Shakespeare plays (I was Ophelia in my 5th grade production of Hamlet). I also got to see what a teacher who is truly talented and passionate about teaching looks like. I give a lot of credit for my being an English teacher today to Mr. Mason.

3. When it comes to the art of blogging, I'm grateful to these people for helping me through some rough spots: Well, I haven't been blogging that long, so I haven't had many rough spots. I am grateful to my husband for getting excited about my blog. He reads it every day and always has comments about what I'm wearing or what I wrote, so I can never say, "No one is reading this!" He's an awesome advertising force too - when the women he works with talk about fashion, he says, "Well, my wife has a fashion blog, and here's what she wore. You should check it out!" I'm also grateful to Brian Moody for lending me jewelry to wear because I feel like a "real" blogger with a sponsor, even though no money was exchanged and I might end up stealing some of the jewelry.

4. One blogging challenge I'm grateful happened because it made me stronger was: All of the EBEW challenges I've participated in, for pushing outside of my sartorial comfort zone and making me like clothes I had given up on.

5. To my readers, I'd like to say: You are few, but mighty. Interacting with y'all is so much fun, and I really appreciate the feedback you give me. I find a lot of inspiration in your own blogs. Please keep reading (and tell your friends)!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Honeymooners

Brian's Etsy shop

No, the title of this post is not a veiled reference to Cary's threats to beat the crap out of me, a la Ralph Kramden on the classic TV show "The Honeymooners." Oh, '50s TV viewers and the crazy things you thought were funny. Domestic violence, ha ha.

No, this post is called "The Honeymooners" because this dress was my going-away dress at my wedding. We were driving three hours after our reception, so I couldn't wear my wedding dress for our big exit from the party. Not that I would have wanted to - that sucker was a two-piece behemoth that looked beautiful but actually left bruises on my hips from the weight of the skirt. So I bought this comfortable, summery white dress from Old Navy and it has served me well for almost five years. And I think about my wedding when I wear it, which makes me happy. You can see in these pictures that I'm actually glowing, which has everything to do with how in love I am and nothing to do with taking pictures shortly after sunrise, or being so white that I actually reflect the light of the sun like Edward Cullen.

Not that I know who Edward Cullen is or anything. I didn't read all four Twilight books back-to-back like a person starving for words and then wonder who I was and when I had turned into someone who read a book in which a baby vampire bites its way out of its mother's uterus, OMG. No, I've just heard that Edward Cullen might be kind of pale and sparkly. Just heard, that's all.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Baby Blues

Jeans, shoes 

I am not very adventurous with my makeup choices, but last weekend I strayed from my normal routine to buy Cover Girl's new eyeshadow that is supposed to complement your eye color. My eyes are blue, and I've always heard that you shouldn't wear blue eyeshadow with blue eyes, but one of the colors (of four) in this eyeshadow regimen is blue, and I actually love it. My eyes look bigger and bluer than normal, which is awesome because my eyes are already fairly big and blue.

My mom got a little freaked out by these giant eyes staring at her the night she brought Baby Me home from the hospital.
So inspired by eyeshadow, today I went all blue. My new favorite blue jeans, this teal shirt, my turquoise necklace from Turkey (did you know that turquoise derives the French word for Turkish? Fun fact of the day!), and this blue-flowers-and-birds scarf as a belt. Does this count as color blocking? I want to be on-trend, but I think it's probably not color blocking if one of the colors is jeans.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hippie Chic

Brian's Etsy shop, bracelets

I have to be honest; when I heard that Everybody Everywear's April outfit was maxi dresses, I wasn't too excited. I've never felt tall enough for them (I'm just shy of 5'5"), and maxi dresses are a little more hippie chic than I normally do. I have this one because I needed a beachy dress to take to Puerto Rico a couple of years ago, so I hauled it out of the back of the closet and threw a button-down over it to make it work-appropriate.

I ended up liking it more than I thought I would, actually. I was very comfortable and I got some compliments at work. And then another teacher accidentally microwaved a cup of tea without any water in it, so the herbs in the tea bag got scorched and the entire floor smelled like pot (which I only recognized because I've been to Amsterdam, y'all). After that, hippie chic somehow seemed like an appropriate way to be dressing.

Maxi | Everybody, Everywear
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