Sunday, July 31, 2011

30x30 Roundup

Here they are: all 30 outfits, all 30 pieces, worn between June 13 and July 29. I talked a little about this on Friday, so I don't want to repeat myself about what I learned, etc., but I would like to leave you with some quick facts about how this 30x30 played out:

Most worn items (not counting shoes):
Light jeans and wide-leg jeans, tied at 4 wears each

Least worn item:
Thrifted Anthropologie capris, only one wear

Top three favorite outfits:
10, 27, and 3

Top (bottom?) three least favorite outfits:
14, 20, and 9

Top three lessons learned:
Jeans really do go with everything.
The outfits I like best tend to be the most feminine.
Just because something is on sale doesn't mean I need it (I'm looking at you, Anthro pants).

Friday, July 29, 2011

And In the End

TOMS, Earrings 
This is my "I'm finished!" dance.

Academia: Students, meetings, etc., etc. I finished the 30x30 today! Huzzah!

Sartorial: My first 30x30 is at an end. And it was easier than I thought it would be. There were a few moments of "I've worn everything already," but on the whole, it wasn't too hard to find ways to combine  these 30 items. Some things I learned along the way:
  1. Blouses over dresses are a great alternative to cardigans for covering shoulders.
  2. I probably shouldn't have bought these pants, because I only wore them once in the whole 30.
  3. Accessories are the key to making the same combination of clothes look different (like these two outfits).
  4. I didn't miss the rest of my clothes as much as I thought I would. I'm not sure if this means I don't really need more than 30 items of clothing, or that I need to invest in clothes I like more, or that I just get bored with my clothes after I have them for a while.
I'm going to post a roundup later this weekend of all the outfits, but for now, I'm happy knowing that I accomplished something. Tomorrow, my mom is taking me on a celebratory shopping trip (celebratory of my promotion at work a few months ago, not of the end of the 30x30, although the timing is pretty perfect), so expect to see some new things next week!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Call of the Wild

Dress, Cardigan

Academia: Today, there was a squirrel in our teacher resource room, which our admissions coordinator caught and released into the wild. But today refused to top out weirdness-wise with the squirrel, because then there was nearly pornographic photo shoot in front of our building, which was a whole different kind of "the wild."

I didn't see it, but apparently there were bikini-clad teenage girls posing seductively and smoking cigarettes for a photo spread called "Smokin' Hot on Campus." In attendance at this photo shoot were the girls, the photographers, my boss (only for the 30 seconds it took her to rip them to shreds and throw them off our non-smoking campus), and almost every male student we have, at least half of whom are from conservative Muslim countries and often aren't really even used to seeing women's upper arms in public. Among the many issues I have with this, here are the most salient:

1. Our campus is non-smoking, and we have been reprimanded repeatedly because our students won't stop smoking on campus. So thanks for the good example, "Smokin' Hot" ladies.
2. A university isn't church or anything, but it is where people go to learn and better themselves. Seriously, a little respect for the educational process.
3. Does anyone really still think smoking is cool?
4. The name of the talent agency representing these ladies was a play on words that referred to losing one's virginity. So, yeah. Gross.

Sartorial: I felt positively puritanical in this outfit compared to the bikini girls. But unlike them, I was appropriately dressed to be on a college campus. Or, you know, anywhere not called "the beach." I've already worn this dress and cardigan together in my 30x30, but I like the combination so much and I tried to change up the accessories so it didn't look the same. And hey, I was clothed and I wasn't smoking. Win-win. (Win.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ode to the Middle East

Academia: Today, the attitudiest kid in the class I just took over came to my office specifically to tell me I'm a good teacher. I was convinced this class hated me and missed their old teacher, but at least one person doesn't think that. Yay!

Sartorial: Today's outfit, accessory by accessory, turned into an ode to the Middle East. My necklace is my mom's maiden name spelled in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, which I know has nothing to do with the modern Middle East, but I love wearing it anyway.

The scarf I'm wearing as a belt was my grandmother's and I never thought twice about it until I wore it to work a few months ago and a Saudi student pointed out that it's very similar to the Saudi keffiyeh, a traditional headdress worn by men. I asked then if it was offensive to wear it as a belt, but that student insisted it wasn't. Today, I got a similar reaction from another Saudi student: "This is keffiyeh! Very nice, teacher." I always try to be careful wearing things that come from other cultures, as I don't want to culturally appropriate anything (see Allyson's post on cultural appropriation on Decoding Dress for better-considered thoughts on this), but I think as long as I'm not upsetting anyone, I'm okay.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dragon Lady

Brian's Etsy Shop 

Academia: My experiences today ranged from medical emergency to long meetings to cuddling a baby. It was quite a varied day. I had my normal classes (except no one came to my 7:45 class... glad I woke up early for y'all). I served on a scholarship interview committee. I had a meeting about how to deal with the crazy absences we've had this semester. And then, in the middle of my meeting, a student passed out in class and the EMTs came, so I needed to handle that (the student is fine now, but it was a scary few minutes).

And then I came home, and our friend Ashley was here with her new baby A., which was lovely because I love babies and Ashley is the kind of wonderful mom who is happy for friends to hold A., and doesn't rush over to take him from you when he fusses. And A. is so precious, I just wanted to pinch his little cheeks. It was a great end to a kind of hectic day.

Sartorial: I came out of the bedroom in this outfit this morning, and Cary and I had the following conversation:

Cary: You look really teacherish today, but, um, not exactly teacherish. You look like...
Me: A hot teacher?
Cary: Exactly.

Yay. "Hot teacher" is always a nice thing to be. Cary said I reminded him of the Dragon Lady, Theo Huxtable's hot/strict teacher on the Cosby Show. The link is for my international readers; I fully expect that any American readers over the age of 25 know what I'm talking about. If you click the link, go to 2:07 to see her transform from Hot Lady to Dragon Lady. I was feeling very sexy as I headed out the door, although when my dorkiness took over and I said, "I'm a Dragon Lady! Raaaaar!" that kind of ended.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A No Nagging Day

Brian's Etsy Shop 

Academia: The Semester That Wouldn't End drags on. Today was pretty good though. Probably because I didn't have to remind anyone for the eight millionth time that US immigration really does care if you have a student visa and never go to class. Tomorrow is another day, though. I spent most of the day on the phone trying to find housing and volunteer placements for some special programs that we have coming up, and had a fair amount of success, which reminded me that I really do love my job and it's not all nagging people who think it's unfair that they have to go to class.

Sartorial: I never would have thought to wear a blouse over this dress before the 30x30, but this is the third time I've done it now. I love it. No tucking in, no readjusting a skirt, but I still get to look polished. I've had this dress since high school, and it's a little gray with age, but I'm so glad I never got rid of it. It's truly been one of the MVPs of this 30x30.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Simple Saturday

T-shirt, TOMS 

Academia: Sorry, no academic action here today, unless you count buying a white board for my office door and going to my office to hang it up. I'm really just trying to knock out one more 30x30 outfit so I can finish on Friday. We're having visitors this weekend, so I spent the day cleaning, taking piles of old clothes and furniture to Goodwill, putting the finishing touches on our bedroom redo (pictures to come!), and doing all those little things that never get done without the deadline of company coming.

Sartorial: Jeans and t-shirts are my Saturday uniform. And since our guests are from the great state of Alabama, I thought I would wear my t-shirt that honors the greatest book ever written about Alabama or by an Alabaman (or, in my humble opinion, by anyone). I got a compliment on it from the cashier at Target too. Actually, all she said was, "I read that book," but I'm taking it as a compliment. 

I'm not sure what's going on with the colors in my photos though - in real life, the t-shirt is a great turquoise and not at all the same color as the jeans. Oh well. I'm spreading hospitality and literacy through my wardrobe, and that's what matters.

Friday, July 22, 2011

On the PCH

Brian's Etsy Shop

Blue and green feet!
Academia: This has been a weird semester at work: ridiculously bad attendance from basically everyone, teachers having to quit, and on and on. So it was good that today was Friday, and the semester is nearing the end. Pretty much enough said.

In happier news, my sister and brother-in-law closed on their first house today! Yay! We had dinner at our house with friends, and then field tripped over to their new house (only five minutes from ours!) to drink champagne and take the tour. Actually, the girls arrived at the house first, so we had a girls' tour and a guys' tour. Featured on the girls' tour: closets. Featured on the guys' tour: the future location of the grill. We don't try to be stereotypical; it just happens. Then we came back here and had dessert. It was a wonderful evening.

Sartorial: This top and these pants have proven to be real workhorses in the 30x30. I put them on together this morning and then felt inspired to go all blue and green. I was thinking about this:

The Pacific Coast Highway is gorgeous and cool, which is exactly how I want to feel on a hot July day. Better yet, I just want to be on the Pacific Coast Highway again. Like now. But in the absence of beautiful views and chilly breezes, dressing like beautiful views and chilly breezes is the best I can do.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thrift and Thanks

Brian's Etsy Shop

This is my "I have an awesome skirt" dance.
Academia: Today I just want to say how grateful I am for the supportive comments y'all left in response to my post about infertility yesterday. I was nervous about putting all of that out there in Internetland, but I feel so great now after reading y'all's encouragement. Thank you so much. You were all so sensitive and compassionate. Surviving infertility so often feels like navigating a minefield of judgment - on why we don't have kids yet, on what we should do to have kids, on the completeness of our lives without kids - that unequivocal support from people I've never met other than online was both surprising and wonderful. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Sartorial: Today is Thrift Day on Everybody, Everywear. I'm not a champion thrifter like some of my fellow fashion bloggers (Meredith of Yours, Mine & Ours comes to mind - she's such a champion that she actually gets most of her clothes for free), but I do have one jewel in my thrifted crown: this skirt. This skirt is not only both vintage, a trendy midi-length, polka dotted, and bright red, but it also cost $5. I feel happy every time I wear it. I even dance a little, as you can see in the pictures. Any clothing that induces dancing is okay by me, especially when it costs $5.

Thrift | Everybody, Everywear

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Moment of Real

Guys, I want to step away from the usual description of my job and clothes, and take a minute to talk about something going on in my "real" life, the life I normally avoid sharing on the internet. I want to do this for two reasons: first, that this is something I'm thinking about a lot, and that affects many of my decisions, including what I feel like wearing, and second, that this is something many people deal with but few ever talk about. I want to break the silence, in the hopes that others might feel free to do so as well, and less isolated.

Cary and I have been trying to have a baby for nearly three years, obviously with no success. We've seen several doctors and it's far from a hopeless case; in fact, we have a plan and a lot of reasons to be hopeful. I don't want to get into tons of clinical detail, but I do want to say this: you probably know someone who's going through what we're going through, even if you don't know you do, so you need to know what to say to be helpful (or avoid being hurtful).

Infertility is heartbreaking, and infertile couples need sensitivity and compassion from their family and friends more than anything else. Cary and I are blessed with great family and friends who have been supportive every step of the way, but not everyone is. Based on three years of experience, here are my five worst and five best things to say to someone who is struggling with infertility. If you know us in real life and are worried that you might have said some of the five worst things, trust me: you haven't.

Five Worst
1. When are you guys going to have kids? You're not getting any younger.
2. I know this couple who adopted, and then got pregnant right after. Everyone seems to know this couple. I know two of this couple. But adoption is a big deal, and not a way to get pregnant.
3. Just relax and it will happen. This is a medical condition. Relaxing is not going to help.
4. X and Y have ___ kids already. Better catch up!
5. This is all part of God's plan. I'm a Christian, and I believe God has a plan. But hearing this at this point in our journey makes me feel like the person saying it thinks God's plan is for Cary and me to suffer. Just like you wouldn't say this to someone who just lost a loved one, please don't say it to infertile couples.

Five Best
1. I'm so sorry.
2. No, you don't have to come to this baby shower. I understand.
3. I believe you will be parents, one way or another.
4. You're in my prayers.
5. I want to listen, if you need to talk.

Thanks for listening, y'all. The more I talk to other women, the more I find that sooooo many people deal with infertility in one way or another, but so few feel like they can be open about it. I think that's silly. If we all talk about it, maybe we can all feel a little better. If you're going through this and want to talk, please feel free to leave a comment or email me directly at I'd love to listen if you need to talk.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Found in Translation

Academia: I really do work in the most amazing place. I was working away this afternoon when the infirmary called me. "Hey, Emily," said the nurse on the other end of the line, "Do you know how to say 'apartment' in Chinese? There's a student here who doesn't understand that I need his apartment number as part of his address."

The answer is no, I don't. I minored in Spanish, and have retained enough to have basic conversations with our Spanish-speaking students, but I have zero knowledge of Chinese. But I work in a land of linguistic plenty. "Hang on," I said.

I ran out into the hall, looking for a Chinese speaker. I found a group of our American undergrad language assistants and took a shot in the dark. "Does anyone here speak Chinese?" And of course, one of them was a Chinese major. I got him on the phone and he had the whole thing sorted out in less than five minutes. And this is far from the first time I've had to do something like that. A few months ago, I got the infirmary's health history form translated into eight languages, six from our faculty and two from students. It's a unique opportunity and a blessing to be surrounded by so many languages and cultures every day. I often take it for granted, but today reminded me what a strange and wonderful job I have.

Sartorial: This was one of those 30x30 outfits that I put together because I couldn't think of anything better, but I'm more pleased with it than I thought I would be. I've avoided green and yellow together because I was afraid of being a little too lemon-lime, but with the white cardigan and bright necklace, I think it hits the right note. Perfect for teaching a summer class, counseling students, and finding impromptu translators.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Finite Incantatem

Jeans, TOMS, Brian's Etsy Shop

Academia: Work, classes, blah blah. The real news today is that Cary and I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

My love for Harry Potter is pretty serious. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being "What's a muggle?" and 10 being "I made my own Sorting Hat and it put me in Gryffindor," I'd put myself at a solid 8.5. I haven't made my own Sorting Hat. Yet. But I did take the Facebook Sorting Hat quiz. Ravenclaw, if you're wondering. So it was with great eagerness that I went to the movie theater tonight, and I was not disappointed. I laughed, I cried, I clutched Cary's arm, I cried some more. I even applauded. Although I really wanted to clap way more than the rest of the audience seemed to. Seriously, an ass-kicking Neville Longbottom? Even if you read the book and knew it was coming, how do you not burst into applause? So yeah, two thumbs up.

Sartorial: I didn't set out this morning to look like I was about to board the Hogwarts Express, but when I looked at myself in the mirror just before heading to the movie, I realized that I kind of did. Long, floaty black top? Long, floaty dark pants? Just slap a scarf in my house colors on me and I'm ready for Defense Against the Dark Arts class.

P.S. I put a bunch of links to Wikipedia articles about Harry Potter in this post, in case you haven't read the books and have no idea what I'm talking about. Although if you haven't read the books, I'm not sure how helpful these will really be. Sorry.

Hogwarts, here I come!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Casual, Cousin, and Categorization

Academia: Nothing academic happened today, because I'm at the beach! We had quite a lightning storm last night, which knocked out power for about four hours, and today is still overcast and stormy. But the beach is the beach, and I'm happy to be here.

Sartorial: I'm pretty low-key at the beach fashion-wise, so you're seeing my first makeup-free (and shoe-free) blog entry today. Now you can see my TOMS tan on my feet too. We all walked down to the beach this morning, where my dad snapped these pictures. I also want to take a minute to introduce you to a special guest on Academia Sartorial, my cousin Wil:

Wil is going into ninth grade, and is representing an entirely new fashion dynamic on Academia Sartorial: teenage boy athletic style. I don't know many teenage boys, so this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Wil has informed me that his necklace is actually called a phiten and is supposed to enhance athletic performance through magic titanium molecules or something. I don't know. I duck whenever sports equipment of any kind comes my way.

Finally, some Friend Friday questions! This week's questions are about labeling, something I hadn't given much thought to until now.

1. As someone who writes/blogs about fashion, have you placed yourself into some sort of blogging category? I would call myself a personal style blogger generally, and an academic style blogger in particular.

2. What keeps you from or encourages you to label yourself as a certain kind of blogger? I always enjoy blogs that have a specific focus the most, so I try to maintain that in my own blog. For me, giving myself the label of "academic style blogger" helps me focus my writing, which I think makes it better. I have a clearer idea of what parts of my life to include in what I write, as well as what outfits to post. Blogging about my style and my job allows me to take the weekends off from blogging pretty easily as well, since I don't do academic work on Saturday or Sunday generally.

3. When picking blogs to read or follow are you drawn to ones that indicate a certain group or way of thinking/being? Not always. I like reading other academic style blogs, because I'm interested in how other women in academia navigate what can be a very anti-fashion field, but I don't read those blogs exclusively. I tend to like personal style blogs the best, because I find personal style choices much more fascinating that what the fashion industry puts out. But other than that, I'm drawn to clever writing, good pictures, and an attractive layout.

4. Do you think there are benefits in labeling yourself or others? Yes. Like I said earlier, labeling myself helps me as a writer. And it certainly helps me in getting a quick and general idea of what other bloggers are about. I've found that good blogging transcends labels, so I'm not likely to bypass reading a well-written blog just because their self-label isn't something I normally read.

5. Agree or disagree - we're all just people; we don't need all the labels. I agree, especially when it comes to life in general, not just fashion blogs. Like I said, good writing and photography will shine through no matter the label. Labels are useful to me in my own blogging, but when it comes to others, I like what I like, labels or not.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ain't No Hollaback Girl

This is my "I'm going to the beach!" dance.

Academia: Well, this week got weirder. Universe, you win. One of our teachers had emergency surgery this week (one of many teachers out this week, which created a fun sub shortage), and I've been subbing for his class. Today I found out that he's only coming back part-time, so I'll be teaching his class for the rest of the semester. In addition to the other class I teach. And my official job as an advisor. It's only for three more weeks and I really don't mind because we were in a genuine pinch, but this week has just been bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

Fortunately, I'm no longer in my town. I'm on Tybee Island, Georgia! Cary and left after I fled before anything else weird could happen got home from work, and will be here until Sunday. I love this island - it's beautiful, quirky, and apparently the summer home of Sandra Bullock. My mom and aunt have been dedicatedly observing her house, and there's a car there, but no sign of Sandra as yet. There's only one grocery store on the island though, and she's got to eat sometime, so staking out the IGA might be in my near future.

Sartorial: Today was the first day of the 30x30 that I felt truly stumped. It seemed like all of my tops and all of my bottoms had already been paired up, and it took some careful study of my closet to come up with something that was new, work-appropriate, and comfortable for a long car ride. I think this outfit turned out okay though.

Also, one of my friends from work emailed me this TED talk by Jessi Arlington about remixed and thrifted fashion. She said it reminded her of me, but on steroids. And she doesn't even know I have a style blog! I took this as a high compliment. Check it out; although we may not all aspire to be quite as extreme as this blogger in our remixed thriftiness, I think there's a lot of inspiration to be had here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

War and Peace

Jeans, Earrings

Peace, y'all.
Academia: The week of crazy random problems continues. I love my job, y'all. I love the students. But this week feels like it got put in a can, shaken around real good, and then dumped out willy-nilly all over the calendar. There are two full-time teachers out due to medical emergencies, so we're all scrambling to cover for them. Consequently, half my day is gone to subbing all week.

In the remaining half of my day, I'm seeing students with roommate issues, students with parking issues, students with home entertainment system issues, students who are pregnant, students who need an orthodontist, and students who just want to vent and find me a convenient ventee. My job is pretty random on a normal day, so I'm okay with not really having a routine, but this week has been so random that I'm half-expecting one of the pregnant students to give birth in my office tomorrow. No, I'm not, universe! I didn't say that! No office births, please! Luckily, Cary and I are taking Friday off to join my parents for the weekend on Tybee Island, Georgia, where they've rented a house for two weeks. I need to go to the beach, y'all. Need.

Sartorial: This outfit is so breezy and comfy. I feel like such a hippie in it. I've worn black and white with green accents before (here and here), but I just love this color combination. Y'all can probably expect to see a variation on this theme again. This is definitely the flower-power-iest version I've worn so far. Which is good for such a crazy week, I think. If I can't have peace and love in my work, at least I can have it in my wardrobe.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Quest for Yellow

Dress, Cardigan, Shoes, Brian's Etsy Store
A student randomly gave me this yellow flower today. Thanks, student!

Academia: Today was pretty stressful, so I won't bore you with complaining about it. Instead, I want to talk about clothes! Yay clothes!

Sartorial: It's Yellow Day at Everybody, Everywear. I don't own a lot of yellow. I love the color, but I'm afraid of it; I'm so blonde and fair-skinned that I worry I'll look ill if I wear it. This summer, I branched out and bought these yellow shoes, but I wanted to add some yellow accessories for EBEW, and had this belt, as seen on Dotty of Dash Dot Dotty, in mind. So I headed to the mall, on a quest for yellow.

The Forever 21 in my town has found numerous ways to disappoint me, and yesterday's shopping trip was no exception: they had no yellow accessories at all, except for this owl necklace, which isn't even completely yellow. It was, however, $3.80, so I snatched it up, and got rung up by Topanga from Boy Meets World. Did you know she worked at F21 in a small Southern college town? She does. She has apparently ceased aging too, and actually appears to be forever 21. If only Mr. Feeny worked at Barnes and Noble, my life would be complete.

After being bummed out by F21 (minus meeting Topanga), I went to Victoria's Secret. I had birthday money to spend, and hadn't bought a new bra in an embarrassingly long time. I would have spent more time feeling embarrassed about it, except that almost immediately upon entering the store, I ran into a former student. A guy my dad's age. Shopping with his wife. So. Awkward. We all chatted politely and pretended we weren't standing next to a giant display of thongs, but yeah, it was weird.

So that is where my quest for yellow led me yesterday. I walked away with a necklace, some lingerie, a sneaking suspicion that Shawn Hunter might tend bar near the university, and a new number one on my list of places I'd rather not see students. Thank you, EBEW. Thank you.

Yellow | Everybody, Everywear
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