Friday, September 30, 2011

Like It's 1999

Skirt, Brian's Etsy Shop 

Academia: Nothing particularly remarkable happened yesterday. The most out-of-the-ordinary occurrence was that an off-campus meeting got out way earlier than I expected, so I used the extra time to go to a coffee shop downtown. Sometimes it's nice to have a quiet day like that.

Sartorial: Today's visual Friend Friday is hosted by Shelley of GS Lillian, and the theme is "Decades." I was a little stumped about what to wear at first. I wore some things earlier this week that seemed decade-y - my 70s 12-year-old get-up from Monday or my 60s mod outfit from Wednesday - without really thinking about needing to wear either of those things for today.

Since I had a meeting yesterday, I wanted to wear my blazer, and then it came to me: the 90s. The 90s weren't too long ago, but styles have definitely changed since then, and I thought it would be fun to honor the decade of my adolescence through fashion.

While this outfit may not scream "party like it's 1999," the skirt and blazer are definitely 90s-inspired. Remember this?

And this?


This is just an updated version of that. I wasn't interested in breaking out the shoulder pads and combat boots (not that I have those things anyway), but it was nice to pay subtle tribute to the decade that saw everything in my life from my obsession with Laura Ingalls Wilder to my first kiss. Which was during practice for my eighth grade English class's performance of Romeo and Juliet, if you were wondering, and the final performance was so bad that I'm surprised Shakespeare didn't rise from his grave just to punch us all in the teeth.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

In Hiding

Brian's Etsy Shop, TOMS 

Academia: I felt significantly less crabby with my students yesterday than I did on Tuesday, but I have a confession to make. Yesterday afternoon, I heard Tuesday's most obnoxious student coming down the hall, and I shut my office door and pretended not to be there. I didn't turn off the lights, but I seriously considered it. If I had thought he actually needed help, I would have helped him, but I knew he just wanted to complain. So I hid. Hi, I'm Emily and I'm a professional grown-up who hides from whiny 20-year-olds.

Sartorial: You know what's great for extended periods of time in hiding? Stretchy pants. Perfectly comfortable for slouching down in my desk chair and trying not to be visible through the frosted glass on the door. I'm wondering if there some kind of office camouflage I can buy for future periods of hiding. Like maybe grayish-whitish clothes that will help me blend with the fluorescent lights and dingy paint? If it saves me from hearing one more time how stupid the US is for not having socialized healthcare, it's worth every penny.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Feel Good, Look Good?


Academia: I had a bit of a frustrating day at work yesterday. I felt like I talked to students all day who were either rude for no reason, or who were asking for my help with things they should have learned how to do a long time ago and had just opted not to. But. BUT! The day ended with shrimp and grits and Project Runway with friends. Any day that ends like that can't be too bad.

Sartorial: I felt good in this outfit yesterday, although when I look at the pictures now, something about it seems a little off. Do y'all ever wear outfits like that? I might try to recreate this in the future with different accessories, because I think the core pieces are working, but it's probably the accessories that are throwing it off.

Generally, I believe that if I feel good, it probably looks good, but maybe that's not always true. I mean, I feel good in pajamas, but that doesn't mean I should wear them outside. What do y'all think? Does feeling good always equate to looking good? And what's going on with this outfit?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Pigtails make me 13% more fun.

Academia: Thanks for indulging my ranting yesterday, y'all. I promise I won't do that too often. My day yesterday was much better than my evening out on Friday, thank goodness. Work was peaceful, I left at a reasonable hour, and after much persuading by my mother than endorphins would make me feel less stressed about our baby-making struggles, I went to a zumba class for the first time in forever. And I did feel better. You were right, Mama.

Sartorial: With the retro plaid, the wide-leg jeans, and the French pigtails, I felt a bit like a twelve-year-old in 1975 yesterday. Probably not a look I should go for every day in my professional life, but it was so much fun to wear! I tried to think of a perfect word to describe how I felt, and it was spunky. I felt like I could win a baseball game against a team of ragtag boys, or solve a neighborhood mystery using only my trusty notepad and my keen mind. I often cast myself as the heroine of a novel, depending on my outfit. Obviously, today's outfit turned me into Trixie Belden. And my pigtails were perfect for keeping my hair back in zumba. I spent the day on a spunky, endorphin-filled high. I love when clothes do that.

Monday, September 26, 2011



Academia: An Open Letter to the Parents of the Badly Behaved Children in The Lion King:

Dear Parents,

Hi there. Remember me? I was sitting about six rows behind you in The Lion King on Friday night. If you don't remember me, I understand. You were so focused on the movie that the presence of other people didn't really seem to register with you. And by "other people," I don't just mean all of us who paid the outrageous movie ticket prices in the hopes of enjoying a beloved movie from our childhood. I also mean your children.

Look, I don't expect silence and perfect stillness when I go to a kids' movie. I know that it's hard for little kids to sit still for a long time, and that they will talk and squirm through a movie. If I go to a kids' movie, I accept that this will happen when I buy my ticket. What I don't accept is children whose parents let them treat the movie theater like a playground. Shrieking, running up and down the stairs, and talking nonstop at the top of your lungs are not appropriate things to do in a movie theater. The other kids in the theater didn't do any of these things. What in the world was going on with your family?

I don't blame your kids. They're little and they can't help it. But you did absolutely nothing to encourage them to behave, nor did you take them out when you realized that this just wasn't going to work out this time. I know that you paid a lot of money to see this movie. But you know what? So did I. And I cared about seeing The Lion King a lot more than your kids did. For me, this was a chance to relive a favorite memory from childhood, and I looked forward to it for weeks. For them, it was a chance to do exactly the same things they probably do most of the time, except in the dark and with stairs. Your steadfast ignoring of their behavior spoiled the whole experience for me.

In the future, please better prepare your kids for whatever situation you're bringing them into. They can't be expected to just know how to behave; you have to teach them. And if they're not getting it, you have to be willing to leave. It sucks, but you're their parents. It's your job to teach them to respect others and act like human beings. For the sake of the rest of our collective sanity, please do your job.


Sartorial: This is what I wore for all of that. At least I was comfortable. P.S. I learned how to French braid!

Friday, September 23, 2011

In Which I Take Down Martha Stewart

Brian's Etsy Shop
*Dress may be from TJ Maxx

Academia: Work was normal yesterday, but after work, Cary surprised me with a dinner out! Surprise date night = easily the best part of my day.

Sartorial: Today's Friend Friday is hosted by Elly from Adventures in Refashioning, and the challenge was to wear something you had refashioned, like a dress into a shirt or a pair of pants into a skirt. I am not remotely crafty (it took me six-plus hours to hem a pair of jeans), so this was more than a challenge for me; it was a pretty much insurmountable mountain range of needles and thread, at the top of which was standing Martha Stewart, mocking me. I've never refashioned a thing, other than to chop the legs of my jeans into work-inappropriate cutoffs.

So I went the cheater way out and "refashioned" a scarf of my grandmother's into a belt. I actually really love this scarf, but it's really long and I've never figured out how to wear it in my hair, so I was happy that it worked as a belt. I'm not sure how I feel about the outfit as a whole, but hey, I have a "refashioned" belt and I got a surprise date. So there, Martha Stewart.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

There Is Such a Thing as a Free Meal


Academia: Of all the perks of my job, one I did not expect was the more-than-occasional free meals. I've had lunches and dinners with visiting professors, student picnics, and yesterday I had a breakfast meeting with a hotel manager. Not only did I get what I came to the meeting for (volunteer placements for tourism major students and the promise of a proposal of rates for an upcoming special program), but I also got eggs, bacon, and hash browns. It was probably the most productive first hour of work I've ever had.

Sartorial: Like I said yesterday, I'm on a mission to make these new TOMS work with everything, including business meeting clothes. I figured my best bet would be to take the basics that I might normally wear to a business meeting and try to choose individual pieces that went with the TOMS. This outfit was the result of several false starts yesterday morning, but I ended up liking the menswear look of this. Plus, this outfit kept me comfortable until 9:00 last night, which is when I got home. And that's why I buy comfortable shoes like TOMS. Happy feet mean a happy day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New TOMS Day!


Academia: Good things that happened today: meeting at a local B&B where a student will be volunteering (including a tour and delicious B&B coffee), tivoed season premiere of How I Met Your Mother, and the first time wearing new TOMS!

Sartorial: New TOMS! I've basically worn holes in my old TOMS, and since they're the most comfortable shoes I've ever owned, I knew it was time for a second pair. I scoured the website, but all the styles I liked were sold out. So I googled "TOMS name of my town," and huzzah! There's a fair trade store downtown that sells them, and they still had these, and I loved them and bought them. And I loved the store too; the owner offered me his opinion without being pushy, and was chatty without being overly familiar. My favorite kind of salesman!

Be prepared to see these a lot this week. I'm on a mission to prove that they go with everything.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Broader Horizons


Academia: I work in a job that puts me in touch with nearly every continent on Earth every day. I have students from Europe, South America, North America, Africa, and Asia, so every day I learn something new about one of my students' many cultures. Having the world come to me every day makes me want to go out and see more of the world. I first traveled outside the US when I was 18, and while I was always interested in other cultures and countries before then, that trip is what began to make those other places real.

Sartorial: The t-shirt I wore yesterday is my favorite souvenir from that first trip. The summer after my high school graduation, I went with a high school study abroad program (which also included recently graduated seniors) for three weeks to Cambridge University, England. After poring over Shakespeare, the Bront√ęs, and Harry Potter for years, seeing the country I had imagined for so long was a dream come true for 18-year-old me.

I remember how shocked I was that England really was foreign. It wasn't the US with a British accent; it was Britain. I remember another student talking about Walmart with one of our British counselors, who said, "What's Walmart?" It was the first time I realized that my culture and my way of life were not the way the whole world lived, and probably weren't even close to the way most of the world lived.

I've traveled to places that are significantly more different from the US than the UK is since then (Turkey being the most different so far), and now I deal with those differences every day at work, but it's no exaggeration to say that my trip to Cambridge, truly a baby step in terms of world travel, was a life-changer for me. And so, like so many tourists faced with life-changing events, I bought a t-shirt. And it's one of my very, very favorites.*

*But I might not feel the same way if my commemorative t-shirt had said "Mind the Gap." Thanks for having good taste, 18-year-old Emily.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Doctor Football


Academia: Y'all, it's Sunday night as I write this, and my weekend was so good that I can't even remember what I did in this outfit on Friday. So why don't I tell you about my great weekend instead? Saturday was Football Day in this college town, which meant four great things: 1) tailgating, 2) seeing out-of-town family and friends at tailgating, 3) the weekly school-colors-and-mascot fashion show that passes us at tailgating, and 4) winning! And then tailgating afterwards. Really, tailgating is half the reason to go to a football game in the South. And then Sunday brought church, lunch with my sister and brother-in-law, and a new Doctor Who. Football and the Doctor in one weekend - what more could a girl want?

Sartorial: Well, like I said, I didn't wear this for any of the activities I just described, but I did enjoy wearing it for whatever I did on Friday that I can't remember. This shirt always makes me feel French, and therefore, 30% chicer than normal. And my ring is Italian - my grandfather brought the cameo back from Italy after World War Two and had it set in a ring for his mother - so I'd say that adds another 10% of chicness. Which is great, because after a weekend of sweating at the football game and harboring a not-so-secret crush on a fictional time-traveling alien, I need all the chic I can get.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Do What You Love, Love What You Do

T-shirt, Brian's Etsy Shop

Academia: It's Friend Friday! Today's assignment is to talk about a great piece of advice I've been given and how that advice has affected my life. One of the best pieces of advice I've ever gotten came from my dad just before my freshman year of college. I was wondering what I should major in, and my dad told me to study what I loved. He said not to worry about how much money I would make or whether my major would lead to an obvious career path. "Just do what you love," he said.

So I majored in English, with no clear idea of what I would do after graduation. I think every English major goes through a period of thinking their only career options are high school English teacher or barista, neither of which particularly appealed to me. But you know what? I figured it out in my senior year, and now I have an awesome English-related job that I love. Yesterday, a student called me an angel. How many jobs have that kind of off-the-charts positive feedback? And I got to spend four years reading novels and writing poetry, while my friends were failing organic chemistry and cramming for the MCAT. Studying what I love was the right choice, and it has led to a lot of happiness in my life. Thanks, Daddy.

Sartorial: In honor of my English background and my dad's good advice, I wore my favorite literary t-shirt yesterday. A better appreciation of great literature was another perk of majoring in English, and TKAM is one of the very greatest. Every time I wear this shirt, I want to reread this book. Fashion that looks good and reminds me of something I love is my favorite kind of fashion.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

All Day Dress, Round Two

Dress, TOMS, Bracelets
Say hello to Atticus, Blogland!

Academia: Sorry about the grainy picture quality today, y'all. I didn't get home until 9:00 last night, so I had to take pictures inside and my camera isn't advanced enough or maybe I'm not advanced enough to take good inside pictures. I was late for fun reasons though. I have a work prayer group that meets after work on Wednesdays, and after that I had a meeting of a philanthropic organization I'm hoping to join. Spending time with friends and soon-to-be friends makes getting home late not so bad.

Sartorial: The last time I wore this dress, I called it the "all day dress," and it certainly lived up to its name yesterday. I tried to dress it down a bit with TOMS and beaded jewelry, and I was comfy, cute, and climate-appropriate from 9:00 yesterday morning until 9:00 last night. So now I know that this dress works with heels, dressy flats, super casual TOMS, in the morning, at night, in a box, with a fox, in a house, and with a mouse. And I do like it, Sam I Am.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Frappuccinos and Flattering Pants

Brian's Etsy Shop, Bracelet 

Academia: Yesterday was a blessed relief after the previous 10 days. I worked quietly in my office, I helped students with very manageable problems, and got out of a meeting across campus early enough to treat myself to a frappuccino on my way back. I'm sure the semester holds plenty of challenging days yet, but yesterday wasn't one of them, and for that, I am grateful.

Sartorial: Walking to a cross-campus meeting in 90 degree heat calls for simple clothes. I wanted to wear this white t-shirt again, but I had an awful time trying to decide what to pair with it. After half my closet was piled on my bed, I pulled out these trouser jeans, which I was sure wouldn't fit because my diet lately has consisted of Sonic and Starbucks. But what do you know, they slid right on and flattered all the parts they were supposed to flatter. Just another small happiness, like my mid-afternoon frappuccino, that made yesterday a nice day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Complete Sentence Clothes

Academia: My check-in week duties officially ended yesterday, a week and three days after they began. The visiting professor I was responsible for chauffeuring around town, eating lunch with, and arranging meetings for headed back to his country this afternoon. Normally my boss is in charge of hosting visiting professors, but she's out of the country, so it fell to me this time. It was a big responsibility, but I feel like everything went well and the professor seemed to be happy with his trip. And if he was, I really hope he emails my boss and tells her so. Fingers crossed.

Sartorial: Since the mandated period of business wear that is check-in week ended, I felt perfectly okay finally wearing leggings to work yesterday. Yay leggings! I paired them with this dress, which I love but is a tad too short for work. Combining two pieces of clothing that can't stand alone to form a complete outfit made me happy, just like combining a dependent clause with an independent clause to form a complete sentence makes me happy. Yes, grammar makes me happy. I teach English, y'all. I can't help it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy Hour, Happy Outfit

Skirt, TOMS, Brian's Etsy Shop 

Academia: The longest check-in week ever is finally over, and this is what I wore for Friday, the almost-last day of it (we had a welcome picnic on Saturday). Honestly, the whole week was such a blur that I'm having trouble remembering what I did on Friday, other than crash my husband's all-guys' happy hour after work. I figured, I was going to have a beer when I got home anyway. Having one with people in a restaurant seemed less pitiful than having one by myself while watching Friends reruns in my pajamas. The guys were very gracious about being crashed, and as far as I could tell, a good time was had by all. Or at least by me.

Sartorial: Check-in week always requires more professional attire than we normally wear in my department, but by the end of the week, I was tired, cranky, and really wanting to show up to work in sweatpants. Sadly, no one has found a way to make sweatpants look professional yet, so I wore the next best thing: jersey maxi skirt (no leg-shaving, thank you), cotton cardi and cami, and TOMS, the most comfortable shoes known to man. If I had had a spare minute to sit down in my office armchair, I would have fallen right to sleep.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night

Dress, Brian's Etsy Shop 

Academia: New students, foreign professors, etc. etc. I want to talk about clothes today!

Sartorial: Today's visual Friend Friday is hosted by JK from Adimpleate, and the challenge was to create an outfit inspired by your favorite song. I immediately thought of "Blackbird" by the Beatles. Of all the Beatles' great songs, I think "Blackbird" is one of the very greatest. The simple guitar accompaniment and uplifting lyrics have always made me feel better about any difficult situation I've happened to be in. If you're not familiar with the song, you really should be. Listen here.

The obvious first step in dressing like this song was to wear a black dress, but I struggled to come up with the details that would really say "Blackbird." I don't have any feathers or bird-related accessories, other than an owl necklace that is brightly colored and really has nothing to do with the song. And then I thought of this awesome jacket that my dear friend Brian thrifted for me a few months ago ($2!). It's so cute, but kind of heavy and it's been 100 degrees almost every day since Brian gave it to me, so I have been waiting forever to wear it.

So when the temperature finally dropped into the 80s today, I thought of this jacket and thought, "All my life, I was only waiting for this moment to arise." Just like the eponymous blackbird! And the outfit ended up looking a little 60s, which was perfect for a Beatles-inspired ensemble.

And now it's getting late, so excuse me while I fly into the light of the dark black night. Man, the corny song references just keep on coming! I'll be here all week, y'all.
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