Monday, March 31, 2014

Thrifty Face

H&M blazer/F21 top (thrifted)/xoxo pants (Ross)/Report shoes (Ross)/Charming Charlie necklace

I finally got around to cleaning up a bit, so I didn't have to go outdoors and embarrass myself in front of the neighbors today. That's qualifies as a good day, I think. I was getting a little concerned in the first pic because D was looking at me and judging, then in the second I was giving him what I thought was a subtle look. 

Anyway, decorating the apartment has been an ongoing project (now finished??), so I was glad for an excuse to show off my awesome midcentury dining room finds. I got the table set from a vintage furniture place that was moving out of the area ($150) and the china cabinet was full of stuff, hidden away at the scary antique mall ($250). Did I haggle the price of these items down? You know I did, and delivery fees too. The whimsical strawberry teapot, cat pitcher and vegetable-shaped pot holders I found at Goodwill. You can't really see it because of the reflection in the glass, but there's an orange atomic percolator in there. I found that (and a bunch of other fabulous stuff) for cheap in a thrift store in Iowa when I was on tour last summer. There's a story for pretty much everything in this picture. Thrifting is fun!

Let's play Find the Ghetto Apartment Thing! There's something about pretty much every room in our apartment that betrays its ghetto-ness. 5-4-3-2-1. Find it? You guessed it! There's no cover on the ceiling light. It's the only ceiling light in our apartment, and it fell and shattered when the upstairs neighbors were playing pogo sticks or whatever the hell it was they kept doing. Our landlords refuse to replace it. Thanks for playing Find the Ghetto Apartment Thing!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Clown Feet

H&M blazer/Anne Klein blouse (via ThredUp)/RedBlue jeans/Old Navy shoes/Charming Charlie necklace/Zenni Optical glasses

After doing much sandal and summer accessory research, I finally put some plans into action yesterday. I decided to get some higher quality sandals from Ross (Report and Kenneth Cole Reaction) instead of sandals from Charlotte Russe (it was cheaper too). Presumably they'll last longer, but who knows. I've had great luck with Report shoes and I always think the Kenneth Cole ones are cute so win-win.
1. Report cognac d'orsay flats    
2. Kenneth Cole Reaction cognac wedge sandals      
3. Report mint gladiators

A. The color got all weird in these. That table is mustard colored!
B. Yes, I wear size 10 shoes. Point and laugh. I got my grandma's feet. She was around 4'11", 90 lbs and had size 11 feet. You couldn't tip her over. Very stable. Yesterday at Ross I overheard some ladies scoffing at the size 10 section: "Size 10! Who wears size 10?!" The person shopping in the size 10 section three feet from you maybe. Anyway, eventually another person joined me in the size 10s, and I think we were both surprised to see another giant-footed freak allowed in public.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Jabby Stabbers


H&M blazer, sunglasses/Ross blouse/Old Navy denim, shoes

I have a good story from today and a funny story from yesterday. Today my husband got an awesome commission for an article for Nautilus magazine (YAY!). So that's awesome. My other story is that yesterday I didn't see D's free weights sitting on the bedroom floor and buried the handle of one into my right ankle (boo). I'm hoping to get a sweet bruise, but so far only pain. I can get a bruise from putting my elbows on my legs, but no bruise from jabbing my ankle on a stabby thing.

Friday, March 28, 2014


In Phoenix, we have two seasons: Nice, and PUNISH. Right now it's still Nice, but soon it will be PUNISH, when we are collectively asked to atone for the sins of humanity. During Nice, I was able to wear fluffy scarves, boots, and make shorter skirts work-appropriate with leggings but those halcyon days are coming to an end. Lately I've been doing some online comparison shopping for PUNISH-appropriate accessories and shoes (I have 1 pair of sandals- wut?). You know me, paying more than $20 for anything makes me hyperventilate, so I spend a non-insignificant amount of time looking for that magical Venn middle where cute and cheap overlap. I enjoy it.

One strategy I employ is to go to the site for a store I know to be cute and cheap (like Charming Charlie), throw whatever I like in the cart and see what it comes up to. After intimidating myself in this way (see where we'd be if you had no self control?!), I go back through my cart and get rid of anything that I don't absolutely need with a burning lust. It's harder for me to justify getting things I like but don't love online because the shopping cart makes a much better running tally than my head computer does, and it's scary seeing it all typed out like that. I have no problem totally emptying my cart (or narrowing it down to a couple of "almosts" and coming back to empty it in a few days) because it doesn't feel like wasted time. That was time I spend refining what I'm looking for and narrowing down places to look for it in.

For this PUNISH, I'm thinking of getting maybe 2 or 3 statement necklaces (one metallic), cognac sandals, patterned or bright sandals, and I need a new wallet. That's what I would feel guiltless about buying. Letting my id free on Target, Charming Charlie and Charlotte Russe (and, godhelpus, Modcloth), I see all sorts of tote bags, watches, oxfords and patterned flats appearing in the cart.

Here are some necklaces I'm currently buy-curious about:

Charming Charlie ($15)                                         Charming Charlie ($15)

Charming Charlie ($15)                                          Charming Charlie ($13)

Modcloth ($27.99)                                                   Modcloth ($12.99)

And for a last little bit of whimsy, a nod to my newest embarrassing obsession:
Dog Whisperer
                                                                    Modcloth ($31.99)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Illusions and Secrets

 Kohls cardigan/Ross top, H&M pants, BCBGeneration shoes/Zennioptical glasses


I felt like a magician in this outfit because I was making some serious illusions. Speaking of giant boobs, y'all should check out the Get a Bra that Fits guide. Anyway, I love the pattern on these pants. It seems like at H&M is kind of inconsistent with sizes, and 8s they had in these were too small so I sized up. Not sure it was a good idea. My body is kind of weirdly shaped in that I have a wide waist, but a flat butt and skinny legs. These were comfortable (maybe a little loose) in the waist but droopy in the butt and too roomy in the thigh. Might have just had a bad 8 and should have tried on another 8 since that's my usual (it's happened before). Is it inappropriate to return things after wearing them a couple of times? It feels wrong. I've literally worn them twice, about 12 hours total. A regular person would get them tailored I suppose.

  same cardigan, top, glasses/Red&Blue jeans/Lifestride heels/Charlotte Russe scarf

Play (wait, still work)

Chose to wear heels for the casual part of the days instead of flats. It's hard for me to wear heels at school because it's all waxed tile and I'm not a great figure skater. These heels are actually really easy to walk in though because the soles (including heels) have this great squishy rubber instead of the stupid plastic bits you get with the cheaper heels (presumably higher quality heels have nice soles but I wouldn't know about that). I think they're made for old women but they're about 3.5". "But HK, where are your whimsical and age-inappropriate animals today?" Why, hidden in the scarf my dear.

Speaking of age-inappropriate prints, here's the wallet/clutch I've been eyeing. Might have to casually drop a line about buying it "for a friend."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Agent Smith Needs a Haircut

 H&M blazer/Kohls top/Banana Republic skirt (ThredUp!)/Report sandals

Most days I wind up wearing two different outfits to accommodate multiple jobs and multiple dress codes. In the afternoons, I teach at a high school with a dress code so I have to look professional. There are strict rules about strap width, neckline depth, skirt length and we cannot wear jeans or tees (except on Fridays). I'm not completely sure we're allowed to wear sandals, but I decided to test that today and no one said anything. Probably okay?

same everything/Merona wide leg jeans/Old Navy snakeskin flats

In the mornings, I TA at a university. Since I'm not a real professor the dress expectations are much lower. I need to look a step above the students, but since they're wearing sweats, no makeup and glasses to their 8am class it doesn't take much. While I was putting on pants, a dust storm rolled into town. I waited til the wind let down, but in the 10 seconds I was taking pictures it started sprinkling. How? We live in the desert! There's one picture where I'm running to the camera with a facial expression that looks like Hugo Weaving. Not a good look on a woman. It wasn't raining inside (a little dusty, though).

Monday, March 24, 2014

To replace or not to replace?

 jacket (Vanity)/dress (H&M)/leggings (Ross)/shoes (Old Navy)

Pose #2 is what I like to call the Standing Flashdance. Got a little diva there. Douse me with water; I'm on FYAH!  I'm sorry.

This outfit wound up being a little problematic. I stubbed one of the shoes on concrete and chipped off some of the red. I went around looking like a chipped-nail hooker all the morning, but I was able to "fix" it with a red expo marker at school. Your tax dollars at work. My second issue today was fit in the jacket. It's not quite on trend (military style) but I was kind of digging the contrast between feminine and masculine elements between the dress and the jacket. But that does not excuse the poor fit. It's hard to tell in these photos, but it's a little big in the waist, and a lot big in the shoulders. If you look closely, you can see that the shoulder seam is creeping down my arm. It should be right at the corner of the shoulder.

Everyone's body has peculiarities that make finding perfectly-fitting clothes problematic. I've been known to compromise on fit because of price or convenience, but I'm trying to get better about that. Additionally, I have a lot of guilt problems buying replacements for shopping mistakes I made in the past so I wind up walking around wearing clothes that don't quite fit. 

For example, last year I was looking for mint skinny jeans because they were so trendy and cute. I found a pair of sea foam jeans that were totally the wrong shape for my body but they were only $9. And sea foam is really only a darker shade of mint, right? Naturally, I bought them. Seemed like a good idea at the time. I have worn them several times (really shouldn't have!) but I always hated them. 

Gross. I have a fabric fupa in those. There's so much extra fabric in weird places that it distorts my body shape. It looks like I have square hips and a colostomy bag. And enough room in the thighs to fit...another...pair of thighs? Oddly though, the ankles are really tight. Also, the Farrah hair was not a good look for me. Bad picture, bad! Yet I don't feel comfortable buying a proper pair of mint skinnies because I "already have a pair." The mind boggles. Looking at this picture it's apparent to me that no normal person would consider those to be anything approximating mint skinnies. And that those pants need to be killed with fire.
Wow, got a little heated up in that last paragraph. Anyway, I've been thinking of replacing the jean jacket for a while (over a year), but I already own a jean jacket (that one). To be fair, I got this jacket in college literally 10 years ago, and today was the first time I've worn it since I lost weight. And I wore it a lot during college. But it's cute. But it doesn't fit. If I was my friend, I would shake my shoulders and tell me, "don't wear things that don't fit, idiot!" I'm mean to my friends, I guess. "If you really want a denim jacket, go buy a cute one that actually fits your body. This one has done its duty and you shouldn't feel bad about putting it to pasture." And then I'd slap myself in the face.

Thinking about price per wear makes it easier to put things into perspective. The horrid sea foam jeans, although I haven't worn them much, were so cheap they're at probably $.75 per wear now. The denim jacket was more, but I wore it to death in college and at this point it's probably at $.10 per wear or less now ($30 for at least 300 wears over 10 years). I don't know what you consider to be a good cut off for price per wear. I try to be a frugal person, so to me $.75/wear might not be enough to replace but $.10/wear probably is. I don't feel comfortable wearing the jeans, so maybe I could turn them into cute, high-waisted cut-off shorts. Might be cute? Or I should just be a normal person and donate them without mutilating them so that someone with a different body shape can enjoy them. 

Anyway, I think I'm outing myself as a neurotic cheapskate with a rainman-like memory for how much clothes cost. Shhh, shhhh.

It's the Tits!

top: Olivia Moon (thrifted)/bottoms: Red&Blue jeans (Ross)/shoes: Payless (similar)

If I look sad in these pictures, it's because I've got the Back to School Blues. I've been on break from the high school I work at for two weeks and it's been awesome. I love my job (seriously!), but it was definitely time for a break. School starts up again tomorrow so I should probably, uh, figure out what we're going to do for fourth quarter. Blergh.

Boobies make everyone happy, and we should return the favor. Everyone with boobs should check out the Get a Bra that Fits guide.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Picture Day

Gap dress (thrifted), ambiance apparel cardigan (Ross), Old Navy shoes, F21 necklace (similar)

This here I wore out to a fancy luncheon at the Ikea cafeteria and brisk constitutional 'round the displays. This is the high life, ladies and gents. Later, D. and I lost spectacularly at Ticket to Ride (AKA The Train Game) in a high-stress, cutthroat, no-holds-barred battle of strategy and wit with people we consider to be friends but also threatened to cut numerous times. Okay, so I lost spectacularly and made empty threats. At some point I think I called someone a "burnt-up slut" for taking a route essential to my strategy, but frankly now I don't remember who I need to apologize to.

Additionally, I had a bunch of fun taking pictures for the How to Build a Wardrobe series. Like some sort of clothing photography secret agent, I waited behind the front door with my tripod and camera at the ready, listening to see if the coast was clear. When all was silent, I would dash out, set up the equipment like it was some sort of emergency or something, then act all casual like the camera had nothing to do with me and it was all a coincidence that I was striking poses under the stairs in front of it. That's not mine, officer. At one point there was a near miss. I thought it was all clear, put my hand on the doorknob to go out and BOOM- an entire family of giggling children and adults walk right past. Chilling. These outfits will all go in the How to Build an Outfit page with some discussion, but for now here are some of the more goofy poses.

Did I intentionally arrange these so I look like I'm looking down, then up at myself? Yes, yes I did.

Friday, March 21, 2014



So, uh, here's the first post. Let's just get it out there and acknowledge that this is a little weird for both of us. I've never done this before, we don't really know each other. Okay. Now let's look at pictures of me wearing clothes and talk about it!

Here's what I wore to go out for lunch with D. I try to be relatively frugal with clothing choices, so this outfit is a mix of Goodwill and inexpensive stores. Wait, that's my whole wardrobe.

Blousy white top (Soprano via Nordstrom Rack)
Eggplant pencil skirt with fun architectural details (Boden via Goodwill)
Pointy-toe, snakeskin patterned shoes (Old Navy)
Gray blazer (H&M)
Tree of life necklace (handmade)
Black and cognac tote (Nine West via Goodwill)

Here I look grumpy and stupid, but you know, it's what I've got to work with. I didn't want to wear a pencil skirt and blouse to do laundry and shop for a dang tripod so this was my casual outfit for the rest of the day.

B/W striped top (H&M)
Bootcut jeans (DKNY via Ross)
Pointy flats (BCBGeneration via Ross)
Black blazer (H&M Divided)
Floral silk scarf (Goodwill)

Now I'm watching Ghostbusters II and doing laundry. I went a little overboard at lunch, so instead of relaxing with copious amounts of cheezy popcorn and beer like how I do, I'm eating pickles and whimpering softly into a glass of diet coke.