August 19th, 2015

ootd // teacher inservice.

This week is all about teacher inservice. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of my (much cuter) presentation outfit from Tuesday — I spent the afternoon discussing how to use iMovie in lesson plans — instead, here is a consolation outfit. It’s hard for me to find button down tops that don’t gap unattractively, but I love this black henley from Loft, so easy to pair with comfy boyfriend jeans for a laid-back, put together look.

Shirt: Loft // Jeans: StitchFix // Shoes: Birkenstocks

August 17th, 2015

ootd // pretty and pastoral.

Sometimes, when I see a piece of clothing, I immediately imagine it being worn in a very specific place. So, when I saw this dress on the Anthropologie site, I knew it would be perfect for summer wanderings in the country. The material has the appearance of chambray, but it’s actually much lighter with lovely embroidery (and pockets!).  On our drive to Galveston last weekend, I stopped to look at all the baby cows, and Jared gamely snapped a few photos. I live for exploring on the weekends, visiting new places, taking winding drives down red dirt roads, but I also love curling up in my bed with a good book — and, after this chaotic headrush of a summer, I intend to do just that for the next several weekends.

Dress: Anthropologie // Shoes: vintage

August 14th, 2015

covergirl star wars line.

As the counter ticks down to the release date for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Dec. 18, for those living under rocks), the inevitable barrage of Star Wars related merch is getting ready to hit shelves. I wasn’t surprised to see some of the partnerships announced, but one that struck me as particularly interesting was CoverGirl’s upcoming Star Wars makeup line. Ever since Queen Amidala graced the silver screen, I’ve grown increasingly interested in character concept design and concept makeup. Although I don’t dabble in it myself, I do love looking at concept art books and editorial spreads. CoverGirl did an amazing concept editorial for their brand and embraced the Star Wars theme by essentially designing two lines, Light Side and Dark Side. After perusing the offerings (nail polish, lipstick and mascara with quotes from the movies) — I am definitely most excited about the lipstick. I don’t love all the colors, most of the are opaque, metallic and more suitable to droids than my personal taste, but I adore the vampy, Dark Side nail polishes.

I picked my personal favorites: “Nemesis” nail polish and the limited edition lipsticks in “Red” and “Nude.” Although the lipsticks are still metallic, I think I could pull these shades off. I am more of a matte girl, but who says no to Star Wars lipgloss? So, what do y’all think? Would you wait in line for Star Wars makeup?

August 12th, 2015

ootd // light cloth casual.

I’ve been keeping it fairly casual lately and wearing mostly linen and cotton — anything light and breathable. We were driving past the bank in town and the digital thermometer flashed “108,” so that is essentially dictating how I dress myself these days. My legs are covered in mosquito bites from nights sitting on our new deck, gripping local beer and planning our next adventures. Despite the heat, my heart knows this is where we are supposed to be right now.

Shirt & Shorts: Lou & Grey // Shoes: Birkenstocks

August 10th, 2015

ootd // a mexican necklace in the french quarter.

I don’t get a ton of chances to wear this jumpsuit, so I jumped (!!) at the chance to don it for our second dinner date in New Orleans. I mentioned before that I am an emerging jumpsuit fanatic, and, while this one is the least versatile of my growing collection, it’s also my personal favorite. The turquoise necklace is a souvenir from my solo spring break trip to Mexico. When I sort through my accumulated souvenirs I find that a trend emerges: jewelry, books and tattoos — all easy to carry home.

Jumpsuit & Shoes: Anthropologie // Necklace: Mexico

August 6th, 2015

ootd // the traveling lbd.

I should probably just change the name of my blog title to “100 Ways to Wear Birkenstocks.” Initially, I brought some fancier (see also: less comfortable) shoes for our first dinner in New Orleans. My feet were actually killing me though, so I threw the Birks on instead. This little black dress is definitely more of a casual style, but I find that I can make it work for anything from work to date nights.

Dress: Old Navy // Sandals: Birkenstocks // Bracelet: Sam Moon

August 4th, 2015

weekend getaway // new orleans.

School starts soon. I’m already making lesson plans, studying my teacher’s edition lit book and spending all of my money on classroom supplies. I decided we needed one more weekend adventure before I start drowning in stacks of essays. With our newfound proximity to the Louisiana border, I realized we are quick getaway distance to New Orleans! And so, off we went.

I have visited New Orleans a few times, but not since Hurricane Katrina, and Jared had never been — so with approximately 48 hours to spend in the city, I chose to situate us in the French Quarter. Yes, it’s the more touristy neighborhood, but it’s very walkable and has a high concentration of restaurants, history and shops in a small area. We stayed at the Inn on Ursulines, a quiet guesthouse that also gives a teacher discount (fellow teachers: always ask about discounts!). It had a quirky, historic feel, but in a rewarding way that made me forget to resent ducking under our doorway.

New Orleans is one of those authentic cities that embraces its grit. The French Quarter style is a mix of ornate iron, exposed brick, wild balcony greenery spilling over onto gas-lit alleyways; everything is accompanied by an abundance of music, a different sound around every corner. We were completely comfortable getting totally lost. New Orleans also has this magical ability to make you feel as though you’ve found an 1800′s Parisian alleyway; few American cities transport you so wholly.

After putting our bags in the room, we commenced wandering down the street, and accidentally inserted ourselves directly into an already rolicking street festival. Unaware of the festival’s premise, we paid a nominal fee and found ourselves swept up and into the Satchmo Summerfest, a celebration of Louis Armstrong. We listened to jazz and swing bands, watched people Lindy Hop and danced to “When the Saints Go Marching In.” We had authentic Snowballs (coconut & cream, forever), and sampled both jambalaya and fried chicken. It was the perfect way to start the trip.

Let’s be real, New Orleans is all about the food. Jared and I are fairly adventurous eaters, so we usually feast our way through a city. The first day, after walking off our street festival snacks, we stopped at Cafe du Monde for beignets, chicory coffee and hot chocolate — the hot chocolate is a spiritual experience, I swear. For dinner I made advance reservations at Cafe Amelie, a courtyard cafe that turned out to be mere steps from our hotel. We both opted for lamb meatball pasta (sometimes we order the exact same thing, it’s why we’re married), which was quite good, but a little too heavy in the oppressive Gulf coast heat; and, while the restaurant was lush and lovely, the vibe was fairly overwrought with a loud bachelorette party in attendance. In search of a more subdued atmosphere, and some air conditioning, we ended up at Arnaud’s where I tried the much lauded French 75, a local cocktail made from cognac and champagne.

The next day, we woke up early, around 7, as we tend to, and had a quick breakfast at Cafe Beignet. We intended to walk around and do some antique shopping, however, we quickly learned that New Orleans is a city of late risers and nothing really opens until 10. Finally, when people began to stir, I insisted we stop by Faulkner House Books, a former home of William Faulkner, and where he wrote his first novel. The boarding house now operates as a specialty bookstore. Of course, I came away with a few souvenirs. We continued our hunt for New Orleans weirdness in the voodoo shops and antique / second-hand stores. Antique stores always hold the secrets of a city and I try to seek them out wherever we go.

We hit our walking limit and decided to stop in at Royal House Oyster Bar for chargrilled oysters, fried alligator and a Pimm’s Cup. After a quick nap at the hotel (hey, we got up early!) and some diligent relaxing, we got ready for dinner at Kingfish. We decided to order small plates instead of two huge entrees in order to more widely sample the menu — so, we tried fried pimiento cheese fritters, a boudin tamale and “nachos” with pulled pork and cracklin’s substituted for the more common tortilla chips. Heaven! This place is a must stop, and I am already planning a trip back with an empty stomach. I wish we had tried some cocktails, but we made up for that by stopping off at Carousel Bar & Lounge in the Monteleone Hotel to conclude our evening.

We left early the next morning, echoes of big bands ringing in our ears, driving down streets lined with Spanish moss, that used to have Spanish names. I thought about the French settlers who gave this vibrant city life and the diverse culture that has manifested itself in the intervening years. New Orleans, I like you. We will be back.

July 30th, 2015

ootd // favorite shorts.

I love cloth shorts — they tend not to cling in the unflattering way that denim sometimes does, although they do wrinkle more. These are my favorite pair at the moment. They are effortless to style, I just pair them with a basic tank top and boom! ready for a quick jaunt to town. I am still hunting for places to take outfit photos in my new abode, but I like the lighting in this photo, so perhaps the search is over. I do enjoy taking “outfit of the day” photos and I am trying to get back to a twice a week blogging schedule. I think it will be easier when I am actually getting dressed every day for work (summer problems).

Shirt: Loft // Shorts: UO // Boots: Vintage // Jewelry: gifts

July 28th, 2015

this is 29.

I turned 29 over the weekend, in a beach house on the Texas coast. I didn’t feel particularly contemplative about the transition, perhaps a little sad. Everyone talks about the magical, redemptive essence brought on by your 30′s, but I can’t shake the feeling that 29 is an epilogue, a final chapter in this tumultuous period of my life — which is both exciting and scary. This past year — it was so wild, unforgiving and varied that I simply cannot categorize it. I had so many new experiences that I eventually lost count. I got married to my favorite person, took an international trip alone, lived in San Francisco and then in Texas, finished my graduate school coursework (I graduate in August, something I wanted to do before turning 30), quit one job & got another, I visited places across America that I’d never been before and embraced nature with my arms wide open. Sitting on the porch of the beach house with my husband, my dog and our friends, I thought it was a pretty great way to start the year. I can only hope that 29 provides me with half the sponteneity and adventure that 28 did.

July 23rd, 2015

ootd // black jumpsuit.

I was initially quite hesitant about jumpsuits. Like, wait, aren’t those what prisoners wear? How will I escape it to use the bathroom? Pretty sure it’ll make my hips look huge. But once I bought my first one, there was no looking back — I now own three. This Lou & Grey varietal is both versatile and comfortable. I kind of want to buy everything on Lou & Grey’s website, then disappear to Mexico for a week.

Jumpsuit: Lou & Grey // Sandals: Birkenstocks