April 14th, 2014

outfit no. 70

As soon as I begin extolling the virtues of our current weather situation, it turns on me entirely — today was utterly gloomy and complete with frigid wind and drizzle. The situation outdoors only served to amplify my recent desire to wear all black attire. Every time I reach into my closet these days, I seem to pull out something dark grey, navy blue or, more often than not, pure black. I don’t think my mood has tended toward the macabre or melancholy, but I just can’t shake the desire to dress darker.

Today, I decided to infuse my otherwise black outfit with lavender pants. The spring-inspired denim, paired with my other wardrobe items (particularly the spiked headband) left me feeling a bit like a goth macaroon — not an entirely unfortunate comparison. Then, to fight off the weather, I wore my thrifted, all-weather poncho. I am pretty sure this oversized poncho is actually intended for the male subset, but it made me look like a wizard, so I bought it.

Shirt: Swapdom // Pants: H&M // Shoes: Ross // Poncho: thrifted // Headband: Korea

April 11th, 2014

outfit no. 69

I wore this outfit to both host a Blogging 101 workshop at the writing center (where I work) and, later on that evening, to an Arcade Fire concert (amazing). I am not sure that I can write some long-winded essay extolling the virtues of being able to transition an outfit seamlessly from day to night, but I did it with this one nonetheless. Also, I really like this blouse. It reminds me of a 1970′s couch, but in the best way.

Shirt & Tights: ModCloth // Skirt: StitchFix // Boots: Zara

In other news, I was the featured Lady Geek of the Week over at Being Geek Chic. Huzzah! I was so flattered and excited that they asked me to be a part of the interview series — I talked about everything from teaching to my tattoos to which Star Trek character I’d like to share a bottle of wine with. Excerpted below.

Q: When did you discover you were “geeky?”

A: When I was 11 or 12, my parents got the Internet. And I am talking straight dial-up that took hours to load each individual pixel of an image and tended toward disconnection rather than expediency. I’d had a computer previously (which I’d primarily used to play Oregon Trail) but this new Internet gig seemed pretty interesting. Over time, I discovered message boards, adoptable html pets and personal websites. Once I realized that I could own my own little piece of the Internet for the generous price of simply knowing how to develop a Tripod or Angelfire username, I was hooked. I went to the public library and checked out every single book I could find on html, read them, and proceeded to build and develop my own website. I think I called it “Abby’s Lair” and gave it a dragon-related theme, complete with dungeon midi and burning torch .gifs. I was really too young to ascribe “geeky” to what I’d done — it was really more of an obsessive interest in a new topic, which I think tends to be the broadest definition of geekiness.

Read the rest here.


April 9th, 2014

the dogwood parade // a texas adventure.

I love fairs, carnivals, festivals and parades. Like, I love them A LOT. In Texas the festivals tend to take place during the interim seasons (autumn and spring) and in turn are often accompanied by beautiful weather and bursts of natural color. Spring is also bluebonnet and wisteria season in Texas; the aromatic scent of flowers perpetually perfumes the air. I’m not sure that everyone is aware of this, but it’s actually illegal to pick or mow over bluebonnets; so everyone whose yard is peppered with the cerulean blooms must landscape around them until they die of natural causes. As you drive along the road, people will be pulled over photographing themselves in the copious fields of Texas wildflowers (there’s even a pooping on bluebonnets tumblr). Cliche though it may be, I have a special affinity for these flowers as well — I suppose I am merely a product of my environment.

I mentioned the Dogwood Parade in my last outfit post, but I didn’t elaborate on it much. It’s a small town parade in which the entire town turns up and people, who have long since moved on, return. There are strong handshakes and friendly claps on the back as people who haven’t seen each other in years catch up on lost time. Stalls are erected all up and down the main streets and filled with everything from kettle corn to Pinterest-inspired country crafts. Though to be honest, I think most of these women were crafting pre-Pinterest. There is a classic car show as well as some cutesy carnival games. The craft and food spectacle begins around ten AM and the parade starts promptly at two.

During the parade the local high schools (of which there are several, and whose populations are quite small) present their chosen “princesses” via elaborate, hand crafted floats or the aforementioned classic cars. Similarly, many of the local ” mom and pop” stores turn up with their own floats as well. I’ve actually never seen such float dedication before! Of course, there are cheerleaders on fourwheelers and a girl in a prom dress holding a baby goat, because this is Texas after all.

Then, there’s the food. Multiple stands offer up their version of barbeque, funnel cakes, hand-squeezed lemonade and hand pies. The trick is to be in the “know” on whose is the best. Surprisingly, it’s not always the booth with the longest line. And just because you’re friends, doesn’t mean they make the best barbeque. You have to be serious about this decision. I made a bee-line for the Indian (as in Native American) tacos from the Alabama Coushatta tribe’s booth — a good choice on my end. Plus, let’s be real, red velvet funnel cake is officially the greatest food-thing ever.

I think I’ve come to a point in my life where I can no longer imagine a year without at least one street festival. We even went to one in Korea, although there they called them “night markets.” Over this weekend filled with bluebonnets, old (and new) friends, the floats and eating all the food, I managed to experience enough Texas-love to fill a book about. No matter what happens in my life, or what transient turn it might take, I know that Texas is always the place I’ll call home. I am not sure if other people feel this way about their home states (I just assume they do) but if I am ever homesick for a deep-fried Oreo or an 18-wheeler parade, I know just where to go.

April 7th, 2014

outfit no. 68

Jared is from a super small town in Texas, and every spring they host a Dogwood Festival and parade complete with floats, a Dogwood Princess, a high school marching band, funnel cakes, deep fried everything and this uncommon nostalgia that can only be captured by a town that shuts down for their hometown parade. I, of course, used the fabulous spring weather as an excuse to wear my favorite, but not oft worn, dress. As an unabashed sucker for a bold pattern and back cutouts, it’s really not a huge wonder that I love this particularly loud frock.

Dress: ModCloth (super old) // Shoes: Zara

April 4th, 2014

outfit no. 67

One of my ESL students told me I “wear my fashion well” in regard to today’s outfit — so I am going to call that a win. This skirt was originally in my “donate” pile upon returning from Korea, but I put it on one day and just re-fell in love with it. Isn’t it funny how that works with clothes? Sometimes I’ll be hunting for something particular to wear, only to realize that I had long ago sent that item off to the great thrift store in the sky. I find that my stylistic tastes are as cyclical as anything else in life and there are certain things I’ll return to time and again. I think this skirt’s uneven hem endears it to me — it’s a look that I really liked in the 90′s, and one I don’t often find in modern trends. The fabulous scarf was rescued from a blog-friend’s car trunk on my Richmond trip, and it took me a while to figure out how to style it, but I think I’ve got it under control now.

Shirt: ModCloth // Scarf: Megan // Skirt: F21 // Shoes: Korean street stall

April 2nd, 2014

outfit no. 66

Things have been happening quickly these days. There are a lot of to-do lists coupled with bank account avoidance, because seriously it’s just getting depressing in there. I’ve also been dressing more casually than normal for work — in part because of the warm one minute, cool the next weather we’re having, but also because if I can make a comfortable outfit work appropriate — then I am going to, dammit!

I do have a couple of closet staples I’ve found to be the epitome of making comfortable look casual-chic. First, the blazer. This blazer is actually a stretchy, soft material that wears more like a shirt, a perfect light layer. Second, the jeans. I tend toward dark skinny jeans when I am going to work. I bought this particular pair three years ago on sale for 9.99 at Urban Outfitters — they have outlasted all my other jeans, surviving even our Korean washing machine, and remain my current favorite pair. Plus, now they are nice and worn in.

Blazer: Ross // Top: Old Navy // Jeans: UO // Shoes: Toms

March 31st, 2014

frugal & fabulous // kimberly from penny pincher fashion.

This is the March edition of my Frugal & Fabulous series which focuses on dressing fashionably with fewer items, remixing, and being an overall thrifty lady. This interview is with Kimberly from Penny Pincher Fashion. Kimberly is a mom and full-time blogger whose main focus is on being stylish without breaking the bank. Her blog has some great infographics and how-to posts for frugal ladies, such as How To: Closet Purge and she can rock a bold look like no other.

How many pieces of clothing do you own?
I’ve never actually counted, but if you include outerwear, I’m sure it’s over 100.

In what ways do you maintain a frugal lifestyle? Do you ever thrift or make your own clothes?
I love thrift shopping! Every Monday, the Savers store nearby has 25% off everything in the store so I try to go on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. I’ve found the best pieces there – a leather pencil skirt for $8 and an authentic Salvatore Ferragamo bag for under $15!

What is your personal style philosophy?
Everything you wear should make you feel amazing!

What is one piece that you feel you could build an entire wardrobe around?
A tailored blazer – easy to dress up or down & instantly adds polish to any look.

How often do you purchase new pieces for your wardrobe?
I only allow myself to buy new clothes using money that I’ve made selling old clothes on PoshMark & eBay, so if I don’t sell anything one month then I can’t buy something new.

What do you do to keep your closet interesting without constantly adding more items?
I gather lots of inspiration from Pinterest for remixing pieces I already own. And I also love making small changes to items I’ve had for a while to create something new – example: I dyed a khaki blazer navy blue & changed out the buttons; I removed the sleeves from a short trench coat to make a vest & I distressed a pair of old Levi’s.

Don’t forget to check out Penny Pincher Fashion!

March 28th, 2014

outfit no. 65

I don’t usually cross-post Instagram photos on my blog, but I just loved this one so much. The colors in the mural contrast perfectly with my more monochromatic outfit. The mural is one of several outside the Texas Art Supply store in downtown Houston — Jared and I headed down there to visit the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s Impressionist exhibit for his birthday. In pursuit of comfort, I decided to (finally) wear my platform sneakers and Lulu’s blazer. The blazer has sheer sleeves that give it a little extra flair. And seriously, these sneakers are Spice Girl fabulous, no?

Dress: H&M // Blazer: LuLu’s // Shoes: UO

March 26th, 2014

outfit no. 64

This outfit made me feel incredibly chic and sexy, although I can’t pinpoint exactly why. While I acknowledge it’s not a traditionally sexy outfit, I just felt so damn good in it. I can’t wait to replicate this outfit multiple times throughout the upcoming spring months. Also, my hair was looking extra fluffy that day which probably put some additional spring in my step. My hair has never tended toward fluffiness, it typically prefers to emulate a style more akin to Severus Snape’s — that is, until I discovered hair powder and dry shampoo. Now, fluffiness abounds and it pleases me greatly.

Shirt: J. Crew // Pants: UO // Shoes: Toms

March 24th, 2014

outfit no. 63

I love spring. I really love all seasons, but spring is the best for outdoor activities and, as it gives way to summer, long days at the beach. I am hoping we will get a chance to go beach-camping before it gets too hot. Camping mid-July in Texas is basically unbearable, but May is simply perfection. While this outfit may not scream “first day of spring!” in typical floral and pastel fashion, I was very excited to have bare legs, sans tights. My knees were really diggin’ the breeze. This slouchy crop sweater was part of a recent swap off Swapdom and I crazy-love it. Like, a lot. It has already been worth its weight in compliments just today. The skirt is my StitchFix standby that has been remixed multiple times already, most recently here.

Sweater: via Swapdom // Skirt: via StitchFix // Moccasins: Street stall in Korea