Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Daily Outfit: Skirt Refashion, "Before"

Yesterday's outfit started with this long skirt, which I haven't worn in a while. The bright print caught my eye today, probably also because I'm still picking blue clothing to go with my toenail polish...

However, I'm not too thrilled with the final outfit. I think that I'm no longer really interested in long loose skirts. I used to wear those all the time in college, but I'm liking a somewhat more polished look these days. So I suspect this skirt may be about due for an immediate refashion (actually, its second refashion...it started life as a much-too-large skirt, which I took in at the front to create a deep pleat. I've also worn it as a strapless dress, but I have too many of those already...)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

ABC's About Me

I'd seen this meme going around blogs a few months ago, meant to do it then, and then just found the start in my draft posts...thought it'd be fun to finish up!  

A. Age: 26 going on either 15 or 35, depending on the day. (Would be interested to know if that's younger or older than you expected...)

B. Bed size: Queen.

C. Chore that you hate: taking out the trash.  Never mind that this basically only entails going from the apartment to the trash room on the same floor, it is OUTSIDE the door and therefore similar to carrying the trash to Siberia. 

D. Dogs: None, unfortunately. Never had any as a kid as my mother is allergic, and K. is allergic now. I do like them, though.

E. Essential start to your day: Breakfast! If I don't eat within half an hour of waking up or so, I'm starving (unless it's a workout day, in which case I'd better start running before that half hour runs out...)

F. Favorite color: This is a surprisingly challenging question for me. Probably forest green? That's definitely one of my favorite colors to wear, at least.

G. Gold or Silver: Generally I prefer silver for jewelry, gold in general.

H. Height: Just about 5'6".

I. Instruments you play: Mostly I sing (that's what I took lessons in during high school), though I also play a little bit of piano. A very, very little bit of piano.

J. Job title: Research Assistant (/doctoral student)

K. Kids: Some day when I no longer think of myself as one.

L. Live: in the Boston area.

M. Mother’s name: I generally just call her "mom".

N. Nicknames: Well, technically Elly is a nickname, even though that's what all my family and friends call me...my real name is Elena. Other than that...my mom calls me Jellybean, but only she is allowed to do that.

O. Overnight hospital stays: I got dehydrated when I was three and had to stay in the hospital for a couple of days. Not my favorite time.

P. Pet peeves: Incorrect use of apostrophes. I was trying to come up with a longer list, but really...this is the big one.

Q. Quote from a movie: The one coming to my mind is from The Princess Bride "Inconceivable!" "I do not think that word means what you think it means..." (Did anyone else read the book of The Princess Bride by the author of the screenplay? SO much detail!)

R. Right or left handed: Right handed.

S. Siblings: One younger brother.

T: Time you wake up: Generally 7-7:30 on weekdays (at least that's when the alarm is set for...sometimes I'm up earlier). Not much later than that on weekends unless I'm exhausted.

U. Underwear: Is typically necessary, yes.

V. Vegetable you hate: Probably my least favorite vegetable is bell peppers (more so when fresh...I'll eat them cooked in things).

W. What makes you run late: The Internet, waiting for K. to get ready to leave, forgetting things and having to run back to grab them.

X. X-Rays you’ve had: Just the standard dental x-rays, I think.

Y. Yummy food that you make: One of my favorite easy dinners is pasta with meat sauce...cook some ground beef in a pan, then put it in a pot with a jar of tomato sauce, maybe a splash of red wine and some frozen veggies. Serve over any kind of pasta (though I especially enjoy bowtie pasta with this).

Z. Zoo animal: I do really love to watch elephants.

If anyone else wants to do this survey, leave me a link! I'd love learning more about you all.

(On another note, I finally made a few visual changes around here, heading toward a simpler, cleaner design. What do you think?)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Daily Outfit: Zebra-Print Zebras

Yesterday's outfit centered around a top I'd picked up on sale last weekend at H&M.  The print was what sold me on it.  From a distance, it's basically an abstract black and white pattern...but then you look up close:

It's a zebra print with zebras hidden in it!  A little cheesy, but I love it.

Hoping to take this weekend fairly low-key...catch up on some of the sleep that I lost over the past week, just going to bed a little too late and then waking up before my alarm went off.  Anybody have exciting weekend plans?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Daily Outfit: Even More Black and Turquoise

Apparently, I'm now coordinating most of my outfits to my latest toenail polish, a pretty blue shade that I got in a box from Julep...got sucked in by an offer they'd had to get your first monthly box of polish for only a penny, then ended up getting the next monthly box as well. We'll see if the September box looks good enough for me to get it...but it's definitely great quality polish, and I've been enjoying the colors a lot so far.

My toes aren't quite this neon-bright in real life...

I'm trying to make a bit more of an effort to play with the nail polishes, makeup, and perfume samples I own... I like all of these pretty things, but I think I don't wear them often enough! In particular, I'm aware that my colleagues are used to my generally not wearing makeup or fingernail polish, so I feel like it would be very noticeable if I changed that too obviously. Granted, I went through this with my overall style a couple of years ago when I shifted from casual tops/jeans all the time to mostly wearing dresses and skirts...got a lot of comments asking if I had an interview scheduled, and then everyone eventually forgot how casually I used to dress. (Evidenced when a coworker said that he thought I never wear jeans. I still do, on occasion...)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Daily Outfit: Black and Turquoise

Monday's outfit started with the sleeveless black top.  Then I realized that this skirt, which I've had for years and years but rarely wear, would complement the turquoise trim on the top.  The tights were added once I got to work, as a matter of necessity (not shown: the also-necessary sweater).  It's funny that I wear this skirt so rarely and yet manage to spill something on it every time I do. Fortunately it seems to clean up easily enough with some water dabbed on it (and is full enough to cover any temporary water discoloration).

This week hasn't been keeping me especially busy, but for some reason I'd been really stressed out since around Saturday night through this morning.  I also haven't been able to sleep enough the last few nights.  I'm not sure if there's something in the air or what...my best friend was also dealing with emotional stress of no known cause over the weekend.  So yeah, I'd been spending a lot of time feeling my heart racing and stomach knotted and mind making everything into a very big deal.  It seems to have passed for now, though after a mini-breakdown this morning...weird weather?  Not enough sleep?  Mercury retrograde?  (Okay, that last one was a joke, but I just looked up the dates to see if we were even in a period like that and it appears the most recent period of Mercury in retrograde ends today.  Not that I'm going to give that credit for improving my mood.)  Has anyone else been experiencing a particularly stressed week so far?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Passing By

I'm still surprised that it's already August...somehow this summer has passed very quickly.  On that note, I wanted to share some of the things on my to-do-before-the-end-of-summer list.  That could mean early September, could be later in that month, depends on when the weather changes.  My schedule probably won't have any major differences, as I'm not currently planning on taking any courses this semester (just research and thesis prep work, as is the case this summer as well). I would love to...

Image via mattstafford on Flickr - Crane Beach, where I've been going this summer.  

-- Go to the beach several more times.  I can't believe I hadn't made it out to the beaches around MA until this summer...it's a really great, relaxing way to spend a weekend day. 

-- Make sure to wear as many of my summer dresses and sandals as I can... get a sense of what I'll actually wear, and what should be donated at the end of the summer because it's not comfortable or just not working well for me.

-- Eat more summer fruit.  Berries and peaches and melon especially.  Though we did get some peaches in the farm share last week that were so sweet and juicy I'm now completely spoiled for supermarket peaches...I may have to find some farmer's market peaches.

-- Ditto summer vegetables.  Lots of corn and tomatoes, please.  Even zucchini...I have a list of recipes, and we've really only gotten zucchini in the farm share a couple of times this year so far. 

What's on your list for things to do while it's still summer?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Closet Cleanout

So you know how I mentioned yesterday that I was needing a push to get into the next stage of decluttering?  Well, perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned that out loud...that's what causes the world to decide how to push you.  So late last night, my main closet shelf/hanging rod completely broke and collapsed from the weight of everything hanging from it (my shirts and blazers and sweaters, along with all of K's shirts and pants...my dresses and skirts are in a different closet) and everything piled on top of it (suitcases and a few handbags and a plastic bin full of hangers and a few other odds and ends).  Hopefully the apartment maintenance folks will get that fixed within the next few days, but meanwhile I took that as a sign that I really needed to trim down how much I had in that closet!  (And not just blame how heavy K's pants are...)

Piles of clothing removed from the closet

After my decluttering roundup...still a lot! And that's just my tops/sweaters!

So I sorted through everything out of the closet and took a few bags of stuff to the Goodwill this afternoon.  Hopefully the remainder will have a nicer time fitting in the closet when it gets repaired.  And yet, it was really challenging for me to figure out what I wanted to donate on this pass through my stuffed closet.  I think I must be in some strange transitional style period, where I'm not entirely sure what sort of look I want to have now, so I want to hold on to everything...while simultaneously having a significant focus on decluttering and getting rid of unnecessary things in my space.  It's strange to be hovering back and forth between "I still have way too much stuff!" and "I just gave up so much stuff!"  Eesh.  Hopefully the decluttering can progress on a slightly slower pace for the next while, and I can figure out what kind of style I'm headed toward.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Strapless Saturday

This outfit is the result of my trying to take advantage of a hot weekend day to wear something I normally don't get much use out of.  I've had the dress since last fall when I got it at the Goodwill, but hadn't worn it out yet...I'm not sure how comfortable I am in strapless dresses, though that's partly because I've never found a really great, easy-to-wear-all-day strapless bra. 

Today was mostly filled with errands and such.  Laundry day, grocery shopping, going over to my mother's to help her with a few chores (mostly involving the computer).  Trying to do some more cleaning and a bit more decluttering.  It feels like I'm at an interesting point in my decluttering work where I've already gotten through a lot of the low-hanging fruit...I've done a pass through my closet, a lot of the drawers, my filing cabinet, the stuff on top of various tables and desks, even my craft cabinet.  In order to start getting to the next stage of decluttering, I think I'm going to have to start making some harder decisions.  I'm continuing on with getting rid of at least one thing every day, but over the last week or so it's gotten harder to figure out something to put in the donation pile.  I know I still have a tremendous amount of things, so mostly this means I need to start making some harder choices about what I'm really going to use and wear and make, about what actually deserves a spot in my life and my apartment.  This is especially hard for me with books and craft supplies...books because I almost NEVER get rid of books (and I have a lot of older books my grandfather gave me while he was decluttering, which I'm definitely going to keep), and craft supplies because they represent huge potential (both in terms of what they could become and in terms of the joy I could have working with them).  But there are also some crafts that I've just gotten less interested in, and I perhaps should recognize that and whittle down my stash slowly to reflect that...

Friday, August 3, 2012

Black and Gold

This was yesterday's attempt to dress for the heat wave that's coming back into Boston.  I've been wearing long sleeveless dresses (not entirely sure if this counts as a maxi dress?) much more frequently this summer, partially because they help in the summer-heat-to-frigid-air-conditioning transition that I have to do every day.  They're generally light enough that I can make it to work (which involves some walking and public transportation), and then long enough to keep my legs covered and attempt to hold in some heat. 

Other techniques or combinations of garments I've been using to try to deal with the transitional temperatures include:
- Sweaters and blazers to layer on when I get to work
- Tights and leggings, not to be worn until I cool down at the Lab and taken off for the trip home
- Close-toed shoes...I feel that sometimes my feet lose the most heat!

Things I should also experiment with:
- Light summer scarves and wraps
- The turtleneck sweater poncho thing that I currently have in my office for desperate scenarios

What else would you all recommend for dealing with outdoor temperatures that can be 20-30 degrees warmer than indoor temperatures?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Back on the NaBloPoMo Bandwagon

Hope the summer has been treating everyone well!   I know I've been off enjoying summer (though that makes it sound like I haven't been on the internet; I've been on the internet plenty), and thought that doing another NaBloPoMo month of blogging would be a good kickstart to get me back on the blogging wagon.  So what have I been up to while not spending much time round these parts?

  • I took and passed all my Ph.D. General Exams (written and oral exams in three different fields...glad to be done with that!)  Basically, the general exams involved picking three areas of study, getting a committee of people who knew those areas, designing lengthy reading lists spanning those areas, and then several months later being tested in an oral exam, two written exams, and a journal-level paper about anything in those fields.   

    • I spent a vacation with the boyfriend and his family by a lake in Northern Wisconsin.  Lots of water-skiing and other water sports ensued.  I appear to have gotten better than I was last year.

    • I've been doing a fair amount of cooking to handle the various farm share vegetables (as we have a CSA again this year).  Fortunately, I've also found that I do enjoy roasted beets, especially with goat cheese, so I have something to do with the weekly influx of beets...

    • I weathered several heatwaves through Boston.  Normally we get a few sporadic days in the high 90's, one or two days that will hit 100, but this year has had weeks when it didn't get any cooler than that.  Very hard to deal with, especially since the air conditioning in my lab would then be 30+ degrees colder than it was outside.  

    • I've done a lot of housecleaning, decluttering, and reading back archives of the UFYH blog.  I think I'm slowly moving toward a cleaner and more organized apartment!  One of the things that has been helping a lot is the idea of getting rid of at least one thing every day...moving something to the Goodwill box, generally.  It shifts the focus from "should I get rid of this specific thing?" to "what do I own that I least want to keep owning?"

    • I read a number of books, including random fiction books, which is really exciting.  It's been a long time since I was regularly reading things that had nothing to do with work (perhaps because my general exams required me to read a ton of things for work, so that took up the majority of my reading time).

    Hope everyone has been enjoying the summer so far!  I can't believe it's August already...this month is going to go very, very fast, I suspect.

    Edit: clearly, it's now August 2.  Wrote the post yesterday, waited to add the waterskiing picture later, and ended up helping a friend move and completely forgetting that this still wasn't up!

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