Tagged: Fashion

Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week, 4.05.2014

Five 2

It’s a beautiful, warm and sunny morning in WASHINGTON, DC!!!!!  I’m spending the day with my favorite people doing my favorite things.  Here are five great reads for your first official April weekend.  I hope you get a little sunshine today, too. 

On building a good-looking work outfit:  Work Wednesdays: Decoding the Mystery, from Belle at Capitol Hill Style.  I have a similar approach to building a great work outfit that usually involves khaki-colored top, khaki-colored sweater, neutral pants, neutral shoes.  It still covers all the important parts but the result is a lot less interesting . . .

On being an internet sensation:  Julie Deneen at Fabulous Blogging with Clawing Your Way to an Online Presence: The Difficulty of Building a Brand.  There are definitely some blog-focused terminology in this post, but it is also an interesting look at how to be a success — and wait for success — in any professional field.

On Following Your Dreams, You Guys {For Reals}, by my friend Esther Emery.  Esther is legit.  This blog post is like When Women Were Birds (have you read that?  It’s one of my favorite books on writing) if you take out the pretty flowers and you turn up the intensity.  Esther is simultaneously super-human and incredibly vulnerable and I really like her.

On that whole World Vision thing:  Evangelicals Punish World Vision for Walking Down ‘The Romans Road,’ by Ken Wilson and published at The Huffington Post.  This is the right kind of approach.  I really, truly believe that more people agree with this response to homosexuality in the church, but they are just afraid to say it because of the social ramifications of doing so.  I wish more Christian leaders would be brave and speak what they think is right the way that Ken describes here.

Before making my views widely known to my congregation, I felt stuck, much as I imagine the leaders of World Vision must have felt stuck before they decided to hire (or more like, not to fire) people in covenanted same sex-relationships. People who like the other employees of World Vision, love Jesus and want to relieve human suffering. In my mini-version of the World Vision leadership dilemma, I wondered, “How can I tell my congregation that I cannot enforce these exclusionary policies without blowing up the church I love?”

On what we keep hidden from friends:  The Splenda Level of Friendship, by Megan Gahan for She Loves Magazine.  I loved this.  It’s reminiscent of what I was saying last week, when I wrote this.

 

What I’m Loving — March 2014

Whew, where did March go?  I can’t believe it’s already time to link up with Leigh once again. 

WORK.  Is that a weird thing to say, that I’m loving work?  Well, I have been.  I started this month off with a business trip to Florida (thank you America), and have been doing hard, challenging work this entire month.  So basically, I’ve been living the dream.  [Literally.  Working incredibly hard every day is exactly what I want to do with my life.]

FRIENDS.  Oh, that’s right, we’re finally using the “f” word here in the Windy City.  I’m setting into some very enjoyable friendships/co-workerships in the office, which is starting to feel like a great fit.  On March 8, in honor of International Women’s Day, I met up with a half-dozen members of my writing group who also live in the greater Chicago area, for drinks and food and writerly hang outs.  I also attended my second Kappa Delta Alumnae Chapter event this month, grabbing dinner and meeting some new women in the city.  It’s so nice to have “people” once again.

Oh, and we’re still looking for a regular trivia night and trivia people around the loop/south loop.  Just an FYI in case there are any random internet stalkers close by. 

CHICAGO.  The weather is improving, the sun is shining more frequently and for longer stretches at a time, and I’m just plain loving Chicago.  Everything about it — the jazz music and the frumpy coats and the popcorn (oh the popcorn!) and the skylines and the way that the best restaurants use animals in their titles (“purple pig,” “little goat”).  My parents were here for a visit and we did basically nothing, but even still — I just love it here.  I didn’t think I would, but I do.

READING and WRITING.  This month has been all about l-e-a-d-e-r-s-h-i-p.  I’ve been reading blogs, articles, and am nearly finished with The Truth about Leadership (Kouzes/Posner 2010).  My favorite tidbit from the K&P’s Ten Truths reminds us that being a leader is all about relationships, and that you need to know the people you are leading and have the right kind of relationships with them to lead them toward positive change.  K&P teach leaders to know their values and visions for their organization, and to know their people — what makes them tick, what their visions are for the future — and to connect these organizational and personal dreams together.   I love it.

ON THE SCREEN.  Television has been kind of meh this month, eh?  (Shout out to my Canadian readers right there.)  I guess Nashville and Scandal are my top choices, but meh.  I also really like Blacklist most days but, meh.  Nothing is really catching my attention for very long.  This weekend we watched several movies, and I’ll give you mini-summaries:

  • Divergent — awesome(!) and now I want to read the books right now.  I’m going to try to purchase them before my DC flight on Friday night.
  • American Hustle — sad but good, with some lovely dresses.  Now I love Jennifer Lawrence a little more.
  • Frozen — what the what is all the fuss about here?  I don’t get how everyone talks about this so much.  Meh.

EATING/DRINKING. I’m a creature of habit, and this month I’ve found myself doing a few things over and over.  Drinking English Breakfast Tea all day long.  Mixing dried cherries, chocolate chips, and raw almonds for my own delicious trail mix.  Also, I’ve been cooking from Bread and Wine (Shauna Niequist) a lot.  I can’t stop loving that tiny little book.

HERE ON PINK-BRIEFCASE.  I’ve been practicing this little thing called speaking up.  Just a bit more than normal, but it’s something I want to do more.  My favorite posts here on the blog this month are

Well, there you are.  March in a nutshell.  April is going to be insane!  We’ll be out of town two out of four weekends.  I’ll be seeing some of my very best friends; trying on my writer hat for four days straight at a big fancy writing conference; and then pulling my lawyer hat out of the closet, grabbing a blazer (it’s been a while, blazers!), and heading to a legal training at the end of the month.  Hopefully I’ll finally get to wear all those new spring shoes I’ve been buying.

NOTE: my friends, our internet has been down to about 10% for days and it is so slow and terrible that I just couldn’t upload any photos for you today.  I also couldn’t really preview this post the way I normally do, so if there are typos here or anything looks weird, I apologize — leave me a note and I’ll try to edit them if we ever have consistent internet again. 

What I’m Into, February 2014

Well, hellooooo, March.  I am so happy to see you!  I am living for spring weather, and I have faith that sometime in March I’ll experience at least one sunny Chicago day with temperatures above 40 degrees.  A faith that can move mountains.  But, before we get too far into March, I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer to share What I Was Into in February 2014.

feb 2014 wiit

Valentine’s Day Weekend!  I made my first batch of home-steamed mussels, we attended a couples cooking class, had dinner at Chicago’s The Purple Pig, spent an evening at an historic Chicago Jazz Club, and grabbed coffee and brownies at a friend’s church’s brand-new coffee venture.  It was a jam-packed, wonderful weekend.

Shoe shopping.  With a gift card from the holidays and my January clothing budget, I was very responsible and purchased cognac flats and heels (the perfect neutral in my opinion), leopard-printed black flats, a new pair of boots to  replace my favorite boots that bit the dust this year, and a new spring-ish bag.  I’ve always worn one favorite pair of shoes until they absolutely fall apart, and I’m excited to try being a grownup and rotating shoes to match outfits.

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Mariano’s.  You guys.  Mariano’s is the perfect grocery store.  It’s a perfect mix of Publix and Whole Foods, with a very low price point.  They have wine tastings on the weekend and you can get sushi or sandwiches or pizza to eat in the store or take home, their butchers are so friendly and will grill up meat for you right there (although, why you would want that I have no idea), their cheese selection is fantastic and their bakery breads are fresh and tasty.  Every time I walk into Mariano’s I think about Heaven.

Kappa Delta.  I attended my first KD alumnae event in Chicago this month, and it was so fun!  I met a few ladies that had definite friend potential, and I was so happy to reconnect with an old friend/advisor who served as a consultant when I was KD president WAY back in the day.  And then, she wrote a blog post in my honor!  It popped up on facebook and I was so incredibly flattered.  Isn’t it wonderful to find such lovely friends in all kinds of places.

On the TV:  Fringe.  I started watching this completely weird show on my sick days in the last week of January.  H got interested and we watched all five seasons together this month.  We barely watched the Olympics because we were so into Fringe.  It is sciency and weird but it has a good love story and if you’re looking for a show to watch as a couple, I highly recommend it.  Although I didn’t love the ending.

Reading:  nothing new.  I’m still plodding along through Blanski’s When Donkeys Talk.  I’ve read a ton of blog posts and magazine articles and such (check back each Friday for the week’s top reads!), but no books have been completed.

skyline dusk

It’s been a long, cold winter, but I’m loving our new city and so excited to spend this Spring and Summer getting to know Chicago better.  Photo (above) taken from Promontory Point, looking north toward Chicago’s skyline.

Well, that’s a quick run-down of February’s highlights!  What were you up to in February? 

 

 

Dreaming of Spring

It’s been a long winter.  I can’t remember a day that I haven’t made the choice between snow boots or regular boots.  The snow boots usually win out.  I’ve worn my full-length eggplant purple coat nearly every day since the package arrived in our gym.  [We get packages delivered to the gym in our building.  It’s a little strange.]

There are a lot more weeks of winter-ish weather ahead, but I’m so ready to wear something different.  I’ve been online window-shopping like nobody’s business.  I know it’s better to spend your clothing budgets on quality, not quantity, but these items are just thrifty enough that I might pick up one or two to add a little spice to my sweaters and wool slacks while I wait for signs of spring.

SET: Dreaming of Spring

Old Navy navy shoes
oldnavy.gap.com

Forever 21 loafer
forever21.com

Necklace
shopruche.com

Pink scarf
shopruche.com

Except, probably not the shoes. I think it’s going to be a while before I can go outside without warm socks. But a girl can dream, right?

How to Survive the Coldest Winter Ever (Round Two)

Well, now that our freakishly cold Midwestern winter has started to spread across nearly the entire country, I wanted to share a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up since my first “winter gear” post earlier this season.  What I know now that I didn’t know then is that surviving a Midwestern winter isn’t about fortitude or enthusiasm, it’s about having proper winter gear.  Google and fashion magazines aren’t really as helpful as you might think — I learned the most from your comments, asking my coworkers what kind of gear they use, checking out the people on the bus to see what name brands and styles look the most comfortable and commute-friendly, experimenting with a few different things, and finding what works for me.  For those of you who have been sending tips and tricks along the way, thank you.

1.   Layers.  Everyone talks about layering, but before this year I always considered a cute tank with a v-neck sweater to be layering.  I’d never engaged in layering for warmth.  Now, I wear warm-layer leggings, wool socks, and a tank underneath my regular outfit every single day.  I love the fleece-lined leggings recommended by my friend Kristen, I like the texture and feel of regular ole’ thermal underwear, but most often I’m rocking the Cuddl’ Duds I included in the photo below.  I also layer on a fleece or moderately thick sweater that I can wear in the office if necessary without looking like a college kid in an 8:00 class.

2.  Outerwear.  I purchased a coat which is great for moderately cold days (where the low is like 10* to 20*F) where I’ll be active or getting in-and-out of a heated car frequently.  But that isn’t really my normal day.  Because I walk to the bus stop and then stand still for two to twelve minutes each morning and evening, I needed something for my commute that was seriously warm.  Everyone seems to wear North Face coats here, but the cost was very high and a few people I work with recommended the Lands’ End Squall coat series.  I did my research, including an online shout out to several of you guys on Facebook, and decided that the Lands’ End Long Commuter Down would be the best fit for me.

3.  Sizing.  I’m typically quite hot-natured, and have always gotten overheated easily on the bus/train.  Thus, during my commute to work in DC I never tried to wear warm clothes underneath my winter coats.  I learned pretty quickly that my size Small coats couldn’t really handle the kind of layering I needed to make  my commutes passable.  So, I ordered a Medium in my new coat.  It was huge.  It is so large that I almost returned it for a smaller size because I felt silly wearing such a large coat inside my warm apartment.  Now that I’ve been actually wearing it, though, that extra space in the arms and shoulders is the best thing ever.  I can fit a very thick sweater or a fleece zip-up under my coat and there is still plenty of room for moving around.  Also, extra big is extra warm.

4.  Footwear.  I thought that my rotation of knee-high leather boots would be perfect all winter, but post-snow sidewalks are treacherous and disgusting, so I’ve been avoiding them on my commute and just carrying them to work in my canvas tote.  I picked up this pair of fleece-lined snow boots because they were cute, but I’ve been hearing great things about Sorel and Merrell boots and may snag a new pair for next season on clearance if I find something that looks good.

5.  Socks.  I try to wear warm wool socks every day, and if they are the thin ones I’ll just wear them all day, changing into work-appropriate shoes during the workday.  I also keep a pair of knee-high pantyhose in my bag and can switch into hose and heels at a moment’s notice if I have a big meeting.  Seriously, though, regular cotton socks just won’t do when you are out in the weather — wool socks (preferably the ones that go all the way to your knee) are required.

Welcome to the Midwest

So far, my new large coat, snow boots, and effective layering have been keeping me incredibly warm.  Each day I make it to work without crying or giving up, I feel a little more like a winter-weather superhero.

Am I missing anything?  Any other tips you’d like to share for those of us surviving our coldest winters ever?

Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week

Five Awesome Things I Read This Week copy1.  D.L. Mayfield’s post on living fully each day, on how much she wants to write about the “good and true and hard things,” and on how that can be more difficult when you are looking at your likes and stats and followers.   This post is actually much deeper than my tiny summary, so definitely check it out if you ever think about how to ethically and honestly tell your true stories.

2.  Rachel Held Evans’ oldie post, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell.”  This is pretty much everything I look for in a blog all in one single post.  Do you love Huckleberry Finn?  Do you think slavery was and is wrong?  Read this.

3.  This piece from the Washington Post.  It will break your heart.

4.  The OneWord365 initiative website, Sarah Bessey’s one-word-wrap-up post, and Mary DeMuth’s instructions for turning your one-word or one-thought into a cool image for your blog or home.

And finally, for number five, please check out J’s Fashion Blog from Thursday — she is rocking sparkles in a casual way, just like I love to do.

 

Is this serious?

Okay, sorry. I know you guys are tired of checking in here to see no new posts, and that what follows is not really enough to deserve your attention. I admit this is not going to be insightful, or thought-provoking, or all that stimulating.

But seriously, this is so ridiculous. A tweed skirt will not prevent your weirdo sweater from looking weird. There is an owl poking it’s head out of your skirt, Kate Bosworth. No animals should be poking out of any person’s skirt. No amount of effort will prevent that from being weird.

Geez Louise, America.

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Photo Credit: InStyle Magazine.