Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone! This is what our dining room table looked like, at least until the pumpkins got all moldy and collapsed onto themselves five days after we carved them. Every year I buy a few more decorations to add to my collection - this year I picked up the spiderweb tablecloth, which I love. My Halloween decorations are nowhere near as awesome as Emily's, but maybe someday they will be. (A skull is definitely on my wish list.)

I thought I'd do a quick run-down of how I put together the Katy Perry costume I wore to our party on Sunday, because I love it when bloggers share their DIY experiences.

This was my inspiration...

First off, here are the things I already owned:

-The pink wig
-The pink cardigan
-The heels

Altogether, this costume only cost about $10 and took two hours of work. And I have to give almost all the credit to Josh here: even though I came up with the idea, he actually made almost everything. I sewed the skirt and cut out the green and yellow shapes, and he did everything else. Yes, my husband is awesome.

My grandma gave me the box I used as the hat, and Josh just glued some cheap yellow fabric onto it, and stuck a headband through it to hold it on my head.

I cut the green and yellow shapes on my chest out of felt and just pinned them together.

For the heels, Josh wrapped blue painter's tape around the bottom, and taped yellow ribbon around the top.

The skirt was the trickiest bit. Because I decided on this costume kind of last-minute, I didn't have time to search for a black pencil skirt at a thrift store. That would have been the easier option. Instead, I bought some fabric and a 99-cent pattern at Joann Fabrics. I opened the pattern at 10 p.m. the night before the party, and spent twenty minutes staring at it, trying to understand it. Eventually I gave up on that idea. I may know the basics of sewing, but apparently I don't know how to read a pattern. So instead, I just sewed two pieces of fabric together, added elastic at the top and a hem at the bottom, and Josh glued the white felt shapes all over it.

As my niece Emily pointed out, when you looked at the skirt close up it kind of looked like a Project Runway piece gone bad, but from far away it looked reasonably similar to the inspiration photo. Overall, I was pleased with the way my costume turned out, although next year I may go for something easier.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blue gingham

Lately I've been trying to veer a bit more towards office appropriate outfits, just so I can get some practice for the job I will hopefully be starting in January. I think I'd wear the top and skirt to a business casual office. I'd probably wear different shoes - I'm not sure if you're allowed to wear boots even in a business casual setting. I think I'll probably need to do some research before I start this job (and quiz my fellow female employees) just so I don't show up to work in anything totally inappropriate. In case you can't tell, it's been a long time since I've worked in an office.

Blue gingham top: J. Crew
Brown leather skirt: thrifted from Goodwill (Target brand)
Beige boots: Jeffrey Campbell (Rumble boots) from Urban Outfitters
Sunglasses: Oscar de la Renta from TJ Maxx
Scarf: thrifted
Bracelet: gift, from Italy

Also, wow....

Sometimes I can't believe I get to live in such a beautiful place.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Costume party

Yesterday was our second annual costume party! (See last year's photos here.) It was super rainy out, but nearly everyone was willing to go up to the roof and take some photos anyway.

I was Katy Perry (in case the pink hair and cube hat didn't make it obvious)...

Josh was inspired by Arrested Development...

My niece Emily was Kaylee from Firefly (check out the awesome sandals)...

My niece Maggie was a lazy, chain smoking housewife (with "cigarettes" that she made herself out of paper!)...

Okay, I'll be honest, I'm not sure what my sister-in-law Lizzie was supposed to be, but she was adorable...

My sister-in-law Joanna was a character from The Sims (because it was the only thing she could think of to make the night before the party)...

My niece Mary was the Tooth Fairy (check out the tooth earrings)...

And my mother-in-law Molly decided to be sensible and dress as a nurse, and we were all immensely jealous of how comfortable she was by the end of the night...

Josh's dad came wearing his normal clothes, with a post-it note stuck to his shirt that said "crotchety old fart," which eventually fell off onto the floor and was eaten by Onyx. We didn't mind too much - it's hard to be mad at such an adorable dog who likes to fall asleep on top of warm laundry...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Broken record

Sometimes I feel like a broken record, wearing the same things over and over again. Like these boots - I wore them in yesterday's post as well, also while posing in this alley. And in my two earlier posts this week, I wore the same black sweater both times. I guess I just have my favorites. I'm trying to get over my irrational fear of wearing the same item of clothing (or shoes) two days in a row. When I lived in China I noticed that all my students and all the other teachers at my college wore the exact same outfit for three or four days in a row, so eventually I started doing that too. If you love what you're wearing, why not wear it over and over again? But then I came back to America, where everyone feels compelled to wear something different every day. That's not a bad thing - I certainly like being creative with my outfits and trying to find new combinations, especially since I photograph what I wear for this blog. But every now and then, it's nice to wear a favorite piece a few times in a row.

Lace dress: H&M
White button-up shirt: free from my aunt
Brown coat: Marks and Spencer
Brown boots: Jessica Simpson from Macy's
Red necklace: B. Lee Designs
Brown braided belt: thrifted
Embroidered bracelet: thrifted from Village Merchants

Thursday, October 25, 2012


The outfit in these photos is the twin of this outfit I wore earlier in the year. (Maybe the fraternal twin, since they're not exactly the same.) I like the current version much better - it looks nicer, and it was more comfortable. Josh said it was one of his favorites out of my recent outfits, and I loved it, too. Sometimes the things I wear just feel "meh," and other times I hit upon a combination that really makes me happy. I think a lot of people underestimate the power of a great outfit. When I wear something that I feel good in, it usually improves my mood and my confidence.

Beige sweater: Target
Gray vest: free from my aunt
Brown belt: thrifted
Jeans: Levi's
Brown boots: Jessica Simpson from Macy's
Hat: free from my dad
Earrings: free from my aunt
Necklace: purchased in Florence, Italy

Here are a couple pictures from a walk I took the other day...Portland is so gorgeous in the fall.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Claudia and Stacey

I don't have anything to say about this outfit other than it was cute, functional, and super comfy. (Hello, stretchy waistband...)

Now moving on to much more interesting things...I found this awesome website yesterday called What Claudia Wore, based on the style of Claudia Kishi from The Babysitters Club books. I don't know about you guys, but I was obsessed with those books as a kid. (Especially since one of the characters was named Stacey. I even tried writing hearts over all my "i"s just like her, until I realized that it took way to long to write anything that way.) Some of my favorite parts of those books were the descriptions of Claudia's wacky outfits. (I also loved hearing about her secret stashes of junk food.) Were any of you into those books?

Black sweater: Target
Green skirt: Anthropologie
Black suede boots: Urban Outfitters
Blue necklace: made by my aunt
Green bracelet: thrifted from Village Merchants

Monday, October 22, 2012

Have a seat

I'm a sucker for a quirky print. I love that this skirt looks like faded, retro curtains that someone sewed into a piece of clothing.

It's officially tights weather. I think 70-degree days are gone for good, and I feel so sad about that. But looking on the bright side, it's Halloween next week, and I'm going to dress up as Katy Perry, so that should be awesome.

Black sweater: Target
Chair skirt: Anthropologie
Black tights: American Apparel
Yellow shoes: Urban Outfitters
Sunglasses: Oscar de la Renta from TJ Maxx
Green necklace: purchased in Hong Kong

I'm linking up this post to Monday Mingle!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cool cool cool

This post was going to be my homage to the show Community (Abed title, Britta outfit), because the premiere of the 4th season was supposed to be this evening, but now it's been postponed. I'm as heartbroken as Abed was when Cougar Town was postponed. (And as heartbroken as I was when Cougar Town was postponed - I'm crazy about that show, too.)

I wore this to a one-year-old's birthday party. I think I sometimes have trouble dressing appropriately for the occasion.

Tank top: Target
Leather jacket: MICHAEL Michael Kors from Nordstrom Rack
Jeans: Levi's
Boots: Irregular Choice from Solestruck
Sunglasses: Oscar de la Renta from TJ Maxx
Earrings: free from my aunt
Spider necklace: Bauble Bar

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sweater dress

I miss the warm weather already, but the trade-off is that I love being able to wear outfits like this one. There's nothing like a sundress and sandals during the summer, but I just feel cooler when I wear things like boots and sweaters. This is only the second time I've worn this sweater dress (the first time was here), and now I'm kicking myself for not making it my go-to dress last fall. It's the perfect shade, and fall is really the only time of year I can tolerate wearing 3/4-length sleeves on a heavy sweater. So I'm going to try and wear it more this season, although I may not feature it on the blog much because there seems to be a limited number of ways I can wear it, and I don't want to bore you guys :)

Sweater dress: Fred Meyer
Beige boots: Jeffrey Campbell (Rumble boots) from Urban Outfitters
Sunglasses: Oscar de la Renta from TJ Maxx
Belt: thrifted
Bracelet: gift
Purse: Eva messenger bag from Ellington Handbags

Monday, October 15, 2012

Office appropriate

This may be one of the only truly office appropriate outfits I've ever worn on the blog. I would feel comfortable wearing every part of this outfit to an office job or an interview. Speaking of interviews...this week I have my first office job interview since before I got married! I'm excited and nervous. I think I'll wear something similar to this outfit - I've purchased a few pencil skirts lately, and after a lifetime of hating how they look on me, I've finally come around to the style.

Black sweater: can't remember
Pencil skirt and belt: Halogen from Nordstrom Rack
Black tights: American Apparel
Black wedges: Lulu's
Sunglasses: Oscar de la Renta from TJ Maxx
Blue earrings: gift from my aunt, B. Lee Designs
Gold necklace: Dress Barn

Friday, October 12, 2012

Farewell, summer

These are my grandpa golf pants. They're one part old man, one part awesome. (Okay, so they could be old lady pants, but it's much more fun to say "old man pants.") I found them at a thrift store last year for a couple bucks. I realize that they're not exactly flattering (and I realize that pink and green may not actually go together), but they make me happy, so I'm going to wear them anyway.

This was my "farewell to sandals" outfit - by the time you're reading this, it will probably be raining in Portland, thus ending our delightful three-month rainless summer, and I will have to put my sandals in storage for eight months.

Pink swan sweater: Urban Outfitters
Green pants: thrifted
Blue and green wedges: Nine West from Nordstrom Rack
Scarf: gift
Necklace: Evidence Jewelry, won in a giveaway
White bracelet: H&M

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Last week I read the book Overdressed by Elizabeth L. Cline. It's been making its way around fashion blogs for a while now, so I won't give an in-depth review because you've probably read about it somewhere else already. (And if you haven't read about it, head over to Jessie's blog for a great run-down.) Here's a brief synopsis, though: It's about our current culture of fast fashion - how we're addicted to buying new, cheap, trendy clothes, and how that's affecting America's economy, the lives of factory workers in other countries, and our planet.

Honestly, I was afraid to read this book because I knew it would be convicting, and it was. The statistics alone are mind-numbingly awful: Zara produces one million garments a day. H&M produces half a billion a year. Every year Americans throw away 12.7 million tons of textiles. These are nearly incomprehensible numbers, and when you consider what they mean for the welfare of our planet, they're quite frightening. Those numbers made me look at my closet and consider the environmental impact of the hundreds of items hanging in there. I've almost never given a second thought over going into Forever 21 and buying a cheap shirt that would probably only last a few wears, but I will now.

One of my goals for this year was to buy fewer clothes, but to spend more money on higher quality. That's not to say I haven't purchased anything cheap and trendy - I regularly give in to temptation when it comes to pretty clothes. But I've been trying to consider some of my purchases more carefully, and save up for them.

That's why I gladly paid $230 for a leather bag and $200 for a leather jacket this year. I know it seems weird to see me talk about spending that much money on only two things. I've noticed that when fashion bloggers talk about money, it's usually along the lines of, "I bought this sweater for only eight dollars!" And that's great if you can find a sweater for eight dollars (even better if it's one you love and wear all the time), but I wish bloggers would talk now and then about how much something cost, like, "I spent $200 on this jacket, and it was absolutely worth it." Almost everyone who found out that I spent $230 on a purse freaked out about it, and I think that's because we're so used to hearing about how cheap clothes are that it doesn't seem necessary to pay high prices anymore.

But in a lot of cases, I think it's still worth it. I'm going to use my leather purse for years (not months, as was the case with all my other purses), and I'm hoping that the jacket I bought will be the only black leather jacket I'll ever have to buy.

I'm not saying that I think we all need to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on everything we buy (especially because there are a lot of cases where your money would only be buying you a label, and not quality), and I hope none of you feel like I'm judging you for buying inexpensive clothes, because that's not my intention. But reading Overdressed has further convinced me that there are some areas where I should seek out quality, and other areas where I just don't need duplicates. I don't need eleven striped tops, and yet that's how many I have. What if every person in the world owned as many clothes as I do? I think the health of this planet would just fall apart.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Young or old

I'm currently embracing florals and sandals with all my heart, because I know they're going be packed away to the back of my closet in about a week when it gets cold and rainy. I bought this dress a year ago, and this is the first time I've worn it. I don't feel so bad about that, because it only cost me a couple bucks, but I still don't like letting my clothes sit around unworn. But this dress is so dang girly. I just didn't know how to wear it. It's comfortable, and the print makes me happy, but I can't decide if this dress feels too young for me. I hate that I've reached an age where I sometimes look at a piece of clothing and wonder if it will make me look too young. (Obviously that didn't stop me from wearing it, though!)

Floral dress: thrifted from Village Merchants
Jean jacket: thrifted from Rerun
Blue and green wedges: Nine West from Nordstrom Rack
White belt: Forever 21
Ring: In Pink

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pink and black

I wore this dress/skirt combo around this time last year (here - one of my favorite outfits on the blog), and decided to do it again this past Sunday. We've been having shockingly warm weather here lately (it hasn't rained for nearly three months, and it's consistently been in the 70's for weeks), so I've still been able to go around with bare legs, bare arms, and in open-toed shoes. It's been great, and I'm going to miss the heat once the cold weather hits and I'm forced to wear coats and scarves and tights for seven months straight.

Dress: ModCloth
Skirt (underneath dress): gift from my aunt
Pink heels: Steve Madden from Marshall's
Sunglasses: Oscar de la Renta from TJ Maxx
Earrings: free from my aunt
Bracelet: gift from my mom, from Yosemite
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