About Me

Musings of a hopeful wanderer.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Au Revoir

Dear readers (Mom and Dad),

As you can see, this blog is no longer my passion.  I started "fashion blogging" as a way to figure out my new style as a graduate student and professional librarian and to push myself into trying new things.  In this regard, it was a success!

However, my attention and focus has shifted elsewhere and I have a brand new project up my sleeve, ready to roll out in the coming weeks.  As soon as it's all set, I'll announce it here and I hope you'll all follow me there on my new adventure.

It's been real,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

San Francisco chic #2

The Mission district.

Sigh, it's a wonderful place, if all but gentrified.  There's so much greenery and wonderful food and people with dogs.  And people with tattoos!  Which reminds me--there are shockingly few people with tattoos in San Francisco.  I know I've become accustomed to the tattoo-clad whatwith living in Austin where everyone and their grandparents have tattoos, but sheesh San Francisco, making me feel like a freak.

Anyway, on the Friday of our trip, we spent the morning in Emeryville--a small suburb between Oakland and Berkeley.  Ed's school was entirely online, but the offices are based in Emeryville and they had an open house where we could meet all the instructors and other students and whatnot.  It was very funny watching Ed interact with his former classmates, not only because Ed is a bit shy and so are animators in general, but because they had never met in real life.  I wish I could meet my internet friends, harumph.

After a full morning of schmoozing, we headed to the Mission district to refuel on burritos.  They were good, way better than any burrito you can get here in Texas and nay, dare I say, even better than my beloved Big Ten Burrito (and just as cheap!)

This is what I wore to the event and then into the Mission. I'm standing in front of a mural of cartoon superheroes because if there were to be any place in the world with a mural of such a subject, it would be in the Mission.  Shit has murals all over the place.

Shirt: Urban Outfitters
Pants: Gap, thrifted
Shoes: Toms
Batman: I like to pretend its Christian Bale

Saturday, July 23, 2011

San Francisco chic #1

I've been recovering from many consecutive days of work and school, followed by a week-long vacation in San Francisco.  We went to celebrate many things! Specifically, Ed's graduation from his 2-year character animation program and our 4 year anniversary.  Growing up, these kids.

Packing, and subsequently dressing, for San Francisco is tricky this time of year.  We need it would be foggy and chilly, but we've been in Texas so long we kind of didn't know what that meant.  Which means I brought things that were way too warm (scarves, etc.) or way not warm enough (tank tops).  Layering was the key.

We arrived in San Francisco on a Wednesday and Ed's graduation ceremony was Saturday; I was feeling a bit bummed because Wednesday through Friday had been FREEZING (to Texan standards) and while I had brought tights, I really didn't want to wear them with my graduation dress because it's so damn cute.  Fortunately, Saturday warmed up considerably and I was able to go sans tights (and as the day progressed, sans cardigan). 

I have one hell of a handsome boyfriend, don't I?  Ladies and gentlemen, he's taken.

On me:
Dress: Spotted Moth
Shoes: Steve Madden

On him:
Suit and shoes: thrifted (SERIOUSLY!)
Shirt: Old Navy
Tie: Land's End

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Weeks in Review, with books

Hello, hello, hello.  That was an echo, it doesn't translate so well online.

Life has been hectic, in the best possible way these past few weeks.  Remember that interview I had?  Well, I didn't get that particular position, but I was offered a very similar position in the same department.  I am now the newest Ask a Librarian intern at the UT main library.  I'm mainly doing chat and email reference work and I'm loving every minute of it.  We have also been away from our apartment for 2 weeks house and dogsitting for some friends.  We tried to make it as much of a "staycation" as possible, with as little internet and work as possible, which we were more or less successful doing.  I did a lot of reading, A LOT.  Here's what I've had on my bedstand table the past few weeks:

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Y'all, this one rocked my world and I gobbled it up in about two days.  It's a story of a teenage hacker, Marcus, who for the most part used his hacking abilities for gaming and getting around his school-implemented online surveillance systems.  After an attack on the Bay Bridge, Marcus is in the wrong place at the wrong time, gets picked up as a suspect, and after a few days of interrogation, is released into what has become a complete police state.  His hacking skills then become mighty useful as he forms an underground network of teens who want to reclaim their civil liberties.

Obviously from the title (and Marcus' online handle, "Winston"), this book is Orwellian.  And anyone who knows anything about Cory Doctorow can tell that this one is, very Doctorow-ish.  And it was great!  It was a fast-paced action of a read; not only did I learn more than I ever wanted to know about how to get around CCTVs, ARPHIDs, and internet filters, and I also learned (again) about the consequences of trading civil liberties for "security."  I cannot recommend this one enough.

Life as We Knew It (The Last Survivors #1) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

This one was heavy.  Its written as the diary of 16 year-old Miranda who witnesses an asteroid hitting the moon.  The asteroid was big enough to drastically alter the moon's orbit and distance to the earth, thereby causing massive natural disasters.  Its a harrowing story that reminded me a lot of World War Z.  We see a lot of movies about asteroids and meteors and whatnot, but this was a very realistic portrayal of the aftermath.  What would we do if everyone we knew was dead?  What would it be like if day after day we watched our only food supply diminish?  What would we do when faced with the decision to save ourselves or help another?  It was gripping and heartbreaking and if you know me at all, you know I mean that in the best possible way.

The Dead and the Gone (The Last Survivors #2) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

A companion to Life as We Knew It, this one takes place concurrently, also in diary format, of  17 year-old Alex, a Puerto Rican living in Manhattan.  Initially I didn't like it as much, as it begins much the same way and, honestly, I just didn't know if I could take much more of it.  It eventually grew on me, though, and while the decisions Alex is forced to make are harrowing, he brings a different perspective than Miranda did. This was my least favorite of the series, mostly because I found Alex a little melodramatic.

This World We Live In (Last Survivors #3) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

This one resumes where the first one left off; again, we follow the diary of a now 17 year-old Miranda and well, the moon is still too close to Earth.  I was really excited to read this one, hoping that they've figured out a way to get food, water and heat.  They haven't, but things are looking up--in a way that's only possible once you've hit rock bottom.  Alex and Miranda have crossed-paths, and when I initially found out I rolled my eyes; when you think about it, though, when the population has been decimated, things like that are bound to happen.  It nicely wrapped up the story, leaving me satisfied but without all the answers.  A terrific trilogy for us pessimists.

What's been on your summer reading plate?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dress for Success(ful Interviews)

If you've recently landed yourself a job interview, congratulations!  Even if you end up not being offered the position, interviews show that you are a well-qualified candidate.  Interview attire is nerve-wracking, especially when you are a young professional or entering a new field.  Advice from yesteryear states dark business suits are appropriate; 1) I hate business suits and will go to my grave (hopefully) never donning one, and 2) in today's age, you can be just as professional looking wearing something else.

I recently had a job interview for a reference position in an academic library.  Library settings are tricky because while they are professional, they are often more casual than other workplaces.  You are often on your feet and interacting with people, so you need to be comfortable and approachable.  In a interview, I will opt to dress nicer than I would expect to on the day-to-day, but still comfortable (which, for me, means no high-heels).  Comfort is key because you want to be focused on your interview, and not the pain in your feet or wondering if your top is cut too low.  This is what I wore:

This outfit reflects some of my guidelines when choosing an interview-appropriate outfit.  This dress is a silk blend, so its nicer than cotton.  The belt is a dark color, my shoes are neutral (and flat, always) and the cardigan covers my bare shoulders.  A couple more things to consider:

Tattoos and/or piercings.
Much to my parents chagrin, I have several tattoos and piercings.  Two sets of piercings in my earlobes, and a few "non-traditional" ear piercings in my tragus and helix; more obviously, my nose is pierced.  I also have a large-ish tattoo on my left tricep and a small tattoo on my right wrist.  You'll hear different opinions about displaying tattoos in piercings for an interview, but here's my advice: do what feels comfortable and be honest.  I've never taken out any piercings for an interview and never has it been a problem (that I know of).  I do cover the tattoo on my tricep because it's large and kind of weird; I don't purposefully cover my wrist tattoo, although it often happens inadvertently when covering the one on my arm.  If I'm offered the job, I will let my employer know about my tattoos and ask about any workplace policies regarding facial piercings or tattoos.  Like I've said, I've never had an issue with either of them (in fact, most of my employers have had one or the other themselves).  Again, be comfortable and honest.

Its all in the details.
If you've made it to the interview stage, you've already stood out as a qualified candidate.  I've sat on hiring committees where all the candidates were very well qualified and gave good answers, and the decision ultimately came to small details.  What you say is of course the most important aspect of an interview, but details of your appearance are important, too.
  • I'm a nail-biter which is often unsightly; I curb the habit by almost always having my nails polished, which means they are often chipped due to daily wear and tear.  To make my nails look presentable, before an interview I either polish them or take off all the polish.  Chipped, cracked nail polish looks unclean and unprofessional.
  • I am completely paranoid about things in my teeth, so I floss just before an interview (yes, I'm crazy).  Also, you might be sitting very close to your interviewer, so if you can, brush or use mouthwash just before.  Will you not get a job because you don't have awesome dental hygiene?  Probably not, but it'll never hurt.
  • Iron your clothes.  Period.
  • If you tend to sweat easily (guilty, even when it's not 100 degrees out) and will have to walk some distance between your bus stop or parking lot to the location of your interview, consider changing into your interview attire when you get there, if possible.  If that's not possible, allow yourself some time before the interview begins to cool down.  I did not wear my cardigan on my half-mile walk from my bus to the library because I would have been unacceptably sweaty. When I got to the library, I stopped in the bathroom, blotted myself off and sat in the air conditioned lobby for a few minutes.  Then I put on my cardigan.
What else do you recommend for interview-appropriate attire?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Changes afoot

There are some pretty exciting things happening around Casa Manpern.  First, Ed is graduating in only a few weeks, and while the job market is tough and entering the workforce is always scary, it's really, really exciting.  Even if it means we have to live separately for a while when he starts his first professional animation job, it will be so effing worth it.

Secondly, I started writing over at www.hacklibraryschool.wordpress.com.  It's a blog written by library school students about library school (and information professional) things.  If you're into that sort of thing, check us out!  I was really honored to be invited as a contributing writer, and my first post will be next Thursday.  You better believe I will link you to that shizz on the daily.

Lastly, I have a job interview on Wednesday.  No, I do not plan on leaving my position at Austin Public Library, but I don't want to give too many details other than it is another library position in a different kind of library altogether.  Keep your fingers crossed and I'll keep you posted.

All these changes have left me wanting to wear go-to staple peices--"workhorse" pieces if you will.  Always a lover of plaid, I'm surprised I hadn't paired my favorite plaid shirt with my favorite (if not over-worn) black skirt.  It's a match made in heaven.  Also: I'm still in love with these shoes. 

I want to hear all about your summer break so far!  What do you recommend in terms of yummy food, books, movies, and/or major life changes?

Blouse: Urban Outfitters
Skirt: Old Navy, second hand via Elaine
Shoes: Steve Madden
Belt: thrifted
Aloof look: blazing hot Texas sun searing my retinas

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spelling Bee Chic

Confession: I am, and pretty much always have been, a geek.  For example, I went to band camp.  Twice (and loved it).  I hated watching movies in school because, hello, I could watch a movie on my own time thank you very much.  I did an optional senior thesis and when people ask me why, I respond "it was fun."

This past Thursday the Austin Chronicle held an adult spelling bee, the proceeds of which benefited the Austin Public Library.  As someone who was once an excellent speller (damn you, spell check!), I couldn't sign up fast enough.  Sadly, the I was eliminated in the first round, which was a written test which required identifying misspelled words--words, that, of course, I often misspell.  Thankfully I didn't make it to the third round, which was a more traditional on-the-stage spelling bee.  With words like bourgeoisie, embouchure, and decuple, I would certainly have embarrassed myself.

Anyway, I wanted to channel my inner bookworm with ruffles and a sweater vest.  And although I didn't take home the trophy, I looked cute, drank many margaritas, and learned new words.  What kind of nerd doesn't like that?

Vest: boutique in Ann Arbor, MI
Blouse: Target
Cut-offs: Gap, cut off by me
Shoes: TOMS
Face: pure competition

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Movie Review: Everything Must Go

Lately, I’ve been undertaking a near Herculean exercise regimen called Tabata intervals.  In these devilish intervals, you engage in 20 seconds of to-the-limit cardio, rest completely for 10 seconds, and repeat.  For four straight minutes.  Initially, it doesn’t seem so bad.  Twenty seconds isn’t so long, you think.  This will be no problem.  Around a minute in a half, your heart is beating out of your chest and the ten seconds that at first was a nice relief is now cruel.  At the end of those four minutes, the only thing left to do is collapse, catch your breath, and feel like a superhero.  (If you want to undertake these, by the way, they are not recommended to do more than once a week.)

Dan Rush’s debut film, Everything Must Go, was, in many ways, like these intervals.  Nick Halsey (Will Ferrell) is an alcoholic, who, after relapsing on a business trip, is fired finds all his belongings on his front lawn and all the locks changed.  His wife (also a recovering alcoholic) gets wind of the relapse and decides enough is enough.  The rest of the movie takes place will Halsey on his lawn surrounded by the only things he owns, drunk, miserable, and fighting to take it one day at a time.

At times (many, in fact), it’s hard to watch.  We go see long stretches of self-deprecation; Halsey is a kind of put-together drunk, not out of control or obnoxious or violent, just the kind of guy who prioritizes his PBR above all else, the most heart-breaking kind of drunk.  Just when you think you’ve had enough, that your own heart can’t take the ache of watching this man fight and lose, fight and lose, stop fighting and keep losing, we have punctuated moments of relief (it might be a stretch to call them happiness).  The young female neighbor across the street who offers conversation, the young boy who wants to learn to play catch, these are the only things keeping the viewer in their seats.  These truncated moments of relief are just enough to bring you back from tears (if you are, in fact, the kind of person inclined to cry in movie theaters) but not enough to be comfortable.

In the end, those brief moments just weren’t enough.  As the credits were rolling, I felt exhausted.  I had been pushed to the edge and then pulled back just briefly—so briefly—I was ultimately left with one foot on and one foot off the proverbial ledge.  It’s hard to say I liked it (though I really, really did), but I would absolutely recommend it.  While the end was a little made-for-Hollywood and the supporting characters a bit flat, Ferrell was enchanting and proved his chops extend beyond the comfort zone of SNL-esque bits.   It isn’t punchy or particularly unique, but it’s solid and good.  Not unlike a taxing work out, this movie will leave you feeling  a bit sore, but satisfied.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Adults wearing unicorns


I am here and well.  I've actually been *gasp* enjoying my time away from school.  Mostly  by picking up extra library shifts and working a million hours a week.  But other than that, fun!

Ed and I went to TWO movies this weekend (a review forthcoming) and did other relaxing things, such as walking the dog and laying on the couch.  By the time Sunday rolled around, clothing myself felt like a chore, so I went the never-fail route: unicorns (go on, zoom in to my shirt detail).
It was very bright out, but breezy.  And the Texas indoor climate is known as hyper air conditioned, so a cardigan is appropriate.

Hope y'all had a good week!

Shirt: UO, several years old
Cardigan: F21
Jeans: Old Navy
Shoes: Target

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Looks like I have some catching up to do (as usual).

This week has been a mess of working, finishing up the semester, and trying to get our apartment back in order.  Because we've both been tied to our desks (for those who don't know: Ed is in his last semester of a prestigious online animation program, after which he will likely get a job, move away, and become a surfer and leave me for a girl who doesn't turn into a giant freckle after 10  minutes of sun.  Just kidding about that last part.)

This is the type of thing I've been wearing these last few days at work and I think it's very indicative of my current mood to "keep house."  Y'all, I've been on a cleaning frenzy.  And not just your ordinary cleaning, but the stuff you never want to do, like cleaning out the fridge and dusting the fans.

Dress: thrifted
Top: thrifted via Buffalo Exchange
Shoes: Steven Madden
I also have plans to do a bit more decorating.  We recently decided to stay in the apartment we're in even though we don't really like it because the rent is cheap and Ed's plans after graduating are up in the air.  The walls are dark and the lighting is terrible and because it's tiny, it gets cluttered easily.  I find that when the house is in disarray, we're both grumpier, more irritable, and, most importantly, can never find our stuff.

Full disclosure: I do the vast majority of the cooking, cleaning, and general "housekeeping."  I've been thinking a lot about what the means in terms of labor distribution and power relations.  I am a self-identified feminist and a lot of what I learned in school (I graduated with a B.A. in Women's and Gender Studies) asked us to challenge the so-called "second shift" and the nature of "women's work".  I used to get so angry with Ed that I did most of the housekeeping, even during the 5-month period last year when he was unemployed and I was working 40+ hours a week.  I immediately assumed it was because Ed thought it was my job or he didn't care about the maintenance of the apartment, or didn't value my time as much as his.  Knowing Ed and his own feminist tendencies, this was simply incredulous.

Lately I've been thinking about these dynamics more in-depth.  Frankly, I just like cleaning and cooking.  As soon as possible I plan to maintain a large garden and learn to sew and I know I'll be doing that mostly on my own because, really, Ed doesn't enjoy it.  And yes, that's probably largely in part to socialization and whatnot, but does that mean I should stop doing what I enjoy?  I also think that housework is only "women's work" when it's devalued, or when the woman doing the work feels compelled one way or another to do it, or if she knows that if she doesn't do it, it won't get done.  None of that applies in my household or in my relationship.  Feminism, generally speaking, is about informed consent.  No one, NO ONE, should feel compelled to do anything she or he doesn't want to do--housework included.  And no one should be in a relationship where both partners don't compromise and share responsibilities.  And ultimately, everyone should get to decide what makes them happy, what works to de-stress them, and for me, that is mostly "women's work."

What works for you?  How do you maintain an equitable (not necessarily equal) distribution of labor (and, I suppose if we're being Marxists about it, power) in your relationship?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Book Review: Paolo Bacigalupi's "Ship Breaker"

This was my second-ever Young Adult novel and, after having just come down from my "Hunger Games" high, was a little disappointing.

The story is about young Nailer, a pre-teen boy who lives in the Gulf Coast working as a ship breaker.  Presumably set sometime in the near-ish future, the combination of hurricanes and the rising tides of global warming have all but drowned the Gulf.  The United States no longer has a need for the huge oil tankers that currently line our coasts, which has resulted in near-crippling poverty for the people of the Gulf.  To make ends meet and to cultivate materials for the changing U.S. infrastructure, ship breakers tear down the tankers for parts.  It's backbreaking and dangerous work.

One day after a particularly bad hurricane, "city killers," Nailer and his best friend Pima stumble upon a clipper, a large, luxurious boat, probably a yacht.  In the boat, they find another young, extraordinarily rich girl, and are faced with the dilemma of killing her and selling her boat for scavenge or saving her life and risking their own.

The story itself was good and interesting.  I like Nailer and found that Bacigalupi gave him a lot of depth.  The last 2/3 of the book, though, felt very rushed and even out of place.  It seems like Bacigalupi didn't have a clear sense of what he wanted to happen, or he couldn't narrow it down, so he kind of just threw it all in there.

As the winner of the 2010 Printz award, this book was by no means poorly written, however if Bacigalupi could've edited himself a little more, I would have found the ending more cohesive and, ultimately, satisfying.

Monday, May 2, 2011

On good days

Today I'm having a really terrific day.  Here is a list of reasons why:

1. I was notified that I've been awarded a $1000 scholarship from the Texas Library Association.
2. At work, I helped a young man research requirements for a hardship driver's license.  When we finished, he looked me straight in the eye and said, "You've been very helpful."
3. It was cold and rainy and I got to wear my most favorite outfit in the whole world: dress, cardigan, boots.  If I lived in a climate that was consistently 65 degrees and drizzling, I would wear this every single day of my life.
And then, of course, I woke up this morning to hear the news about the thing that happened. I have some opinions about it, which I won't share here because it isn't the appropriate venue, but mostly I don't know what yet to say.  A victory against terrorism and domination and coercion worldwide?  Yes, absolutely.  Something to literally celebrate?  The jury's still out.

As far as days go, I'd call it a good one.

Dress: UO
Belt: thrifted
Cardigan: F21
Boots: via DSW
Smirk: public libraries, FTW!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Simple times

In the heat of finals (three final papers, two final projects), I don't have the energy to be terrible creative in my sartorial choices.  I've struggled with this skirt since I've had it, for whatever reason never wanting to do something simple with it.  I try to pattern-mix, use contrasting colors, or do anything other than pair it with a simple t-shirt.  Yesterday, though, was a gorgeous, breezy, busy day, and this comfortable t-shirt was calling my name.

On days when I hardly have time to catch my breath, less is more.

Skirt: Gap
T-shirt: Old Navy
Belt and necklace: thrifted
Shoes: UO

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Recipe: Tilapia Cakes

Every so often someone will ask me what I eat for dinner and when I give them an example, they always say "So fancy!"  Ed and I have taken to doing this ourselves: "What are we having for dinner?" I'll say. "Homemade pizza," he replies.  "So fancy!"  And so on.  We really don't eat anything fancy, we don't have the time!  We do make a lot of things from scratch, which I guess in the era of Schwann's and Marie Calendar is pretty fancy.  But let me let you in on a secret: Real Simple.  I subscribe to Real Simple magazine just for the recipes.  Most of the time the ingredients are way outside our budget, but in the off chance you find one you can afford, it will never let you down. 

Last week, we feasted on Dijon Tilapia Cakes.  You guys, believe me when I say I actually feel sorry for anyone who hasn't had this dish.  It is delicious.  So delicious, in fact, that we tried a variation on it again this week using salmon, and we still prefer the tilapia version (and y'all, tilapia around these parts is under $6 a pound.) (Also, if you buy farm-raised from the United States, the environment will thank you.)

Without further ado, Real Simple's Tilapia Cakes.  (We didn't take a picture, so Real Simple's will have to suffice.)
1. Bake 4 6-oz tilapia fillets on 400 degrees for about 10 minutes with a touch of salt and pepper.
2. While fish is cooking, combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 fresh farmer's market eggs (the quality of eggs makes all the difference!), 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, and a handful of fresh dill (or a few shakes dried). (Newton's First Law: Mayo + eggs = deliciousness)
3. Once fish is cooked, allow to cool for a few minutes.  Once cooled, break it up into flakes and add it to the mayo/mustard/egg mixture.  Fold in 3/4 cups breadcrumbs and combine.
4. Form into 8 patties and if you have the time, refrigerate for half an hour; if you don't, stick 'em in the freezer for 5 minutes.  Fry patties in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until golden, about 5 minutes a side.
5. Serve with a side salad and homemade dressing using the dijon mustard.

Please eat this.  Now.  It will change your life.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Lately I've been watching a lot of documentaries, which isn't good for someone like me.  I'm a worrier, you see.  And worriers do one thing, all the time: worry.  The environment, the economic climate, the hungry, libraries, art, education, EVERYTHING MAKES ME WORRY.

One of the tendencies of worriers is to really enjoy the worrying; to really ride it at full speed.  Thus,  I don't choose movies about babies, or smart animals, or sexy times.  No, no, I watch those about predatory credit lenders and the collapse of Western civilization.

All of this is to say I chose this outfit after a long night of depressing documentaries about how we're all screwed, SCREWED!  It's astute and thoughtful.  And one day when I can make sense of it all I might just write an intelligent post about my conspiracy theories and worries about predictions for the future.

The vest and ruffles really say, "I'm the kinda lady that watches documentaries." No?

Shirt: H&M
Skirt: Gap, thrifted
Vest: thrifted
Shoes: Steve Madden
Business-Casual: why, the documentaries, of course!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Anyone tired of me talking about the weather yet?  Well get used to it, folks.  It's only April and already 100 degrees.  I have about 6 more months of complaining to do.

This post, however, is about my second favorite topic: shoes.  Ed and I are planning a trip to San Francisco this summer.  I've only been there twice, but the one thing I know is that you need a good pair of walking shoes.  Two, at least.  Per day.  (Side note: someone today told me that I'm an "exaggerator."  Me?!)  I was recently commenting to Ed that I could use another pair of cute, comfortable shoes to walk around San Francisco in and he suggested that I look into loafers.  Pfft, loafers, I foolishly thought.  I think I could probably ask my mom to borrow a pair.  Ha! Get it, because loafers are for old ladies!  (All the while, of course, thinking, YES, with tassels, please!)

And then I went to Savers.  And then I browsed the shoe section WILLING a pair of 8.5 loafers (with tassels, of course) to appear.  And then:
Y'all, they are the most comfortable pair of shoes I've ever owned, and I've owned two pairs of TOMS.  And tassels.  And I WILLED them into existence.  With my will!

I didn't wear them until today, though, a week later, because I couldn't find the perfect loafer-worthy outfit.  I ultimately decided simple is better.  The tassels speak for themselves, people.

Dress: Old Navy
Belt and shoes: thrifted, Savers
Sassy poses: c/o tasseled loafers

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Recipe: Slow Cooker "Philly Cheesesteak" Soup

It's no surprise that Ed and I love our slow cooker.  Why do I love it?  Let me count the ways.

  1. On days when it's too hot to stand over the stove, the slow cooker is just about the only way to get a hot meal.
  2. It's super simple.  Chop, put in pot, leave for 7 hours.  When we get home, we have a delicious home-cooked meal that we barely even remember preparing.
  3. Leftovers.  Without fail, we can get two dinners and two lunches EACH out of our slow cooker meals.
This week we found a "Philly Cheesesteak" soup.  Ed loves cheesesteaks, I love cheese.  It was a perfect match.

The ingredients:
  • One red and green pepper
  • Medium-sized onion
  • Potato
  • Garlic
  • Butter
  • Worchestire sauce
  • 4 cups beef brother
  • Garlic
  • Milk
  • 2 lbs. beef (not pictured)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (not pictured)
You literally put everything but the cheese in the slow cooker and turn it on low for 7 hours.  Once the meat is cooked and tender, add the cheese for a few more minutes. It does not get easier.

The result:
Deliciousness.  (The picture makes it seem a little brown, but I promise it's creamy.  You can always add more vegetables!)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Channeling Rachel Berry

When we moved in together almost two years ago (!), we decided to not spend any money on cable as a way to save money.  Its turned out to be such a blessing because we spend a lot more time reading, chatting, and playing very nerdy board games.  However, we have two Netflix queues and frequently watch whatever television shows are Instantly Watch.

This week we watched the entire 22-episode season of Glee.  It's just too fun!  And y'all, I got a lot of outfit inspiration from the one and only Rachel Berry, whose style was once described as "simultaneously like a grandma's and a toddler's."  I can dig on that.

Ever the wearer of belts, plaid, and vests, she's a lady after my own wardrobe heart.  May my face forever be slushie-free.

Dress: Hollister, thrifted
Sweater: second hand from former co-worker
Shoes: Steve Madden
Thoughts: "I'm like Tinkerbell, I need applause TO LIVE"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Farmers market

I've recently started getting all our meat and eggs for the week at the farmer's market.  This is purely for ethical reasons (we're forced to eat a lot less of these things because the cost is so high), though once you eat a farm-fresh egg from a chicken who was allowed to graze and eat bugs, you will never be able to eat another industrially produced egg ever again.  There is just no comparison.

Even though my Saturdays weeks are jammed-packed as can be, I really enjoy our little Saturday morning ritual of heading to the farmer's market with the pup and after picking up a few things from our favorite vendors, we just sit and people-watch and enjoy the not-quite-yet-sweltering weather.  This is what I wore last Saturday and pretty typical for a weekend outing.

I know what you're thinking.  "Are jean jackets back in style?"  Friends, they never left.

Dress and jacket: thrifted
Shoes: Target
Goofy-grin: mmm, farm-fresh eggs

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A sickness

I have a shirt-tying sickness.

Ever since I discovered the greatness that is tying-a-shirt-that's-too-big, I haven't stopped.  It just works too well!  See my excitement here?!

Lately I've been perfecting my librarian-chic.  I'm finally FINALLY getting paid to work in a library, so I'm trying out all my professional/comfortable/hip combinations.  And I have to tell y'all, I really love this one.  I was so comfortable all day, even if my skirt kept flipping up over my head due to 20 mph winds.  (Ok not really, but it was too windy of a day for so flouncy a skirt.)

See that face?  That's my "shh!" face, y'all.

Skirt: Gap with giftcard
Shirt and belt: thrifted via Savers
Shoes (loves of my life): Steve Madden
Attitude: librarian-serious

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bakers in training

In our never-ended attempt to become independent of the grocery store, Ed and I tried our hands at bread making this weekend.  (By "Ed and I" I of course mean he did everything and I took pictures.)  The end was result wasn't a beautiful loaf, but it was delicious and free from all the artificial sweeteners, preservatives, HFCS and whatnot they put in bread these days.  Plus, it wasn't as hard or as time-consuming as we thought it'd be.  This is the recipe we used (though we didn't follow it to a T).

We decided to go for a super hearty, oat-y, nutty, seedy bread.  Of course.  First, mix your whole wheat flour and yeast together.  Set aside.
Then, heat up some milk, honey, and olive oil in a pan until it smells so good you can hardly stand it.  Or, you know, until the honey melts.
Next, add the milk-honey mixture into the flour-yeast mixture.  We also added about a cup of chopped nuts, rolled oats and seeds.  Use an electric mixer on it for a good 2-3 minutes, adding the nuts/seeds/oats slowly as you go.
Once it's good and mixed, knead that sucker.  And knead. And knead. And knead some more.
Once it resembles a bread loaf, put it in a greased bowl and let rise.

Because it's so thick and our apartment is so humid, it took about an hour for it to rise.  We kind of "eye-balled" it, since we had no idea what it was meant to look like when it was adequately risen.  Almighty Google told me that if you make an indention in the dough with your fingers and it doesn't spring back up, it's done.

Is it adequatley risen?  Good, now give it a good few punches and let sit again for about 10 minutes (this, I'm told, helps release some of the carbon dioxide from the yeast).  Finally, form into a loaf, top with more oats and seeds, and bake 30 minutes or so on 375.

The result?

Not the most attractive, but good!  And it gives us some idea of what we did wrong (too many "extras", not enough flour, probably not totally risen) and what we did right (the milk-honey addition is SO GOOD).

Any novice (or not-so-novice) bread makers that can dispense advice?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book Review: Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games"

This was my first foray into young adult literature and I'm totally hooked. I LOVED this book (along with anyone who read it, ever). 

The first book in an eponymous trilogy, The Hunger Games tells the story of a horrifying future in which the former United States (now Panem) is forced to "sacrifice" one 12-18 year old boy and girl from each of the 12 districts of Panem.  Once chosen, the 24 young adults must compete in the annual Hunger Games, a fight-to-the-death competition in which only one may survive. 

For me, the real reason to get behind this book is Katniss Everdeen. The first-person protagonist, Katniss, is a refreshingly complex female character. Rarely does a young woman get portrayed with such complexity--void of cliches or stereotypes, Katniss is exactly the kind of heroine I would've loved as a young adult. She is easy to identify with because she's complicated--not quite strong, certainly not weak; not girly, sexy, innocent, or tough; indeed, she's all of these things throughout the course of the novel, at times simultaneously.

Collins writes with little gusto--as a first-person novel, Katniss' thoughts are brief and to the point.  Yet the story she weaves is poetic and once you start, you cannot put it down.   This book is recommended for everyone! Specifically, though, any woman who is craving a female character who is as conflicted and complex as themselves.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Date night

On Friday, Ed surprised me by announcing he had made reservations for the two of us at a semi-fancy restaurant nearby.  Ed is probably the least romantic person I know.  (Ok, in all fairness, he's just romantic in his own way.  A way that is usually very cheap.)  He even followed it up by taking me to the second-highest point in Austin to watch the sunset.  We came home and watched "Alien," his favorite movie.  That Ed, sometimes.

We agreed to do a mutual no-spend month for April on account of a million reasons, mostly that we've overshot our budget the last couple of months.  So I think this all-out $70+ dinner was our one last hurrah.  Also, it takes no convincing to give me an excuse to get all dolled up.

I'm looking longingly at my shoes.  They're new (overspending!) and I seriously am in love with them.  I catch myself staring at them constantly.  Ed was a little bit of an intruder on mine and my shoe's date night.

Skirt: Tulle
Blouse: H&M
Shoes: Steve Madden "Daydreem"
Loving look: My shoe's little laces and cut-outs and yessss

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

To-do lists

Do y'all make to-do lists?  Of course you do, they are totally reasonable.  Everyone who doesn't make to-do lists, wants to, I'm sure of it.

My to-do list is about 47 items long today.  I'm having the hardest time re-adjusting to a school schedule (and my new job starts next week, so I better re-adjust quickly).  The thing is, I spent all of spring break napping and reading.  Napping and reading!  Life's two greatest pleasures.  Now I have to learn JavaScript?  I have to run errands?  I have applications for things? Exercise?!  No, thank you.  I'd rather nap.

This outfit is from a date night.  We saw "Paul" with a couple of friends.  I don't normally see comedies at theaters because I'm grumpy and rarely find them funny, but this one was!  Simon Pegg and Nick Frost write "smart" comedies--the writing is great and they make a lot of references to Sci-Fi movies (a particular favorite of mine).  So, um, go see it!

Dress: boutique in Chicago
Blouse: boutique in San Marcos, TX of all places
Shoes: UO
80 degrees and windy: a normal spring day in Texas

Monday, March 21, 2011


Whew, spring break is over!

I don't really mean to be excited about that--I spent my days reading and napping.  I finished a nonfiction book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and a large graphic novel, Y: The Last Man.  Both were excellent.

Rather, I'm excited that stupid South by Southwest is over.  I know that makes me uncool.  But I hate crowds and traffic and youngsters.  Yes I am 24 going on 50.

Anyway, I know that spring has just hit most of the country, but it's been spring here in central Texas for at least all of March.  I can prove it:

Those are bare arms and legs, people. BARE ARMS.  I know I'm getting ahead of myself, what with wearing summery clothing in March.  What the hell am I going to do come July?  But its hard to resist baring some skin when the weather is just so nice.  So, my non-Texas friends, be jealous.  But only for a bit, the 90-degree days are just around the corner.

Oh yeah, are we friends on Twitter?  We ought to be, you know.

Tank and shoes: Urban Outfitters
Skirt: second hand via Elaine
Belt: thrifted
Front bangs: wonderful people at Birds Barbershop

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lazy days

I'm loving Spring Break, y'all.  This morning, after returning from my daily workout, I drank an entire pot of coffee and read a book for nearly two straight hours.  Then I took my dog on a walk.  Then I napped.  Then I made myself a club sandwich.
This is not exactly what I wore (I wore this last week, as evidenced by my side bangs) but I'm wearing something very similar!  Even on lazy days, I still have to look cute.
Hey did you know that I'm on Twitter?  I am.  Also, Good Reads, if you're into that sort of thing.

Shirt: gift from my mother
Skirt and belt and shoes: thrifted