Sunday, November 27, 2011

White Hair

I bet if I throw my head back and laugh out loud, nobody will see my white hair.

shirt — Levi's Red Tab (don't remember: it's older than dirt)
dress — Madison Leigh (thrifted)
woolly tights — no label, but purchased new! :-)
shoes — Dansko (Dansko factory outlet)

Hahahaha! Yeah, right. Do you think if I keep telling myself that, I'll start to believe it? NAH. I didn't think so, but it was worth a try! I'll probably still pull out those darn hairs if no one's looking, which is why I have a big old bald spot in the top front of my head that I now have to hide (see the cowlick in the top center of my forehead).

The little cap sleeves on this dress are kind of corny. In my day and age, cap sleeves mean that your dress is not a jumper, and there's no use pretending that it is. But ... but ... but ... the houndstooth check in brown and black practically screams fall or winter  — doesn't it? And if that's the case, I can't imagine having bare arms in what can be freezing cold mornings (or evenings) during the northeastern fall and winter months. On top of my need to stay warm, the idea of exposing my fish-belly white arms, the color of which is status quo for this time of year, makes me positively shudder.

Am I missing some other way to style this pseudo jumper? How do you possibly wear it without putting something under it?

The other thing that gives me pause about this dress is its shape. In retrospect, however, that didn't bother me as much as those silly cap sleeves. It made it a lot more comfortable to wear during the gluttony that was my Thanksgiving. 

Linking up to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday, because well ... my glittery shoes and my white hair are pretty visible, don't you think? (And yes, I am joking — sort of.)

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Feeling Lucky

It was a gray day today, and it was a gray day when I wore this outfit last week.

shirt — Phool (thrifted)
T-shirt — Levi's Red Tab (older than dirt, can't remember)
pants — Rock Star (Old Navy) 
shoes — Blowfish (DSW)

I think I did my part in trying to brighten a rainy day up. My boss said that I must have wanted to make sure that everybody was awake when I came in. (And I had worn the shocking red tights to work the day before, so that was saying a lot!)

Unfortunately, it didn't do a whole lot to dispel my mood. I am somewhat depressed these days, and it's partly because I commute upwards of 8 hours a day to my job. (I can work at home two or three days a week, which is the only way that I am staying relatively sane right now.) I try hard not to complain, but honestly? It's tough. It's hard, and it's stressful. And don't tell me to get a job close to home. I've tried, and the jobs aren't around. Or they want to pay me less than half of what I am making now, with no benefits (and they think they're doing me a favor by offering me a job!). No benefits. Let me say that again — NO BENEFITS! Have you tried surviving out there on your own with no benefits and a rinky-dink wage? No benefits might be doable if you are getting an amazing wage, but a crap wage with no benefits?! C'mon.


I've done the rinky-dink wage and no benefits thing, and I turned into a lunatic — worrying about every single penny that I spent or didn't spend. Jobs like that didn't pay my bills (not because I live extravagantly, but because the cost of everything would keep going up). I would freak out when my kids put the clothes in the dryer instead of hanging them out on the line. (Yes, I did, I'm not kidding.) I'd freak out when Verizon charged me a data surcharge. I'd call them up, and I'd literally start shaking and crying over something like $1.49 extra on my phone bill. (Yes. I did. But in that case, I didn't care!) And these were the good aspects of the crap wage with no benefits.

I'd get side job after side job after side job so I could pay my bills, and it was still hard to make ends meet. I had three kids, and something always came up that would deplete my savings. I still can't go in and out my front door*. It's inconvenient, but it's not an emergency. (I can go out my back door and even my bedroom window if I really have to. I make repairs that are an emergency.) 

*I have a mortise lock, so it's not something I can replace myself — believe you me, I tried!

And you know what? I consider myself lucky. Yeah, I do — really and truly, I do. I commute 7 to 8 hours a day to get to my job, but I have my health and I now have a job that pays my bills. I don't have small children who I have to worry about if I'm not home, so I have the flexibility to commute long distances (I would move, but who knows how long this job will last). What I don't feel is that I am any more deserving than the next person who is struggling to find a job. 

Yes. I feel lucky. I do!

Because you know what? 
There, but for the grace of God, go I.  

Linking to Patti and Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style — not only because I am so visible in my colored pants, but because I have opinions and I like to share them. The more confident I am, the more able I am to promote myself and the things that I believe in.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stained Glass

I used to be a jeans and T-shirt kind of girl or even a sweatpants and T-shirt kind of girl. I looked forward to Casual Friday at work, because I could get away with wearing a pair of jeans and a T-shirt (like here and here). It was just so easy and so comfortable.

shirt — ana (thrifted)
jeggings — 17/21 Exclusive Denim (Marshalls)
shoes — Blowfish (DSW)
necklace — thrifted

These days when I have the option, I am likely to forgo the jeans and put on something that's a little more dressy. Take this outfit, for example.

I wore this to work on Casual Friday a few weeks ago, and then, wonders of wonder, I wore it again to a high school cross country meet — the county championships. (I wore it with a pair of flat boots at the meet so I would be able to run around to all the vantage points on the course and see the kids running.)

It's not that I don't still love my jeans and T-shirts, I do. I'm just finding that it can be fun to wear something a little different and change up my look a bit. Okay. I know it isn't that much of a change. I mean, it's not as drastic or as different as sporting spiked purple hair or black leather and chains, but still ...


I love the colors in this shirt — the blues and the greens, and the pattern reminds me of a stained glass window. 

The cross country race was one of the best races that I had ever been to. The top race of the day, and one of the reasons that I went, was the girl's varsity race. It featured two girls — Julie Macedo and Haley Pierce. Julie is ranked number 1 in the country (yes, in the COUNTRY! from our tiny state), and Haley is ranked number 12. Two girls in our tiny state of Delaware are nationally ranked! Woo HOO! What made the race especially exciting was that they don't usually run against each other (they are in two different divisions — the big school and the small school division).

Up until this year, Haley had been the number one high school runner in Delaware (she placed fifth at the Nike Cross Nationals last year, and Julie was 16 seconds behind her). Then Haley was injured in August, and Julie exploded in the early season, becoming the first girl in Delaware to break 17 minutes for a 5K. I thought it was going to be a great race, and wow! Was it ever! I could not have predicted the result in a million years!

They literally ran each other into the ground! Neither one of them was going to concede or let the other get the better. Wow ... The two of them ran neck and neck for almost 3 miles. Haley pulled ahead with about 400 yards to go, and then, all of a sudden — she went down. She just crumpled. Julie kept going, but oh my! If you've ever seen somebody run who had nothing left to give, that was Julie. I wasn't sure if she was even going to make it across the finish line! As she was staggering up that final hill, up flies the girl who had been running in third place, and she won it all! WOW. I heard later that Julie and Haley ran their first mile in 5:10!

Haley and Julie ran in the state finals the following weekend. They ran on the same course, but in two different races. I was on pins and needles all day, checking the local running site every five minutes to find out what their times were. (I was pretty sure that they were going to win their respective races). And guess what?! They both posted a 17:28! The same time for a 5K in two separate races. Wow. They will most likely meet again in the same race at the Southeastern Nationals next weekend. Can't wait to see what happens there. (Haley won it last year, and Julie was 8th!) No matter what, it'll be an exciting race!

These girls have inspired me to start running again! 

Right now, however, I need to figure out what to wear to work tomorrow. It's Casual Friday, and I don't want to wear jeans!

With my thrifted shirt and my thrifted necklace, I'm linking to Spunky Chateau's Thursday Are for Thrifters. Stop on over to see some more thrifted finds.

Monday, November 14, 2011

End of the Line

This dress was an amazing score! $4.99 for a silk and angora sweater dress! Can you believe that?! On top of the amazing price, it was also a perfect fit. I didn't even bother trying it on — as soon as I saw it, I just scooped it right up! Have I told you before how much I love thrift stores?

dress — The Silk Collection (thrifted)
boots — Dansko (Dansko outlet)

I have been promising to finish up my story (I actually don't think that I'll ever really finish it — every day seems to bring something new!). I'll start tonight by saying that it's 9:00 pm on Monday night, and I just got on the train in Union Station. This is the last train of the night that goes all the way to my station. (If I don't make this train, I spend the WHOLE night in DC. Luckily that's about the only thing that hasn't happened to me yet.) I'm at the end of the line (the last stop), so I don't get off the train until around 11 pm, which means I won't get home until almost midnight. And that is a LONG day.

The ride is only about 90 minutes long in the morning (I say "only" with a wry grin — my idea of what is a short and long ride these days is somewhat skewed). But since it's the last train of the night, we stop at every single podunk station along the way (including mine). On top of that, I'm on the commuter train, which in this neck of the woods is the MARC train. The MTA (Maryland Transportation Authority) leases the rail line from Amtrak, so any time the Amtrak comes through, we have to get off the line and let it pass. That usually means that we have to sit and wait. And when the Amtrak comes through?! Holy crap! It goes by so fast, and it's so close, that you can feel it go by. The first time it happened, I literally jumped in my seat and screamed!

Tonight is one of those days that I am just exhausted. Overtired, in fact, to the point where I feel like crying and every annoyance seems to be magnified tenfold. I hate when I feel like that, because I lose all semblance of having patience. And invariably whenever I am this tired, some yahoo with a phone plops down next to me and has this long personal conversation in which I can hear EVERY SINGLE WORD! I am practically deaf,  (I have a hearing aid for one ear, and I need one for the other, and I say, "What?" almost nonstop when people are talking to me.) If I can hear you, you're speaking REALLY REALLY LOUD!. (And yes, I am using all capitals for a reason.)

Tonight was a case in point. The woman kitty corner from me yapped for over an hour until she got off. It wasn't just me who seemed to be frustrated tonight — I thought the guy sitting in front of her was going to rip her phone away before she finally ended up getting off. In the morning, they actually have quiet cars, where talking on your cell phone, or even having conversations, is not allowed, but when it's this late in the evening, there's not enough people for them to devote an entire car to having one be a quiet car. I think, too, that they think one isn't needed, because most people try to sleep on the way home.

(Not only was I at the end of the line tonight, I was at the end of my rope!) Am I alone in finding people who yap on a cell phone in public places annoying? I need to find some noise-cancelling headphones that aren't too big or bulky, because it's just not worth letting it get to me.

I'm linking to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style and her Visible Monday post. Why do I feel visible? The bright color ... the chunky necklace ... even it just being a sweater dress made me feel so very visible! And visible in a good way.

I'm also linking up to Tammy at Silverstyle for her Trending through the Decade: Accessories post. I used to wear such dainty rings and necklaces. No more. The older I get the bigger my accessories are.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

True Confessions ...

True confession time — I didn't wear this to work. I wore it in my driveway to take pictures.

white sweater — Old Navy (Old Navy)
black sweater — (older than dirt)
skirt — Amanda Smith (thrifted)
tights — Target
booties — Blowfish (DSW)

But, truth be said, I'll probably wear it at some point. That is, once I decide on whether I like it with the white top or the black top better. I'm thinking the black. Which one do you prefer? 

Colored tights are something that I've tried to wear before, and it's usually hit or miss (here, here, and here). So when the ladies over at Every Body Every Wear chose colored tights as the theme of the month, I was up for the challenge. I took my inspiration for this outfit from Paula at Fashion Over Fifty. She did such a great job with her red tights, that I thought I would try to emulate her style. And I agree with her — red tights are empowering!

And empowering is what I need these days, with my three- to four-hour commute — ONE WAY! Yes, you read that right, and yes, I know that's insane. I had been commuting to a dream job in DC and then, in one fell swoop, my position was eliminated. My company didn't do what a lot of companies are doing these days (my former company, as a matter of fact), and just pull the rug out from me. No, they said that they could use me in another project at their headquarters in Herndon. Unfortunately, that would add another hour to my already long commute.

I toyed with the idea of not going to Herndon the next day but, in the end, I knew that if I went that I would at least get paid for the day, which would be better than a poke in the eye. Seriously, I didn't have anything to lose by going. (Yes, these are the kinds of things that I obsess over flit through my mind during a time like this.) On top of that, I was in a state of shock from having my position eliminated just a scant two weeks after I had started this "dream" job. I knew that if I just stayed home, I would have been asking myself the whole day, "What if?" (Believe you me, more than anything, I WANTED to stay home ... I can't even begin to describe all the emotions that I was feeling.)

My commute to Herndon the next morning started off the same — I left the house at 5:45 am, which was the same time that I had been leaving all along. I caught the 6:50 Amtrak, but instead of taking it straight through to DC, but I got off at New Carrollton, the station before DC. From New Carrollton, I could take the Orange Line straight through to West Falls Church — the stop for Herndon. I thought it would be better to go straight through instead of getting off at Union Station and getting on the Red Line, then getting off the Red Line at Metro Station, and getting on the Orange Line. That just seemed to be too overwhelming for me. Seriously, it sounds complicated just writing it, let alone doing it!

More tomorrow ...

But in the meantime, check out more Colored Tights at Every Body Every Wear.

Everybody, Everywear: Colored Tights

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hand Puppets

And now for something completely different ... an outfit picture. Okay. That's weak, really weak. I ran out of ideas on how to introduce a post. And it was either hem and haw and never get this post up, or give you something weak. I chose to be weak.

dress — Horny Toad (Horny Toad)
boots — Antonio Melani (thrifted)

My dress is a "Kari" dress if there ever was one. Seriously ... this is the kind of dress that I like to think was made with me (or my lifestyle) in mind. It's simple and comfortable, and it's what I've always gravitated to when I bought clothes — I went for comfort, and not style, and I didn't venture very far out of that comfort zone.

I was really disappointed when I first looked at these pictures. I thought that I still hadn't ventured very far out of my comfort zone. But after the initial disappointment that came from thinking that I'm still doing the "same old, same old," I realized there's a big difference between the "me" of today and the "me" of yesterday. Even though my dress is emblematic of the kind of clothes that I've always worn, I'm wearing boots today. Yes. Boots.

So what's the big deal about boots? Well, I don't think that I ever owned a pair of dress boots before last year. (I made up for lost time though, because I went on a major boot-buying frenzy, and I am no longer lacking in that department.) I had practical boots, but I never had really fun boots. Boots that made me want to kick up my heels and say, "Look at me!" and make me strut my stuff. [HAHAHAHA I'm having a hard time believing that I am actually writing this — like I have stuff to strut?! I'll say it again. HAHAHAHAHA].

Anyway, it's not *just* the boots. It's the idea of the boots. It's all of it. It's having the courage to be me and do something that is fun and makes me happy, even if it's something that makes me stand out and be noticed. Growing up, and even until quite recently, I was very timid and afraid to take risks. All I ever wanted to do was to be just like everybody else and blend into the crowd and not stick out.

I thought that I had moved past that scared little girl who wanted to be accepted for who she is, so when I saw these pictures, I was bummed. I thought I had moved past worrying about what other people thought. I want to feel comfortable and confident in what I do and who I am.

But you know what? I think I'm starting to. This blog has really helped me move in that direction.

Even if it means that sometimes I act like a dork and make hand puppets when nobody is looking (and even when they are looking). That's okay, because I'm okay. I really am. 

Back to the dress though — it's actually two separate dresses. Underneath that chocolate-colored outer layer (is that chocolate colored?) is a purple-striped tank dress that is perfect for the middle of a summer heat wave. You can see the purple stripes peeking out along the hem.

One last note — I'm surprised that it took me so long to wear this dress. I got it last year, and I loved it. And then it sat, and sat, and sat in my closet. I was probably saving it (like I save everything) for the perfect occasion and the perfect reason to wear it.

I'm linking up to Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style, because I think I'm learning to be (and learning to love being) more Visible.

(I got sidetracked while writing this post, so I'll have to catch you up on my job woes in my next post.)

I apologize for this picture-heavy post ... I just liked my pictures (wow, I feel really weird saying that), and I didn't know how to edit them down. They made me smile when I looked at them, and I kind of needed that.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Do I Dare?

Before I tell you what happened next in my long and drawn-out work saga, I have to ask what you honestly think about this outfit. Do I dare to wear this out in public? Or should I stay hidden and locked behind the doors of my house when I wear it?

camisole Route 66 (Kmart)
green tunic — Tribeca Studio (freebie)
leggings — Zenana (Marshalls)
boots — Wanted (DSW)

Honestly, now. Is this something that somebody of my age can wear? I actually did some research on how to wear leggings before I tried it out (yeah, I'm a nerd — I love to look stuff up). I think it met all the criteria, except that maybe the tunic should be a little longer? My leggings are actually pretty thick (and they were definitely NOT shiny), but they sure don't look that way in my pictures (it really kind of wigged me out when I saw the pictures)!

So ... What do you think?

Wear it or not? (Part B. If it's okay to wear out of the house, where could I wear it? Where would it be appropriate attire?)

And now, the saga continues ...

Head Honcho Guy (HHG) had just finished pulling the rug out from under me. I went back to my cubby (actually I kind of crawled back ... I felt like such a dope), and just sat down at my desk. I looked around at all the crap I had lugged down from Delaware to put in my office and wanted to cry. I had been bringing one or two reference books from home a day, so I had a nice little collection built up at that point. How on Earth was I going to get them back home?

I posted a status message on my Facebook profile to let my friends know what had happened, and I emailed my kids and my parents to let them know. I was so bummed — really and truly bummed. Sure HHG had told me that they could use me in Herndon, but c'mon. I wasn't going to be able to commute to Herndon. Maybe they wanted me to go to Herndon so they could formalize my separation from the company and give me my exit interview.

I packed up some of my more personal items — a picture of my kids, my coffee cup, my plant (yeah, I had even lugged a plant down there), all the things that really made that little space my own — and then walked dejectedly out of the building to Union Station. I was very, very careful walking back ... Falling on my butt again (see that story here) would have been the last straw, and I probably would not have been able to hold myself together at that point.

I got home between 8 and 9 pm, and I just hulked over my computer. I whined and cried on Facebook for the next few hours, making sure that all my friends knew just know how miserable and wretched I was. They were great — so kind and supportive, and made me feel a little better. Because no matter what HHG said, when you get laid off or your position is eliminated, you still wonder if it's something you did or if you could have done something to prevent it.  

(to be continued ...)

I'm starting to feel a little guilty for dragging my story out, but honestly, this is completely how it unfolded for me. I'm not exaggerating my feelings or what happened in the least. And you have to realize, I pretty much live alone, and I struggle with my emotions sometimes. My kids are great, but they have their own lives, and besides they don't live at home. I'm not complaining, but I was devastated when this happened, and didn't really have anybody to turn to. I really and truly just wanted to come home and have somebody tell me that it was going to be okay, that I was okay, and give me a big hug and take care of me.

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