Monday, December 12, 2011

Second Choice

Can second choice ever be as good as your first choice?

sweater — Talbot's (thrifted)
skirt — Max Studio (Marshalls)
shoes — Thom McAn (Kmart)

This outfit was a second choice — my first choice was what I wore here. When I realized that first choice needed to be hemmed before it could be worn, and that I needed to come up with something else on the spur of the moment at 5 am, I kind of freaked!

You see, that's the one bad thing about riding the train in the morning. I have to get out the door when I have to get out the door. There are no ifs, ands or buts ... Time and tide wait for no man, and neither does the train!

Getting out the door can sometimes be a struggle for me — a real struggle. And when things don't go as planned, I start getting stressed, and then anything that can go wrong not only seems to go wrong, but actually does go wrong. Before I know it, my head starts to spin, and I can't keep anything straight. I'll grab my keys just to put down them down a minute later, because I'm rushing around to find something else that I need.

And then it's, "Where are my keys? My keys! I can't find my keys!" I start turning everything upside down and right side up, and then I'm grabbing everything and anything because I can't decide what it is that I need, and what if I need this so I better grab this, and yes, I might need this too. Whew! And no, I'm not exaggerating. I wish I was, but I'm not.

The day I wore this outfit was the day I had convinced myself that I had forgotten to turn off my flat iron. By the time I got to DC, I was completely frazzled and frantically calling my son to see if he could go home and check to see if I had left it on. He did, and I didn't (leave it on, that is. I never do.)

Even though I almost had a meltdown trying to find something to wear, I was really happy with my second choice (except for the shoes — I couldn't decide if the clogs or the booties went better.) I got this skirt a while ago, but I couldn't figure out how to wear it to work (it seemed kind of dressy for work, or at least more dressy than what I would typically wear). Pairing it with this sweater was a flash of inspiration (I also wore the sweater here, where I also couldn't figure out what shoes to wear. That's a recurring problem for me.)

Linking up to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday. I thought the color combination and the combination of the not so dressy sweater and the somewhat dressy skirt made me pretty visible. Besides, I think my second choice was pretty darn good.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Looking Edgy

How does one go about looking edgy?

sweater — Charter Club (thrifted)
dress — Good Show Tickets (thrifted)
belt — New York Studio (thrifted) / chunky necklace — thrifted
jacket — Limited (thrifted)
tights — Kmart (purchased new!)
boots — Empire by Mootsies Tootsies (thrifted)
necklace — thrifted

More about that later. First of all, did you notice that my entire outfit was thrifted? Well, except for my tights. If you were worried, you can rest assured, I buy my tights brand new. I do get them in a discount store, but nobody — and I mean nobody but me! — has wiggled their little toes into them.

I kind of impressed myself with this outfit. It may not have been a "Hot Damn, Girl" outfit like this one here was, but it was still a Damn Good one. LOL. The dress *was* a sleeveless midi — I cut about three inches off the length, and then hemmed it (for real! I used a needle and thread this time instead of pins, like I did here), and then threw the sweater on top. I still need to turn the hem under again and then use the iron on it to make it look really good.

But back to my original question ... How does one look "edgy"? I don't have a really good defined idea of what edgy looks like in my book, but I know that whatever "it" looks like, it's not me. You'll find my picture in the dictionary under cute or sweet. AGGGH! Growing up ... I'm the one who always got her cheeks pinched in the grocery store by some person I didn't know. Blech. I'm going to be 80 years old, and people will still tell me that I'm soooooo cute. I don't want to look hard, but sometimes I wish that I could look like somebody you wouldn't mess around with.

I was trying to look edgy here (like a secret agent man), but instead I just looked like I was freezing!


Looking "cute" has its benefits though. I think it makes me look approachable. People, really nice people*, will just start talking to me. It doesn't matter where I am — on the train, the metro, the bus, on line somewhere, or walking up and down the aisles in a store. Invariably, somebody will start talking to me. It's kind of nice, it really is. 

* I do attract my fair share of crazies. The worst of them all? The dirty old men who will say something off color just to try and see me blush. It doesn't happen that much anymore, but when I was younger? Oh, my! I'm blushing right now thinking about it. 

Today, I got this letter in the mail from a lady whose bracelet I had admired on the metro a couple of weeks ago. She had given me her card so I could call her and find out where she got it. I called her, reached her voice mail, and left a message with my name and number. I meant to follow up and call her again, but I never did. And then today, I get this letter from her! She had searched me out, copied all the information about her bracelet and necklace, printed it out and sent it to me.

And this picture? 

This picture is probably one of my favorite pictures of all time. It was taken a long time ago, by a stranger at Baltimore Airport. She took the picture (yes, that's a MUCH younger version of me with my kids) with her camera, and then mailed it to me! And this was way back in the days before email and digital cameras — back when you had to take the film to a store to be developed, and then mail the picture with a stamp in an envelope. I love it.

Sometimes it's not all that bad to be cute. 

I'll bet you're not surprised that with my almost 100% thrifted outfit that I'm linking up to Spunky Chateau and Thursdays are for Thrifters.

And because I'm dressed all in brown, I'm double dipping again and linking up to Keely at and Megan Mae at for Neutrals Week

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Out for Lunch

I treated myself to lunch yesterday wearing this outfit, and I felt like saying, "Hot Damn, Girl!"

white T-shirt — Levi's Red Tab (older than dirt, can't remember)
sweater — no label (older than dirt, can't remember)
skirt — L.L. Bean (thrifted)
wooly leggings — no label (but purchased new :-)
biker boots — Hayley Faded Glory (thrifted)

Not only did I wear it out to lunch, but I also wore it to work last Friday in lieu of jeans (read about how I used to always wear jeans on Casual Friday here). This was just a fun outfit — pure and simple. And it was such a simple outfit, but I really liked the way it turned out, and I think it shows.

I'm not sure what made it so fun ... the big baggy sweater? the bright orange color of my skirt against all the black? my jewelry? the wooly tights? the bad ass boots? or maybe ...

Maybe, just maybe, it was all of the above?! 

I did think that my necklaces were perfect — framed against the black sweater and the white top really made them pop* — even moreso than the rusty orange color of my skirt. The beaded one (on the left) was a gift from one of my South American boarders (I think the beads are Ormosia monosperma. I'm not sure what the common name is though. Anybody know?), and the one on the right was a piece of fused glass that my mom made and styled into a necklace.

*How is it that colors are always popping these days?

I had a feeling that my outfit was going to elicit some comments at work, and I wasn't mistaken. (Seriously, if I don't get some kind of comment about my outfit, I think I've failed somehow, and I have to try harder the next day.) Today's comments centered around my boots. "Whoa! Kari's a biker chick!" Yeah, they were teasing. I didn't mind. It makes me feel like I am part of the group.I even got a comment on my way home on the train about how colorful (in a good way) my outfit was.

So, where did I go for lunch? To Costco, of course. If you play your cards right (aka going at the right time), you can get the equivalent of a seven-course meal there — appetizer, drink, cheese and crackers, main meal, dessert, fruit ... you name it. It's funny how people line up in front of all the sample food carts. You'd think that they were giving away money!

I've been a big supporter of Costco over the years. I go out of my way to keep my membership there, passing by another big-box store that I could almost walk to. I love their shrimp (yum yum), and their grapefruit is pretty darn good as well. On top of some of the staples that I buy there, my understanding is that they treat their employees well — paying them a livable wage with health care benefits, as well as other perks. But they are a big-box store, so I've started to wonder if my impression is a valid one, or if they're just as detrimental to small businesses. Maybe they just disguise it a little better?

Linking up to Patty and Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style. Guess why?

And today, I'm a double dipper, because I'm also linking to Megan Mae at and Keely at for Neutrals Week.

Today's neutral color challenge was to wear black. I know. I know. The bright orange skirt is not exactly black. But I am wearing an awful lot of black, so I think it still counts. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Just Walk On By!

Keep reading if you want to see something even scarier than this outfit!

skort — Greg Norman (thrifted)
sweater — Bill Blass Jeans (thrifted)
booties — Blowfish (DSW)

This skort* was such a pretty cobalt blue color that I couldn't pass by the rack without snatching it up, especially since cobalt blue had been designated as an IT color for the fall. I tried the skort on and even though it was probably two sizes too big, I thought I could make it work. Hey, it stayed up under its own power, so it couldn't have been all that big, right? Besides cobalt blue is a good color for redheads and for erstwhile strawberry blondes like me. That's partly how I justified this purchase, but it had more to do with how I spend my money — I struggle with spending money on myself because I don't ever feel deserving of it. So I make do with what I can find even if it's not the right size, the right shape, or the right anything.

*skort: A skirt with a pair of shorts underneath.

I did actually wear this to work in early October — back when I was still commuting to DC and not through DC. It was a gray and rainy day out, and I thought the blue would brighten up the day. It's probably no surprise that that idea didn't work as planned. I ended up feeling dumpy and frumpy all day (note the pained expression on my face). It's kind of surprising that I have actually posted these pictures — it brings all those insecure, dumpy, and frumpy and not worthy feelings back.

And you know what? 

If anything is going to make you feel less deserving, it's those feelings. And that's my own damn fault — I inflicted them upon myself. I should have had the self-control and the wherewithal to pass up the pretty blue color and the thrift-store price, and just walked on by, secure in the knowledge that I was worth more than that.
If you see me walking down the street
And I start to cry each time we meet
Walk on by, walk on by

Make believe that you don't see the tears
Just let me grieve in private 'cause each time I see you
I break down and cry
And walk on by (don't stop)
And walk on by (don't stop)
And walk on by

I just can't get over losing you
And so if I seem broken and blue
Walk on by, walk on by

Foolish pride
Is all that I have left
So let me hide
The tears and the sadness you gave me
When you said goodbye
Walk on by
and walk on by
and walk by (don't stop)

I need to see the losers more often, so I can remind myself that I deserve to feel good in what I wear, and that I should love everything that I buy. And, for me, that means that it can be way more important to spend a little more money if it's going to change the way I feel about myself. Anyway .... enough psychoanalysis (for now anyway. I'm sure it's going to keep popping up, like a pimple in the center of your chin, when you least want it too ... AGGH!). 

But as promised, here's my really scary picture ...

What do you think about this critter? I was taking those pictures of myself, when I happened to look over, and this guy was just hanging out on the screen next to me! WHOA! I have no idea what kind of critter he was, but was he ever huge (and to put him in a better perspective, I'm not an insect phobe)! I don't think he was particularly dangerous — a stinging kind of thing, but after my episode this summer (read about it here), I didn't want to put a whole lot of faith and trust into what he could or could not do! Or what he would or would not do!

Thanks for sticking by me, through all my whining and moaning posts of late. I'll try and work on that. The holidays tend to be kind of a rough time of year for me, and then with the commute and my job situation — I just feel worn down and worn out. On a happy note, I do really like this picture of me ...

Linking up to Stacy at Spunky Chateau for her Thursdays is for Thrifters. My take on thrifting was a bit different this week, but my outfit wasn't a complete fail ... I liked my sweater, and I learned a valuable lesson (let's just hope that it sinks in).

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.

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