Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Teacher Style: Colored Pencil Skirt Inspiration

Meet cobalt blue, my favorite color if I could actually choose a favorite color. Now, keep in mind that you can apply the following formulas to any colored skirt! I tried to make sure that every look I created this week could transfer to any wardrobe of any color palette. Today, I do not have any perfectly casual outfits for a Friday, but if I'm going to wear a skirt on Friday, it won't be a pencil skirt. Pencil skirts are for kicking butt and taking names. By Friday, my butt has been kicked and I don't know my own name. If you wear pencil skirts on casual Fridays, please share your ideas in the comments. Teach us your ways ;)

Anyway, the first four looks are previously worn outfits. The last three are newly created. Aren't you lucky?

The Skirt: The Limited

Look 1: printed button up + neutral belt + neutral shoes
(A gingham top would look great would just about any color skirt. I could've tried a colored belt-- orange perhaps? I think it'd work great with gray boots in the winter/fall.)

Look 2: plaid shirt + lace shirt + neutral shoes
(Plaid and lace? Yes, please. Look at your plaid shirts differently. Try one with a pencil skirt. It's a little feminine and a little woodsy. If it's not cold outside, wear some booties or heels and nix the tights.)

Look 3: neutral blazer + colored top + neutral shoes
(If you check out look 5, you'll notice that the color scheme is the same, just swapped.)

Look 4: neutral blazer + lace top + neutral shoes
(If it's too warm for a blazer, try a cardigan instead.)

Look 5: colored cardigan + printed button up + neutral shoes
(Again, look 3 uses yellow, blue, and nude as a color scheme just like this outfit does. Allow one outfit to inspire another. It'll make your life easier.)

Look 6: colored cardigan + striped top + statement necklace + neutral shoes
(I thought coral was a bit unexpected. I tried not to be super patriotic by wearing red, so I went with coral instead.) 

Look 7: neutral cardigan + polka dot blouse + big belt + neutral shoes
(Cobalt and black just work together. Everyone knows that. Especially Andi and Brynn.)

Items Remixed In Future Looks This Week:
* Bird print blouse
* Lace top
* Polka dot blouse

* Yellow cardigan
* Coral cardigan
* Black cardigan

* Nude wedges
* Black wedges

* Statement necklace
* Big black belt

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Teacher Style: Black Skirt Inspiration

Lauren suggested I offer some ways to dress down my teacher looks. I think that's a great idea! I don't know about your work place, but mine fully supports casual Friday. Everyone else loves jeans. I'll be honest: I love dressing down some of my favorite skirts even if everyone at work asks me why I'm "so dressed up." The weekends provide me enough opportunities to wear jeans and dress down. I want to buddy up next to my skirts as much as possible during the week. Going to work is a great excuse, no? :) I couldn't come up with a good casual look for yesterday's khaki skirt, but I definitely found one for today's black skirt.

How many of you have to go from work and get right on the road to travel somewhere else for the weekend? Often, my husband and I visit our friends in New York. Sometimes, we don't have time to stop at our place first, and we have to hit the road immediately. If you find yourself in this same boat (car?), dress down a skirt that you can rewear on/remix for a day trip the next day at wherever your destination might be! Or, if you're going out that night, dress down the skirt at work and bring heels and a statement necklace to dress it up for a night out!

I apologize for my lack of hilarity in these posts, but I'm a woman on a serious mission, which distracts me from my usual antics. Fear not, dear readers, I have some lovely bloopers up my sleeve that I plan to share this weekend. You're welcome in advance.
The Skirt: LOFT (dressier one) / Elle (more casual, cotton one)
Options: exact Elle skirtsimilar jersey LOFT skirtpretty black eyelet from LOFT
Note: Looks 1-4 are pulled from the archives and feature my dressier black skirt from LOFT
Looks 5-9 are new and feature my more casual black skirt by Elle (via Kohl's).
It's really hard to dress down the pleated, chiffon skirt from LOFT, so I hunted for a fabric I felt transitioned easily to more casual OR dressy wear. This Elle one fits the bill.


Look 1: colored top + neutral blazer/cardigan + neutral shoes + big belt
(Don't have a pink top? No big deal. Wear ANY OTHER COLOR. It's a black skirt. Every color goes with it. Apparently, even navy goes with black these days. You might try adding your pop of color in a necklace or pair of shoes instead.)
 (Top: The Limited / Blazer: Forever 21 / Heels: Naturalizer / Belt: Came with dress)

Look 2: Printed blouse + colored shoes + belt 
(Yeah, I go back to brunette every now and then. Do not be alarmed. No matter how frightening my face actually looks here. I look a little like a leprechaun. You might choose black shoes instead of colored ones like mine. Or, try some gold flats so that there's a pot of gold at the end of your legs.)
 (Necklace & Top: New York & Co. / Belt: Target / Shoes: ModCloth)

Look 3: striped top + neutral cardigan + colored shoes
(No colored shoes? Try a colored necklace or belt instead!)
 (Top: Marshall's / Heels: Apt 9 via Kohl's / Cardigan: Old Navy)

Look 4: lace top + neutral belt + neutral shoes + feminine jewelry
(I thought the cognac was unexpected, which made me love it. Also, I wish my hair would cooperate like that right now.)
 (Top: The Limited / Belt: New York & Co? / Heels: Me Too via DSW / Necklace: Target)

Look 5: white button up + neutral shoes + statement necklace
(Feel free to add a pop of color in your shoes or jewelry!)
 (Top: LOFT / Heels: J.Crew Factory / Earrings: Francesca's)

Look 6: Printed button up + colored cardigan/blazer + metallic shoes
(This shirt makes me realize how much I wish I had a cobalt blue cardigan.)
(Cardigan: Express / Top: LOFT / Flats: Audrey Brooke via DSW)

Look 7: black tank + black belt + black shoes + white (or a colored) blazer
(I totally tricked my mom into thinking this was a dress. HAHA! It is not. It is a black tank tucked into a black skirt and belted. How wonderfully devious. I told Mom this is my "take names and kick butt" outfit.)
 (Top: White House Black Market / Shoes: J. Crew Factory / Blazer: LOFT)

Look 8: colored cardigan + patterned blouse + neutral shoes and belt
(Any colored cardigan will work. I just love red, black, and white together.)
 (Cardigan: The Limited / Blouse: White House Black Market / Heels: J.Crew Factory / Belt: Target)

Look 9 (casual Friday!): colored tee + denim vest + pendant necklace + sneakers
(I love these shoes. Everyone who hangs out on this blog often knows how much I love them. I love the pop of color the shirt provides. I am wearing a pendant necklace, but you can't see it very well in this particular picture. If you can't do casual Friday, swap the sneaks for flats and the vest for a cardigan. Easy peezy, lemon squeezy as my co-teacher always says.) 
(Top: LOFT / Vest: Lauren Conrad / Shoes: Converse)

Items Remixed In Future Looks This Week:
* Bird print blouse
* Lace top (I used two different lace tops, but I could've used the same)
* Black tank
* Polka dot blouse
* White button up
* Orange top

* Yellow cardigan
* Red cardigan

* Gold flats
* Black wedges
* Converse

* Statement necklace
* Big black belt
* Gold belt

Monday, July 28, 2014

Teacher Style: Khaki Skirt Inspiration

 When I started the Teacher Wardrobe Series last year, I squeezed it all into one week. I felt rushed because Rome was not built in a day, and this wardrobe was not built in a week. This time around, I'm approaching the idea a bit differently. For the new few weeks, you will see themes for the week (pants, shoes, dresses, accessories, and anything you all request).

This week is based on five skirts from my closet. In fact, I also used a small selection of cardigans, shirts, and shoes to show you how remixable your skirt collection probably already is. Additionally, I scoured my archives to find some ways I already wore some of the pieces I chose. I included those previous looks in the collages.

Today, I am starting with the khaki skirt because Kate (love her and wish she lived close enough to visit!) asked for some inspiration for her khaki skirt. Kate, I hope I delivered.

Just as I did before, I provided a large collage followed by larger images of each look. I want you to see some of the detailing! 

 Skirt: The Limited 


Look 1: Striped shirt + scarf + big belt + printed heels
 (Add a pop of color in the scarf/belt. If it's too hot, replace the scarf with a statement necklace!)
 (Top: The Limited / Heels: via Marshall's / Belt: New York & Co. / Scarf: gift)
*Dog is not puking, but I don't know what she is doing.*

Look 2: Printed cardigan + white button up + skinny belt + boots
(Love the visual interest the cardigan, which sadly no longer fits, adds. A solid color cardigan also works. If it's too warm for boots, swap them for flats or heels or even booties!)
 (Cardigan: LOFT / Button up: Express / Boots: Steve Madden / Belt: New York & Co.)

Look 3: lace shirt + colored necklace + big belt + heels
(Uses a similar formula to the first look but replaces stripes with lace and a statement necklace instead of a scarf. You might also choose to add color in the form of shoes or throw on a blazer if it's cold. I think this outfit is actually my favorite. I love the combination of neutrals with the little pop of pink from the necklace.) 
 (Top: Old Navy / Necklace: Old Navy / Heels: J.Crew Factory / Belt: came with dress)

Look 4: printed button up (sleeveless for easier layering) + black cardigan + long necklace + heels
(I could add a belt if I wanted. I could tie the shirt instead of tucking it. I could add a pop of color with a cardigan or a non-neutral shoe. So many options for remixing!)  
 (Top: LOFT / Cardigan: The Limited / Heels: J.Crew Factory / Necklace: via Poshmark)

Look 5: colored cardigan + printed blouse + colored shoes
(I love this color scheme. I really think this outfit might be what I wear on the first day of school! This formula works with any color scheme and pattern. Try a green cardigan with a striped shirt and black shoes. Try a scarf instead of a necklace. Try a cropped blazer instead of a cardigan.)
(Cardigan: The Limited / Top: Lauren Conrad via Kohl's / Shoes: Dana Buchanan via Kohl's)

Look 6: neutral button up + big belt + neutral shoes
(I could add a statement necklace. I could swap a white shirt in place of the blue one. I could wear a colored oxford. I could add a pop of color with a blazer or shoes.)
 (Button up: Tommy Hilfiger / Shoes: BCBG / Belt: came with a dress)

Look 7:  colored cardigan + different colored necklace + neutral tank + colored shoes
(A neutral skirt is the perfect foundation for color experimentation. If you're not into more traditional color blocking, try a more subtle version like this one. I think the yellow cardigan is kind of unexpected. A blue, orange, or green one would work just as well!)
(Cardigan: Express / Tank: White House Black Market / Flats: Target / Necklace: Old Navy)

Look 8: colored blazer + striped shirt (or any pattern) + neutral shoes + tights
(I thought you might want to see a more fall look. If it's too hot for tights, try taller boots or booties. If the weather is warmer, try for a cardigan instead of a blazer, and swap out the wedges for flats.)
(Blazer: Marshall's / Top: Old Navy / Wedges: Marshall's / Necklace: boutique)

Items Remixed In Future Looks This Week:
* Bird print blouse
* Lace top
* Black tank
* Polka dot blouse
* White button up

* Yellow cardigan
* Red cardigan
* Black cardigan

* Red heels
* Magenta flats
* Black wedges

* Magenta necklace
* Big brown belt
* Big black belt

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Teacher Style: Skirt Inspiration (13 Looks)

Last year, I created what I called the Teacher Wardrobe Series (click the link at the top of the blog to access all of the posts). I considered doing another round but wasn't exactly sure what to do until today. (Well, as you're reading this post, it's actually yesterday that the idea came to me. Semantics.) In order to clean out my closet and determine what closet "holes" for the school year that I wanted to fill, I played dress up. ( that still anyone else's favorite game? OF COURSE IT IS.)

I wanted to try on all most of my skirts to be sure I wanted to keep them. I based the decision on fit (comfort, length, and tightness) and remixability. At the same time, I wanted to determine whether or not a few shirts were worth keeping. As you can see, the striped shirt is a clear winner despite the fact it almost found itself expatriated from my closet.

I highly suggest laying all of your skirts out at once and organizing them by color and also pay attention to type (pencil, A-line, etc.) I lined up all of my solid skirts in one row on the bed and my printed skirts in another row. I realized three holes I'd like to fill. One, I'd love to own an orange skirt. I own all of ROYGBIV except for the O; that bothers me more than it should. Plus, I really love orange. Two, I'd love to own a black skirt that's A-line and a bit more casual. I have one that's dressy and chiffon; another is the pencil skirt you see below. Three, I'd love to add a gray skirt that can be dressed up or down (maybe not jersey but a thicker, sturdier cotton and still in an A-line?) Do I need these items? No. However, if I happen upon them at an obscenely good price, I could be persuaded to make them mine.

Important note: I fully believe that it never hurts to try something on even if you think "it'll never work on me." No pencil skirt ever fits you but you love that one, try it on, and find out that it fits like a dream. It's like a Sisterhood of the Traveling Skirts moment. Allow both clothing items and people to surprise you by giving them a chance. However, with that being said, determine which cut you like best and gravitate toward that silhouette if you'd like to feel less overwhelmed by options.

For you Pinterest lovers, I created a main image in case you'd like to remember this post in the future. If your eyes aren't made of magnifying glasses, then you might want full-sized images, which I provided, of course. 

Skirt 1: Pink LOFT skirt with pockets (bought on thredUP)
(Shirt is Tommy Hilfiger Outlet; Shoes are J.Crew Factory)

 Skirt 2: Navy A-line Jersey Skirt from LOFT
(Flats are Merona from Target; Shirt is Tommy Hilfiger Outlet.)

Skirt 3: White Pencil Skirt from LOFT  
(Shirt: Tommy Hilfiger Outlet; Shoes: J.Crew Factory)

Skirt 4: Pleated Mustard Skirt from Banana Republic
(Top: Mudd via kids' section at Kohl's--what? I have no chest!
Shoes: Mia via DSW
Cardigan and Belt: New York & Co.)

Skirt 5: Printed skirt from White House Black Market 
(Top: New York and Co.
Cardigan: The Limited
Shoes: J.Crew Factory)

Skirt 6: Black Pencil Skirt from The Limited
(Top: New York & Co.
Cardigan: The Limited
Shoes: J.Crew Factory)

 Same Skirt as before, but I opted for all black and white with a bit of a print. I figured I'd show you both looks.

Skirt 7: Sequin-covered pencil skirt from White House Black Market
 Who says a party skirt, of the right length, can't be work appropriate? This might actually become my first day of school outfit. I love it so much. 
(Cardigan: Banana Republic via thredUP
Top: New York & Co.
Shoes: J.Crew Factory)

Skirt 8: Pink Scalloped Skirt from LOFT
(Top: Lauren Conrad via Kohl's
Cardigan: The Limited
Shoes: J.Crew Factory)

Skirt 9: Khaki A-line skirt from The Limited
This color combination is my favorite of the bunch. This look is also a strong contender for day 1. 
(Top: Lauren Conrad via Kohl's
Cardigan: The Limited
Shoes: Dana Buchanan via Kohl's)

Skirt 10: I threw a wild card at you. It's actually a Banana Republic Outlet dress I disguised as a skirt.
(Top: LOFT
Shoes: Sole Society)

Skirt 11: polka dot pencil skirt from Forever 21 (this skirt is OLD)
(Top: New York & Co
Shoes: J.Crew Factory)

Skirt 12: Khaki & Coral Skirt from Lauren Conrad
(I came up hopelessly empty on these options.)
  I think this outfit looks better than it photographed. Poo.
(Top: The Limited
Shoes: J.Crew Factory)

Which look is your favorite? Would you like to see more skirt inspiration? You haven't seen even half of my collection. Would you like some pants inspiration? What about dresses? I hope so because I was planning to throw all of these at you.

Note: modify looks based on your needs. Can't wear heels or open-toed shoes? Wear flats instead. Need a cardigan to cover up your arms? Okay, do it. Every school has different rules for dressing, so do what works best for you and your environment. Even if that means wearing bicycle shorts under your skirts because you crawl around on the floor with small children all day. (I think sticking with pants might be better in this case, but to each her own.)

What exactly is boho chic?

I feel like I tried this shirt on with every pair of shorts that I own. All of them either looked stupid or no longer fit me. What gives? I'm working with slim pickings. The end of July quickly approaches, so is it worth it to buy more pairs? What are your thoughts on the matter?

My brain can function only in a list right now, so here it is.

One, what is boho chic? I guess it means hippie inspired, flowy fabrics. I'm going to say that this top qualifies, especially because I chose to wear it for exactly that reason. I did not want to feel constricted, so this top felt like a formidable choice. 

Two, doesn't this shirt look like a henna tattoo? The stitching reminds me of henna. Is that weird? If the rest of the top weren't flesh colored, maybe I wouldn't think so. Ah, who knows.

Three, I can't believe I wore a bracelet today without throwing it across the room. Usually, I will attempt bracelet wearing and grow so frustrated with its clanging against the keyboard that I angrily toss it off my wrist. This one slides up far enough that it's out of the way when I type. Looks like I know what kind of bracelets to look for in the future.

Four, no one would know we are in the summer season based on my pasty skin. Will that mean everyone my age later on will look like a rawhide, and there I will be with lovely, unwrinkled skin? I will tell myself this lie in order to feel better about having nothing to show for the sunshine and summertime once school starts.

Five, a few weeks ago, a mouse scurried across my foot as I reached for a 2a.m. snack in the kitchen. A few days ago, a spider fell on me in the shower. Yesterday, a bug crawled up at me out of the toilet. Today, I saw a cockroach crawl OUT OF THE SINK. Why do I even bother cleaning this breeding ground for disgusting things? I think I need a bat. Or a chicken. Or a toad. They can eat the creepy crawlies. Have you ever seen Stephen King's It? You know the part when the clown comes up out of the drain? Yeah, that's my reality. I can laugh things off, but even my sense of humor has its limitations.  

 The Look:
Top: Francesca's (really cute and similar)
Shorts: Jennifer Lopez via Kohl's (exact in two washes)
Sandals: Sole Society (exact
Cuff: gift from Mom awhiiiile ago

 I also wore the top this way. As you can see, I'm super creative with it.

Linking up for shorts week with Andi and Ginny.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Black Dress & Green Accessories

Not long ago, this dress fit me better, so I feel a little sad that the top looks and feels looser than it has in the past. Since I began a pretty restrictive diet as a countermeasure to two solid months of antibiotics and steroids, I have lost probably 8 pounds that I didn't need or want to lose. (Honestly, I just want to feel better, and I'd rather change my diet than take more pills. After all, medication is what landed me here in the first place.) I am even trying to eat more often. Luckily, my doctor approves of the diet and even gave me a blog to visit for tips on gaining back some weight while cutting out foods that could cause me harm right now. In fact, he printed out the main page from the blog and handed it to me. The solution? Eat more fat (coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, eggs, etc.) to replace the lack of sugar and carbs.

Quick recap of what I'm not eating in an attempt to kill an overgrowth of yeast in my body: sugar of all kinds (even fruit, except for lemons and limes, for a short while), processed foods, peanuts, most dairy (except yogurt), rice, corn, pork, potatoes, beans, fermented foods, and pretty much anything starchy/high in sugar. (Essentially, all "trigger" foods are out of my diet.)

Quick recap of what I am eating: almonds, walnuts, buckwheat, quinoa, vegetables (and lots of them), fish, chicken, eggs, turkey, beef, coconut oil, avocados, lots of spices on foods, lemons, limes, plain yogurt high in live cultures, olives (in water, not vinegar), and oat bran. (It's amazing how many recipes I've found to match up with these ingredients.)

By the end of August, I will reintroduce some foods in small doses like some vegetables that are more starchy (ex: sweet potatoes), low-sugar fruits (ex: blueberries, strawberries, and green apples), and beans.

The diet has been manageable for the past month until Mother Nature and all of her cravings hit me today. I think I hallucinated pizza at one point. Know that this cute outfit and I hung out on Monday. Today, it was all about the sweatpants, ugly hair, and an HGTV marathon when I wasn't napping. At least I know I possess a willpower something fierce. I need to channel that same willpower when I'm shopping.

A big shout out goes to my husband who has tirelessly researched foods to eat and ways to help me through this journey. In fact, he's eating all of the same meals with me and offered no complaints when I asked him to go grocery shopping today and buy feminine products for me. (He even knows exactly which kind to get.) What a man, what a man, what a mighty good man. Yes, he is.

The Look:
Dress: Target (similar, inexpensive option)
Sandals: Franco Sarto via TJ Maxx (exact)
Belt: Target (similar)
Necklace (with a little cut out shaped like Maryland): Lou Lou in Georgetown (lots of options at this Etsy shop)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It's Story Time: Country Girl in the Big City

When the school system in which I teach was hiring me for their county, a most interesting thing happened. You see, it all started with the crazy messages that Dad creates for the answering machine. When the new answering machine arrived and I was in elementary school, I still remember Mom, right before she left for a PTA meeting or the market, telling Dad, "Now, don't you dare go right upstairs and make a stupid message for our machine. I mean it, Danny." Like a small child you put the red button in front of and tell not to touch, Dad scurried (as much as a man who's 6'6" can "scurry") upstairs the moment she closed the front door behind her because he had the perfect message in mind.

For years, the message ran, in his most impressive "redneck" voice, something like this: "Howdy, this yars the ________. We can't come to the phone right now. We're outside sloppin' the hogs and feedin' the chickens. Sure would like to know why y'all called, so leave a message after this thing makes that little ol' beepin' sound." When the school system called my parents' house where I lived at the time, we still had this answering machine message, the same one that people would actually call back our house again just to hear it another time. As a result, the manager in charge of hiring me wrote a special note in my file: "may encounter adversity." Why? He thought I was some country girl from the back 40 who was coming to the big cities of Howard County, Maryland (which is a joke in itself, I might add).

When I called him one day to say that Mom was coming with me to sign paperwork, he thought my shitkicker and overall-wearing (not cool at the time like it is again now) hillbilly of a mother was coming to check out the town and make sure it was safe for her baby girl. All of this truth came out, and I explained that Dad is an extremely eccentric man; I am from a county affectionately nicknamed "Cow County," but I'm not a farm girl despite how many times I watched Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies (SO.MUCH.NICK.AT.NITE.)

Several years later, when Jeff and I were adopting our sweet puppies, Roxy and Squirt, the adoption lady called my parents' house for a reference. Once again, someone heard this message on the machine. She hung up and did not leave a message; in fact, she called me, asking whether or not I gave her the wrong number. And, once again, I had to explain my Dad's eccentricities to a stranger. Four of us lived in that house for a long time, but I am the only one who not once but TWICE had an interesting experience as a result of Dad's voicemail creativity. And people wonder why it's impossible to embarrass me.

Anyway, Mom accompanied me to Baltimore City yesterday because I needed to visit one of the professional buildings. If you don't know Baltimore, though it has its allure and charms (I met my now husband in a dance club there almost 10 years ago), then you should know that Baltimore makes a name for itself with its impressive number of murders per capita. Like everywhere, however, it has its redeeming qualities and not-so-bad parts of town. On the ride home, GPS took us the shorter route, which did not translate to the safer route. In fact, many of the houses were boarded up and the loveliest of individuals frequented the streets. As Mom stared at a boarded up house, commenting on its "shaggy curtains" and "light coming through one of the boarded up windows," I scolded her severely. "DO NOT ENGAGE. STOP LOOKING. LOOK STRAIGHT AHEAD. IF YOU MUST, LOOK WITH YOUR EYEBALLS BEHIND SUNGLASSES, NOT WITH YOUR HEAD TURNED." She asked why and I responded, "you're looking into a boarded up window. You don't know what's looking back at you." She kept her head straight the rest of the time. I guess that's what the "country" taught me.

I now understand why my high school Chem teacher told us that if we were somewhere we shouldn't be at a time we really shouldn't be there, we need to pull our hoods over our heads, rock back and forth, and chatter incoherently at a trashcan. No one messes with a crazy person.

Now that I shared story time with you, I will share with you an outfit I wore while signing the offer we put in on a house last week (an offer the seller accepted, I guess I should add?).

The Look:
Dress: Some designer for Target via thredUP  (similar options: $, $$, $$$--$20-70)
Cardigan: Target, Mossimo brand (I finally got another one to replace the original I killed from wearing too much.)
Shoes: via DSW 
Necklace: H&M via Poshmark shop
Purse: via Marshall's
Sunglasses: gift from Momma (LOFT)