Monday, July 29, 2013

I can't drink wine, so I'll wear it.

I can't stop buying maxi skirts for the following reasons:

1. I don't have to shave if I wear them.
2. They're not pants.
3. The waistline forgives.
4. I can dress them up...or down.
5. I can sleep in them (tested that one out on Saturday--pure, comfortable success).

Jeff agreed to take my picture because I posed with the deck steps he recently rebuilt. 
Yes, we still have to stain the whole deck and one random board is brown, but they sure are beautiful. 

Clothing Homes:
Skirt: American Eagle Outlet (closest I could find at AE)
Sandals: Pink & Pepper via Marshall's (cute Steve Madden option)
Bag: It's Kenneth Cole Reaction via Boscov's for $35! (nice from Amazon)
Belt: Express (I believe)

Occasion: Cousin's birthday party
When: 4:30-?
Where: Indoors
Comfort Rating: 10/10 (despite the belt)

Comments: I tried the shirt tied in a knot, but that didn't work for this skirt. It landed at an odd spot above the skirt. I tried leaving the shirt loose, but it made it me look too boxy.  
I tucked it in, but it didn't look pulled together until I added the belt.

Restyling Options: For work, I'd throw on my khaki and white polka dot cardigan or my plaid blazer. 
If it were a little bit chillier, I'd throw on a jean jacket.
If it were winter time, I'd replace the sandals with flats and throw on a leather jacket. 


P.S. Linking up with FundayMonday

Thursday, July 25, 2013

And the staging continues...

Jeff and I have been on fire getting this house ready to sell. We're crossing things off of our list, which conveniently hangs on the fridge for easy access. Also, if we're not moving quickly enough, it serves as an albatross. I find heavy, ugly nonsense around my neck off-putting and motivating. 

So, do you stage your home to sell or empty as many personal belongings as humanly possible? 
I belong to the "purge, organize, rearrange, and clean the crap out of every room" group.
If the house shines and every room is defined, then I'm happier living here until we move.
And, just maybe, people will snap this place up quicker. 

I'm no expert, but here's the thing. 
Every time I look at a home, I want to know how a space can be used. Does a queen bed fit? Where can I place bookshelves? How the heck do you configure the furniture in that living room? 
If I see how someone else does it, then I feel inspired. 
Umm...isn't that the purpose of Pinterest? And Pinterest is ALL THE RAGE. 
So, I suppose I'm trying to turn our abode into something Pinterest worthy. 

To our detriment or benefit, I've "staged" (read: purged, organized, scrubbed, and rearranged everything) more of our home. On any given day, I'm working on five rooms at a time. 

Weird space between living room and dining area that took me awhile to crack.
I turned it into a beverage station. Yesterday, I cleaned up the whole area and left only what I thought contributed to the area. Maybe potential buyers will fix a cup o' tea or joe during their visit.

Potential buyers might open up no cabinets, but, come on now, people are inherently nosy. 
I know full well people will open my cabinets, pantry, closets, and etc. 
I want the insides to look as sparkly as the outsides. 
Meet my newly organized spice cabinet. 
(Don't judge the Pepto situated up top.
One of our dogs likes to consume inedible things, so that bottle is hers.)
Also, I did not alphabetize. I organized by type and purpose. 
Who am I kidding? It looks pretty. No one cares about the rest. 

 Kitchens just aren't as appealing with all of the gadgets (slow cooker, toaster, etc.) sitting on the counters. I found hobbit holes for them and cleared the counters. 

When we moved in, our kitchen looked like this:

What did we change in the kitchen?
* light fixtures
* added a pot rack
* ALL of the appliances
* countertops
* removed the peninsula --> added an island
* removed the tile & linoleum --> laid gorgeous tile
* new faucet
* new sink
* new knobs
* "new" light plates
* new curtain rod
* added a backsplash
* flipped around the cabinet you see on the bottom left so that it faced forward.
It was awkwardly placed before. 

This house earned our blood, sweat, and tears. 
When I collect all of these pictures, it makes me sad about leaving it.
Our first home. 
But, shortening my current commute by forever distracts me from the sadness.
Not keeping my bladder from exploding during an hour drive sounds blissful.
I'll send off my kitchen with one lonely tear while my bladder dances happily. If bladders could dance. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My (Recent) Life in Clothes

I cleaned out my closet.
By that, I mean I threw (only) half of the things I won't actually wear into paper bags. 
A week ago.
They're still sitting in front of my window seat.
The other half hang in my closet, pretending I'll wear them. 
I trudge through this process at least once a month.
Eventually, I think I'll actually purge my closet of the unwanteds.
Until then, my closet harbors the land of misfit clothes.
And some very cute, well fitting ones.
I feel so Lilly Pulitzer in this color scheme. 

Dad turned 61. We celebrated. 
I'm eating pickles to prevent myself from eating the rest of the cake Mom gave to me.
I have a feeling I'll have an acid stomach and liquid bowels before this night ends.
Wish me luck.
I wore this dress to celebrate Daddy dukes.

Meet my second-day hair. I woke up at 5 and watched Law and Order SVU until I had to leave for work. I poked my hair in a "thanks for being awesome this morning" kind of way. 

Not sure I'll ever master the downward shot. Someone please tell me how you make it happen before I Google that ish. Google is already judging me because I asked it who invented the maxi skirt. 
Bows and leopard print. That's about as spicy as I get. 
You will not see me in stripes on stripes (despite my love for them)
or stripes on polka dots. 

Speaking of maxi skirts, I'm married, but I'll kiss the inventor of maxi skirts on the lips
to thank them for creating a sartorial masterpiece that allows me to look presentable while being comfortable enough to take a nap. On public transportation. During peak hours. In NYC. 
Meet my newest maxi skirt. I bought it today, and I'm showing it to you before I even ripped off the tags. I think the cashier was *this* close to making me pay for it while simultaneously shoving it under the counter to save for later. I'm pretty sure she pet it. I would too. I plan to. 
Stiiiiill suck at downward shots. 
Seriously, someone feed me the secret. 

Enjoy your lovely evening.
I'm going to go eat pickles. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Moving on Out (Home Office Edition)

Where, oh where, has my littlewowe gone? Oh, where, oh where, can she be? She's cleaning the house, staging it to sell, and is as sweaty as can be! I broke my "never speak about yourself in third person" rule for the purpose of writing that little ditty. I'm not sure it was worth it.

For the past month, I've been working on reorganizing everything in our house in order to make staging and moving easier. I thought I'd share some transformations with the great people of the interwebs. Forgive my lack of photo taking abilities. Just my iPhone and I over here trying to make do with what we've got.

So, when we first moved in, I started with a green accent wall. 
Everything green.
Biggest problem? I didn't paint the other walls, and the "professional" painters that the previous owners hired were awful. That nicely painted green wall only highlighted the drip dried paint marks.
A year or so later, I took that old desk on the left, painted it white, and turned it into a vanity for my bedroom. 
(I'll show the bedroom later.)
I bought a tall desk from Pier 1 to replace it. 

I figured future owners didn't want a random green wall, so I painted the whole room my new favorite wall color, Gentle Rain by Behr.  I used it in the nearby bathroom that I wanted to lighten. 
(I'll show you the bathroom later, too.)

Bought a new, tall-enough chair for this desk.
(last one broke)
I moved a bookshelf from the living room to this room. Filled in an otherwise awkward spot. 
Moved that drawer system from the basement. 
Organized all of the paper on those desk shelves.
Put most important teacher books on the desk.

Finally found a place to hang art donated from our neighbors a few years ago.
I recovered the ugly filing cabinet, which I should have painted (oh well), and I replaced the handles. 

I made these striped curtains.
That no-sew pillow case (just covered one of those bright green pillows from the first office look.)
Painted that sewing machine stand white and changed the drawer knob.
Hung that pretty litograph from one of my awesome students.

Spray painted that lamp base a pretty silver.
Put black ribbon on that lamp shade.
Organized every drawer of that stand.
I could hang something on either side of the artwork, but I think this works just fine seeing as how we're not staying for the long haul. 

The fact that this room is so functional, organized, and pretty makes me want to stay.
I'll allow myself to think that means I staged it well. 

It *almost* makes me want to start the school year.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Style Imitation

...of the literary variety.

I belong to a class of teachers who cannot help getting sucked into summer school or curriculum writing or tutoring or SAT prep or any other garden variety "let me add some beans to my pitifully tiny pocketbook" summer tasks.

This summer, I refused to commit to more than two weeks of curriculum writing. Of course, a gotta-take-a-four-day-course-to-teach-an-AP-course course snuck its way into my life. (Yes, I see the plethora of "course," and it's intentional...of course.)

However, these smatterings of professional development offerings, if you will, help me see the following school year with crisper clarity. If I'm writing curriculum, then I certainly know what I want to teach and how to teach it.

Anyway, you want to know why I'm rambling about all of this nonsense. Well, while writing curriculum, I decided to create a model paragraph that imitates a passage from Life of Pi by Yann Martel. (Yes, the book is always better.) I must confess. I'm taking a little pride in my creation because I realized that I have not, in fact, lost all of my sensibility to penis-drawing sophomore boys and YOLO-screaming dingbats.

Mini Life of Pi background: In part one of the novel, Martel provides background on Pi, a young boy from India whose ship wrecks before his family and their zoo animals can reach Canada, the place to whom his father has sold all of the animals in his zoo from India. After the ship sinks, Pi winds up on a life boat with a pack of animals, which ultimately dwindles to a population of one, a tiger. Anyway, in part one, we learn that Pi is a religious fellow, a characteristic that becomes quite relevant in parts two and three. By religious, I mean that he participates in three religions: Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. Third time is the charm, perhaps? Anyway, at one point he describes being Hindu.

He says this:

I am a Hindu because of sculptured cones of red kumkim powder and baskets of yellow
turmeric nuggets, because of garlands of flowers and pieces of broken coconut, because of the
clanging of bells to announce one’s arrival to God, because of the whine of the reedy
nadaswaram and the beating of drums, because of the patter of bare feet against stone floors
down dark corridors pierced by shafts of sunlight, because of the fragrance of incense, because
of flames of arati lamps circling in the darkness, because of bhajans being sweetly sung,
because of elephants standing around to bless, because of colourful murals telling colourful
stories, because of foreheads carrying, variously signified, the same word—faith.  

Another teacher suggested that I ask my students to imitate the structure of this passage with content of their own. Students can write about being athletes, musicians, members of a religion, anything. I decided to write one about being an American. I can't say that my personal beliefs inspired me to write what I wrote, but I felt inspired after I wrote it. I felt a little more American after spending time considering what it means to so many people who are American.

I composed this:

I am an American because of barbecued burgers with Heinz ketchup and trays of sweet
watermelon slices, because of fields of wheat and whiffs of fresh-cut grass, because of the rising
of Lady Liberty to welcome foreigners’ weariness to sanctuary, because of the singing of purple
mountains and the signing of the Declaration, because of the skipping of tiny toes against
scorching asphalt down neighborhoods brimming with giggles of innocence, because of the
aroma of opportunity, because of magnates of great oration inspiring from the podium, because
of championships being valiantly won, because of bald eagles soaring high to perch, because of
city skyscrapers standing magnificently tall, because of Old Glory signaling, continuously
revered, the nation’s cornerstone—independence.

For those of you who often feel uninspired or you do not know what to write or how to write it, take a page from your favorite book and imitate the sentence structure. If you find beauty, symmetry, and lyricism in a passage, use it to foster your own creativity. Obviously, you need to find your own content, but allow their structure to serve as a vessel for your ideas. Ultimately, we must find our own voices and our own style, but it helps to practice with someone else's when we're feeling uninspired. We use our favorite bloggers and celebrities for sartorial style inspiration, so why not use some of our favorite writers for literary style inspiration? 

Oh, and here's a throwback picture for you all. It's my "literary" picture because Jeff, a man who says "why read a book when I can watch the movie?", actually made a connection to the symbolism of the green light from The Great Gatsby BEFORE the movie entered the scene. I'm so proud.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I love you a bushel and a peck(er)

When I was in high school, my brother (who, as you may know, is seven years my senior) pinned me on my stomach, whipped out a black Sharpie, and proceeded to draw a very intricate, impressive picture of male genitalia on my back. For your sake, I will omit the rest of the description that involves an accompanying image of a human with an open mouth. (Just picture that scene from Ten Things I Hate About You.) I'm a lightweight, so there was no fighting the inevitable graffiti that spanned the entire length, and width, of my back. Since I couldn't see the artwork, except for the Polaroid picture (throoooowback) someone--yes, I had friends over at the time--took of my sibling's masterpiece, I went to sleep covered in cartoonish pornography. What did I care? It was hidden by my shirt, and I was a wear-sweatpants-to-class high schooler...for which I currently feel more shame than the wiener on my back. My standards were low. Mom's were not. In the middle of the night, I awoke to my mother, a washcloth, and some sort of solvent that I was too pissed-off-tired to register. She scolded me when I told her to "go away! I'm sleeeeeping!" She said, "I have to get this off of you." Now, Mom? Really? Mom, where were you when HE DREW IT ON ME in the first place? Whatever. The graphic eventually disappeared from my back after much scrubbing on Mom's part and much mumbled dissent on my part. Now that I think about it, this incident could explain my aversion to getting a tattoo. 

Throughout my youth, Dad and Brother left each other notes littered with middle fingers and penises. "Hey, Dick, I need to borrow a shovel. *insert pecker picture*" When my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, arrived at my parents' house one day, he found a little present just for him, perfectly perched atop the porch railing: dog poop in the shape of a penis...compliments of my Dad. 

As a teacher of many teenage boys, I find wieners drawn everywhere. In the margins of papers. On the desk. Inside of a brand new book. It's straight out of Superbad, people. According to teacher legend, one brave student (or group of students), erected an enormous snow penis in the posterior lawn. 

Today, I called my husband and requested that he text a picture of the market list to me. This gem arrived at my inbox: 

I can't escape it. There is no peace from the penis. It follows me everywhere. I can't even go to work without it sneaking onto tests and essays and inside of books. 

Gentlemen, I know your junk is attached, but stop being so attached to your junk. The plethora of penis pictures needs to stop. If you're going to compose masterpieces, at least toss in an element of surprise or wit: add an army helmet and a gun because your dude part likes to use protection.