Dec 31, 2010

drumroll, please

i am pleased to begin the new year by announcing a very ambitious blogging project:

52 weeks, 52 projects

you may have already guessed the name from the image above with "52 weeks, 52 projects" written in large, friendly letters, and the project is really quite self-explanatory. the idea is that i will share a completed project every single week for the entire year. the project doesn't have to be started and completed within the same week; i will just be presenting my newest finished object. some weeks it might be a sweater, and others it might be a piece of jewelry or maybe even a paint-by-number painting (i love those!). some things will go straight into my etsy shop who they're finished, because, let's face it, i could probably use some spare cash more than 52 new things.

this is quite a challenge for me, given that i seldom make it all the way through a month-long challenge, but i hope that i can follow through this time. each weekend i will post my finished object, and during the week i'll post "work-in-progress" snapshots, plus whatever else i feel like blogging about. just to make it a little extra challenging, i'm going to add in that the majority of these projects should come from the craft supplies taking up about half of my closet space or projects that i started ages ago, but never finished. in theory, this should make it easier, because i'll have the materials on hand, and i won't have to worry about cost or finding the time to run out to the store. in practice, the siren song of the craft store and fancy yarn shop are difficult for me to ignore, and a new, exciting pattern and yarn beat a "i guess i'll make this thing i don't even like that much, because i already have this yarn sitting here" (can you hear me dragging my feet?) kind of a project every time. to keep myself honest, i'll report all the details of my projects, so you and i can both gauge my stash-busting efforts.

check back soon for the inaugural project, and HAPPY 2011!

Dec 16, 2010

some xmas inspiration

i haven't done much decorating in my apartment, what with finishing up the semester and doing a major decluttering, so i'm probably just going to decorate my blog instead. some ideas for a midcentury modern christmas:

above images via sheffield school

above image via NEST

and one more...

above image via my mid-century modern life

Dec 12, 2010

the great decluttering of '10

image via IQmatrix

despite its frantic pace, i think december is a great time to pause long enough to reflect on how lucky we are and how we can use our resources to help others. sometimes i do crafting for charity, but this year i'm going to do a major decluttering and give my surplus to charity. my apartment is quite small, and it can start feeling claustrophobic if i have too much stuff. for some reason, the more stuff i have in my apartment, the less inclined i am to take care of my stuff and the more inclined i am to buy more stuff. that's where i am now... claustrophobic and itching to shop.

when i am aware of having too much stuff, i also start to feel guilty about all the perfectly good things that i have but never use. the fleece vest i bought years ago just in case i take up running could be keeping someone else warm. the dressy work shoes i never wear could take someone to a job interview. things are winding down at school, so i have about a week to finish up christmas shopping, finalize grades for the semester, and get ready to fly home. i am in really good shape on all of these fronts, so i think i can do a complete decluttering before christmas, in addition to everything else. next year, i want to give 1% of my salary to charity; this year, i'm giving at least 1% of my stuff. do you get extra-charitable near the holidays? is "declutter" something on your to-do list?

Dec 8, 2010

the man, the legend, the puppet.

i'm losing interest in blogging about the 30 for 30 challenge. not that i've stopped doing it; i just came to the realization that my outfits are pretty boring, and i don't really want to blog about them. instead, i will blog about something that i am excited about:

my crochet puppet homage to stephen colbert. one has already sold on etsy, and there are 4 more in the shop. i plan to send one to the man himself in the near future. currently taking ideas on other people to immortalize in yarn.

Dec 4, 2010

30 for 30: day 4

friday was more of the same: sweatshirt (this time a "school spirit" one), jeans, and sneakers. today i dressed possibly the nicest i have for a saturday in quite some time. one of the perks of doing the challenge is that you probably won't "budget" yourself any sweatpants. i'm not someone who is particularly picky about how she looks during a run to the grocery store or post office, but i felt like i did have a little extra spring in my step since i put some effort into my appearance today, especially after a couple days of sweatshirts.

Dec 2, 2010

30 for 30: day 2

thursday is 'college day' at school, so i wore my w&m sweatshirt and jeans. boring. less boring: this old gap commercial featuring alexander greenwald of phantom planet and rashida jones.

Dec 1, 2010

30 for 30

Old Navy Womens Pointelle-Trim Cardigans, $23
Factory's Women - Shirts & tops - Factory stripe tuxedo tunic - J.Crew, $40
Fine-gauge crewneck sweater, $60
Old Navy Womens Argyle Cardigans, $26
Nike College Bling (Virginia Tech) Women's Hoodie, $65
Rick Owens Lilies Wool-jersey turtleneck top, $203
Adeline Cashmere Mix Oversized Cardigan by Twenty8Twelve, 270 GBP
Jones New York Signature - Plaid Peplum Shirt w/ Ruffle (Black/Sugar)..., $79
Roxy - Go Anywhere Sweater (New Heather) - Apparel, $45
Nike Classic Fleece Pullover Women's Hoodie, $40
Cornell Sweatshirt Crew Vintage College Heather Grey
Jcrew Factory two-pocket chambray shirt in stonewall wash, $60
BKE Crew Neck T-Shirt, $12
Unisex Poly-Cotton Short Sleeve Crew Neck, $18
Chinti and Parker Striped organic cotton T-shirt, $63
The Row T-Shirt Black, 209 EUR
Vince Cotton-twill parka, $277
Joseph washed leather one button jazz jacket, 380 GBP
The Everyday Blazer, $285
glory charm Plaid Shirt, $46
Zipper Moto Sweater Jacket, $0.01
Curvy Denim Trousers, $69
Alexa Low-Rise Flare Twill Pant, $40
Fossil Addison Tunic Dress, $30
Gap Petite Vintage Flare Jeans (Dark Wash), $60
Tee Indigo T-Shirt, 50 GBP

i first read about the 30 for 30 challenge on readymade's blog. the challenge is this: wear only 30 pieces of clothing for 30 days. don't buy anything new, just remix what you already have. this really resonated with me because i've been thinking that i have way too much stuff and i would really like to downsize. what i like about this challenge is that it's an exercise in seeing how little you truly need and what you truly love out of the stuff you own. i suspect that i will miss certain things that didn't make the cut on this round, and that's a pretty good indication that those items are worth keeping.

the challenge originates with kendi everday, whose blog is super-adorable and super-funny. i found out about it too late to get in on the official bandwagon, but i'm not strictly playing by the rules, so that's okay. kendi includes shoes in her 30, but not accessories or outerwear. i started out including shoes in my 30, and then i remembered the teacher dress code for thursdays and fridays. thursdays teachers are supposed to wear college apparel (for me, this means hoodies) and fridays teachers wear school spirit stuff (more hoodies). i decided to cheat on the shoes rather than on the work-required items. i probably could have included both in the 30, but i wanted to increase my odds of actually finishing a challenge without cheating. above you see polyvore approximations of my 30. it turns out i'm pretty boring with my basics and neutrals. eh. i can live with that.

being the planner and dork that i am, i combed through my extensive collection of pictures i have ripped out of magazines to help me plan outfits. my idea was that i would share my outfit inspiration here, and then also use polyvore to put together how i wore it. let's be honest; that's probably not going to happen, but maybe occasionally i'll get some scanning in.

submitted for your approval is outfit #1:

i haven't worn those pearls since the wedding i was in this past june. incidentally, the wedding is also when i bought the pearls.

Oct 21, 2010

a slight dip in willpower

i'm pretty much over the 127 things project. maybe i will pick it up back up, but i started questioning the utility of the project, and i'd just rather work on other things. the spending hiatus is moving along, however, though i've gotten a bit lax on what i'm am and am not going to buy. junk probably isn't totally necessary to my life, and i believe one or two non-essential lip glosses have made their way home with me. i'm really going to need to tighten up here over the next couple of months. i'm going to try to make it a challenge to see just how little i can spend next month, and i'm hoping that that will really reignite my interest in doing this.

i looked over my finances from the last few months, and the interesting thing is that i don't really remember much of what i bought. if i can't even look at my credit card statement and remember just what it was that i "had to have" from the gap, maybe i really didn't need anything from the gap at all.

i'm going to be too busy to shop anyway--i'm getting ready for this:

Oct 8, 2010

the wish list

camo or tortoiseshell wayfarers (or knock-offs)

spotted on high snobiety

army green parka and pretty much everything michelle williams is wearing here (and pretty much everything michelle williams wears period.)

spotted on coolspotters

leggings with snaps


adorable argyle knee-high socks


sailor shirt with zipper


sailor shirt with snaps


loose top with tab pocket


i'm starting to compile a list of things that i want to get once the spending hiatus is over. i may be overcome with the urge to spend should any of these items go on sale, but, for now, i will dream. can you tell i'm having a little bit of a love affair with the gap and sailor stripes?

Oct 2, 2010

new week, new things

this week is all about one of my favorite things, fashion. a number of fashion insiders weigh in on the pieces of clothing that every woman (and man) should have in her (his) closet, and, in fact, the entire book was inspired by an article written by carrie donovan for the new york times magazine many years ago. i love the idea of having a capsule wardrobe that can be combined in endless chic combinations, but here's the problem: i never reach for the plain white shirt in my closet, and i don't really care that much about being chic. there was a year of college during which i dressed in a very plain, cold, WASPy way, and, while i generally looked very put together, i was dressing that way specifically because i wanted to look like i had it together even though i really, really didn't. those clean, crisp basics were really more of a suit of armor that i put on every morning to help me get through the day. i don't need that anymore, and, consequently, i don't really want to dress in that way anymore.

in other words, i think what i'm trying to say is that i don't put a lot of stock in lists of "must-haves." there's room for creativity in a black suit and white shirt, but i'm not someone who wears suits, and i like color. i've seen a post or two floating around about personal uniforms, and the idea of a personal capsule wardrobe is a lot more interesting to me than a list of necessities put together by someone whose life is incredibly different from mine.

my plan for this week is to experiment with some items that i already own from the list. i'm also going to do some weeding of my closet and maybe pass on some of the list items that just aren't for me. i leave you with a capsule wardrobe quickly pieced together on polyvore.

Cashmere V Neck Sweater
70 GBP -
V neck sweater »

Gap Mariner top
$35 -
Striped tee »

Sailorette Tee in Pink
$20 -
Pink tee »

Deck Shoe
$90 -
Summer shoes »

Fox Cub Necklace
45 GBP -
Necklaces »

Hammered Plain Band Ring
35 GBP -
Band ring »

Element Eden Product Catalog

Sep 25, 2010

out with the old, in with the new.

after staring at my "makeup" and "no makeup" pictures from the other day, i think i've decided on some changes for my routine. i actually prefer the picture without makeup, but i do with that the area around my eyes was a bit lighter. above you see the results of the following changes:

old routine:
yellow concealer
bisque concealer

new routine:
tinted moisturizer and eye cream
translucent powder
lip balm

another shot at exercise

week 4 brings overall wellness to the 127 things, which encompasses everything i've been working on (or haven't been working on) over the past few weeks. this gives me a chance to make amends for my total lack of official exercise last week. i've been hit with a pretty serious allergy attack, but i'm starting to feel like maybe exercise is an option. i still need to figure out the exact weightlifting exercises i want to do, but i've got the power yoga all lined up and ready to go. exercise is one of my least favorite things in the world, so, if i make it through a week of workouts, i might break the spending hiatus long enough to get a new workout outfit. or maybe i will just be so proud of myself that i won't need any other reward.

update: didn't really get around to the whole exercise thing... i'll keep working on it. i did manage to do about 10 minutes of yoga, and this week brought a lot of frantic running around school and going up and down stairs, so that's something. i did end up bribing myself with a pair of clearance yoga pants at target, so maybe the guilt of breaking the hiatus will get my butt in gear. if i use the crap out of those pants, they start seeming less and less like an impulse buy i don't need.

the great makeup challenge

no makeup


this morning, i was catching up on readymade's blog, and i stumbled across the no-makeup challenge on no more dirty looks. my initial reaction to the idea of going without makeup for day was quite negative, until i realized that--wait a minute--i had already gone to get an oil change and to the mall without a stitch on makeup. i don't think i had even washed my face. (tmi? ts.) clearly i'm okay with going without makeup, but i do wear it to work every day. if i don't, i think i look too much like a student, and my students tend to think that the change in my appearance is due to illness, not a decrease in cosmetic usage.

it is true that when i don't wear makeup my students are more likely to ask me if i'm sick. however, this past week, i actually was sick, and they could still see it on my face, despite my usual application of concealers and foundation. this and how not horrified i was by the picture of myself without makeup lead me to wonder if the makeup really even makes that much of a difference, hence the "before makeup" and "after makeup" pictures. my own personal jury is still out. what do you think? does the makeup make enough of a difference to justify the cost in time and money?

Sep 21, 2010

127 things, week 3

the start of the week has come and gone without any mention from me on my 127 things progress, so, without further ado, i'm going to mention exercise. while i did read the chapter on exercise and how it can save me from the frail and sickly golden years i so greatly fear, i have not managed to actually do any exercise other than running around my classroom like a crazy person. due to said running around, i've got home exhausted the past two nights, and last night i had a very large stack of papers to grade in tow. these are my intentions, but you know how i am with good intentions:

  • do 30 minutes of yoga on weekday nights, unless i'm doing weights.
  • do weights once during the week and once during the weekend.
  • go back to a yoga class, probably during the weekend.
  • take one bike ride or walk during the weekend.

that's about it. it shouldn't be too hard except that i hate exercise and really don't want to do it when i'm already tired. i know that exercising gives you more energy blah blah, but that doesn't change the fact that i don't want to do it.

do i sound totally negative? it might have something to do with how overworked and under-appreciated (and maybe underpaid) i'm feeling at work. on the bright side, i feel like i've been sleeping really well, and i'm going to chalk that up to the rain storm option on my free white noise app. hooray for pretend rainy days!

on a somewhat related note, i heard a story on npr about "waiting for superman," and i nearly broke down into major tears in the car. (update: i just watched the trailer while getting the link, and there WERE major, major tears. like "maybe i can't watch it in a theater" tears.)

Sep 18, 2010

the spending hiatus rolls on...

i haven't been talking about it much because i've been focused on school and my 127 things series, but the spending hiatus has been moving forward without any glitches (so far). today is the first day that i have really, really wanted to go shopping. roaming through the blogosphere this morning lead me to for me, for you, who is featuring possibly the perfect fall boots and the perfect fall moccasins. i love camel-colored leather in a basically any form, and i do actually wear tall boots to work, so it's kind of hard to justify to myself why i can't just go out and look just in case marshall's has something similar in stock. actually, it's really easy to justify with three words (credit card debt), but being a responsible adult isn't that much fun. (then again, being an irresponsible adult tends to be quite anxiety-producing...) anyway, here's what i'm totally lusting over:

spotted on: for me, for you/available from: totokaelo

these moccasins might be the perfect fall counterpart to the navy boat shoes i wore all spring:

spotted on: for me, for you/available from: manimal


Sep 15, 2010

127 things: sleep

i am both an excellent and a terrible sleeper. some nights i basically pass out cold, often in the middle of a tv show or movie. other nights i pass out cold, only to be wiiiiide awake, much more so than i ever feel after a full night's sleep, after just a couple hours of shut-eye. in honor of this week's theme, i've been trying to be done with dinner by 8 and in bed around 10:30. i did officially exercise once, on sunday, but i would like to thinking that pacing around my classroom and walking up and down the stairs counts for something. i also changed my sheets, which is often pretty critical for me, because i rock some dust mite allergies pretty hard. this is probably the key to why i never wake up feeling rested. instead, i often wake up feeling more busted than when i went to sleep. i can shake it off pretty quickly, but it would be nice to wake up feeling great like i once did. the book does not commit one way or another on white noise machines, but i may be busting out the white noise app on my phone again soon. i'm also going to start incorporating a small snack of triscuits into my before-bed rituals, since i've read in a couple places that a small, carb-y snack can help you sleep. more results from week 2 to come.

Sep 12, 2010

127 things

since i had the idea for this blogging series after nearly a week had passed, i'm playing catch-up with the first week and its theme of healthy eating. yesterday i sat down and did a nutritional audit of what i eat on a typical day. there were two glaring holes:

1. not much in the way of veggies
2. not much in the way of nuts and legumes

one reason for this is that i am a frequent eater of breakfast foods for dinner, and there's not a lot of room for veggies with whole grain toast and a soft-boiled egg. an easy fix for me is to keep doing 2nd breakfast and just switch my soft-boiled egg to an omelette with fresh veggies. done. as for the legume problem, i like pistachios, so i can add those to my afternoon snack of granola and fruit, and occasionally switch up my usual 2nd breakfast for a dinner involving some black beans, kidney beans, or chickpeas. tonight i've got some delicious cincinnati chili on the menu (i will be substituting ground turkey for ground beef) with a side of veggies. since i'm not always in the mood to stop by the grocery store on the way home from school, i'm adding some frozen vegetable medleys to my grocery list, so i'll have a green option on hand. oh, and then there's the calcium supplements and the multivitamins... i have jars of them sitting on my kitchen counter, but i seldom remember to take them. maybe leaving a reminder on the microwave would help... at least if i'm adding more vegetables to my diet then forgetting to take my multi might not be as big of a deal.

Sep 11, 2010

the only 127 things you need

awhile i go, i picked up a book called 'the only 127 things you need' by donna wilkinson. it was on clearance for $1 at border's. i read the first chapter or two, and then moved on to thinking about the infinite number of things that i don't need. at the dawning of a new spending hiatus, i decided that it was time to revisit this book. i'm going to need something (other than work) to keep me busy while hiatus-ing (with E away for the better part of a year), so my plan is to work through this book. flipping through it, i noticed that there are 16 chapters, and there are about 16 weeks in a 4-month-long, labor-day-to-christmas spending hiatus. happy coincidence? the obvious thing to do is work through one chapter per week. this may lead to buying some things, but, since a lot of the book focuses on things that are free, like mental health and good sleep, if i find that i'm missing something, it's probably reasonable to spend some money on it. besides the obvious benefits of breaking my spending habits and making a budget, the spending hiatus is probably going to free up a lot of time that i can use to take better care of myself. all that time i used to spend at target could have been used doing yoga, working on craft projects, writing better lesson plans, or cleaning my apartment. the book may not necessarily help with any of those things directly, but i think it could usher in a new era of personal wellness.

p.s. i took a quiz this morning on the debtors anonymous website. do i really have that much debt? no, but sometimes i think i have a touch of an addictive personality. good news: according to DA, i am not an addict, which i suppose is not terribly surprising, given that i am not totally losing it over not spending.

p.p.s. confession: i ordered some wholesale american apparel t-shirts. i recently had some kick the bucket after 2 and a half years of wear, so i don't feel that bad about replacing them. let's be honest, i wear a t-shirt basically every day, so, for me, they really are an essential. and no, i do not think this negates the results of my DA quiz.

Sep 10, 2010

the spending hiatus rides again.

after a binge of a summer, i'm thinking the only way to nurse my spending hangover is with another spending hiatus. this time, it's for serious. when i did the mini-hiatus, i don't think i really learned anything, i just thought "hey! look at all this money i saved that i can now spend!" this time around, i want to actually track my spending and come out of the hiatus with a realistic budget. here's the plan:

  • abstain from unnecessary spending from labor day 2010 through christmas 2010.
  • unnecessary spending includes: nonessential bath products and cosmetics, clothing, books, fashion magazines, stuff for my apartment, and craft supplies to stash.
  • exceptions include: presents that cannot be made from my stash of craft supplies and experiences (movies, craft parties, concerts, etc.). i really don't spend much on entertainment, and the idea is not to stop having fun for 4 months; it's just stop pissing away money on silly stuff.

as you can see, my cat knows all about taking pleasure in the simple things in life, like a really soft bed. the spending hiatus is another step in a summer-long project to take stock, weed out, and get back to basics.

Sep 4, 2010

to do

1. pickle some baby roma tomatoes and okra.
2. hope i don't poison myself with pickled baby tomatoes and okra.
3. wind yarn for a new sweater
4. finish bat-inspired shawl.
5. finish octopus hat.
6. post pictures of FOs to ravelry.
7. BLOG.

seven things to do today this weekend, seven things to do...

Jul 29, 2010

what's hot in the 78704

or, to be more specific, what's hot in my apartment, located in the 78704. it's been awhile, hasn't it? this hasn't exactly been the summer-o-blogging like i thought it would be. it's been more like the summer-o-spending, and my credit card is really feeling it. and what does it mean if i can't shop? i'll probably blog, so you should be seeing more updates in the near future.

to kick it off, here's a short list of what's been on my mind lately:

image from dr. jeff cornwall

ugh... i'm both dreading it and looking forward to it at the same time. less than a month of summer left.

remember when i got all obsessed with this pattern book? well, i've already made 2 things from it. i'm taking a break from feverishly knitting everything from the new vintage book to knit E a sweater from last spring's vintage book. and after that? MORE VINTAGE.