Thursday, December 18, 2014

Four on Thursday

Clockwise from Top Left:

1 //  The perfect base layer dress is right here.  Add a crisp button-up shirt underneath or a chunky knit sweater on top.  I love the simplicity and versatility of Alexander Wang's designs.  This dress would be an absolute workhorse and I'd wear it at least once a week.

2 //  When I get home from work, I usually throw on my Zella leggings (because they're the best), a t-shirt, and a sweater or sweatshirt of some kind.  This open cardigan would be the perfect addition to that round-up.  The pattern is fun, but the colors are neutral, so it would match everything while also adding some interest.  Perfectly cozy.

3 //  This sweater dress is awesome.  So chunky, so warm (looking), the perfect color palette, and with a turtleneck to boot.  It's perfect.  The price is a little steep, so wait for a code, which shows up at Banana Republic about every other day.  

4 //  These booties go against everything I believe in, but I love them anyway.  Having a cut-out bootie totally negates the whole concept of them keeping your feet warm (or being able to wear socks for that matter), but I can't help but keep these on my wishlist.  They're whimsical and fun, while also sort of being simple enough to wear every day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Currently Reading

1 // 2 // 3 // 4

The Likeness by Tana French - I've accidentally been reading this Dublin Murder Squad series out of order (#1, #5, and now #2).  It doesn't make a huuuge difference (none of the characters from #1 are in #5 for instance), but The Likeness follows up not too long after the events of In the Woods, with some familiar faces.  Cassie struggled after In the Woods' events, but is slowly getting back on her feet working in domestic violence.  That is, until her former alter ego shows up dead.  Early in her career, Cassie went undercover as Lexie Madison and now, a girl wearing Cassie's face and using the name Lexie Madison has turned up dead.  Reluctantly, Cassie allows herself to dive back into the undercover world in order to find Lexie's killer.  Unlike the first book in the series, I had trouble getting into The Likeness.  But about halfway through, I was hanging on every word, trying to figure out who dun it.  French writes relationships with such brilliance,I sometimes forgot I was reading fiction.

The Farm by Tom Rob Smith - Two parents who have raised you, held you, loved you equally.  Who would you believe?  When Daniel gets a phone call from his father claiming that his mother is sick, he finds himself in this exact predicament.  His mother comes to him looking completely out of character, but very calmly and very precisely presents her story to him, complete with evidence.  Her story contains crimes, cover-ups, and a campaign to silence her.  She, of course, is suspicious of his father and considers him part of the conspiracy against her.  Which parent is right?  Which story is the truth?  Daniel must discover for himself.  Dark and mysterious, Smith kept me guessing right until the end.

This Town by Mark Leibovich - I went to see Mark Leibovich speak (at the Northeast Branch of the DC Public Library) months ago and am finally getting around to reading his book.  In person, Leibovich was personable, witty, and kind, which is why I wish I was enjoying his book more.  In short, it discusses "The Club" that exists within DC, made up of a few hundred movers and shakers (worst phrase ever) who essentially own the Beltway.  And while I think Leibovich is spot on with his observations, I just can't bring myself to be interested.  A small, very rich group of people are greedy, self-obsessed, and seek out friends who they can use to get ahead.  This doesn't surprise me.  The book is well-written, extremely funny at times, and a peek into a life that we don't often get to see.  However, I don't think these subjects need any more attention.

The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero - About halfway through this book, I have no idea where it will end up and I love that.  A. discovers that he has inherited a house from a distant relative, so he picks up and leaves Europe with his companion, the mute Niamh, to head to Virginia and Axton House.  Almost immediately, A. and Niamh discover the house to be haunted and the distant relative to have many secrets.  There are ghosts and suicides, local legends and secret societies.  Told through A's diary, his dream journal, Niamh's notepad, and various other excerpts from books and the like, the story is unfolding in an extremely pleasurable way.  I can't wait to see what happens next.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Jacket: Wilson's Leather (similar): Sweater: Theory via TJ Maxx (similar); Scarf: Asos; Denim: Old Navy; Boots: Nine West (similar); Tote: Old Navy (similar); Shades: Ray Ban

Friday, December 12, 2014

For Your (Weekend) Consideration

51 of the most beautiful sentences in literature.  I cried, I admit it. (Thanks, Molly!)

Boogie Nights is a fantastic movie, full of amazing performances and awesome fashion.  Grantland has done an oral history of the movie, told by the people who made it happen.

Shonda Rhimes continues to be amazing.

Aaron Sorkin continues to be terrible.

Young people are flocking to cities, including some you may not expect.

Golden Globes! Tina and Amy! Full list of nominees!

These dudes have some great ideas about fashion.

NPR has gathered the best songs of 2014 and put together this great site where you can listen to them.  Just press play.

As someone who still has and uses her iPod classic (clickwheel for life), this makes me giggle.

They're remaking Stephen King's It.

The best Instagrams from Chanel in Salzburg.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Four on Thursday

Clockwise from Top Left

1 //  Calvin Klein makes a good dress.  They fit my body well, the material is generally good, and they are in style.  I love this black and white number and think it would be perfect for the holiday season.  Wear it with a blazer at work and then with a blingy necklace for parties.

2 //  Speaking of bling, I love a simple drop earring.  They're classy.  This pair is simple and chic, plus they're a neutral color so you can match them with pretty much anything and they'll look good.  They would be a good way to elevate a basic black dress.

3 //  I've got a dilemma.  I want simple, tan, leather, heeled booties.  I've tried on countless pairs and haven't found what I'm looking for.  What I really want are these Newbury booties from Rag & Bone.  BUT, they're $500 and that's insane, right?  I've been rationalizing with myself.  If I love them, if they last forever, if they get lots of wear, if they're perfect... I should get them.  But that's a lot of cash.  Maybe the gods will help me out with a sale.

4 //  Usually, I buy my workout classes in packages.  10-pack of yoga classes here, 5-pack of barre classes there.  That's all well and good, until all of a sudden it's December, I have 19 days before I go back north for Christmas, and about 15 classes to use before the end of the year.  There are few things I hate more than wasting money, so let's just say I've been working out almost every day.  It's great, but I definitely need a new bag to lug around all my gear and this one looks glorious.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Recent Purchases

Recent Purchases
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8

[1]   If you've been checking out my recent outfit posts, it'll come as no surprise that I kept these suede over-the-knee boots and have been wearing them nonstop.  They are the perfect mix of comfortable and chic.  I was skeptical about the suede at first, but found that it adds some much-needed texture to my wardrobe.  Expect to see a lot more of these bad boys.  Result: Kept.

[2]  When it gets cold, the first thing I reach for are wool socks.  They're not the most fashionable thing in the world, but cold toes are the worst.  I needed to add a few more bucks to my Amazon order to get free shipping (yes, I need to just sign up for Prime already), and threw these in my cart.  I was pleasantly surprised at their quality.  These aren't a traditional wool sock.  They have way more stretch to them and the material is a bit thinner, which actually makes them more comfortable to wear with my of my boots.  Result: Kept.

[3]  Yes, this is a summer skirt, but sometimes buying things out of season gets you great prices.  And while this was on super sale and I did get an awesome deal on it, it was not worth it.  The material is super thin, incredibly sheer, and provided no coverage at all.  It was an odd length and the elasticized belt someone was both too loose all around and too tight in the back.  Result: Returned.

[4]  I have a navy knit snood that I bought from Asos last year or the year before and I wear it all the time.  When I saw this finer knit one in a camel color, I knew it would go with everything in my closet and be nice and cozy.  The knit is great, the scarf is warm, and it matches everything.  I love how the scarf is twisted.  Result: Kept.

[5]  To start with, these were not advertised as being midi rings.  Yet they are.  I decided to go with it, trying them on, seeing how they felt.  Am I a midi ring person?  Can I pull these off?  Aren't they going to just fall off my fingers?  I tried it out for about an hour before I realized that my fingers were turning green from the cheap metal.  Not a great look, considering it took two days for the green to wear off after only an hour of wear.  Result: Returned.

[6]  The search for leather pants/coated denim continued with this pair from Banana Republic.  They look great online, not too shiny, with a great cut just at the top of the ankle.  In person, however, the material felt thin and cheap.  They looked ok on me, but I'm not going for just ok.  The journey for the perfect pair continues!  Result: Returned.

[7]  Black and white.  Windowpane print.  Wrap skirt.  These are all things that I wear and love.  I hoped this skirt would fit seamlessly into my closet, pairing well with every top and every shoe.  I was wrong.  I can't pinpoint what about this went wrong.  It just didn't feel like "me" when I put it on.  The skirt hit me at an unflattering point on my legs, making me look matronly.  The material was on the thin side and definitely would have required a slip underneath.  While I wanted to love this, I just didn't.  Result: Returned.

[8]  Black skinny denim is another item that had eluded me.  Why is it that the basics are so hard to find?  When I saw that this pair from the Gap was only $30, I scooped them right up.  I wanted them to work so badly!  The denim was so, so soft.  It felt amazing.  And the cut was awesome.  High-waisted, the hem just at my ankle.  These were the mom jeans I'd always dreamed of.  But the color.  Oh, the color.  I'm in the market for black denim.  Solid black.  And these were a washed black and were sort of black, but then faded into a dark grey on the thighs and even though they were this.close. to being perfect, I had to let them go.  Result: Returned.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Turkey Turtleneck

Sweater: Theory (other great sweaters here, here, and here); Dress (as skirt): Tildon via Nordstrom (similar dress or skirt); Tights: Zara; Bag; Philip Lim for Target (similar); Booties: Born via TJ Maxx (similar)

Now, I know what you're thinking:  "This girl wears glasses?"

Yes, yes I do.  In real life, I wear them almost every day.  On the weekends however, I rock my contacts.  And weekends just happen to be when I take almost all of my outfit photos.

These were taken on Thanksgiving morning before heading off to the first of 3 stops of my day.  I don't know about you guys, but in my hometown, the night before Thanksgiving is an event.  Thanksgiving Eve, Townie Night, whatever you want to call it, it's an evening of epic proportions.  As tradition requires, I drank too much, stayed out too late, and was not exactly chipper on Thanksgiving morning.  Ergo, glasses.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Back to Basics

Buttonup: Lands' End; Jeans: Sold Out (similar); Scarf: Gift (similar here or here); Tote: Old Navy (love this); Earrings: Gift (similar); Shades: Ray Ban

After about a week of being sick and many days of trying to get better, I finally feel back to being my old self again.  Just in time for the holiday insanity!

Laying low was the perfect way to be productive around the house.  My apartment is clean, my fridge is fully stocked, blog posts are prepped, and there are only a few things left on my Christmas shopping list.

I managed to get a couple workouts in and to do some decorating.  There's now a poinsettia where my early fall decorative gourds used to be.  We put up some lights, so our cozy little space is looking quite festive.  And I get to do all the tree-picking-out and decorating that when I go home for the holidays.  

Friday, December 5, 2014

For Your (Weekend) Consideration

Hands down, one of the best essays on race relations in America.

This Chris Rock interview has been floating around all week, but it's so, so good.

Also, his op-ed about being black in Hollywood is also a great read.

A look at how the NFL acts like a family, until they don't.

I love bookstores and love that The Strand is still going strong.

Speaking of books, The New York Times 100 Most Notable Books of the year is out and I've got some serious reading to do.

People aren't getting divorced.

We're all obsessed with Serial, which of course means there was backlash against it, and now there's backlash against the backlash.

W. Kamau Bell's essay on being big and black is powerful.

DJ Earworm's annual mash-up is here, but I suggest you just listen to Bruno Mars' new song on repeat.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Four on Thursday

Thursday already?  I'll take it.  

This week has been... weird.  I'm sick, but I'm trying to get back into a workout routine, while trying to get plenty of rest, while also trying to have a social life.  I probably need an x-ray on my ankle and I definitely need to up my vitamin C intake.  Can you drink too much tea?  How much yoga is too much yoga?

Basically, I'm a mess.  Luckily, my closet isn't.

Clockwise from Top Left

1 //  Marissa Webb is doing amazing things since taking over at Banana Republic.  The quality has gone way up and the styling is impeccable.  The individual pieces are still classics, but with a twist, like this cable-knit sweater with great zipper and faux leather details.  It's preppy without being obnoxious, classic without being dated.

2 //  Why save your whites for summer?  Whites in winter are fresh, clean, and often unexpected.  These pants would pair perfectly with a chunky knit, a tuxedo blazer, or a metallic top.  The slim fit leg will also be elongating when paired with a great heel.

3 //  You can't go wrong with a navy shift dress (Sidenote: I just typed "nazi shit dress", so I clearly need a nap), especially when it's designed by my spirit animal, Isaac Mizrahi.  The simple style, the clean lines, and the great color make this dress perfect for almost every occasion.  

4 //  I love the look of a marled sweater.  It's black, it's white, it's grey, it's all of the above.  The bracelet sleeves drive me a little bit crazy, but other than that, this sweater has things going for it.  And the price (use the sale code HOLIDAYFF) is really, really good.