Unending Autumn

Talk about global warming!?

I live in New England — there’s supposed to be snow and sleet everywhere by now — but we’re in the middle of December and, until recently, it has been GORGEOUS outside! As in, flats and mid-weight jacket gorgeous!

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Jeans: LOFT Outlet (on sale nonetheless!)

Tee: Loft

Sweater: H&M

Shoes: TOMS

(This is really a weird source of neurosis: it’s so beautiful outside in New England that I’m actually weirded out by how true global warming must be for this to be our new reality. But I save those rants for B. You’re welcome.)

This has been one of my favorite outfits this fall/winter. I just love the rusty orange jeans ( that I scored for $20!) against a black, lacy top and neutral cardigan and flats. For tail-end-of-autumn, it looks seasonally appropriate without being, like, a loud jack-o-lantern sweater. (No offense, jack-o-lantern sweater lovers. I just can’t handle that.)

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Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Hi, friends!

I’ve taken a bit of sabbatical from the blog (two weeks!), but trust me, I’ve been thinking about this place every day since my last write-up!

We’ve been having weird weather the past few weeks in New England: warm, balmy, comfortable. While I know it probably signals the reality of global warming, I can’t help but admit the fact that I love the nice days! They’ve been entirely livable for someone who is bitterly cold once winter hits, to the extent that B and I often joke I’m reptilian: my body temperature is dictated by the outside world.

With that all said, I was able to wear this adorable outfit to a recent networking event put on by a local library.

Let me set the record straight: I’m a huge dork who hates hate HATES networking. Like. Pit in my stomach and about to wretch at the idea of having to do something like meet and engage with strangers. I would rather be at home with my books thankyouverymuch. But I’ve promised myself that I would stretch myself beyond my comfort zone this year and make friends who weren’t, like, Anna Karenina and Vronsky. And what better place than a library networking event!

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Dress: TJ Maxx

Cardigan: LOFT

Shoes: TOMS

Bag: TOMS

Belt: H&M

Watch: Fossil

Necklace: Homemade!

I was super nervous at the prospect of having to socialize and be normal with people I didn’t know in a context I wasn’t used to (neurotic!), so I made sure that I wore an out that was comfortable, pretty and totally me. I really loved the bright white paired with earthy browns — the cardigan, belt, shoes, and jasper necklace — because I think they balanced each other nicely. I also pulled out this bag — one I’ve had for years — because the brown leather paired nicely, but the yellow and green fabric popped. It also allowed me to pattern mix with not two but three parts of my outfit: the larger, linear lines of the dress; the smaller, softer, repetitive arches of the bag; and the small, organic leopard print in the shoes. A super simple outfit to throw together, but one that, I thought, had some nice depth and subtlety to it.

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I liked the outfit enough that I made B bring the camera with him to take outside photos! It was breezy, but temperate. We were able to laugh and goof around, putting me in a more comfortable mood before schmoozing. In our adventures, B tried out an intense version of downward dog with his newly operated knee!

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After this second round of photos, we ambled over to the networking event, warm and happy, and had a great time! It was awesome to meet new people in the city, connect with some other folks I’d met recently at a book club get-together, and check out a hip new hotel in town (where the event was being held). By the end of the night, my cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing — and I didn’t even partake in the wine!

As I’m approaching 30 (two months!), I’ve really been considering how I live my life, especially habits that I like that are healthy versus ones I really should rethink. If you haven’t gathered yet from this post (and you don’t even need close reading skills for that one!), I can be totally anxious, neurotic and nervous in social situations; this was a certainly an exercise of “faking it” by putting myself into a good place before I had to face something scary and uncomfortable and, in the end, I totally “made it!” I learned how valuable laughing and smiling on the outside can be to actually feeling better on the inside. Lesson learned for the future, especially the next library event in a week!

Native Resident

Where have I been? Just out pushing every limit I’ve got — and, hell, it’s been interesting!

Today is “17 of 20,” meaning I’m working day 17 of a 20 day streak. (Oof! It was only supposed to be 12 days, but morphed when I spent A LOT of time prepping for a group on Sunday.) While working 17 days is a lot, I somehow packed the schedule with more than usual tasks and meetings. In that period of time, I have:

  1. Hosted six private museum tours: three adult groups, three school groups.
  2. Managed four theatre performances.
  3. Attended my first book club meeting, during which we discussed Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s newly translated Tram 83.
  4. Attended tea at the house of two 90-year-old former professors and heard about their life escapades.
  5. Heard from an old friend who I thought I’d lost a long time ago.
  6. Was formally interviewed on views and takes of my fair little city for a community video by a local real estate company. (More below.)
  7. Was offered, negotiated, and accepted a promotion. (Wait, wha…? I’ll get back to this one in the near future.)
  8. Saw a heartbreaking production of A Streetcar Named Desire, as well as a performance of Beethoven’s Pastoral.
  9. Watched three movies: Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak (great actors; not the best script, though it falls in line with my gothic lit frenzy lately; oh, and Tom Hiddleston — swoon!); Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs (can’t go wrong with Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet); and National Theatre’s filmed production of Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch. (Just add James McAvoy and I’d have seen all of my favorite — and dreamy — leading actors in a week!)

So that’s where I’ve been!

But you’re here for clothes! Back to the main topic!

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by a local real estate company to be interviewed for a city-specific promo to help soon-to-be-transplants decide what region in which to settle. In addition to having worked in my little city for a couple of years, I also grew up in the area; seems appropriate, I guess, to explain the ins and outs to newbies.

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Dress: H&M

Sweater: H&M

Belt: Target

Tights: Target

Shoes: Naturalizer via DSW

This is a pretty no fuss outfit. The dress doesn’t wrinkle easily and the sweater is comfy without being dowdy. I added a little punch with the leopard print belt (which, admittedly, was buried in some chub when I was sitting for my interview — oops!). While I love pops of color and punches of pattern, I didn’t know how well that would play on camera, so I erred on solids.

When I walked into the museum that morning, I looked as I do here: specifically, sans lipstick. My colleague pretty much pulled me aside and asked if I was going to put some on because I wear it so often! Glad to be known for that trademark! I went with Model Co.’s Peony because it’s a great pop of fuchsia without, I think, being comical. (I hear “fuchsia lipstick” and think 1980’s Barbie cartoons.)

(B and I finished watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt this summer — but every so often, I reenact Titus’ “Circle of Life” scene with our cats. They are not as accommodating as his feline, though.)

The Cat’s Meow

We have three felines. I think their nicknames give you a sense of each personality. (When TS Elliot wrote that cats have several names, not just the ones we give them, he wasn’t kidding.)

  1. Lenka, aka “Cat-Face,” “Baby Guurl,” or, when she’s particularly naughty, “Lenka-what-are-you-DOING?!” (all one word).
  2. Sweetie, aka “Sweetheart,” “Skinny Minny,” “Vomit-a-tron 1” (yeah, gross, but apt).
  3. Violet, aka “Shrinking Violet” or, lately, “Miss Meows-a-lot.”

In my “about me” page, I mention that sometimes our cats photobomb these mini morning shoots. Usually it’s a casual walk through or sometimes they roll a ball at me to play. But, for some reason, this morning all of our cats decided that they wanted to hang out with me in front of the camera.

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Top: LOFT

Skirt: Stitch Fix

Tights: Target

Flats: TOMS

Necklace: The Knotty Owl via Etsy

Sweetie is the demure tuxedo I’m holding in the first photo, while Lenka is the photogenic Maine Coon. (Yes, I’m holding her on her back upside down: we’ve developed a weird gymnastic routine for her because she loves attention so much.) And Violet is the flash of black fur.

I don’t know why they wanted to join me today. Maybe it’s the skirt? Sweetie liked it last time I wore it. Or maybe they liked my raven’s skull necklace from The Knotty Owl?

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I really like this outfit because it’s a fun way to play with texture and pattern. The shirt has a great iridescent sheen to it, which plays well against the grain of the skirt: each light up in various ways as they shift. The skirt also has a larger, geometric pattern, which fly right up against the organic cheetah print of the shoes. And the tights? They provide a dark background for the shoes to pop and I like that the neutral color of top and the black of the tights are both picked up again in the shoes. Oh, and it’s autumn in New England and they’re part of the uniform now.

Finally: the necklace! I bought this stunner a couple of years ago when Ashley listed it on sale for 40% off. I simply couldn’t decline a beautiful hand carved replica of a ravens’s skull at reduced price. (I mean, really?!) When it arrived, B named this guy “Lookout” after the rook’s skull in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. I didn’t know the allusion readily, but I loved that there could be such a reference made. He “looks out” for those cats all the time, making sure they don’t bat all my other gems and trinkets around.

“Overcome / by ordinary contentment.”

When I was in college, I majored in English and, with probably one or two more classes, I would have concentrated in poetry. The almost-concentration wasn’t something I planned but failed to complete: I just happened to take a lot of poetry classes. (All of this can also be said for creative writing too. Guess what I wrote primarily? Poetry.)

What does that have to do with anything, right?

Well, I was trying to think of a quippy bird idiom to name this post, and kept coming back to one of my favorite poems. The title comes from Jane Kenyon’s “Having It Out with Melancholy,” which is a transparent, raw look at depression. I’ve been thinking about the last part of the poem lately, “Wood Thrush:” the perfect line break, the twisting emotions, the haunting last line. There’s something about the pivotal moment Kenyon captures — awaking from sadness — and keying into the world around you, honing all your attention into a singular place, forgetting pain that resonates with me so deeply lately.

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Sweater: LOFT

Skirt: Old Navy

Tights: Target

Shoes: Naturalizer via DSW

Watch: Fossil

Necklace: Modcloth

I’ve felt like these photos a lot lately: distant, aloof, off kilter. There’s a lot swirling around, between a number of huge museum endeavors this month, a sudden death of someone at the theatre, back pain, exhaustion, etc. But through this, I’m trying to hold onto those brilliant moments that pierce through it all: a striated sunrise or golden light through leaves. The days are long and tough, but they’re marked with such beauty.

(I guess if there was any one thing I learned from my failed meditation training session this weekend, it’s this: breathe and observe.)