round two

You've pretty much seen this before:

Lace cardigan, Rodarte for Target; v-neck, Old Navy; jeans, Uniqlo; boots, vintage;
purse, Marshall Field's house brand from back when it was still Field's.

... but if the skinny jeans + boots + lace cardigan thing continues to work, I'm going to continue to switch out the jeans and the shirt and wear this through May. I like routine.


peanut butter jelly time

There's the ridiculously specific (and lengthy) list of foods I do not allow in my apartment simultaneously in the hopes that I will stop doing things like creating impromptu pastries at 9 p.m. on a Tuesday and then eating the entire thing before the morning. Apparently, peanut butter is now added to that list. Tonight, in further proof that a significant part of my brain wants me to die of a heart attack before the age of thirty, my "solution" to the wicked craving I had for peanut butter was to eat the whole jar.
(The jar was, um, 3/4 full.)

See, if the jar of peanut butter was just sitting there in the cupboard, it would tempt me! And I'd know it was there! And then I'd eat it every night!
But if I sat down and ate the entire jar in one burst of legumey gluttony, then it would be gone. And then I wouldn't eat it any more! Solution!

By the by, chunky peanut butter rolled in cocoa krispies is really freaking delicious.


boxed in

I love my new(ish) apartment so much, I really do. But the main failing of its design is the bathroom. My bathroom has approximately two square feet of floor space, and this has meant that for the past four months, my cat's litterbox lived in the living room.

This was both ugly and unpleasant, obviously. I did my damndest to hide it behind an awkwardly-placed bench and shove it under an old Ikea table, but it still looked like crap.

See? Craptacular. Also, dusty and gross. The cat didn't seem to mind, but it drove me nuts.

I broke down today while running some errands in the car, and veered into the Cost Plus parking lot, and then to Home Depot. Step one: acquire large wicker basket thingy on sale. Determine that yes, the litterbox will fit inside this wicker chest.

Step two: rent jigsaw from Home Depot and buy blades for said jigsaw. Think about what a bad idea it is, really, for Home Depot to rent me a power tool without an instruction booklet and no waiver. Why the rent-a-tool desk employee felt that I had any trustworthiness at all, I'm not sure, but he took my $11.20 and my credit card and handed over the saw.

Step three: cut a arched entrance on one side of the wicker chest with the jigsaw. I suppose I could've measured and traced the cut lines onto the chest, but at this point, my impatience took over and I just freehanded the opening.

Step three and a half: apologize to neighbors for making such a racket in the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon. Sorry, neighbors.

Step four: put cotton liner back inside wicker trunk and cut opening into liner to line up with the hole I just cut into the trunk. Place litterbox inside, and do that dumb thing cat owners do where we point at something, look at the cat, and say "see? that's your new litterbox" as if the cat will understand, as she stares at me and thinks "I'd like a treat and a belly rub now."

That's so much better. The grand plan for this new contraption is to also affix some small storage baskets for litter bags and the litter scoop to the inside of the trunk, assuming they leave enough headroom for the cat. I'm also going to muck around with sticking some sort of air freshener/deodorizer to the inside of the trunk's lid.
And yes, eventually, I will get around to doing something about the blinds on that window.

shine on

Well, if I'm spending my Saturday night doing responsible work things like a responsible adult, at least those things involved dinner and a cocktail dress.

Brocade dress, vintage; gold glitter clutch, vintage; gold peep-toes, Enzo Angiolini.

Earlier this week, I noticed that the invitation for this evening's dinner (a work thing for the Lunar New Year) had a "black tie optional" dress code. After consulting the internet and several fashionable friends, it was determined that "black tie optional" meant I was safe with a cocktail dress and a sparkly bag.
(Sidenote: this dress has pockets. Every dress should have pockets.)

However, for at least three women at the event tonight, "black tie optional" meant "I can totally wear my wedding dress!"; for a half-dozen other women, it meant jeans and sweaters. The horror.


gaga, ooh la yum

I love Lady Gaga (much to the consternation of my little brother, who I forced to listen "The Fame Monster" three times during our epic drive to Iowa on New Year's Day).

I love cookies.

I love, love, love, love this.


"sweet dreams" should not be played at salsa night, guys.

Dress, vintage; clutch, Matt & Nat; fishnets, DKNY; pumps, Enzo Angiolini.
Dishevelment courtesy four hours of salsa dancing and a bottle of cava.

Edited to add: a few people this weekend asked "so, what's your favorite birthday present/part of your birthday?", and I got to throw my arms around C and say "this is".

The amazing woman on the left in the above photo is one of my closest friends, and I'm so lucky to know her. We hadn't seen eachother since June 2009, and she flew in to surprise me this weekend, all the way from D.C., and we spent a magical long weekend together.
(C, I hope you're reading this right now.)

She really is one of the best, most thoughtful people I know, and has the biggest heart ever. This is the woman I tend to do accidental-twin dressing with, and whenever anyone says "you two look alike!", I'm always beyond flattered: in addition to being brilliant and lovely, she is- as you can see- absolutely gorgeous.

This really was the greatest weekend ever.



Fancy outfit to come tomorrow for dancing; for now, this is my chili-eating, board-game playing (Scrabble domination, here I come!) ensemble.

Lace cardigan, Rodarte for Target; silk blouse, Ann Taylor; jeans, Uniqlo; boots, vintage.


work it

New job, new sense of urgency to dress like a grown-up.

Cowl-neck dress, H&M; belt, vintage; tights, DKNY; boots, Enzo Angiolini.

Additional acessories: the completely raspy and hoarse voice I'm sporting at the tail end of a soul-crushingly crappy cough and cold, which will hopefully make me sound more like Lauren Bacall and less like Harvey Fierstein.


sick day

I have no proof of this, but am certain that some evil marmoset has moved into my throat and nasal cavity, and alternates scratching the hell out of my throat with steel wool and filling my head with cotton balls so I can neither breathe nor think.

I've been dosing myself with massive pots of pomegranate tea and fistfuls of whatever psedo-meth-containing "daytime" medicine for various ailments promises to keep me from falling over while I attempt to prepare to start my new job on Monday. This has the side effect of making everything slightly shiny and certainly brighter than it is in reality, and has driven me to eye the chairs I purchased in a Nebraska thrift store last weekend with a malevolent gleam in my eye.


In Lincoln, I scored a set of two vintage Gunlocke wooden armchairs for next-to-nothing, and after convincing the skeptical salesman that yes, I could fit two armchairs into a Honda Civic, I schlepped them all the way home to Chicago.
Why were they so cheap?
1) there seems to be little market for this sort of thing in Nebraska, so no one banks on being able to get top dollar for their used furniture, and
2) my god, that vinyl seat covering is ugly. If it had been leather, I'd have left it alone, but the shiny plasticky vinyl eats at my brain.

I have a heavy-duty staple gun and a yard of charcoal wool, however. These things, in my This Is Your Brain On Lots of Cold & Sinus Meds head, meant it was time to reupholster. Apparently, it worked.



planes, trains, automobiles

Having come back recently from holiday travel (as, more than likely, you have too), and having seen some of the abominations out on public display in certain transit centers, I'm going to put this out there as a half-assed public service announcement: How Not to Look Totally Horrifying When You Travel.

Also having just completed a whirlwind road trip (twenty hours of driving over a fifty-five hour weekend window), I can safely say that if you're traveling via car, I have no good advice for you. I have found it impossible to get out of a car after driving for longer than two hours without looking completely wrecked. Something about my Honda Civic apparently mats my hair, greases my face, and removes all eyeliner.

A few guidelines that make my life better when I go anywhere via bus, train, or plane:

1) wear a huge scarfy thing. I don't care if it's August. Bring it, at least, because although it may be 90 degrees in Chicago when you depart, you will step onto the train to St. Louis and realize that the train is kept at 60 degrees for the duration of the ride, and you will curse yourself as you huddle, goose-fleshed in your tank top, against the window to try to absorb some exterior warmth.
The scarf is a blanket/ impromptu pillow/ drapey scarf to hide the drippy stains from your airport chicken wings/ ad hoc cover-up for when your flight gets canceled and you have to stay in an airport-adjacent hotel, but hey, they have a hot tub! Plus they pack up to almost zero space, so you really aren't out anything for bringing it.

2) keep lip balm in your pocket. You do not know hell until you know being trapped, lip-balm-less, without access to your carry-on as you sit on the bus and feel your lips cracking and bleeding.

3) wear a dress. Seriously. I am fond of dresses for many reasons (like the fact that they conceal the consumption of airport chicken wings), but I swear that dresses are the best for travel. You'll be sitting down for potentially hours on end, and you don't want a waistband digging into your stomach to add to the general discomfort of being crammed into coach. Plus, you'll look like you've made an effort, which will make people treat you with a tiny bit more respect, and if you get stuck in some horrific travel nightmare where trains or flights are missed and you have to say "I need to speak with your supervisor", you are far more likely to be taken seriously if you're not wearing flannel pajama pants with Mickey Mouse on them.
Comfort is key, obvs, but comfort is not limited to sweatsuits. Tall socks + knee-length cotton-blend skirt + sweater = as comfortable as a Juicy tracksuit, and 10,000x less likely to make you look like a jackass.

4) from personal experience over christmas: make sure the telescoping handle on your rolling suitcase actually telescopes and extends. If it doesn't, you will end up hunched over like Quasimodo, dragging a pathetically unhelpful roller bag behind you while trying not to let this posture dislodge your purse from your shoulder and also your will to live.