Monday, February 29, 2016

A Bevy of Brooches, Part 3

Today's post is the final installment of Emily's Excellent Broochstravaganza (…for now…), featuring the Sparkle Bakery, Summer Blue Jewelry, and VivaLaLux!
Glitter and hearts and Vader, oh my!

Friday, February 26, 2016

A Bevy of Brooches, Part 2

Broochstravaganza 2K16 marches on with its second installment, as I share the next third or so of my collection, and my experiences shopping with Femme De Bloom, Luxulite, the Oblong Box Shop, and Pin Em Up Designs.

Brooches of the day.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Bevy of Brooches, Part 1

Brooches are pretty much my favorite accessory. They take up much less room than a purse, making them easier to store in a cramped apartment closet. Also, unlike purses, you don't need to worry about making sure your entire life is transferred from the one you wore the day before into the one you want to wear next. I wear the same necklace, bracelets, and ring every single day, so along with earrings, brooches are my best shot to add a little pizzaz to my outfits. 

The best thing about brooches, though, is the sheer variety that you can find. Oh, and the fact that many of them are sparkly! My collection has been growing steadily since I moved to Chicago, and today I'm going to share it with you, and tell you a bit about the various places I've gotten them.

Every brooch I own in one super-duper collage.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wishlist Wednesday #6

Happy Wednesday, everyone! For this week's wishlist, I went with lots of cheery sundresses and prints, a handful of super nerdy housewares/houseware-adjacent items, and plenty of fruit. Feast your eyes on this list 'o lovelies!

$25 and Under
I'm not 100% sure what draws me to this top, but I've had my eye on it for a while, and now it's on sale!
Technically, I suppose you could classify this Quorra figurine under 'housewares,' but to be honest, I'm not ashamed of my dorkiness. Gimme gimme gimme!
I want to replace all of our bath towels with Star Wars towels.

$50 and Under
This hot-air balloon skirt is so whimsical and colorful that it had to go on the list. Just look at this lovely print and tell me that you don't have five different tops that would look stellar paired with this skirt!
Ok, I admit that I sort of have a thing for modes of transportation (planes, spaceships, cars, etc), but I really love sailboats. Last year I got to actually go on one, and it was just as amazing as I'd always imagined it would be! Right, this is a wishlist, not an entry about That One Time… anyway, this shirt is a lovely color with an adorable print, and I'd wear it with a red gingham skirt.
Strawberry-themed? Check! Mostly red with a hint of green? Check! This brooch from Erstwilder's newest line is definitely calling my name.

$100 and Under
A strawberry romper combines two of my favorite things: strawberry prints and rompers. I saw this on Modcloth and told Jeff that if he wanted to, he could start getting me strawberries with rompers printed on them, because talking is hard. He got the message.
Ah, toile. So classic, so pretty, and so woefully underrepresented in my wardrobe. This swing dress from Collectif fits the bill nicely, thank you very much.
This Effie's Heart skirt has heart-shaped pockets. It would probably be a little too long on me, but if I were taller, I'd wear this everywhere!

I Sleep in Scrooge McDuck's Money Bin

The grey version of this Nancy dress from Pinup Girl Clothing is one of my favorite PUG purchases. I agonized over whether to get the grey or the peach, and while I don't regret my choice, I'd rather have both ;).

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Taking a Level in Print-Mixing

This outfit was so exciting to me that I had to give it a post all to itself! A few weeks ago, I took my first step into a larger sartorial world, and paired a printed skirt with a graphic tee instead of a solid-colored shirt. That single outfit (and about a thousand amazing outfits I saw on blogs and Instagram…) was all it took to convert me forever to the ways of the Patterned Outfit. First, it was another skirt-and-graphic-tee combo, then patterned skirts and stripes. But in this outfit, dear reader, I went for some NEWT-level print-mixing, and this outfit totally Exceeds Expectations.
Hey, I've been saying that leopard is a neutral for ages now!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Review: Pinup Girl Clothing Mermaid Mexican Circle Skirt

Happy George Washington's birthday, everyone! The skirt I'm reviewing today is one of those things that I fell in love with quite gradually. I'm sure you've all experienced this before. You're browsing a website for the umpteenth time and suddenly, your eyes fall on a piece that you'd passed over the first 987234 times you saw it. This time, though,  you see it in a whole new light. All of a sudden, the skirt/dress/whatever sheds its glasses, gets a makeover, and bam! It's the end of every teen movie from the 80s and the 90s, you're at the prom, and you're in love. That's exactly what happened to me with the Mermaid Circle Skirt from Pinup Girl Clothing.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Black and White and BB-8!

This week, I went with Jeff to a panel discussion on campus. I'm not going to lie to you. My motivation for going was equal parts interest in the topic and interest in the reception after the panel. I've been to a few receptions since my fiancé started teaching at the university, and they're always rather impressive. In addition, I haven't met very many people in Chicago yet, so I like to go to these events as a way to meet new people.

At this point, you may be wondering: "what does all this have to do with the title of the post?" Here's the answer:
Struggling to keep my eyes open because the sun is so bright = a great look!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

One Sweater, Three Ways: Voodoo Vixen Faux Fur Cardigan

This week's installment of 'One Piece, Three Ways' features one of my current favorite sweaters, and that's saying a lot. I'm slightly obsessed with green, faux fur collars, and wearing my sleeveless dresses all year round, and lo and behold, I found a garment that ticks all three of those boxes: the Voodoo Vixen Faux Fur Collar Cardigan in olive green.
That somewhat smug face means two things: 1) I really like this sweater, and 2) I'm trying really hard to take a good selfie.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wishlist Wednesday #5: A Dream of Spring

This week's edition of "Stuff I'd Buy if I Made More Money" doesn't have a theme, unless the subconscious 'I wish winter was over' vibe counts. Everyone, please take a moment to imagine how awesome life will be when it stops snowing and we don't need coats any more. 

$25 and Under
Every once in a while, I get a bad case of 90s nostalgia. These Sun Jellies would 1) sate that nostalgia, and 2) trick me into forgetting how bitterly cold it is outside my apartment.
The print of this hair scarf reminds me of those old advertisements that occasionally show up in articles about the perniciously sexist side of the 1950s. But the colors are fabulous, and it also reminds me a little of Archie Comics, so I want it.

$50 and Under
Strawberry prints are the very best fruit print of them all (closely followed by lemon print, as you'll see below!), and I've wanted this sweater since Black Friday. Who says I don't have self-control?
Another pair of mint-green shoes? Yes. The bows are just so sweet, and a 2.5" heel is about as high as I can handle before my arthritic knee makes its displeasure known.
This one is a little nerdy, but that shouldn't surprise anyone. I love the style of these posters. They remind me a bit of the posters for the attractions that you pass as you walk into Disneyland, and they'd look great on the wall opposite my vintage aviation gallery. (Yes. There are numerous pictures of planes in my apartment.)

$100 and Under
Little known fact: I am in love with lemon prints. Better-known fact: I am also pretty much obsessed with Effie's Heart, and this style of dress. I have two of this cut, and they are the most comfortable and flattering dresses ever. They're perfect for those nights that you want to 1) look super cute and 2) devour half a side of beef. I ought to review them on my blog! In the meantime, please join me in drooling over the newest Guest of Honor dress.
This wicker purse would be super cute for a bride, right? Right?!? (In case you couldn't tell, I'm trying to rationalize my future purchase.)

My Backyard is Filled with Money Trees
The planets have aligned this week to render me utterly obsessed with this dress. First, I saw Bristol's post on her purple and sky blue Trashy Diva dress, and decided that it was the most perfect color combination in the history of the world. Then Miss Victory Violet posted photos of this Miss Candyfloss dress on Instagram. I've been fighting temptation ever since…
I am an avid cook, and the second I saw this Bernie Dexter dress, I fell in love with the print! It has ovens, stand mixers, and other kitchen-y goodness all over it, and a cute patent leather belt.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

#7ShadesofRed and Valentine's Day Recap

I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine's Day, in whatever way you chose to celebrate (or not celebrate)! Today's post is a first for my blog: a recap of a week's worth of outfits! I'm very susceptible to themed things, be they outfits, parties, meals, or some fourth category I haven't yet thought up. It's fitting, then, that my first outfit roundup features everything I wore for #7ShadesofRed week. The idea of 7 Shades of Red was simple: people would wear something in red or pink every day in the week leading up to Valentine's Day. I embraced this idea with the wholehearted enthusiasm I generally reserve for self-invented challenges, even though there was absolutely nothing challenging about finding a week's worth of red in my wardrobe, and it was so much fun! Here's everything I wore:

My very first Ur-Collage!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Adventure Time: Chicago Brauhaus Edition

Happy day-after-Valentine's-Day, everyone! Today's post is brought to you by the letters W-A-Y A-F-T-E-R T-H-E and F-A-C-T. I'm running about a week behind on tales of my Adventures in Chicago Restaurants, but there are just too many things to write about each week. Jeff and I continue to make progress through our list, though. About a week and a half ago, we decided it was time to load up on meat and potatoes, so we headed up to Chicago Brauhaus in Lincoln Square.

Even though everyone is telling me that this has been a mild winter, I'm still VERY ready for spring, so I dressed in seasonally-inappropriate pastels and gingham. 
I do what I want!!

It took about an hour to get there, during which time I pored over the menu online, told Jeff how excited I was over and over, and reveled in the city skyline.
Look, it's the Art Institvte of Chicago!
It was impossible to get a good photo of this archway without standing in the middle of the road, so here is a mediocre photo.
It may be Febraury, but this little promenade outside the restaurant still had lovely lights on their trees!
I'm a sucker for Tudor-style architectural details and brick buildings. Oddly specific, but true.

The inside of the restaurant was just as cute as the exterior, with red chandeliers and rainbow stained-glass windows out in front. We ordered more food than was wise, strictly speaking: a giant Bavarian pretzel and potato pancakes to share, beef Rouladen for me, and the Brauhaus special for Jeff.
Carbs for the win!
Beef Rouladen with Spätzle.
All the meat for Jeff.

Everything was super delicious! The potato pancakes had an herb that I couldn't quite place in them, and it made them stand out from all the latkes we've had at various delis. The smoked pork loin that Jeff got with his meal was approximately a zillion times better than normal pork loin/any pork loin I've ever made, and the gravy on mine was very good and made a nice sauce for the spätzle. On a side note, I'm so proud that I still remember how to do the keyboard shortcut for an umlaut.

We also got boots full of beer, because I'm a total sucker for novelty packaging, including novelty food presentation.
Jeff's reaction to our beer boots was classic Homer: "well, it's pretty big… I guess…"

When we were about halfway through our dinner, something very exciting happened: live music auf Deutsch! I didn't expect this at all, but apparently the regulars there did, because some of them had  rather emphatic requests for the band. They played "Edelweiss" from The Sound of Music, which is probably the best part of the entire movie, and I was utterly charmed.

Was I ready to explode by the time I finished eating? Yes. Are we planning to go back? Yes. I highly recommend this place if you want to 1) eat delicious things and 2) be serenaded in German.

I'm very glad I wore this dress, as it's a bit loose in the waist. I got this dress during the Black Friday  sales for a song, but it's quite well made, with a lovely full skirt, a fully lined bodice, and adjustable straps (!!!). Ordinarily, I'd've thrown on a black cardigan and called it a day, but I've been making a concerted effort to wear more colors, so I paired it with my mint cropped cardigan, blush pink petticoat, and pink sparkly heart brooch. The most exciting thing about this brooch (other than the fact that it's a pink sparkly heart, which is exciting in itself) is that it perfectly matches a pair of heart earrings I got in Japan in 2005. What are the odds?
Dress: Lucky Thirteen from Pinup Girl Clothing (currently sold out in most sizes)
Petticoat: Malco Modes Jennifer in Dusty Rose
Sweater: Le Bomb Shop
Boots: Rieker (oldies but goodies!)
Brooch: Medium sparkle heart from the Sparkle Bakery

What's your favorite type of food to pig out on?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Restorative Recipes: World's Easiest Salad Dressing

As I mentioned in my first Restorative Recipes post, I make more of an effort to cook healthy food because most of our jaunts involve All the Meat. In honor of #FitnessFriday, I'm going to share my secret weapon for all manner of vegetable-packed goodness: the World’s Easiest Salad Dressing™. I haven't bought dressing in almost two years, because I'm not too keen on eating things with unpronounceable ingredients these days. Making your own dressing takes almost no time, is super delicious, and as a bonus, it'll impress your dinner guests and your mom. The absolute easiest version of this dressing uses apple cider vinegar, but I like it with lemon juice for many of the dishes I make.

Christmas 2014, when I received my kitchen MVP/favorite hat.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Perfect Plaid: Vivien of Holloway Review

I have an almost-unhealty obsession with red and green. You may not realize this, since I usually rein it in fairly effectively, but the truth is, I would dress like it's Christmas all year round if I could. I've been on the hunt for the perfect red and green tartan skirt for ages, preferably one in wool or flannel to keep out the cold, and I'm happy to say that I finally found it!
There's nothing quite like a full circle skirt!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wishlist Wednesday #4

This week, I'm more obsessed with brooches than usual. I need to find a place to store my growing collection ASAP! Other themes of this week's wish list include space- and aviation-themed items, skirts, and nostalgia. Surprisingly, there's only one dress on the entire list!

I've also been consciously trying to window-shop at smaller, independently owned businesses, which means I spend even more time on Etsy than I did before coming up with my shopping resolutions. I actually can't remember the last time I opened Banana Republic's website, which is something of a major accomplishment for me!

$25 and Under 
Though I already have a red rocket brooch, one can never have too many space-themed items, and I think this one is darling! Why yes, I am a NASA fangirl; thanks for asking!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Wet Set 2: Electric Bugaloo

"The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." –Frequently attributed to Einstein

After the complete disaster that was my first attempt at a foam-roller wet set, you'd think I'd've given up. Nope! Anyone who pursues a PhD in a field with such dismal employment prospects is used to tilting at windmills. Last week, I set my sights on curls yet again. And this time, it ended well!

At the end of my last hair-related post, I laid out a plan of attack. Then I did a little more research (a.k.a. watched a few more tutorials, read a few more posts, and got lots of helpful tips from the amazing hair wizards of Instagram) and completely changed my plan. Instead of using 1" rollers all over, I used 1" rollers everywhere except on the bottom layers in the back, as suggested by Miss Victory Violet. I got nervous that only rolling my hair up to my shoulders would make my hair flat at the roots, so I wrapped them all the way up. On the plus side, I was a little more methodical about sectioning my hair, especially at the top, so I looked slightly less insane with the rollers in.
I mean, my hair looked less haphazard. This facial expression is here to stay.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Cake Day!

When I lived in LA, Sundays were 'Cake Day.' In case you couldn't tell from the name, Cake Day was the one day each week that I'd get myself a piece of cake. As a rule, I don't make desserts at home, nor do I typically order them in restaurants. But on Cake Day, I'd go all out: chocolate cheesecake from the French bakery in Westwood Village, a slice of something delightful from Sweet Lady Jane, or an assortment of pastries from the Persian bakery near our apartment. Each week, I'd start looking forward to Cake Day around Tuesday or so.

Since we moved to Chicago, Cake Day has fallen by the wayside. There just aren't any exciting cake bakeries in our neighborhood, and Jeff and I are both trying to eat more vegetables and less junk. But a few weeks ago, Cake Day made a surprise weekday reappearance! Let me start at the beginning…

This particular tale of cake actually starts with hot dogs. One of the places on Jeff's restaurant list is Max's Take Out in the Loop, and on this particular windy, drizzly day, we'd decided to go there. First, I made Jeff take a few pictures of me while we were waiting for the bus.

I decided to take my Pinup Girl Clothing Heidi dress out for a spin (...sorry not sorry), and paired it with a red petticoat and shrug, because red and leopard print is possibly the best thing ever. I even wore heels! This dress is super fabulous. I've found that the Heidi dresses from PUG tend to run a bit bigger than some of the other styles I've tried, and I was actually able to size down to a medium. I don't typically want my petticoat to stick out the bottom of the dress, but because my tea-length red petticoat and shrug match perfectly, I wanted that little hint of ruffle showing at the bottom. 

My outfit made a valiant effort to absorb Jeff into the layers of fluff and skirt on the bus, but he survived.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Staying Warm in Wool

Happy Friday, everyone! Today's post is chock-full of Hallocky goodness, by which I mean an outfit and some self-reflection. Yay! Onward to part one: the outfit!

Turtleneck: H&M
Pinafore: Banana Republic
Bag: TJ Maxx in LA, several years back
Belt: J.Crew
Heart pin: Femme De Bloom (in purple!)
not visible: Malco Modes pettipants

This wool pinafore makes me so happy, and definitely would've been in my rotation back when I was teaching, as it's professional but still very fun, and it has pockets! It's fully lined, so 1) there's no danger of life-destroying itchiness and 2) it's even warmer, which made it the perfect thing to wear when it was 9 degrees Fahrenheit with 15 mph winds last week. I followed the advice in yesterday's post when I ventured outside in this outfit, and layered on some thigh-high socks, leather boots, pettipants, and my Serious Business winter coat. Success! I think it would also look cute with a mustard-yellow or nice plum cardigan, both of which I already have.

Introspection is under the cut!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

How to Stay Warm When You Seriously Hate Pants

My hero!

When it comes to pants, I’m with Homer Simpson (“don’t you just hate pants?”). They just don’t make me happy. Whenever I wear them, I take them off and throw them in a heap approximately 30 seconds after I get into my apartment.

In LA, pants were easy to avoid. But these days, I live in the Land of Always Winter, and my intense antipathy for pants and equally intense love of skirts/dresses means I need to be a little more creative to keep my legs from freezing off. While thick wool skirts like the one I wore in this post are an excellent start, I’ve found that they’re no match for a Chicago winter on their own. After some trial and error, I’ve come up with a few tricks and tips.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wishlist Wednesday #3 - Valentine's Day Edition!

As a feminist who's very critical of capitalism, I shouldn't love Valentine's Day as much as I do. It's a made-up holiday that commercializes love and heightens relationship angst for many people, which ordinarily sets off my BS detector. But! It's also a holiday that encourages (nay, requires!) me to dress in red and pink from head to toe. That means it is awesome. Thus, I offer you a smorgasbord of appropriately-hued eye candy!

$25 and Under 
I'm a big believer in going all-out for holidays, and if I had a 74cm waist, this heart-print skirt would 100% already be mine. (See what I did there? It was an accidental Valentine's day joke, but I'm going to pretend it was on purpose. Don't tell anyone.) 
YOU GUYS IT'S STAR WARS AND PUNNY. These are just too perfect! I wasn't sure which one I loved more, so I'm posting both the pink and the white. When the first trailer with BB-8 came out, I thought I'd probably hate him, because he was so obviously designed with future toy sales as the goal. I was wrong, happily.
Me, Black Friday 2014.
Yes, I know memes don't belong in a wishlist.
Anyway, these shirts are perfect if you're a massive nerd who saw Episode VII thrice in theaters.

To be honest, these are no longer on my wishlist, because the pink one is on its way to me! Here's a dramatic reenactment of last Sunday:

Emily's Id: *sees this shirt on Internet, has total Blue Screen of Death moment*
Emily's Superego: "Don't open that website… if once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny…"
Id: "I just want to see which other Star Wars shirts they have --"
Superego: "You don't need to see these shirts…" *Waves hand in classic Obi-Wan move* 
Id: "A shirt of Rey at Disneyland?!? A Tatooine travel shirt?!? It comes in pink?!?"
Superego: You have ten Star Wars shirts already. If you wanted, you could sleep, work out, and live your life dressed solely in Star Wars shirts for 72 hours straight. There is no way you should be buying another --"
Id: *Clicks 'Purchase'*

Combination Valentine/artfully designed threat. Perfect if you are 1) a fan of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire (and if you aren't, you should be!), and 2) Working up the courage to have that awkward 'define the relationship' talk, but not quite there yet.
I've got a huge amount of New York pride, so this necklace is something I could definitely see myself wearing, if I ever wanted to change my necklace. If they made it as a brooch, I'd be sold!
Clearly, I am obsessed with Star Wars. These hand towels reference one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies. They're also tasteful enough for those of us who are trying to make our apartments look like adults live there!
My fiancé is currently watching this classic Simpsons episode in the other room, and it inspired me to search on Etsy for the valentine Lisa gives Ralph. (As soon as I typed "I chop" into the search bar, it suggested "I choo choo choose you." Etsy knows what's up. If I hadn't just put myself on a buying ban, this T-shirt would already be in my cart, awaiting checkout.

$50 and Under
I really shouldn't be buying things right now, but this heart-shaped purse really tries my resolve. It's red, it's heart-shaped, and it's wicker. Please talk me out of ordering this!
Do you live in Southern California? Do you like cake? Get this cake and make me super jealous. When I lived in LA, Sweet Lady Jane's was probably my favorite stop for Cake Day (aka Sunday.) I miss it. A lot. I had the raspberry lemon on my 28th birthday, right before Jeff and I went to see the Endeavour at the California Science Center, and it was an excellent decision.
"Another necklace?!?" you say? Yes, yes indeed. This necklace is the perfect statement piece if you want to add a hint of Valentine's spirit to your wardrobe. Since I've recently discovered the joys of pastels, I'd wear this well into the Easter season (or, as I generally think of it, the 'buy everything with bunnies on it to give to my sister for her birthday in June" season.)

$100 and under
Fishtail hems are the cutest things in the entire world, and this one is perfect for Valentine's Day! The button detailing on the front just makes it more perfect. This is a real 'hello sailor!' skirt!
You may not have heard of Silly Old Sea Dog yet, but I bet that you'll want this pink heart-print dress as much as I do! Silly Old Sea Dog is a small clothing company specializing in vintage-inspired silhouettes and amazing novelty-print dresses and skirts, all designed and manufactured in the UK.  Recently I've been trying to shop more consciously, which to me means opting for quality over quantity, eschewing 'fast fashion,' and choosing brands manufactured in the US or the UK whenever possible. This brand ticks all three boxes, and this dress is machine-washable!

The Sky's the Limit
I have the Alika dress in green, and it's utter perfection. It's comfortable, flattering, and has the cutest detailing at the yoke! I'd like to have the red wiggle version as well, please. It's such a perfect shade of red, and it basically just oozes glamour!
Fine, this isn't red. And emerald isn't my birthstone. But this is the only necklace I've seen in ten years that would make me consider leaving my everyday necklace in my jewelry box. It costs a pretty penny, but one can certainly dream!