Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Best Burger of My Life

Last week was Jeff's spring break, so we did more than the usual amount of Chicago adventuring. We went back to Navy Pier (post coming soon!), tried out a Chinese restaurant I'd been interested in for a while, went out for dinner in our neighborhood, and had the best burgers I've ever had in my entire life. I'm a hyperbole-prone person, but for once, this is not an exaggeration.

I'll get to the food in a minute, but first, here's what I wore:

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

One Skirt Three Ways: Aqua Circle Skirt

It is good to be home! I've been having a lovely time seeing everyone, playing with my godchildren, and generally running around.

Today's installment in my "One Piece Three Ways" series features my aqua circle skirt from Le Bomb Shop. I've written about Le Bomb Shop before, and this skirt is one of my favorite things I've bought from them. 
A bonus outfit, from the days before I learned to take better photos of myself. This top is actually a dress!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Mom's Birthday Bash!

I'm writing this post sitting next to my sister Ronnie, which is possibly the most exciting event of my admittedly-short blogging journey! In fact, she helped me find the exact word I wanted ('journey') to conclude the previous sentence. We've had a super busy and eventful weekend, and I have a zillion pics of fun outfits and food to share with you. Friday was my mother's birthday, and we spent the whole day celebrating together! My dad took the day off, and we took my grandma to run a few errands and come out to lunch with us. 

Since I spent eight years in graduate school/working as an adjunct in LA, I've typically come home to visit for long stretches at Christmas and in the summertime, so I have plenty of clothing that lives in New York. I was actually pretty happy to come home and wear this Lindy Bop skirt for the first time in ages.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Apple of my Eye

Greetings from the great state of New York! I'm here for a visit because today is my mother's birthday. It's really so much nicer to come East from Chicago, as there's no real jet lag from a one-hour time difference. The flight is only a little longer than the drive from the airport to my parents' house, too! I'm looking forward to sharing my New York doings with all of you, but today's post is a tale of Chicago-based gluttony and amazing food!

My cousin introduced me to Red Apple Polish buffet a few years back, when he and his partner were living in Logan Square and I was in town for a conference. It was so amazing that I dreamed of going back for years. When Jeff and I moved to Chicago and started making our list of restaurants to try, Red Apple was my sole solo contribution. We went there shortly after the move, but back then, this blog didn't exist. However, we recently went back for round two. It was just as good as the previous two times, and I can't wait to go again!

Since Red Apple is a buffet, I picked my outfit with extra care: I needed something especially forgiving and comfortable, but still cute enough to make me happy!
Sometimes my photographer takes photos while I'm getting my hair out of my face and they come out better than the ones I posed for properly.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Gorgeous Gingham

I'm going to New York today, and I couldn't be more excited! I'm dressed for maximum comfort, which doesn't make for a very fun blog post, so here are some photos of a more exciting outfit that I wore recently.

It's been a long, dreary winter, which I am so not used to anymore, so as soon as the sun peeked out, I jumped on the chance to go bare-legged and dress like a picnic. This winter is the first time I've consciously decided to keep the doldrums at bay by dressing brightly, and so far, I think it's been a success! In the past, I tended to default to muted tones and monochromatic (read: black) outfits when the weather turned chilly. This year, though, I've embraced the idea of wearing the change I want to see in the weather. While I can't definitely say that this is why Chicago had such a mild winter, I also can't say that it isn't.

There is something so classic, cheerful, and irresistible about red gingham. Well, all gingham is good gingham, but for me, a bold red pattern is sort of transcendent. It matches 90% of what I own and makes me think of wine-and-cheese picnics at the Hollywood Bowl. Winner!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wishlist Wednesday #10

It's getting a lot harder for me to make these wish lists, since all I can think about is Pinup Girl Clothing's as-yet unreleased new collection. Every time they preview it on Instagram, I get a little more excited about the new Mary Blair prints! I don't think it would be possible for me to get more excited about the rerelease of the Paris-print Jennys. Nonetheless, there's a great big world of fun clothing out there, and I spend an embarrassing amount of time trawling it for fun things. Here are this week's finds!

$25 and Under
Ok. I know button-up shirts are usually a major disaster on me, which is why I hardly ever wear them. But when I see the cutest little peach gingham top, I'm tempted to forget everything I ever knew and just go for it!
These heart-shaped sunglasses have more than a slight Lolita vibe, but they're also super kitschy and fun. That movie came out forever ago, anyway. No one would think of it in 2016 if I wore these, right?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Working the Kinks Out

Today's post is a quick one, since I have to get ready for my upcoming trip home! My mother is having a significant birthday this week, and since I need to get my wedding dress altered, I figured I may as well take the excuse to visit. Who am I kidding? I just want to see everyone! It's so much easier to visit now that I live in Chicago, and the flights are about 1/3 as expensive as the flights from LA to New York were.

Whenever I visit my family, I'm so busy seeing people and going places that I need a day or two to rest after I get back. My family all lives fairly close to my parents, and my godbabies are right across the street, so I get to pack a lot of visiting into even a short trip. My little sister is sort of an astrology buff, but in a self-aware, tongue-in-cheek kind of way, and she always tells me that I'm basically a textbook Cancer. I love my family, like to be at home, and have all the feelings all the time. It's good to know that my sign fits!

Today's outfit photos feature a new-to-me skirt that I picked up from the Pinup Girl Clothing Swap/Sell group on Facebook. It's an older design, so it hasn't been available on the store's site for a while. I was pretty excited to find it for a really great price!

Monday, March 21, 2016

A Unicorn for My Sartorial Stable: Pink Lemonade Nancy

Ok, confession time: I completely failed at my buy-nothing-in-February pledge. I made it about two weeks, which isn’t particularly impressive. BUT! There’s a very good reason that I failed, and here it is!!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Why I Stopped Wearing Babydoll Dresses

Happy day-after-St.-Patty's, everyone! I hope everyone had a safe night and enjoyed themselves. I'm feeling much better than I did as a college student/young grad students on the day after St. Patrick's Day. Maturity FTW!

In college, I went crazy for babydoll dresses. For the first time in my life, the entire fashion world was at my fingertips, by which I mean that I had a brand-new debit card and high-speed internet. I ordered babydolls from Urban Outfitters and Forever 21, and tromped all over campus in knee-high boots, tights, and my array of short jersey dresses. This was definitely a step up for me, fashion-wise: for the first few months of college, I went to class in running shoes and workout clothes, so as to not waste any time between class and the gym. My undergrad advisor actually came out of his office one day during my senior year, while I was working in the student lounge, specifically to tell me that when he first knew me, I dressed like a dork. So babydolls were a major improvement.

This black dress, for example, was a staple from around 2005 or so until I finally retired it in 2008.
Me and Socrates, down by the schoolyard...

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Review: Heart of Haute Sweetie Dress

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! As I confessed in Tuesday's post, I'm not Irish, but I love corned beef, Irish sausages, green, and beer, so all things considered, this is a pretty good holiday for me!

I had three solid contenders for my St. Patty's Day outfit, but a dark-horse contender arrived with Tuesday afternoon's mail and completely changed the game. I had ordered the Heart of Haute Sweetie Dress in Meadow Daisy a while back, along with a cut-to-order twirl skirt, and they arrived just in time!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wishlist Wednesday #9

This week's wish list is a pretty eclectic mix: rainbows, more picnic-esque dresses, a DVD, some flamingos, and a purse that looks like an elegant Tudor-style house, among other things. Join me in drooling over the following lovely items:

$25 and Under
This rainbow brooch is so perfect, and there's even a matching necklace. It's just so cheerful and vibrant, and I want it SO MUCH.
This movie was on TV last week and I missed it. This is obviously a gross miscarriage of justice on the universe's part. I read the book forever ago and loved it, so I'd like to see the movie and compare them.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

One Holiday Three Ways: Luck O' the Irish!

This post is highly irregular, for two reasons. First, I'm not Irish at all. Second, I'm cheating a little with my "One X, Three Ways" series, since the only thing that these outfits have in common is the person wearing them. However, someone once said "don't let the facts get in the way of a good story," and I'm taking this to mean I shouldn't let those facts get in the way of a fun post. It's my blog, and I do what I want.

Moving on. In honor of the impending Festival of Corned Beef, Guinness, and Emerald Isle Fangirling, here are three contenders for my St. Patrick's Day 2016 outfit!
Please excuse the accidental RBF in photo #1. It's not usually a problem for me, but direct sunlight really brings it out.

Monday, March 14, 2016

#DumpTrump Dinner: Make Cauliflower Gratin Again!

Credit where credit is due: I stole the pun from my cousin. He is peerlessly punny.

I've been super busy since last Thursday, doing all sorts of fun stuff. It's a nice change of pace from my adjunct days, when "super busy" meant "prepping classes, teaching, and grading until 10pm every day." Jeff and I had an amazing Chicago adventure this weekend (post coming soon! Well, soonish. I have too many outfits to post first!), and my cousin was in town visiting his girlfriend, so I had a fun evening with them and some of their friends.

Friday was the world's longest day, because I inexplicably woke at 4am and couldn't get back to sleep. But since all 22 hours I spent awake were pretty awesome, and I liked my outfit, it was a major success! I met my cousin and his girlfriend at their friends' place, and we cooked an epic dinner and watched old episodes of Top Chef and Samantha Bee's new show.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Restorative Recipes: Healthy Pasta Salad

I've noticed two running themes in my food-related posts: they're either super healthy or beyond unhealthy. My recipes fall into the 'healthy' category, while my food-related excursions around Chicago tend to be laughably bad for my arteries. To make up for the bacon-fest that was Tuesday's post, I'm posting one of my favorite recipes: a supremely nutritious pasta salad! This recipe is easy, doesn't involve much cleanup (a pot, a colander, and a mixing bowl), and can easily be made vegetarian or vegan by leaving out the salmon and/or the feta. I know it's a successful recipe because whenever I make it, Jeff doesn't even look up from his bowl for the first few servings. It's also great the next day for lunch!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

One Skirt, Three Ways: The Oblong Box Shop Midcentury House Skirt

One of my favorite things about living in LA (besides the weather, the omnipresent taco trucks, the weather, my friends, and the weather) was the architecture. It's a midcentury-modern-lover's paradise! There are houses all over the place that actually look like the Brady Bunch might live there, along with more kitschy 1950s-era signs than you can shake a stick at. I think part of the reason for all this gorgeous midcentury signage and architecture is actually the weather: since it hardly ever rains and never snows in LA, things stay nicer for so much longer than they do in the Lands of Always Winter. My dad used to tell me about seeing ads for used cars that would proudly proclaim this or that car as a "California car," which was apparently a selling point as it meant the car hadn't been exposed to the road salt, freeze-thaw cycle, and so on of the East Coast. But I seriously digress.

This is not a post about LA architecture, though that's a good idea that I should file away in my Swiss-cheese-like memory, except insofar as today's super-versatile piece features the most awesome midcentury-house print ever. Feast your eyes on this beauty, designed by the Oblong Box Shop's Denialle Von Fitch and still available in most sizes:
Look at this print; isn't it mindblowingly fabulous?!? This is a bonus fourth styling option! This white-leopard mock neck came from Ross Dress For Less.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wishlist Wednesday #8

Greetings, programs!

Yep, still obsessed with Tron. Oh well. Anywa, this week's wish list features a number of dresses and such from eShakti, since this post on Pinup Persuasion reminded me that eShakti exists. The other motif of the post is watermelon-themed things. Go figure. 

$25 and Under
I already have the tank-top style of this shirt in leopard and love it, and this mint crossover version would go really well with my Oblong Box Shop house-print skirt. I like that you can either cross the straps in front or in back, too!
This print reminds me of seed packets from long ago. I'd like to frame it and stick it in my kitchen. Bonus: I could brush up on my Spanish!

$50 and Under
This minidress has the cutest Peter Pan collar! The color combo is super cute as well, and would go nicely with the wicker purse I've got on the way. If I wasn't short, it might be a little scandalous, but I am, so I think this would be a great dress for a hot day.
This is the world's cutest clutch, and it would look great with the watermelon skirt below. The end.

$100 and Under
I saw this watermelon skirt on Instagram and instantly fell in love. Seriously, if there's a more perfect skirt in this world, I haven't found it yet!
I have this thing about fruit prints, and the colors of this lime-print dress are so delightfully early Sixties! I love the big white buttons on the bodice, but the icing on the cake is the collar.

I'm Rich, Rich, I Tell You!
I think this tea dress would be really cute if you work in a business-casual environment, and perfect for spring, which I'm told will arrive in Chicago in May or so.
This dress from Pinup Girl Clothing's Junebugs and Georgia Peaches collection is oh-so-adorable: it's a tiny gingham with white trim at the hem, pockets, and sleeves, and a lovely white collar. Why don't I own this yet??

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Bacon Bacchanalia

Today's post was supposed to be my review of the Girl and the Goat, a restaurant that the entire Chicago world seems to be freaking out over, but it's apparently so popular that you have to make reservations a month in advance. Luckily, Jeff called to ask them about a reservation before we left the apartment, or else the sum total of the post would have been "we trekked out there and it was too busy, and then I cried."

Instead, we decided to go back to Paddy Long's and eat All the Bacon Ever. I've talked about this place on my blog before, but it was just as awesome the second time, so I'll talk about it again.

First, though: a photo of the Perfect Dress for Eating Everything!

Monday, March 7, 2016

A Month of Colors

When I was about sixteen or so, I fell in love with the color black. I think there were a few different reasons for this. I was in the pit band for my high school's annual musicals for all four years of high school, as well as Jazz Band president from sophomore year onward, and the uniform for all of these performances was head-to-toe black. Dressing like that on non-performance days reminded me of something I really enjoyed. I was also super into the Cure at that point, and sort of a metalhead/punk to boot. Oh, and I had a seriously major beef with authority.

Anyway, my love affair with the absence of color relaxed a tad in college, and I got a little more comfortable wearing color after I moved to LA. In college, I'd wear neon pink with my black pants, skirts, and tops, and as a grad student, I discovered that teal and subtle prints were actually my friends. As recently as five years ago, though, my closet still basically looked the same whether or not the lights were on. Black dresses were my go-to outfit, and even when I wore a more colorful skirt, I'd generally default to a black top. The colors I preferred were saturated jewel tones, in smallish doses. In fact, I distinctly remember going shopping in Vegas in March 2015 with one of my best friends, who kept making fun of how I continually gravitated to the monochromatic clothing. At that point, I guess I finally realized I was getting a little too predictable!

Oh, how the times have changed. These days, I want my clothes to be fun! I still love a head-to-toe black outfit from time to time (obviously!), but reading so many awesome blogs and getting into Instagram has reminded me how much fun it is to dress expressively. There's so much one can convey through clothes, and I'm much more excited about it than I have been for a long time. I'm a loud, excitable person, and I want to wear things that turn my enthusiasm up to 11! I also think that moving to a place where the sun doesn't shine 355 days out of the year has really helped to solidify this rediscovery of color.

So here's my outfit roundup for the month of February. Every day for the entire month, I had color in my outfit. Most days, it was quite a lot of color; one day, it was just my beloved BB-8 and seriously red lipstick, but the color was there nonetheless!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Le Bomb Shop is Le Bomb

First things first: sorry about the title of the post. I just couldn’t resist! Second: Happy Leap Day!

Anyway. I've reviewed a few skirts and dresses, but in today's post, I aim to top that by reviewing an entire online store, which sells lots of skirts! Le Bomb Shop has a wide selection of retro and pinup-inspired clothing, at a lower price point than most of the other online pinup shops I've found. They carry a variety of cute sundresses and swing skirts that I haven't seen on other sites, pinup-style tops that I've seen in a couple of other shops, and the MAK cropped cardigans that everyone in the world loves in twenty-three different colors. Shipping over $75 is free in the US, too, which is a pretty low threshold for free shipping compared to most online retailers. The only problem I've found with Le Bomb Shop is the limited size range (S-L) they have available in many of their dresses, skirts, and tops. The cardigans come in S-4X, however. 
Crossover pinup tank and cropped cardigan in the two colors I really want. They'd look great together, too. Yes, I know it isn't Wednesday yet. Technically, this isn't a wishlist, though!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Hot and Fresh Out the Kitchen

The minute I saw this Bernie Dexter dress, I knew I had to have it. A shirtwaist dress with a zipper instead of buttons, a full gathered skirt, pockets, and a cooking-themed print? YES PLEASE. I pretty much count the hours each day until it's time to start making dinner, so a cooking-print dress is exactly what my wardrobe needed. I held off for as long as I could, but once the fabulous Bristol got hers and posted an outfit pic, my resolve was shattered. When it arrived barely two days later, I wondered what on Earth I'd waited for.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Wishlist Wednesday #7: Luck o' the Irish!

Today's Wishlist Wednesday is a big one: it's the St. Patrick's Day edition! In other words, it's a green-themed wishlist. Sit back, relax, and bask in the greatest hue known to humankind.

$25 and Under
This sweater from Collectif screams St. Patrick's Day, with that touch of gold bordering the shamrock green. It's a steal, too!
I was blown away by my first Luxulite piece, and would love to add these shamrock earrings to my nascent collection. They're subtle but still nice and festive!
This tee is appropriate for me, as I haven't a drop of Irish blood anywhere in my family tree. It's a nice shade of green, and would look great with my mermaid circle skirt!

$50 and Under
This short-sleeved, collared sweater from Collectif Clothing is a bit darker than the usual bright hue I associate with St. Patrick's Day, but it's green, so it counts. It's a gorgeous pointelle knit, and I could wear it with my sweater clips, so I'm 100% sold.
I'm not usually one for pencil skirts, but for a print this pretty, I would definitely make an exception! This floral skirt is from an Australian company, so if I were to order it, I'd want to pick out enough other pieces to justify paying for international shipping.

$100 and Under
My red sparkly B.A.I.T. heels are the most comfortable heels I've ever owned, so I assume that this pair of lace-up oxfords in the perfect shade of green would also be heaven on my feet. I'd love to wear them with a pair of ruffly ankle socks and my Midcentury skirt from the Oblong Box Shop, or my pink floral Birdie dress from Pinup Girl Clothing!
Alright, I realize that those are daisies, not shamrocks, but still. How cute is this Heart of Haute dress??

I Caught a Leprechaun and Got His Gold
I'm obsessed with my new Bernie Dexter Kelly dress, as you'll see in tomorrow's review, and have decided that it's the only style of dress I ever want to wear for the rest of my life. Go big or go home. Anyway, this colorway is perfect for St. Patrick's Day! Everyone should own at least one gingham shirtdress, no?
I'm in love with florals lately, and this Kate Spade wallet is just gorgeous! It would certainly be a big upgrade from my current wallet, which has been looking a little bit worn of late. It would also look pretty cute with my lavender Mary Blair lips and roses-print Jenny skirt!

Have you been stockpiling green for St. Patrick's Day?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Hell Bunny Sonia Review

It was inevitable. At some point, my wishlist posts would stop being a budget-friendly replacement for buying new things, and start inspiring actual purchases. In my very first Wishlist Wednesday post, I waxed poetic over the Hell Bunny Sonia dress. As it turns out, my willpower was no match for the call of a long-sleeved, black-and-white crepe dress. A few weeks ago, I folded like a cheap suit and bought one.
Super happy and blinded by the sun.