Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Not Enough Time in the Day

Happy Wednesday, Style Nation! As a follow-up to Monday's post, my presentation at work went really well. It's either because I'm a good speaker, or because I passed out homemade chocolate chip cookies at the beginning of the presentation. Or possibly both. But more likely because of the cookies. Monday kicked off what's turning into a pretty busy week. I have like a million things to do before I leave for Ohio tomorrow morning, but meanwhile tonight I have a work dinner up by my office to celebrate a colleague's new position within the company. I decided to dress up one of my favorite dresses with a little pop of color (and look, I'm wearing black and white with something other than red!).


Dress & Belt: Target
Shoes: Naturalizer
Necklace: New York & Company

Monday, August 29, 2011

Now Presenting...

Happy Monday, all! How was your weekend? If you're on the East coast, did you weather the storm okay? Today I'm giving my kind-of yearly presentation at work. Although I'm not a fan of public speaking, I've worked in the same group long enough, am really comfortable with my material, and I actually like a lot of the people I work with, so presenting to them isn't too bad.  And once I get through today, I only have 2 more days until my long holiday weekend starts, so there's that to look forward to.

Cardigan and skirt: Target
Tank, necklace and flower pin: New York & Company
Flats: Born

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hello from Hurricane land (non-outfit post)

Hello blogosphere.  I know that I've been absent.  And my outfits have been incredibly boring.  I have been reading people's blogs, though.  You are looking fabulous.
I did take pictures today (mostly for my mother-in-law, who frets over our safety from the Chicago area).  Blokey and I live outside of the evacuation zone.  In fact, we live close to a number of the evacuation centers in Brooklyn.  I've not been in a hurricane since 1991, so I'm letting my crazy lady flag fly high.

 The Mother in law requested that I buy some handiwipes.  Also, thank goodness for the public library.

Oatmeal whole wheat chocolate chip cookies 

A tiny representation of my water hoarding

"Health" bread- whole wheat sandwhich bread and a 2/3 whole wheat, 1/3 white flour baguette

 What should be a hurricane tradition: giant potato, rosemary, green olive focaccia

8 hard boiled eggs (for when I need to climb down my inevitable carb high)

Not everyone here in TCC east is freaking out, as Buster demonstrates

Everyone in Irene's path, I hope you stay safe!  Hope to "see" you all on the Blogosphere real soon.

Friday, August 26, 2011



Wow am I glad it's Friday!  I've had a long week with work, so I could definitely use a break.  And next week I'm only working 3 days before heading home to Ohio for a long weekend, so there's kind of an end in sight.  This weekend is pretty much wide open, so I'm hoping to get in a bike ride or two, maybe some baking, and a little R&R.


I popped into Target to check out these cute red flats, but walked out with these purple loafers instead.  The flats, though just as lovely in the store as online, weren't as comfortable.  I've had my eye on these loafers for a while, but I'm glad I was able to satisfy the craving with a much cheaper, yet still comfortable and stylish option.  What's funny is that before I started blogging, and certainly before I started taking a good look at the amount of money I was spending on things like clothes, shoes and jewelry, I would've just bought the red shoes and dealt with the fact that they pinched my toes and would almost surely give me blisters.  I still bought something, but I went home with a pair of shoes that I'll actually enjoy wearing, rather than a pair that will just be painful.  So even if I can't stop shopping, I can exercise a little bit of restraint.  So there's hope for even the worst shopping problems.

Tank, Cardigan & Shoes: Target (okay, I might have a problem after all)
Pants: Loft
Necklace: Randolph Street Market

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rain and Sunshine


I took a walk to the post office yesterday afternoon, sure that the rain we were having had passed, but instead got caught in it on my way home. I neither like pina coladas or getting caught in the rain. It's not as fun as it sounds. And of course within 5 minutes of returning home, the rain stopped and the sun came out. But I did stop into one of my favorite neighborhood boutiques to take shelter from the storm, and picked up this necklace. It's made by a mother-daughter duo who takes old findings, such as buttons and baubles, and turns them into jewelry. Super cool.

Findings necklace

The rain has stayed away since yesterday afternoon, which allowed me to take a sunrise bike ride down to Lake Michigan this morning. Morning is such a beautiful time to be out. Below is a shot of the sun coming up over Osterman Beach (more commonly known as Hollywood Beach).

Sunrise on 08/24/11

Dress: Old Navy
Cami: New York & Company
Sandals: Clarks
Belt: Target
Necklace: Embellish Chicago

Monday, August 22, 2011

Another Day in my Favorite Colors

Happy Monday, all! Once again, I'm wearing my tried and true favorite color combination of black, white and red. It just works. And it's especially easy to throw together on a Monday morning. I must've woken up on the wrong side of the bed today, because I'm a little crabby. And it was dark when I woke up, for the first time since spring, so I guess I need to get used to that.

New haircut

The weekend didn't go quite as planned. We didn't make it to the beer & bacon tasting because a friend we were going with sprained her foot on Saturday. Not to worry though, we've rescheduled for this weekend. But I did get my haircut! I hadn't planned on going so short, but I'm liking this. It's so easy and takes like no time to dry in the morning, so that's a nice change of pace.

I didn't take the dogs outside with me to take pictures this morning, but they still wanted to supervise.
Dogs supervising

Tank: New York & Company
Cardigan: Loft
Skirt: Target
Necklace: New York & Company
Shoes: Born

Friday, August 19, 2011

Time for a Change


Happy Friday, all!  I'm working from home today, so this is an outfit from a couple weeks ago that I just never blogged.  It's much nicer than the pajamas I'm currently wearing, or the gym clothes I'm going to change into shortly.

What are you all up to this weekend?  Tomorrow Fella and I are going with a couple of friends to a beer and bacon tasting, which I'm pretty excited about.  I mean, I love beer and I love bacon, so 5 pairings is going to be pretty cool.  But even more exciting than that, I'm treating my hair to a very long overdue cut after work tonight.  My hair has been driving me a little nuts lately, and I'm just due for a change.  I was trying to hold out two more weeks so I could get my hair into an up-do for the wedding I'm in over Labor Day, but I just can't wait any longer.  And I'm sure there's plenty of formal styles for short hair.  I'm not sure if I'll go quite this short, though it was pretty manageable at that length.


Top & Flower pin: New York & Company
Skirt: Target
Flats: Born
Earrings: Loft

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How Much Do I Love Black, White & Red?

I don't know what I'm looking at either

Today I'm sporting what has become one of my favorite color combinations ever. Black, white and red always seem to go together so well and look so polished.  Why is that?  Here is red playing accent to a black and white combo in accessory form (wow, the porch looks so empty!).  And herehere and here a red cardigan is punching up a black and white ensemble.  But in the case of today's outfit, I think red is the star, with black and white playing wonderfully supportive roles.  What's your winning color combination?

Double dog photo crash!

Cardigan: Target (remixed)
Tee: New York & Company
Skirt: eShakti
Necklace: Ann Taylor (remixed)
Shoes: Naturalizer (last seen here)

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Dress for All Seasons


I know some people are fans of hot weather, but it's been in the 70's here in Chicago the past couple of days, and I am LOVING it!  Check this out - I'm wearing sleeves!  I'm sure we'll have more of our typical hot and humid weather before summer ends, but I'm enjoying the fall-like weather for now.


I've been trying really hard to avoid excessive and unnecessary shopping, but when I saw this dress at New York & Company the other day, I had to try it on.  And when I saw how it looked, I had to buy it. I like it with sandals now, and I can totally see it with a pair of leggings and flats in the fall, and even with tights and boots in the winter.  So it's all-season, and it was on sale and I had a $20 coupon.  The only thing I had trouble with was the neckline.  It felt kind of odd not having a necklace, but now I'm thinking this would be better styled with some big earrings.  Or, when it cools off, perhaps a bright, bold scarf?

Dress and Necklace: New York & Company
Sandals: Aerosoles

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Saturday In the Park - er, Garden


Yesterday Fella and I went to the Chicago Botanic Garden.  If you live in the area and you haven't been up there, go there now.  I'm a little embarrassed to say that I've lived here for 7 years and worked 20 minutes away for as long, and only got there for the first time this summer.  It's an oasis of flowers, plants, trails, trees, ponds and lakes hiding on the north edge of Cook County.


To keep with the theme of this style blog, here's some outfit photos, courtesy of Fella.  And after that, a bunch of flower pictures.  Because they're pretty.  And if that's not enough, I've posted even more pictures over on my photo blog.

Tank: Old Navy (remixed - wow, has it really been since March that I've worn this?  Clearly, I have too many clothes)
Pants: Loft Outlet (remixed)
Sandals: Privo (remixed)
Necklace: Randolph Street Market (also worn on Friday, because I love it so much)
Bag: Coach, gift from Fella's parents
Umbrella: Gap Outlet

Lily pads

A waterfall (Look Kristen, they were on this time!)

Brown-eyed Susans

Pretty peach roses

Sunflower, soaking in the sun

This is about 5 minutes before it started POURING

Flowers in the English Garden after the rain

Flower in the English Meadow

Friday, August 12, 2011

Another Friday in a Denim Skirt

Apologies for the late post today - I'm just finally getting around to posting.  Eh, it happens.  I love a casual Friday, but I just can't stand the thought of wearing jeans just yet, so a denim skirt is perfect.  That explains why I wore one last Friday too.  And the Friday before that.  And probably lots of other Fridays.  Oh well.

What are you up to this weekend?  Fella and I are headed to the Chicago Botanic Gardens tomorrow.  I went there for the first time with Kristen of Low Fat Dressing in June (oh my goodness, I'm even wearing a denim skirt in my garden wrap-up post!), and I'm excited to go back.  A couple of our friends are going too, so that should be fun.  Aside from that, we don't have a lot going on, which isn't bad.  Hope you all have a good weekend!

Tank: Ann Taylor Outlet (remixed)
Skirt: Old Navy (remixed a few too many times)
Sandals: Born (remixed)
Necklace: Randolph Street Market (remixed)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Getting Back in Style


It's taken me a while, but I think I'm finally starting to break out of my summer style rut.  I'm really looking forward to fall fashion (it's my favorite time of year sartorially and otherwise), so I guess that's inspiring me.  I wasn't sure about wearing this skirt to work since it's pretty casual, but I think belting it and throwing on a cardigan has helped.  I know these are minor things, but it seems to have made a huge difference in the skirt compared to the last time I wore it.


Cardigan & Tank: Target
Skirt: Old Navy
Belt: New York & Company
Flower Pin: eShakti
Watch: Fossil
Earrings: Macy's
Shoes: Born

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Blues

Dress: Target; Cardigan: Loft; Cami and necklace: NY & Co; Flats: Born
The other day, Kristen at Low Fat Dressing mentioned that she's seeing more blues this summer.  I'd agree with that, although this dress is actually from last summer.  So clearly I'm a little bit ahead of the trend here.

Jude's getting back into the swing of blogging
I do want to thank you all for your comments on Friday's post. I know I'm not the only one struggling with these issues, but it's still nice to have the support. Some days, like today, I'm totally fine with my weight and the way that I look, and others I'm just really frustrated by it. But I suppose that's normal, right? But while we're on the subject of things that are annoying me right now, let's talk hair. See how cute and neatly styled my hair looks in these pictures? That lasted for all of half an hour, just long enough for me to take pictures, pack up my work bag and walk to the train. After spending 15 minutes hustling to the train in some humidity, this is what it looks like.

Flippy headsuit
Shh, I'm totally not taking my picture on the bus!
I don't hate it, but I wish it would just stay put after I dry it in the morning rather than flipping out once it gets outside. I already coat it with anti-humidity spray - before and after styling - but it feels like there's not enough anti-humidity hair products in the world. I know some of the problem is that I'm just overdue for a haircut (I'm waiting until after my cousin's wedding next month, since I'm MOH and getting my hair all done up for it), but still, it's a bit annoying. Does anyone have any tried and true strategies for getting your hair to cooperate in heat and humidity?

Friday, August 5, 2011

When Your Weight Sneaks Up On You

I’m wearing a repeat outfit today, so I’m sharing something personal instead of an outfit post. I’ve talked about my weight here before, but I’m really going to get into it today. I started writing on the train this morning, and just kept going. You can read it all or not, but it’s good for me to get it out there. I finally unpacked our scale this week, and was a little shocked to discover that I’m at my absolute highest weight ever. I knew things had gotten bad, but I’m about 15 pounds higher than I was the last time I thought my weight problems had hit rock bottom. Clearly, this isn’t my first struggle with weight, and I’m starting to think it won’t be my last.

I was a chubby kid from about the time I turned 10, but it was never a real issue until I finished college. During my last semester and after graduating, I was living in Michigan, bored and depressed, and decided to join Weight Watchers on New Year’s Eve, 2003 on a whim. I was having a hard time finding a job and was in a bad relationship, so I devoted all of my energy to weight loss so that I’d have something else to focus on. I lost 60 pounds in about 5 months and reached my goal weight just in time for my 23rd birthday in May of 2004. Although Weight Watchers worked for me and was pretty easy (ah, to be 22 again!), I swore that I’d never make myself go through that again. The weight was off for good.

At my goal weight, June 2004

Two weeks later, I moved to Chicago. I gained a little weight upon moving here, mainly because my office used to have free food around the clock, 7 days a week. I was working crazy hours and didn’t have a lot of money, so I took advantage of said free food. But even eating lots of junky cafeteria food, snacking and having ice cream every day (seriously, they spoiled us back in those days), I only gained about 15 pounds back. I was doing WW on and off a lot for a while, so my weight managed to stay pretty much under control.  By mid-2007, right around the time I met Fella, I had put a total of 40 pounds back on.

August 2007, leaving my office

I was still happy with the way I looked so I didn't do anything about it until early 2008, when I had gotten back to my original weight, and when Fella encouraged me to join his gym and exercise with him. A gym? I had used the Recreation Center in college, but hadn’t really exercised since. But I got into it and, once again, dedicated myself to weight loss. I lost about 40 pounds with exercise and Weight Watchers by the end of 2008.  I kept that off for about 6 months.

Fella and I totally not looking at the camera in Colorado, 2009

I think I would’ve been okay at this point if life hadn’t taken a really unexpected turn. Fella started getting sick a lot in early 2009. Toward the middle of that year he was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, but the stress of it all – him being sick all the time and, for a while, not knowing what was wrong with him – totally knocked me off the wagon. He’d get sick suddenly, and he couldn’t eat when he was sick. I’d often have cooked dinner for the 2 of us and rather than just save the leftovers, I’d split his meals with Jude. Meanwhile Fella had been on medicine for his condition, but he kept getting worse. I stepped in, found him a new doctor since his old one seemed unconcerned, and she recommended we meet with a surgeon right away. In the end, Fella ended up having 2 major surgeries in early 2010. He needed a lot of care, so my boss let me work from home for about 3 months last year to take care of him. Fella had lost so much weight from being sick that he needed to be fattened up. I could’ve joined him in loading up on fats, but instead I constantly cooked 2 meals: one light meal for me, one not so light one for Fella. A new gym opened up around the corner from us at about that time, so I decided to join so I’d be able to get out of the house a little bit each day. Throughout 2010 I got into a really good exercise routine, and I started losing weight and slimming down again. I was still about 20 pounds overweight toward the end of the year, but I was so happy with the way I looked then.

November, 2010

I kept the routine up in the beginning of 2011, but once we started the process of buying a condo and moving, I no longer had time to go to the gym (which is ridiculous looking back – I didn’t have an hour? Really?). On top of that, we were so busy, we were eating out a lot because there just wasn’t time to cook, and frankly, I didn’t have the energy for it. I guess that’s how the weight all came back. And then some. I know waiting 2 months to even unpack the scale was a mistake, but I guess I didn’t want to know. I can’t even remember the last time I weighed myself before this week. I was weighed a couple times at doctors’ appointments this spring/summer, but I just assumed their scales were off. But how could I have missed this? I take my picture everyday for goodness sake, and none of my pants fit me right now. I guess I was in denial, or didn’t think it was so bad.

This isn’t a self-esteem thing. I love myself and know I’m awesome at any size. But I do know I could look a little better. In addition to appearance, I need to keep my weight under control for health reasons. My mom and her sister are both diabetic, my maternal grandfather died of a heart attack in his mid-40’s, my mom has high blood pressure, and my dad had an angioplasty at the age of 50. There seem to be a lot of conditions I have a predisposition for, and the risks get higher if you’re overweight. I do get my numbers checked every year, and so far they’ve been good, but I want to keep them that way.

I know I can lose weight because I’ve done it so many times before, but I still need to figure out how to maintain it. I mean, why do I keep doing this to myself? Why put myself through all the trouble just to gain the weight all back? I’m trying things a little differently this time. Rather than rejoin Weight Watchers for, I don’t know, like the tenth time, I joined a site called Spark People. There, I can track what I’m eating and how much exercise I’m getting, but without those pesky membership fees. It offers many of the same features I found on WW, but rather than tracking points, you’re watching calories, fat and carbs. Counting points was pretty easy for me, but logging my food was the real benefit of it for me. That helped me see what I was eating, and just how much it was impacting me. Spark also has a pretty big online community and is constantly running little challenges, so those resources may be helpful in motivating me and supporting my efforts. As for exercise, I made myself go back to the gym on Tuesday, and I went again yesterday, so I’m hoping to get back into a good routine there. My overall goal is to drop 50 pounds, and I’d like to do that by May, 2012.  I'll probably update periodically, but I promise this will be the only novel I write about it :)  I appreciate your reading this very, very long post.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mr. President

Obama's Birthday bash
Fella and I waiting for the event to start
OK Go performing a song entirely on hand bells
Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson performing
Obama's 50th Birthday
Herbie Hancock, OK Go, Jennifer Hudson and Rahm Emanuel greeting the President
President Obama
President Obama speaking

I mentioned in yesterday's post that Fella and I were attending Obama's Birthday party.  Above are some pictures from the event.  OK GoJennifer Hudson and Herbie Hancock performed before the President gave a speech.  The last time I saw him speak was in Grant Park, right after he won the 2008 election.  It was an amazing experience.  His speech that night was so inspiring, so full of hope for the future of this country, and it energized the crowd.  It's been a hard couple of years, and his addresses to the nation seem to have lost the luster that his campaign speeches had.  The President was overdue for a break, and returning home to Chicago for his birthday seems like it was such a breath of fresh air for him.  He was recharged last night, and it showed in his speech.  He talked to a packed theater of his supporters about the progress his administration has made, and his hopes for the remainder of this term and beyond.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

After Work


This is what I had planned to wear to work today until Fella reminded me that we had plans right after work, so it'd be silly to commute in to the office only to leave at 2:30 or so.  This afternoon we're going to President Obama's birthday party/fundraiser. I debated sharing this since some in the media have given him slack for daring to celebrate his 50th birthday, and because I grew up with a lot of folks that have become very conservative, close-minded and judgmental.  But this is my co-blog, and I can be open about stuff like this. I don't talk about politics very much, but I'm a liberal.  My parents are democrats who raised me to be open-minded and to help others, and I have a degree in a social justice-oriented field, so it just makes sense.  Fella and I supported him in the 2008 election, and we attended his Election Night Rally in Grant Park to celebrate his victory.  I'm not 100% happy with what his administration has done so far, but I certainly don't overlook how much has been accomplished, especially given the state of affairs when he took office.  And I think, regardless of your political beliefs, he's still a person who has a birthday.  Just like the rest of us.


Anyway, I'll get off my soap box and talk about the real matter at hand here - clothes.  I think if I could wear a dress like this everyday, I would.  It's light, comfortable, isn't a neckline offender and even skims my knees (I've been having a hard time finding dresses that go down to knee-length this summer - is it just me?).  And it's so easy to put together and outfit with a great dress, I think I'm getting out of my rut.  A little.  I was a little bummed about not going to work since I had such a cute outfit lined up, but I'll be wearing this tonight.  Like Fella said, if it's good enough for work, isn't it good enough for the President?


Dress: Old Navy (new to the blog)
Necklace: Loft (remixed)
Flats: Born (new to the blog)