Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Oh, My Soul

Above is the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, the Hindu place of worship where the mind becomes still.  Some weekend ago, I invited a friend to see something different and learn something different with me.  I noticed a contrast between the website depictions and the in-person experience.  The mandir and the other isolated structures were grand in a smaller way than expected, but the overwhelming serenity could not have been imagined.  

No photography or recording is allowed in the mandir itself.  To preserve the sanctity, shoes must be removed before setting foot onto any part of the mandir and modesty in dress is requested.  No skirts shorter than knee length, so I thought I was dressed appropriately until asked to wear a long skirt garment over my clothes.  No problem, but inside I felt embarrassed and apologetic.

The most eye-opening part of the tour and the introduction to Hinduism was this parallel to my Christian faith.  The concept of the soul and the need for its enrichment exposed the lacking nourishment of my spirit.  My inner voice yelled in a panic, "Oh, my soul!  My poor soul!"  In Hinduism, the soul is undesecrated, owning nothing.  In its current body the soul is dirtied.  This dirt determines the next body for reincarnation.  Whatever you consume, you become, whether that is food or music or television.  Doesn't that make your eyes widen?  I could not stop thinking about trying to balance between secular and non-secular.  And I wonder whether the pursuit of happiness (or fun or entertainment) cancels out the pursuit of a pure soul/spirit.  

Visiting the mandir left me in a reflective mood.  I asked few questions because I kept dwelling on certain kernels of speech about the soul and achieving peace and knowing God.  I had already planned to return to church after a three week absence, but this experience created an anticipation within me to go to my own place of worship.  Altogether, it was lovely to visit.  Beautiful to see and beautiful to learn.  

No deception: short sleeves on a December weekend
See how intricately beautiful!

A little commentary on my sartorial choices, I suppose:  It was another case of I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-my-hair-so-let-me-make-up-a-way-to-tie-a-headscarf-on-the-fly.  I love this midi stretch pencil skirt but I haven't worn it as often as I would because I never know what to pair it with.  On this day I found a cool casual combo (and I might have been trying to really show out...modestly, of course).  The color coordination was absolutely happy and unconscious circumstance.

What I'm Wearing
Cynthia Rowley t-shirt // Topshop textured skirt // Antoniazzi Firenze leather belt // Report oxfords // Rebecca Minkoff Mac bag // that one purple scarf

So obviously, this is a delayed post.  That warm and sunny early December weekend is long gone and we're deep into Christmastime and wintertime.  Holiday spirit and tradition are on blast everywhere and these photos don't exactly highlight that.  But no matter.  Despite my lack of holiday-inspired posts, I still wish everyone a wonderful end of the year season.  Reflect, rejoice, and enjoy.

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Throwback Time

Does this count as a leg pop, Princess Mia?
I am dancing...
Ay, I see you!
This was a couple weeks back when I was all hype on chocolate cake from Benjy's.  I was meeting some Igbo peeps for Happy Hour and didn't know how to dress.  Up or down?  Maybe this is dressy casual (that black Goody headband ensures the casual part, I believe).  Because the last time I wore this BCBG skirt it was casual to the max. 

I hope you all are as happy and optimistic as I appear in these photos.  Right now I'm supposed to be seriously grinding.  This grad school business...three papers due within the next two weeks.  And on that note, good day all. xoxo

What I'm Wearing
Express cami // Classiques Entier jacket // BCBG Max Azria skirt// Seychelles wedge boots // Rebecca Minkoff MAC bag // JewelMint Florals necklace

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wrap Your Head Around It

So I've been experimenting with headscarves and headwraps.  Joy Adaeze from Joy Loves Fashion first got me fascinated with them.  It's become her signature since she was a teenager.  There's just something really beautiful about turbans, headwraps and coverings.  To throw out more adjectives: cool and regal come to mind.

This Monday when I unearthed my warmer clothes (and they all smelled like storage), I found this brown scarf that one of my college suitemates gave me in our freshman year.  For some reason, I don't like scarves around my neck, so the few that I have are always hidden away and neglected.  But scarves around my head?  All for it.  I tried to tie the scarf up in an untraditional way, which means making it all up as I go.  The fringe of the scarf peeked out and I thought I looked like a gypsy.  Then I went to the grocery store and willed myself not to be self-conscious about my handiwork. [DoItInPublicOrYou'reFake]*

About my natural hair.  Some days I hate it -- when it looks like rubbish tied up or let "loose."  Now I know that in those situations I could make a so-so puff or just wrap it up!  I woke up with ten flat twists radiating from the center of my head.  After untwisting the result was disappointingly unmagical.  I did the same style on Monday and it looked magnificent then.  But today...  I grabbed this scarf and tried to configure something new.  Something like Ashley Blaine Featherson, with my hair peeking out, but without the laid edges.  A tie in the front, wrap around to the back, then another tie, and lastly, tucking in the ends on the sides.  And done.  How do you like it?

What I'm Wearing
(But really, just a schweater, jeans and boots :P)
Forever 21 sweater // Kut from the Kloth Diana skinny jeans // BX by Bronx boots // purplely scarf of unknown origin // NYX Butter Lipstick in Hunk 

*j/k, you're not fake.  
Do what makes you comfortable but not so much that you're always stuck in the same old box.  
I think, that's what they would say.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Stand Down

This time last year, I attended the Veterans Day Stand Down in San Antonio, an event for homeless veterans.  I took the lead in the Tuberculosis Control Program's participation in it.  We had a table with educational materials on TB, a tri-fold poster, and fruit to giveaway.  I should have brought more fruit and I wished that we could have done more.  Many other tables were giving away necessities, offering services or providing health screenings.  And all we could give were information sheets and apples (TB testing is only recommended if you're a contact to someone with TB and usually required if you work in a healthcare facility).

I heard stories of struggle and hope, words and expressions of gratitude.  And as a life-long people watcher, I observed every one who visited our table.  The life in their faces, their clothes, visible disabilities, mannerisms.  All that I saw that day spurred some thoughts once I got home after work.  I had recently started this blog and given in to my slight obsession with clothes and style and stuff.  One year ago, I typed out these thoughts and they've been trapped in a blog post draft ever since.  
I have clothes for the basic necessity.  I'm able to think beyond that and think about clothes for the design, for the look, the style.  And not for the function.

There's something about fashion that feels so trivial to me.  To talk about this shoe or this on-trend color, or how to wear an embellished top...it's such a eye-opener to privilege.  It also introduces levels of fortune.  The phrase is to think of others "less fortunate."  You're so fortunate to be alive.  You're so fortunate to have a roof over your head and food to eat.  You're so fortunate to have a loving family.  You're so fortunate to go to college, to that Ivy League school, to study abroad.  You're so fortunate to live in that mansion, to fly first-class, to own those cars. [Other people do not have what you have, so be thankful.  Other people have more than you have, but still, be thankful]

How to reconcile this?  We're not meant to be at the same denominator.  Am I not allowed to express frustration when my biggest problem is social anxiety/awkwardness, while someone else's biggest problem is having enough food to eat?  Am I allowed to indulge in my interests (fashion, photography) when others work literally 24/7 and to have a hobby is not a thing?  But these so-called "first-world" problems would probably become the problems of the most disadvantaged, if in some utopia we were all equal (with the same basic survival needs met).  Problems are problems; they belong to the person experiencing them.  Some may be truly serious, some may be minor, but in the context of that individual's life, the problem likely aligns appropriately.

Those are some very incomplete thoughts, but I decided not to alter them or add to them.  I still wonder what to do about them, what to think about certain things, and how I am supposed to be a player in this world.  Not so I can win the game, but so more people may even play the game.  And I'm still working on not being embarrassed or ashamed about the things I like.  To be shameless...that's another idea to explore another day.
Happy Monday and Happy Veterans Day Tomorrow

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

This is a selfie I took with my red light box.  That camera was not cooperating that day.  It was kind of transitioning from day to night around the time and every photo taken outside was awful.  Although I think the result of this was my swift movement as the flash went off, creating that cool streak.  Add some Holga-ish treatment in Picasa and all of a sudden I look ghoulish.  

So Happy Halloween to everyone!  May you eat candy until your bellies explode with sugar.  And if you're so inclined, may you drink just enough to think you know the dance routine to Michael Jackson's Thriller. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lip Service

Drier than a desert.  Cracked like a sidewalk.  As rough as sandpaper.  Okay, maybe not like sandpaper.  But I have been forever cursed with dry lips and so I am forever eyeing (and buying) lip balm products.  Just look at that glorious wall of product at a Bed, Bath, and Beyond! 

From Blistex, Chapstick, Aquaphor, and Nivea to SoftLips, EOS, and Vaseline, I've tried so many.  And I would usually settle for Vaseline (they even have these mini sized ones), but maybe there was something better outside of the drugstore brands.  I'm not so sure about better, but there are definitely thousands more options.  Muy expensive ones. Organic ones.  Mint-infused, in a tub, in a tube, as a stick.  

A few months ago, one of my sisters was gushing about this brand called Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics.  She had a "shopping spree" there and got me so interested I Googled the company and the exact locations near me so I could visit.  And visit I did. On my way through I was also enticed by Sephora.  This is one reason why malls are not where it's at.
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment // Lush Mint Juleps Scrub // Lush Honey Trap Lip Balm
Sephora carries several high-end lip moisturizing, conditioning concoctions and I sampled a few to mixed results before settling on Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment.  At the time I had recently seen InStyle's 2014 Best Beauty Buys and they named this product in the Rose tint as the best lip balm.  It's made with real sugar and has SPF 15.  It felt very moisturizing when I applied the tester so I decided to splurge and go without the color tint (twenty-two entire dollars plus tax).

After, I remembered by mall mission was for Lush and made my way to this interesting, sample and demonstration-filled establishment.  They have handmade products for hair, body, face, the shower and the bath.  The employees are well-versed in their company philosophy and their products.  What's cool about Lush is everything is homemade with fresh and organic ingredients and little to no added preservatives, plus a date made and date expired printed on the packaging.  
I looked around in awe before finding what I was looking for: the lip balms.  Lush has lip balms and scrubs, with a variety of scents.  I tried both, liked what I felt, but left to let it all marinate on my lips.  I returned and I don't know what it was about that day but I splurged again on the balm and the scrub ($7 and $9).  

I used the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment overwhelmingly for a few months.  After a while, I found myself quite unsatisfied.  Upon initial application it felt moisturizing, but I felt it dried out quicker than usual and I was constantly reapplying.  I didn't think it was worth what I bought it for (but my younger sister liked it, so waste not!).  Also the packaging is like a lipstick in that it had a long cover but unlike it because you have to twist it open.  It doesn't just snap on/snap off.  If I were to give a numerical ranking it would be awfully low and I don't want to detract anyone who might want to try it...

The Lush scrub is sugar.  You're supposed to put it on your lips, rub your lips together, and then lick it off.  Lastly, apply the lip balm. The licking part gave me pause.  Doesn't licking dry out your lips?  It's hard to apply without spilling and although it's edible, I don't really like it and I rarely use it.  But the lip balm?  That's my favorite.  You don't need too much and it continues to feel moisturizing as time goes on.  I've used mine so often that the pink label cannot be read anymore.  Yes, this review is a long time coming: I went to the mall for these things in March 2014.  I think I should give the balm a ranking of 9.  Fair enough.

Lush products are still expensive compared to your drug store offerings, so I'd advocate for baby Vaseline.  And any freebies that come your way.  I recently got a lip balm from my school's student health services (has a personalized label) and I love that one too.  But I have no idea who makes it. Tsk tsk.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Special Effects

Dipped and dyed in color, sketched, and HDR'd. Special effects on photos taken on a not so special, ordinary (yet wonderfully welcome) day.  Picasa makes me feel like a faux digital artist.  Although I struggled with my red light box because I'm trying to emulate other OOTD photos where their image is captured head to toe but the distance is not too far.  Perhaps it has something to do with the aperture of the lens, which I cannot manipulate on my point-and-shoot.  Shoot!

I was (and still am) in love with what I wore this day.  As I left for school, I wondered if it was too much put-togetherness because I only had one class and I basically planned to go back home soon after.  But no!  The goal in my personal style exploration has always been put-togetherness.  The day I can easily choose the right group of pieces to be effortlessly casual, but flawless.  To be comfortably cool, but not sloppy...oh that day!  Who said #IWokeUpLikeThis takes zero effort?  To divert into that popular phrase: I take it to mean that one has recognized their unique beauty, in their features, in their personalities, in the way they express themselves.  And they accentuate it.  Like, "Bam! This is me! I love me!" But of course, not in a narcissistic, ego-filled way.

Can I highlight the thriftiness of some of the things I wore (and that I've never worn these things together)?  At H&M I thought I couldn't resist the $15 discounted price tag on this beautifully bright orange cardigan.  I inspected it no less than three times for flaws in its condition.  I tried it on several times (goodness, me).  And then I got to the register and it was an additional 50% off!  The Gap pleated skirt (pleat pleat!) was a thrift store find, the necklace is a hand-me-down from my mother (everything is from her!) and my favorite headband was $4 when I bought it two years ago.  I hope I will have it forever.

So, three questions:
1. Can anyone teach me how to take photos like I want?
2. What's your favorite thrifty, cheap, oh-my-goodness-this-is-a-steal buy?
3. Will you make it a great day or not...?*

original effects

What I'm Wearing
H&M cardigan // H&M tank // Report oxfords // NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Monte Carlo

Oh, happy day...
*in fond memory of middle school announcements.
Sign off: Make it a great day or not...the choice is yours.

Linked to I Would So Rock This xoxo

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Monochromatic Mood

uh-oh, that tag
Who owns this much turquoise...and then wears them all together?  Well...because I knew I would feel cold later and my constant go-to (cardigans) sometimes takes the outfit down a notch, makes me look like a forlorn librarian.  No offense to librarians--libraries are one of my favorite places.  Speaking of librarians,  I wonder where that stereotypical "sexy" librarian look came from.  'Cause I ain't never seen a librarian looking like that!

Anyway, I really like bright monochromatic looks, outside of the standard all-black and (don't touch anything and sit anywhere) all-white. And I put this together with next to zero effort. 1 + 2 + 3 = ta da!

Have a relaxing day!
Oh, by the way, the Internet consensus is that turquoise (or blue-green) on a mood ring means you're upbeat, somewhat relaxed and a little flirtatious.  Hmm...okay.

What I'm Wearing
Zara blazer // (MSSP) Max Studio Specialty Product dress // Sam Edelman wedges 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Labels and Identities

Willie Cole, 1993, How Do You Spell America?
San Antonio Museum of Art
I assume that if the Huffington Post writes about it and all the other outlets like E! Online, Time and MTV follow suit AND it makes its way to social media, then it must be the news of the day, week, moment.  The thing that generates comments on top of comments, and individual interpretation extremes.  Today that thing was a clip from OWN's Where Are They Now? featuring Raven SymonĂ©.  Darling from my childhood, from The Cosby Show to Hanging With Mr. Cooper to That's So Raven.  
On her coming out and relationships, Raven said she knew of her sexual identity by the age twelve and that she didn't then and doesn't now need a categorizing statement for it.  It is what it is.  She doesn't want to be labeled as gay, just a "human being who loves other human beings."  The spark though, was when she said that she rejects all labels, that she is American, not African-American.  Oooh.  Oprah let that be known too, giving room for Raven to clarify or retract because a statement like that would set Twitter on fire (if that's the worst that could happen...)

In a way I understand what she means.  African-American is a politically correct term, trying to encompass all people of African-descent in the United States, specifically those whose ancestry goes back to slavery.  Beyond that, many do not know about this descent from Africa.  Where in Africa?  Which geographical area, which country, which ethnic group?  That's where I think "Black" fits best for people of (long ago) African-Descent in the United States.  If your connection to Africa is an unknown blur, if you have brown skin (that's not Hispanic brown or South Asian brown), if you would have been called "colored" or "Negro" in the United States...then "Black" is supposed to describe you.

 She said "I don't label myself"  but then she labels herself as "American."  Labels are descriptors.  Their intent is to tell us more about a person, a place, a product.  American can tell us about a person's upbringing or values, nationality, their kind of culture.  African-American or Black tells us about how a person might look, how they might behave (race, as a sub-culture, shapes your life experiences.  Which is not to say that everyone who is of a certain race is the same or cookie-cutter predictable).  
 Raven saying that she is not African-American seems to forget that people are not colorless or colorblind.  And people should not be.  See people's color, as it is a feature easily observed.  Recognize it, respect it, don't discriminate against someone because of it.  But then, as a label, maybe she feels it narrows who she is as a person.  Sometimes labels can seem restrictive.  You are such-and-such, fit in the box that has been assigned for such-and-such.  You cannot be anything other than such-and-such for I will only see you as such-and-such and nothing else.  Maybe it's because some of those labels-- gay, woman-- can attract an ugly kind of attention, the kind that highlights negativity and overshadows the value of the people to which they have been attached.  

Thinking that I understand a little where she's coming from, I'd still say that it's impossible to completely reject labels.  Who are you in relationship to someone else? Sister, daughter, girlfriend, mentor.  Who are you outwardly? Who are you internally?  Labels are important.  They're necessary and they're not ever going away.  Despite what she says people will still view her as African-American or gay or what have you. But then despite what anyone else says, how Raven views herself and carries herself is more important than the opinions of others.  It is her life to live and enjoy.

And done. My two cents.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Schoolin' Life

Houston has finally fallen.  Fallen in line a little with the majority of the U.S in welcoming the new season.  But enough already about sweater weather and jackets and boots and maroon/burgundy/oxblood. (I wonder who comes up with the names for various shades of color.  Some of them are quite imaginative.).  It seems like fashion loves fall, what with all these fashion weeks and whatnot. 

Although I predict that the sun's gonna come out again and betray us while wearing our sweaters, but until then I'm happy to wear cardigans and not feel so icky sticky hot on the way to school. As long as I'm indoors and the air conditioning is on full blast, I'll always have some kind of sweater.  Anyway, here I am, rockin' fall-type clothes and just schoolin' life.
What about you?

♫ This is for them 20 somethings
Time really moves fast, you were just sixteen 

Cath Kidston!!
Outfit Details
Express top // Target Merona cardigan // Levi's skinny jeans // just a plain ol' belt // BX by Bronx boots // Cath Kidston zip purse

Thursday, September 25, 2014

As Seen on Youtube: No-Heat Way to Stretch Natural Hair

How many times have you spent hours clicking through a million YouTube beauty/fashion videos?  With topics on how to create the perfect eyebrow, how to get a defined bantu knot-out, how to apply makeup for a natural look, or ten ways to tie a headscarf (there's more than one?).  So many out there, some are alright and others are just inspiring.  Sometimes I think "inspiring" has two meanings.  One is "Oh, cool!  I could do that!"  And the other is "Amazing...but definitely beyond my current capabilities. Maybe one day."  But you can't get to "one day" until you start today...

I actually learned how to flat-twist from YouTube a year ago (still not very well or neatly, but at least...) so I decided to try out more of the cool things I see in videos.  First up, how to stretch my hair without heat.  I don't use a blow dryer, just let it air dry into a semi-shrunken state.  Flat twist-outs don't really stretch it so much and I was perplexed as to how so many natural haired women started tutorials with stretched hair.  Seek and thou shalt find.  Last Sunday night after washing it I tried.  I blended techniques from two videos:

TheChicNatural used hair ties at the base of each section and folded the thread (6x the length of the section) in half with the loop end at the top.  I followed those techniques.  Nadine of GLYC actually did the threading process twice (two nights), using coconut oil on the second round.  I wasn't about to do this twice (how would I go to class the next day?) but I decided to use coconut oil in my first and only round.  Also, once she completed a side she threaded them together so I tried to do that too. 

What I Used: spray bottle with water only // SheaMoisture Restorative Conditioner // Trader Joe's (non-deodorized) Coconut Oil // (12) hair ties // rat tail comb and wide-toothed comb // duck-bill hair clips // hair weave thread // scissors

this took me FOREVER
In the morning I unraveled everything to find my hair sufficiently stretched.  Success!  It did feel a little dry though (despite using the coconut oil).  So it was stretched.  "Now what?" I thought.  I had not made any plans beyond taking down the 12 threaded sections.  I wouldn't have had time anyway.  Instead, I spent five to ten minutes trying to manipulate it in some cute way but just ended up tying it in a low ponytail with two black barrettes on the side.  Ugh!  

That Monday night I put in six ugly flat-twists (because I think the stretched hair was supposed to make it easier to style in twists or what have you).  Two days later, its back to its unstretched state.  So much for that.

I don't know if I'll do it again but it was cool to try, I guess.  Hmmm...maybe I should have taken a photo in my hair's post-wash and conditioned super-shrunken state.  Oh well.  Anyway, check out TheChicNatural and GirlsLoveYourCurls channels on YouTube.  They both have a lot of great stuff.

Happy Thursday! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Happy 48

what is that face?

One year has passed and this is my 48th post! 
I've managed to create something on the Internet at least once every month.

When an anniversary occurs I feel like you're compelled to think about something, voluntarily or not.  Recall or relive a memory.  Celebrate a gain or a success.  Mourn a loss or a failure.  Reflect on how much you've changed, whether you've grown or regressed.  Sometimes thoughts are positive (and I hope they are for everyone).  But other times thoughts are not positive.  In those cases, I hope things have gotten better or that the situation has been acknowledged and you're still working your way through.

At first I was mildly shocked about the milestone because it came to mind.  Then I thought about why I decided to start this blog (self-expression, to be a little bit bolder, to be inspired, and maybe to inspire others).  Have I accomplished these goals? Not quite...and sometimes I wonder if I should (or if I would ever) push myself more, to promote me, and be shameless. Hmm...I don't have an answer yet.  But in the meantime I'm happy about Extraordinary Too and I'll try to keep it up as long as I can.

So...this dress with a pleated skirt (which I wanted to call a crinkle skirt, but that's incorrect).  It was a birthday gift from my dear friends.  It came with a black elastic belt that tried to cut my middle in half.  The belt had to go.  The only originality I added was the heart buckle green Moschino belt that was either stolen from or given by my mom.  I can't remember lol.   

Happy 48!

Outfit Details
Emma & Michele dress // Moschino leather belt // oh...Dear! wedges

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Style On Public Transit

I was in New York City a couple weeks ago (for a reunion with my friends from college) and on the last day two of us took the bus back to our hotel to get our luggage and head to the airport after a whirlwind weekend.  

On this bus, we sat in the back but soon it filled up.  A group of tourists boarded, maybe six guys and girls.  One of them was wearing something so casual but well put together that I couldn't stop staring.  So simple and cute that I became the ultimate creeper and snapped a photo with my iPhone (trying to be discreet and pretending to be doing something else).  Just the outfit, minus her face and the shoes (to try for the shoes would have been too obvious).  She had a Fendi bag (out of my price range), but I thought that maybe I could try to replicate this outfit.  One day...

Inspired by someone else's kind of extraordinary I created my first Polyvore collage.  So that's how these bloggers make those outfit idea images!!  Mine is a little cluttered and a few of the item brands are too expensive at the moment (or forever), but the idea is there.  Now to go on the hunt! 

*There was also a really dapper man on this bus--suit, suspenders, hat, cane, everythang.  A lot of people in New York really know how to werk. 
girl on the bus

On Public Transit

Monday, September 1, 2014

Amateur in the Mirror | Last Days

"Last post I mentioned how variable the dress code is at my job."  That's what I wrote when I first began this post...almost three months ago.

For two years my job was disease intervention, first in STD/HIV and then in tuberculosis.  I had to interact directly with people who either had a communicable disease or could be at risk to contract one, which meant I had to be "in the field."  In hospitals, in people's homes, sometimes on the street, riding around San Antonio and anywhere else within Bexar County.  You were supposed to dress comfortably yet professionally.  Not dressed up-- jeans were okay--but not roll-out-of-bed dressed down.  Business casual, I was told.  A lot of times it was more casual than business but I think the nature of the work excuses it.

I remember when I first got the position and had no idea exactly what I'd be doing.  "I need work clothes!" I thought.  So my mom and I went thrifting (and she did her magic elsewhere) to get me started on a basic work wardrobe.  Dress pants and button-downs and shift dresses and sensible wedges.  And I wore all of these and looked well-put together for my first day and first two months (when I was mostly indoors reading about the knowledge instead of out there applying the knowledge).  Once I started going out on my own, the way I dressed changed.  I'd only wear dresses and heels when I was on clinic duty (to conduct patient interviews) or planed to stay in the office and didn't have to go out into the field.  

Here, I was in Atlanta for my end of program/fellowship training where the dress code was a definite business casual.  I was really feelin' myself and that polka dot skirt so I set my camera on the counter of my hotel room and tried some mirror tricks.  This is probably the easiest way to look professional: pencil skirt, top and cardigan, flats okay, heels optional.  I think I could wear all of this for something else entirely too.  Maybe it's not actually as business casual/professional as I thought...huh.

Happy Labor Day!

Outfit Details
Target Mossimo polka dot skirt // Target dress t-shirt // Nine West cardigan // BCBGeneration wedges // JewelMint Frosty Florals necklace // Steve Madden crossbody purse

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Banana Blue on the Second

 On the second day of graduate school I was a banana with splashes of black and blue.  This is actually the exact same outfit from this July, with the blue denim shorts swapped for the yellow jeans (which both happen to be from the same brand, hmmm).  The unexpectedly oversized tank tucked in ever so slightly differently (:o).  Purse swapped for a more functional backpack (if I'm in school I feel I must carry a backpack).  The earrings were a birthday gift from my dear friends and the hair is an interesting pin-up involving two types of braids that I should learn how to do myself...

A note on the yellow jeans: I found them at Plato's Closet, this cool secondhand clothing shop that a co-worker suggested I go to over a year ago and I never made time to go.  The salesgirl commented that yellow was the one color of pants she didn't have yet and she asked if I knew how I was going to style them.  I had no idea.  I probably should have thought about its specific value to my closet but they were only $15 and they were yellow, so... 
I've worn them three times already, if that means anything.

why yes, that is a single earring in the cuff
Outfit Details
Cynthia Rowley tank // Kut by the Kloth jeans // Report oxfords // Forever 21 jacket // gold/blue earrings

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Keep Your Head Up

Sometimes I am a lie!  A fraud, a tame hypocrite.  I pass on words of encouragement because everyone needs encouragement and small reminders from time to time.  Then a moment hits me where I feel down or strange or un-confident.  In that moment I should instantly remember those words of encouragement I've heard and the ones I've tried to pass on.  But I don't. I stay stuck for a bit.

Scrolling through old bookmarks and old blog posts, I had a gasp-filled epiphany.  "Hey you, look at what you favorited.  Look at what you wrote.  Telling people to find joy no matter what's going on, to look up.  Have you done that today in your moment of internal despair?"  Yesterday, I felt some type of way (which is an inadequate way of saying you're displeased with or about something) and had to consciously think about not allowing myself to cry over nothing.  I didn't remember what I'd written to encourage others (and myself).  I didn't remember what my mother has told me about prayer and positive self-talk and perceiving myself as others see me (usually the truth instead of a distortion of the truth).

Staying stuck for longer than a little bit requires hefty reminders.  Until the point of nagging even, if that is what it takes for the lightbulb to switch on.  On to acknowledge the good, on to believe in yourself and your capabilities, on to shine light onto others.  Ahh, please remember sometimes...

I know it's hard, know it's hard,
To remember sometimes,
But you gotta keep your head up, oh,
And you can let your hair down, eh.
--"Keep Your Head Up," Andy Grammer
(this is one awesome, catchy song)