Saturday, July 30, 2011

Me and My Bobby McKeys

Which is the best dueling piano bar in National Harbor!

J Crew Promenade Dress in Lilac
DIY Lily of the Valley Necklace
Glow-Stick Necklace from Bobby McKeys (keepin' it classy)

Friday, July 29, 2011

"Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."

Anthropologie Highest Accolades Dress
J Crew Factory Short Sleeve Bouquet Cardigan
Silver Sam and Libby Flats
DIY Necklace (yes I have mad skilz)
Michael Kors Crossbody Sling Pouch (on chair)

Today is the demo debate for week one of middle school debate camp.  Parents are watching.  I chose to look adorable and like a winner.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Black and White and Red all over

Anthropologie Precious Materials Cardigan
J Crew Perfect Fit Tee in Black
J Crew Denim Pencil Skirt
Katie and Kelly Black Slides

Today the middle schoolers in my debate camp lab started calling me "Miss Pillsbury".  I can now die happy.

We just got back from delicious Ethiopian food at Addis Ababa in Silver Spring.  We had the Silver Spring Special--I can't tell you what anything that we ate was called (well except the baklava) but it was really good.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Turkey and Ricotta Meatballs

Tonight I made these meatballs (recipe courtesy of Rebecca at I Wanna Be a Domestic Goddess)  with some whole wheat pasta.  Verdict?  DELICIOUS.  I thought I would hate the texture of whole wheat pasta because people have told me it's gritty and/or just weird, but I like my pasta more "mushy" than "al dente", so I slightly overcooked it and it was just fine.

The meatball recipe made 18 medium-sized meatballs, and I made an entire package of the pasta, so we'll have plenty of leftovers for lunch this week.  A good thing, because I'm working at a middle school debate camp this week and next so I need something easy to pack along for lunch, and this fits the bill.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Basement Update--Almost done

Ok, I know I said I'd take before pictures but I didn't because 1) they were too depressing and 2) I didn't do very much on Saturday so I was in a hurry to do this on Sunday afternoon.  I actually thought I was done but looking at Tom's desk (that's the big, law firm desk, not my little one that's in the middle of the shelving unit), there is an IRON on there.  WTF?  Isn't it crazy how your eyes can glaze over things that they've seen so many times over and over?  

Our basement has a certain 70s flair, no?  Love that wood paneling!

I didn't really finish the guest room cleanup...still a work in progress.  I did try on a bunch of fall clothes and sort stuff for consignment, so that felt like an accomplishment.

It's weird to have a weekend to myself.  I have weekends where I'm traveling for work (which are really hectic) and I have weekends at home (slower pace but somehow I get nothing done) but a weekend spent mostly by myself is a rare occasion and I have to say I really enjoyed it (though I do miss the hub/kiddo A LOT)!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Definitely a popsicle kinda day

And a good thing because CJ is on her 3rd and I am on my 2nd.

99 but with a heat index of 114 (woooah now, humidity, take it easy).  Too hot even for a smile, though she demanded these leggings.


So I don't think I have ever won a giveaway/contest type thing in my life.  Not a raffle, not the 50/50 drawing at high school sports games, not when they spun my birthday on the birthday wheel on the radio.  Nada, zip, zilch.

So imagine my surprise when I won THESE BABIES RIGHT HERE, in a contest on the Target Addict blog!

I think we can all attest to what a giant Target Addict I am (hello stash of plastic bags in my kitchen), and now I have the turquoise bobby pins to prove it!  Just the thing for keeping my extra-annoying bangs out of my eyes while I grow out my hair this summer.

Hooray Target Addict!  Target Addict, yay!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Awesome Weekend Plans

So I have a rare weekend to myself, with not much going on.  TWO WHOLE DAYS!

What am I planning on doing with those days?  Such glamorous activities as:

*Cutting debate evidence
*Trying on fall clothes to figure out what fits, what needs alteration and what goes to consignment (I have lost 22 pounds since last fall so this is kind of important)
*Grocery shopping
*Cleaning and organizing the house before crazy (uh, I mean, "debate") season starts

In preparation, I re-skimmed this book.  (Yes, I am the sort of person who reads books about how to get rid of things, judge away.)

I also enjoyed this post, by the author of the book.  In addition to being the kind of person who reads books about clutter, I am the kind of person who starts a big project, gets 3/4 of the way through it, and then gets frustrated and either throws everything away (only to need something I tossed 3 days later), puts everything "away" (not in it's place but willy-nilly), or just leaves everything laying out where I put it (bed in the guest room covered with my clothes, I'm looking at you).  Which ends up making life MORE stressful, not less stressful, which is kind of the opposite of the goal.  So I guess the advice to start small and manageable is good.

My frustration areas are definitely the basement (arghghghhghghhh giant basement playroom, I kind of hate you because there is so much OPEN SPACE for mess) and the guest room (which is really my closet that happens to have a bed in it).  I'm planning on starting in the guest room first (it's the most urgent because Tom's mom is coming to visit in a week and needs that bed, and it also coincides with my other goal of trying on clothes).  I'll try to remember to take before/after pictures for you to gawk at...maybe my mess will make you feel better about YOUR mess!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Two, two, two mints in one!

By "mints", I mean outfits-of-the-day.  Also, the lighting in these is not great.  Experimenting with outdoor photos was fun except for the 650 bugbites I suffered and the fact that it's 200 degrees outside.  Yes, I am wearing the same sweater in both photos...I love me a good Jackie cardigan.  


Dress: Anthropologie Highest Accolades
Cardigan: J Crew Jackie Cardigan, White
Shoes: Silver Sam and Libby Flats (shocking, I know)


Dress: Anthropologie Gull Wing Dress
Cardigan: J Crew Jackie Cardigan, White
Shoes: Anne Klein Slides, Black (NOT flats, 1 inch heel, OMGZ)

Today was Kelsey's last day at USNA--she leaves for San Diego tomorrow morning.  I thought there would be more tears but in reality, I felt a lot of the sense of "loss" back at graduation.  This month has really felt like a gift and I'm grateful for it.  Plus we got a boatload (har har) of work done--the only people crying will be the aff teams who have to debate her sick neg strategy.  ;)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Meatloaf, y'all!

The basis for this meatloaf recipe is from Self Magazine, but I find it a little labor-intensive (and fancypants ingredients heavy, I mean, saute the vegetables in white wine?  OK, maybe if I'm making meatloaf for Wills and Kate.) so I subtracted a bunch of stuff/steps.  The nice thing about cooking is that you can generally substitute most ingredients out and even skip steps, unlike baking which is like chemistry--too much baking soda and your cake may explode like a middle-school science project volcano.

Daisy's White Trash Meatloaf (Now with fewer steps!)

Half an onion (red, white, yellow, whatever you like)
Half a bell pepper (I use green because there's a lot of red ingredients in this)
5-6 baby carrots (or probably 2 adult carrots)
1 lb of ground meat (as lean as possible so it's not all greasy)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
2 eggs
Bread crumbs--about a cup though if you're trying to stretch this for more leftovers, you could add more
Cooking oil spray

Preheat oven to 375.  Mince onion, pepper, carrots, and garlic and throw in a mixing bowl.  Add 1 lb of ground meat (I use turkey because it's cheaper than lean ground beef and probably better for us), half a jar of spaghetti sauce,  2 eggs, and about a cup of bread crumbs (if you don't have any crush up some crackers--I did it with goldfish crackers once, the meatloaf was a weird orange color but other than that totally fine).  Meatloaf recipes say to mix it with your hands but I think that's gross so I just mix it up with a wooden spoon, and then dump it in an 8x8 square glass pan that I've sprayed with cooking spray.  Spread it around so the top is fairly flat, and then put some more spaghetti sauce on top.  Bake for an hour, remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes.

In this recipe the veggies will still be fairly crunchy.  If this bothers you, you could add a little water and microwave them for a minute or two, or you could saute them in white wine or in a tiny little bit of olive oil.  Personally, I like the crunch.  We salt and pepper after cooking but if you want to put some in before go for it.  You could sub out the spaghetti sauce for BBQ sauce (I've done it before, it was good but I like this better) or if you're feeling decadent, put some bacon on top before cooking.

We served this with spinach sauteed in olive oil.  Not gonna lie, it was pretty good.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

WANT these shoes...bizarrely...

I was shopping with Kelsey today and saw these in Kohls.  There is no way I should want these shoes.  I should look at them, write them off as stripper-gear, and buy another pair of ballet flats.  My style tends toward the vintage-y, very feminine, verging on matronly.  These are a pair of 4 inch heels with a 1 inch platform in "silver glitter" (I swear to God that was the color on the box...though it was actually more of a multicolored glitter).

Me: WOW!  Look at these!
Kelsey: Shiny... ::tries to walk away::
Me: I kind of want them.
Kelsey: Really?  ::long pause:: But what would you do with them?
Me: Wear them.
Kelsey: WHERE?
Me: I dunno, class?  Debate tournaments?
Kelsey: Yup, great idea.  You should definitely buy them so you can fall down at debate tournaments in them.
Me: They are only $30...

So I took a picture for posterity instead.  SPARKLY SHOES!  I MISS YOU!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I would like my Naval Hegemony served pink please

Maybe with some grenadine? And whipped cream and a cherry?

Afternoon snack

Roasted chickpeas are a delicious, low-carb, good-for-you snack. (Emphasis on the delicious, who cares about the other parts if it doesn't taste good?)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take one can of chickpeas and drain them (really well, excess liquid means they won't get as crispy as they could). Spread them on a baking sheet lined with foil. Pour some olive oil on them and kind of roll the chickpeas around in it so they're pretty well coated with the oil. Season them however you like--we just do salt and black pepper but you could make these spicy or basically do whatever you like.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on them because depending on the brand of chickpeas, you may need to bake them longer for them to be really crispy and crunchy. When you take them out of the oven, just scoop them onto a plate and eat them!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Print Mixing--A First Lady Tutorial

The First Lady has some serious style. One thing that she does well that I haven't been bold enough to try is pattern mixing. The Huffington Post put together a slideshow of some of her best pattern mixing looks.

The important style takeaway from the slideshow seem to be that none of this looks crazy and jarring so long as the colors are similar in both of the prints. There were several pictures where, because of the unified color scheme, it took me a second to realize that there even were multiple prints going on.

This Mrs. O thinks that Mrs. O looks amazing!

Intertubes roundup

Sexist milk marketing campaign. ::speechless:: I guess it's time to go soy?

ARMAGEDDON! Oh wait, that's CARmageddon. Totally different.

Women training to be military pilots in Afghanistan!

Nancy Grace needs a new hobby, real bad. Seriously Nance, let it go.

The Debt Ceiling debacle: if you don't have anything nice to say, come sit by me.

CEDA released the 2011-2012 college debate topic so if you don't hear from me for a few days, it's probably because I'm being interrogated by the CIA for sending like 20 texts consisting solely of "#4 Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen".

DIY Iced Vanilla Latte

I love my Keurig. It is the best Christmas present I ever stole from my mother-in-law. But it didn't get a whole lot of use in warm weather because who wants to drink hot coffee when it's 90 degrees out at 8 am? Not even this caffeine addict.

Here's how we roll--I fill a travel mug with ice, then brew the K Cup directly over the ice. (The coffee is an extra strong blend that's made to be brewed this way, so don't worry about getting a wimpy cup of coffee.) For you hard core black coffee drinkers, you're done.

But me, I'm a wuss. I like my coffee to taste like a milkshake full of rainbows and unicorns and candy. So after I brew the coffee, I top off the mug (it's a real big mug, a 24 oz Tervis Tumbler. I'm not messing around with my caffeine problem.) with one of these.

Now on their own, these are a little thick-tasting and sweet even for me, the rainbow-unicorn-candy-latte queen. But poured over some iced black coffee? Perfect. Lovin' it. (Target has a special running on them this week--you can get a 4 pack for $5, which is pricey, but given that one ginormous iced latte will run you like $5 at Starbucks, it's still a savings.)

Oh Keurig, I'll never leave you again.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Danielle's favorite things, mid-July edition

I am the Oprah of this blog. It helps that I'm the founder and sole poster. If instead of a blog I had a TV show, and instead of being made of chocolate covered almonds, I was made of money, I would give you all this stuff. (Evvvvvverybody gets a Mark Harmon!) Bad news: not the case. Good news: I'm pretty cheap so all this stuff is reasonably priced.

Smith's Rosebud Salve. Best lipbalm I've ever used. Not sticky at all but also not waxy, and the tin format makes it easy to use for other things (cuticle balm, taming crazy frizz-halo).

Bare Escentuals powder sunscreen. I was going to explain to you how it works but the picture makes it pretty obvious. I like that it's a powder so it doesn't screw up your makeup and won't explode and make postmodern art out of your handbag.

NCIS--the reruns on the USA Network (though I watch the CBS primetime ones too when they're in season). Sometimes I need to have a little mindless background noise on while I'm doing debate work, and this does nicely. I have seen every episode ever (for serious, my mom's a bigger fan than I am and it's on constantly at their house).

Dermalogica Sheer Tint Moisturizer. Heavy makeup in summer is a real bummer. I wear Bare Escentuals Powder Foundation Fall-Spring but it's just kind of cakey in the summer. (In the infomercial, when they show you how it doesn't sweat off, the part they forget to mention is that it just gets really thick looking and obvious. Dude, I'd rather it just sweat off.) Anyway, this is perfect summer makeup. It just evens out your skin and makes you look glowy and pretty. If you have "OMG-I'm-Almost-30-How-Do-I-Have-Acne-and-Wrinkles-Together-and-Are-the-Circles-Under-My-Eyes-BLACK?" kind of skin, you'll still need concealer over this (I use Bare Minerals Bisque).

Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds. GAME. CHANGER. I buy the Target brand.

Elastic hair ties. Oprah loves these too! OMG, soulmates! Oprah isn't cheap so she buys the emi-jay ones. I bought knockoffs on etsy and they work just fine. They also make elastic headbands. Since I'm only washing my hair every other day, by the middle of day 2 my hair is tied back in a ponytail with the bangs held back by a headband so they're not all limply emo in my face. (BANGS! STOP BEING SO SAD AND LAY OFF THE EYELINER!)

Tazo Passion Tea. Uh, yum. Double yum when iced and mixed with Trader Joe's Low Calorie Pink Lemonade (see below, I really tried to post them together but blogger wasn't having it) as a sort of homemade "shaken unsweetened passion tea lemonade" which is the pretentiouns non-caffeinated beverage I order at Starbucks during the warmer months. (As soon as September hits I will be drinking enough Caramel Apple Spices to keep the apple industry afloat.)

The first time I wore this mascara one of the other professors in my department was like, "did you get eyelash extensions?!?" And I batted my newly giant eyelashes at her and said "nope, new mascara". I accidentally wore the washable version today and smeared it under my eye in like 12 seconds flat. Humidity sucks, yo. So waterproof is the way to go in the summer.

Trader Joe's Low Calorie Pink Lemonade. What wouldn't be delicious about this? The Low Calorie part? Girl, don't worry...I don't know what they used but it doesn't taste watery or like weird chemicals. (Upon consultation of the label, they're using a mix of sugar and truvia, which appears to be a plant-based sweetener.) It's actually almost too sweet so I either mix it with the Passion Tea or cut it with 50% water. YUM!

OPI Melon of Troy. Not streaky, not too orange, not too pink, not too dark, not too light. I will stop writing a Dr. Seuss book about my nail polish now. But get this, it's the perfect coral and the name was kind of witty.

What are your favorites for July?

"O the red rose is a falcon and the white rose is a dove."

J Crew cardigan
Anthropologie dress
Life Strides shoes (Grandma alert!)
J Crew belt

Post title is from this poem (see Dad, that English degree wasn't worthless!).

Thursday Awkward/Awesome

Not recognizing the new Dep Dant when he walked past me today; he smiled and Kelsey said "Hello Sir!" and I kind of stared at him blankly. attention...that was a lost opportunity to be charming.

Not being able to tell the Pendergrass twins apart (see below). Hopefully I can skate by on the old person excuse.

Running into a glass door in front of two foreign officers. Awkward AND awesome.

I think it's become obvious to the intern I don't like that I don't like him. Also he makes faces when I tell jokes at lunch, like "girls-aren't-allowed-to-make-that's-what-she-said-jokes faces" which extra annoys me.

*This isn't really awkward but it definitely isn't awesome--I got home today at 6:30 and found a notice from the water company stuck in the screen door. The notice said that they would be cutting off our water at 9 AM TOMORROW and hopefully they would turn it on again 8 hours later but no guarantee. No problem water company, not like I'm trying to potty train a toddler or anything over here. Thanks for all the notice, because I probably wouldn't have tried to rearrange my work schedule to get around this problem or anything. Jerks!

The Pendergrass twins. So, I don't really recruit for the debate team per se. Either you want to come to USNA and you debate, or you don't, it's kind of hard to convince kids to join the military if they're not into it (and I don't want to be responsible for suckering kids into a major life choice that's hard to get out of if it's not their thing). Somehow, identical twin girls who debated with each other for 4 years in high school are both incoming freshmen and want to debate. WHAT? AWESOME. Also, they're adorable. And terrified because plebe summer is scary, so they were sort of befuddled by how nice Kelsey and I were being. Duh, Navy Debate is hard work but it's also popsicles in the debate office and hugs and friendly pep talks. And if it weren't I wouldn't be able to do it. (Especially the popsicle part, sometimes you just need a fix.)

"Debate Coach Barbie and Ensign Skipper Recruit the Pendergrass Twins!" much true.

Tarragon Chicken for lunch at the O-Club. And blueberry pie. It totally made up for the faces Jerk Intern was making at my jokes.

CJ apparently uses the potty like a champ for anyone except me and Tom. I guess that's awesome...?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fast-Talk Debate in an Accelerated World

From the Chronicle of Higher Education

I liked the article, but I really enjoyed Caitlin Bruce's response, and the thought it generated from me was: we need more women coaching debate. I don't think it's coincidental that when I started coaching, the USNA squad went from 90% guys with a woman here and there, to approximately 50% women, within 5 years. (And that's at a school where women make up less than 25% of the student women are actually statistically overrepresented on our team!) The numbers particularly jumped when Favorite Intern/ALW/La Capitaine (ok ok already, it's Kelsey) took a leadership role on the team. Having strong female role models in debate encourages women to stay in the activity because they believe they can be successful.

The other strong feeling I had reading the article, was when she mentioned Scott Deatherage's close relationship with his debaters. I remember feeling so sad for his former debaters when he died, as I did when Ross Smith from Wake died, but maybe terribly, I also felt a little bit of jealousy. My relationship with our coaches was not nearly as close as that, and I think a lot of the things I do with my debaters stems from a desire to maintain close relationships with them after they graduate (and not just in the hopes that they will give the team a bunch of money when they become admirals). The closest thing I felt to that was when Frank Harrison died--there is still a hole in my heart every time our tournament starts up because it just feels SO HARD to run it without him--not because of his help necessarily, but because I knew he was there and he had my back, particularly in those early years when I had no idea what I was doing.

So those are my thoughts...anybody else care to jump in?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Peaches and Cream

LOFT Cardigan
Banana Republic Dress (I wore this to my wedding shower over 5 years ago...)
Sam and Libby Shoes

Monday, July 11, 2011

Tom's on a roll

Chicken chile verde enchiladas (without the tortilla)
Black bean salad

Tom made this for dinner. I know it looks not the most appetizing (also, quit judging me for having chips in my dinnerware), but it was amazing. He did the enchilada filling in the crockpot (hey, I'M the crockpot ninja in this relationship!).

To do the enchiladas you throw three chicken boobs and two cans of enchilada sauce in the crockpot with a chopped up jalepeno and some chopped red onion. Cook that sucker all day on low. Twenty minutes before you serve it, shred the chicken, then throw a whole bunch of shredded cheese on top so it gets all melty and awesome.

The black bean salad recipe is here.

Both are South Beach Phase 1 compatible--except for the corn in the salad which I conveniently ignore. The black bean salad is vegetarian.

::reaches into snaps jar::

Tom also did the dishes! TWO SNAPS FOR TOM!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pork Tenderloin with Brussels Sprouts in Mustard Cream Sauce

Tom made this tonight. Confession: Tom is the real chef of our relationship, even though I do most of the cooking. The cooking I do is, "put chicken and veggies in oven, bake at 400 til done". Tom's cooking involves actual recipes and purchase of fancypants ingredients that do not come in cans or live in our pantry till we inevitably need them. Anyway, this was swoon-worthy and delicious (and also South Beach Phase 1 friendly) and you should totally try it.

2 pints Brussels sprouts (1 1/2 lbs)

3-4 Pork Tenderloins, cubed
2 TBSP margarine or butter
1/2 cup nonfat half & half
2 T Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1/2 tsp salt

Chili powder or cajun seasoning

Olive oil

Cook sprouts in large amount of rapidly boiling salted water until tender, about 9-12 minutes.

While Brussels sprouts are boiling, take 3-4 pork tenderloins, cubed.

Toss with some chili powder or cajun seasoning and saute in olive oil until done.

Drain sprouts immediately in colander; hold under cold running water to stop cooking. Cut in quarters lengthwise.

Melt butter in large non-stick skillet. Add cream, mustard, thyme and salt. Cook over high heat, stirring often until thickened, about 4 minutes.

Add sprouts and pork; toss lightly to coat with cream. Cook just until heated through.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Superhero family!

J Crew Jackie Sweater, Perfect Tee, Bermudas, and Silk Tie Belt
Sperry Topsider Shoes

Today we went to a superhero themed birthday party for two little guys who are close friends of our family. CJ went as Wonder Woman, Tom went as The Hulk (hilarious if you know my giant but extremely mild-mannered husband) and I went as Super Mom. The shirt was made with an iron-on printer sheet (also how I made my "Ginger" tee shirt for Glee Live). I feel compelled to note that I almost did it in purple until I realized that I wanted to wear closed toe shoes (pedicures, I misssss youuuu) and could coordinate pink and green with my belt and shoes. Also, I think I have a J Crew Jackie Cardigan problem (to add to my shoe/bag problem). I just counted and I have 7 of them (white, charcoal, pink, purple, green, yellow, turquoise). Shut it down.

Friday, July 8, 2011

How to make the world's best chili

Ok, maybe I'm a little biased. But it's pretty good. You're gonna need a crockpot.

You'll also need:
1 lb of ground meat (lean beef, turkey, chicken, whatever)
1 8 0z can of tomato sauce
2 cans of diced tomatoes
2-3 cans of beans, drained (I use 1 white, 1 red, and 1 black)
1 can of corn, drained
1 small can of green chilies or jalepenos
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
red chili powder (to taste)
ground cumin (to taste)

Brown the ground beef. Throw everything into the crockpot. Mix it up really well. Turn the crockpot on "low" and cook for 5-6 hours. Serve it however you like to eat chili--we put shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of greek yogurt (instead of sour cream) on top.

This is great to make over the weekend and then eat the leftovers all week for lunch. It's South Beach Diet friendly, even in phase 1, if you don't put the corn in (or you can just cheat and eat the corn, I won't tell). You can also make it vegetarian if you don't put in the meat (um, duh) and add 1-2 more cans of beans.

Important notes from around the Interwebs

*Slavoj Zizek and Lady Gaga are now BFFLs:

1. If you don't know who Zizek is, then skip this article and count your lucky stars. (But if you do, read the McSweeney's article I linked because it's pretty funny.)
2.If you don't know who Lady Gaga is, see above and multiply by 100.

*USNA preppy enough for Brooks Brothers to sell USNA branded clothes:

(Come on, if you didn't know this you're living under a rock.)

*I think some big movie about witches or something premiered.

*Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum sign super-creepy and kinda racist document.

*Kate Middleton wears pantyhose, but is still adorable.

*Our homegrown style icon is still pretty darn adorable too.

*Last space shuttle launch!

*Betty Ford died. :(

Awkward/Awesome for the week


*Answering the door to get the mail without having a bra on. This used to be less essential but then I had CJ, so...awkward moment with the mailman when I realized I wasn't wearing one.

*It became painfully obvious that I don't like one of our department interns in a conversation with one of my colleagues and close friends who LOVES this intern. (I mean if name-dropping, importance-inflating jerks are your thing then you'd love him too.)


*Working with Favorite Intern (aka ALW). Who knew scanning backfiles and cleaning could be this much fun?

*Tuesday/Thursday lunches at the Officer Club. Feeling like a fancy lady, but getting unlimited soup and salad for $9 (including tip)? Epic.

*Starting this blog. Duh.

*Hanging out with CJ. Not to say it's all sunshine and roses but she's pretty funny and girlfriend knows how to have fun. (Watching Wonderpets in our PJs while we eat oatmeal cookies? YES PLEASE.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Q: How much do I love Etsy?

A: A lot.

I love that there is an online forum for buying stuff that other people have made. I love that I can find handmade and vintage jewelry (aka stuff that no one else has) for a reasonable sum of money. I love that they have treasuries that you can search by theme or color and that they feature some of them on the front page.

On Etsy you can save your favorites into a kind of virtual wishlist, so I thought I'd give my loyal readers a peek into my favorites.

1. The Emma-Pillsbury-Chaperones-The-Glee-Prom Dress:
In my head this was what she was wearing. The only reason I don't own this dress is that I have nowhere to wear it. I guess I could just pop into the office or Target with it on but people might look at me funny.

2. Preach, Sister:

3. Beaded Eyeglass Lanyard:
It's what all the fanciest debate coaches are wearing.

4. Lily of the Valley Bracelet:
My grandma and mom both grow these at their houses and they smell SO GOOD. My mom gave me some bulbs, but just like every other plant I've ever touched, they withered and died.

5. I heart DC:
The traffic is terrible, everything is expensive, I'm afraid of the crazies on the Metro, but still, I fluffy puffy heart you, District of Columbia.

6. 'Nuff said:

Judgment Pants firmly on and up

Today I went to the mall with yesterday's Adorable Letter Writer (who also took the photo of my outfit today! Hooray ALW!).

Some notes:
1. If your cutoff denim shorts are so short that you can see the pockets hanging down past the cutoff line, they are too short. This impact is supercharged when you are wearing cowboy boots and a tube top. Unless you are at work as an exotic dancer at a Country and Western themed strip club (but only while you are actually working, once you're off put some real pants on, and maybe a real shirt to go with them).

2. I have no quibble with ladies who do a little lifting or tucking or botoxing. But what you want to NOT look like is Cheetara from the Thundercats. Overbleaching your hair in conjunction with the plastic surgery is unhelpful when attempting to avoid this look.

(Woah that picture was bigger than I planned and I can't figure out how to resize it, so you're going to have to live with it. It's cool, cause in like 30 years I'm showing this to my plastic surgeon and saying "make me look nothing like this" so it's good to have a big picture for reference.)

3. Mall kiosk people who harass you are the worst. I'm pretty sure that hell, if it exists, is being forced to walk through the mall over and over again while people try to sell you stuff that is such crap that department stores won't hawk it and it needs to get sold in a booth. ALW notes that the absolute worst ones are the ones that insult you while trying to sell you stuff. She had this happen regarding her fingernails, with one of those buffing kits. I've had a similar thing go down with a guy trying to sell me an overpriced flat iron.

Dude: Do you straighten your hair?
Me: No (blatantly lying as I'm trying to race past him).
Dude: Well you really should, it would look much better.
Me: Ok, really? Seriously? (Then we stopped talking.)

Bro, I don't want to be a bitch, but I have a real job and you work in the mall selling stuff out of a booth, so maybe you can keep your feelings on my hair to yourself. Just saying.

Other than that, successful mall run, except ALW didn't buy anything and she's kind of been on the hunt for clothes that reflect her new status as successful-adult-with-a-job (now, she wears a uniform to work so this isn't super crucial but it's still fun). She asked me to do a post on figuring out your personal style--but I'm not sure I'm qualified for that.

Thursday outfit

Anthropologie Polynesia Greetings Dress
J Crew Jackie Cardigan
Black Katie and Kelly Slides (not shown)
Yellow Gianni Bernini Bag (on the desk)

This picture was taken in my office. No comment on whether I regularly take naps in that chair.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Shoes + Bag = Old?

Today I received a g-chat from one of my blog's biggest fans (I have at least 3, and only one of them is married to me).

It read:

Dear my favorite blogger,
Could you please write a blog about summer fashions including, but not limited to, why it's ok to not match your purse with your shoes?
shoes and purse matching queen

It just so happens that I was recently reading the super-cute blog "Fabulous Florida Mommy" and her series of posts about Ines de la Fressange's book on Parisian style, and came across this post:

Now, if you blow up the scan of the book, you can see that it says "By all means, match the color of your shoes and bag if you're under 30. After that, prepare to age 10 years..."

This caused me to choke on my ever-present cup of coffee for 2 reasons:

1. I didn't think this was optional when you were getting dressed up. If you're wearing black dress shoes you should have a black bag, silver shoes/silver bag, cream shoes/cream bag, etc. The exception to this rule in my view was if you were wearing an evening gown/cocktail dress with a bag that matched the evening gown and neutral shoes.

2. I'm about to turn 30 and I would like to not age myself 10 years. Particularly given that my debaters assume that I'm 10 years older anyway...I'd like to do what I can to counter that image, not encourage it.

I sat down and thought about this for a while (not too long...I don't want to give people the impression that I ruminated about this pressing fashion question for like hours or anything). It seems like the #1 takeaway is that rules are going away. (Generally I like rules--A LOT--but I guess it's good that when it comes to clothes we have more leeway.) The fact that a noted fashion-lady says it's passe and old fashioned to match your shoes and bag at least means that we don't always HAVE to match.

Rules are being replaced by personal style. I think if your personal style is vintage-y or very formal, then you can match your shoes and bag. You won't look old, you'll look like yourself.

You should allow yourself to be flexible. So instead of running out to buy yellow shoes to match my yellow purse (which I hardly ever wear because I couldn't figure out what to do with it), I can pick up the silver hardware on the bag with a pair of silver flats and a silver belt. Not super "matchy-matchy" (and thus old-looking), but contains elements that tie them together so it doesn't look like you turned off your lights before you got dressed.

Finally, you should do what makes you happy. If it makes you happy that your purse matches your shoes, then tell Ines de la Fressange to shove it (maybe just inside your head, that would probably be a weird thing to say out loud). Conversely, if (like my adorable letter writer did yesterday) you grabbed a purse and shoes and realized midway through the day that they don't match, don't sweat it. It probably looks cute anyway, and you're probably the only person who noticed that they weren't a perfect match. Or, if someone noticed, they probably thought "oh, how fashion forward of her! Non-matching accessories is the new awesome." Frankly I'm usually too worried about not spilling stuff all over my outfit to judge others' clothes (unless they're a serious trainwreck which Adorable Letter Writer NEVER is).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday Outfit

Anthropologie dress (can't remember the style name, it's an Elevenses brand)
J Crew Jackie Cardigan
Anne Klein Slides
Betsey Johnson Earrings

Emma Pillsbury: my style icon

Television isn't real. Wrap both hands around that concept and hold on tight.

So I love Glee. I used to be annoyed at the idea of Glee and was sort of hipsterishly "over it" before I sat down and watched an entire episode, and then I was hooked. Quite honestly most of the main characters annoy the sweet bejesus out of me. I mean Rachel, you're a psychopath. Finn, you're a moron. Quinn, you could be so awesome if you would just embrace the truly evil side of you again. Will, obviously the way to treat someone's serious mental illness is to bully her into confessing it to a bunch of high schoolers or forcing the issue in the cafeteria of her workplace, I mean duh. Etc. So I watch the show basically for Sue's (and sometimes Santana's) hilariously mean zingers and Brittany's adorable cluelessness.

AND, of course, to get style tips from the guidance counselor. I think it started because she's a redhead. "But that woman on Mad Men is a redhead, why aren't you all into her outfits?" Because both of my boobs together are still not the size of one of Christina Hendricks', and I don't want to dress like a vintage sex object...errr...secretary/pinup girl. I want to dress like a very colorful and somewhat quirky librarian. Emma opened me up to colors beyond green and purple. I can wear pink even! Peach! Potentially red though I haven't tried it! I can wear yellow and blue and green together in the same outfit and not look like a clown!

So besides color, what style tips have I picked up from Emma?

--You can never have too many bows. Or ruffles. Or ruffly bows.

--A skinny belt in pretty much every color of the rainbow is a MUST HAVE.

--That box of pins? That Great-Aunt Mimi left you? You know, butterflies and poodles and cranky-looking owls? Totally wearable. (Yes I actually did have a Great-Aunt Mimi.)

--You don't have to have LOTS of shoes, but the ones you do have must be fabulous. (You can also have lots of fabulous shoes, Emma doesn't judge you for your abundance.)

--Skirts and dresses make you feel feminine and adorable even when you're doing totally crappy work (like pulling file folders full of thousands of pages of ancient debate evidence out of Rubbermaid tubs to figure out if you need to scan it or not. Or making pamphlets or scrubbing down the common area of your workplace kitchen with an electric toothbrush).

--Pencil skirts are more flattering than you think they will be. Also true of clothing with higher waists.

--Anthropologie is Wonderland. J Crew is for serious clothes with good tailoring for not a ton of cash. Kate Spade is for clothes that only Pretend-People-In-Totally-Not-Real-TV-Shows wear into a high school.

*Credit for the Emma screenshot goes to the amazing blog What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear? Visit them at and revel in the Emma-ness.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Frugal(ish) summer beauty tips

So as a professor, I go on unpaid leave during the summer. (Not all institutions do this but mine does.) This isn't a huge deal, but it does mean that we reduce our discretionary spending somewhat, so that we can continue to eat and pay our mortgage. (Priorities!)

Confession: I am a beauty product and services addict, y'all. There is nothing I love more than getting a haircut and a facial and then buying a brand new tube of mascara. But that stuff costs bank, so I try to cut back on it over the summer. However, the flip side of that is that I don't want to look like a crazy hermit ("Oh look, apparently Danielle vacationed in a cave in the desert this summer!"), so I try to swap out my full-priced indulgences for cheaper alternatives where I can.

Hair Care:
So my regular routine is getting my hair colored and cut every 6 weeks. I'm pretty low maintenance with products--I use Aveda Madder Root Shampoo (for red hair) and their Rosemary Mint conditioner. I occasionally use some Aveda Confixor gel and I use a dime-sized dab of Moroccan oil every time I shampoo.

Getting my hair cut and colored costs about $150 every 6 weeks. That thud you just heard was when my mom passed out and hit the ground--sorry Mom, should have warned you.

I've been trying to grow my hair out so I haven't gotten it cut since late April, and I'm not planning on doing it again until August, so that's been saving me some money. To prevent split ends I'm shampooing less (every other day or every third day when I can stand it, saving money on shampoo and conditioner right there!), being religious about applying the Moroccan oil, and trying to heat style less.

What's really saving me some cash though is doing my own haircolor at home. I explained my situation to my hair guru Max and he signed off on it, before letting loose a huge dis on L'Oreal haircolor ("it will dry your hair right out and ruin it and we'll have to cut it off!") and making me swear to use Clairol.

On Max's recommendation, I've been using Clairol Nice N Easy #108, Natural Reddish Blonde. I bought a 3 pack on Amazon: so that should last me through the summer. The color looks great. If I weren't so lazy I'd keep doing it myself, but honestly I love going to the salon to have it done and I'm going to be there for a haircut anyway.

I honestly get these more than I should, even when money isn't tight. Doing my own fingernails is one thing but getting my feet super-smooth and sandal ready is a chore that I'm definitely willing to outsource. However, I've found a new secret weapon: Pretty Hands and Feet! It's a lotion-like product; you rub a dab into your hand or foot and keep rubbing. It's kind of like in elementary school when you rubbed Elmer's glue into your skin and then peeled it off (don't lie, we all did it), except here, you rub away your nasty layers of old dead skin.

It's kind of therapeutic. I do it sitting on the edge of the tub right before I shower, so I don't have to walk around with little balls of rolled up skin all over me. Slap on some seriously moisturizing lotion (Neutrogena makes a great foot cream!) and you're ready for some polish.

I always balk at paying like $8 for a bottle of OPI until I stop and consider that buying an entire BOTTLE of nail polish, even the really good stuff, costs less than one professional manicure. OPI also stays on for a long time, even their darker colors. Thus, I love it. Apparently lilac and coral are what all the hip kids are wearing. Right now I have on bright red (Friar Friar Pants on Fire! by OPI) from 4th of July festiveness but it looks kind of weird with my red hair so I'll probably ditch it in favor of something more summery soon.

Skin care:
So facials are just about my favorite thing ever. Unfortunately they are REAL expensive and seem kind of silly in the summer, because I'm just going to go out in the sun and make my skin terrible again anyway. I can have Irina (my super-tough Ukranian aesthetician--side note, is it a requirement that you be Ukranian to give facials? Because I don't think I've ever had a facialist who wasn't from Ukraine.) yell at me once in August for spending too much time in the sun and not moisturizing enough, or I can have her do it three times in the summer. I choose once, because Irina is a little scary.

I keep up with the rest of my skincare routine throughout the summer. I don't know how I lived without my Clarisonic, which I use once a day. I also use Philosophy Microdelivery Mini Peel Pads once a day. Both are kind of on the pricey side but together they keep my skin clean and exfoliated which means I can go longer between facials without looking like something you dug up in your backyard.

The other budget plus in the skincare category is the fact that I go out in public much less during the summer than I do in the other seasons. By public, I mean places where you feel you have to wear makeup--not like a Target run. (Let's face it, the Maryland frat boys are going to say vaguely creepy things to me in Target regardless of whether I'm wearing makeup or not, so why bother?) This not only saves me money on the makeup itself, but also on the stuff I use to take off my warpaint. Further, when I do go in to the office or out to a place where you want to look like a functioning adult and not like a sleep-deprived middle school student (I'm short, remember?), I find myself wearing considerably less makeup, possibly because I know I'm just going to sweat it all off anyway, or possibly because the heat makes me too lazy to spend more than 5 minutes doing anything. Tinted moisturizer, neutral eyeshadow, waterproof mascara, BLAMMO, we're done here. Put on lipgloss when I get where I'm going, because let's face it, I'm probably going to have like 3 drinks before I get there, so why put on lipgloss just to leave it on a cup?

Hair Removal:
Skimping here sucks. Don't do it. Invest the $50 or whatever in the bikini wax. I've Nair-ed in a pinch before (Impromptu pool party!) and always always ALWAYS regret it later, when the stubble starts to grow in. TERRIBLE. F. Wax it and then forget about it for 6-8 weeks.

Ok readers, do you have any tips for saving money on summer beauty? Disagree with any of my scrimping and pinching? Tell me about it!

What's in your purse?

This was a fun internet meme going around a while ago. I'm late to the party, but that's pretty much par for the course for me. When I first started seeing these I thought it was kind of a personal question--I mean, next are you going to show me what's in your underwear drawer? But it was actually interesting to see what people keep in their purses, and it can tell you a lot about a person. For instance, one of my debaters always keeps food in her purse (or backpack) because if she doesn't eat every 3 hours or so she turns into a Gremlin (just kidding...sorta).

I kind of cheated on this, because I left out the stuff I would take along with me when I'm out on tour with CJ (Pull-ups, extra clothes for her, wipes, food, toys, etc), which forces me to move from "normal sized purse" to "OMG can we put wheels on this thing".

Anyway, what's in my purse? And more interestingly, why is it in there?

1. Wallet: You can see my ID for work sticking out of the top. Why's it so small? When I travel for work I have to carry a laptop with me. Carrying 2 separate shoulder bags sucks, but so does having to lug a 15 lb laptop bag with me because it's my "purse". So when I travel I use a crossbody bag that just fits this tiny wallet and my phone and keys, and I keep all the other stuff in the laptop bag.

2. "Blah Blah" pouch: The dark side of having a tiny wallet is that the 300,000 store loyalty cards I carry around won't fit in it, so I keep them all in here, plus coupons and punch cards and assorted other paper crap. I should probably clean that out, now that I think about it.

3. Makeup bag: Which contains tissues, 2 Bare Escentuals Buxom Lipglosses, an Aveda lipstick, Bare Escentuals powder sunscreen (LOVE this stuff, it goes on like loose powder over your makeup but it's an SPF 30), blotting papers, nail file, band-aids, Dayquil, Listerine strips, and a hair tie (I usually have one on my wrist too).

4. Betsey Johnson sunglasses and case: A responsible adult would put her sunglasses back in the case when she wasn't wearing them. Mine are either parked on my forehead or tossed in my bag NOT in the case. So why do I carry the case? Mysteries like these are probably beyond both of our pay levels.

5. Keys: My keys have a keychain that is also a bottle opener. It has on it Joan Crawford's famous quote "Don't f--k with me fellas. This ain't my first rodeo." There are times when I need both the slogan and the bottle opener close at hand.

6. Pens: I'm really surprised I only have 2 pens in this purse. Generally I have approximately 46 tossed in there. Obviously one is pink. I generally have a purple one in there too. I once offered one of my debaters a choice between a pink pen and a purple pen, which was all I had. He gave me a crazy look and said "Who are you? Debate Coach Barbie?" (Yes. Yes I am.)

Not pictured: My iPhone, because it was taking the picture. I was late to this game too, I think I got it in the fall of 2009, but now I can't imagine how I lived without it. Need directions? iPhone! Forgot your camera? iPhone! Need to look up the debate caselist but can't get internet on the laptop for some reason? iPhone! Need to entertain a pissy 3 year old who's been sitting in the doctor's waiting room with an ear infection for 45 minutes? iPhone!!!!

The purse itself is a white patent leather Kate Spade that is like 10 years old. I have both a shoe problem and a handbag problem (well, only a problem in the sense that I'm running out of places to put them), so I switch purses a lot. For summer, this and a silver Michael Kors bag are definitely my favorites.

Anyway readers, what's in YOUR purse (or backpack, or satchel, or man-purse, we don't judge here)?

::tap tap:: Is this thing on?

I am a voracious consumer of blogs. I read them all the time--fashion blogs, parenting blogs, politics blogs, all sorts of blogs. I'm a blog-nerd. I've been tossing around the idea of starting a blog for a while but was intimidated because I didn't think I'd have the time, and I couldn't imagine anyone being interested in my random ramblings.

Then I realized--I make people laugh, and I have interesting things to say, and sometimes I wear cute clothes. Also, I'm kind of an attention whore. Which would make me a great blogger! And I have a lot of free time because I teach so the summers are a long boring stretch of boringness for me, so blogging will be something for me to do.

For my inaugural post, I found a list of questions A-Z that would do a pretty decent job of telling you something about me.

A. Age: I'll be 30 in November.

B. Bed Size: Queen. Wish we had a king but it would probably take up the entirety of our "master bedroom", as we live in a house built in the early 1950s.

C. Chore you dislike: Almost all of them. I enjoy grocery shopping and I don't terribly mind laundry but I hate almost everything else. I can't wait for the day when we make enough money to outsource cleaning.

D. Dogs: We don't have one but my parents have a Siberian Husky named Cassie who is absolutely gorgeous and super sweet.

E. Essential start to your day: Coffee OMG COFFEE.

F. Favorite color: Pink, with purple as a close second.

G. Gold or silver: Silver. I used to have a pretty even split of gold/silver jewelry but my wedding set is white gold so most of my jewelry is in white metals to match. I know it's ok to mix metals now but I still feel weird about it.

H. Height: 5'2 (shorty!)

I. Instruments you play(ed): Piano and I was TERRIBLE at it. I have approximately zero eye-hand coordination.

J. Jelly bean flavor: Watermelon and strawberry.

K. Kids: One, a four year old girl we call CJ. She is spunky and hilarious and has fabulous style.

L. Lucky number: I don't have one, which is weird maybe? I feel like it's something I should have but I never had a strong connection to a number.

M. Month: May--not too hot, school's ending but the boredom of summer hasn't set in, and everything is really pretty (nature, clothes, etc). I'm generally a fan of fall weather and clothing as well, but September and October are crazy for me because of debate season. By November, it's pretty chilly here and often rainy too.

N. Nicknames: Daisy.

O. Overnight hospital stays: I was in the hospital for 4 days when my daughter was born (she stayed for 3 weeks), as she was a preemie and I had an emergency C-section. Fortunately our hospital was the bomb--the food was actually good, the nurses were AWESOME, and a masseuse came and taught my husband how to give me a massage.

P. Pet peeves: Too many to list here--I'm sure you'll hear plenty of rants from me about them. I will say I love rules and people who gratuitiously break them for no reason irritate me.

Q. Quote from a movie: "Smoky, this isn't 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules."--Walter Sobchak, The Big Lebowski

R. Righty or lefty: Lefty.

S. Siblings: 1 brother. If you think I'm awesome and hilarious, it's just because you haven't met him yet.

T. Time you wake up: This varies drastically based on season and even day of the week. If I'm not awake by 8 it's because my husband got up to play with CJ and is giving me a sleep-in. So it's generally either early or REALLY REALLY early.

U. Underwear: Is a MUST. Not optional, people.

V. Vegetables you don't like: Celery freaks me out because of the strings. Not wild about cucumbers or bell peppers. I don't like tomato on or in things (not on a sandwich or in a salad) but I like it alone.

W. What makes you run late: The kid. Or dillydallying on the internet, or sometimes the weather in the winter. But usually the kid.

X. X-rays you've had: Just my teeth. (This is a weird question...I assume it's just to use up the letter X? Are there people out there who are really curious about the number and types of X-rays that strangers have had?)

Y. Yummy food you make: People are really into my chili and my shredded BBQ chicken. I am a crockpot ninja.

Z. Zoo animal favorites: Gorillas and pandas.