Friday, December 30, 2011

Wanna see this movie!

Amazon.com
Read the books in record time last summer after my godmother loaned them to me.

Watched a bit of the original Swedish movie on a bus ride to ... somewhere... knowing me, probably DC or Boston but not sure at this point.  Anyway, I was watching/listening to the movie on my laptop via Netflix while I was also doing work/writing a paper.  I had to keep covering up the movie because I knew when the uber-graphic/terrifying parts would happen.  Also, I didn't want the people sitting next to and behind me to think I was watching some crazy super-BDSM p*rn (if you've read the book you know exactly what parts I'm talking about).  I was actually surprised at how accurately they stuck to the book.

And after reading the New York Times review, I can't wait to see the movie!  I'm still a bit queasy about the awful s*x/r*pe scenes (again, it was pretty graphic in the book and I'm not looking forward to a film portrayal).  Not sure what I'll do - perhaps wait to watch the airplane version?  I remember I watched "The Other Boleyn Girl" on a plane first and then when I watched it on Netflix I was like OMG HOW CAN I NOT REMEMBER THE R*PE SCENE!?!?!?  It's because there's a carve-out in copyright law that allows editing of graphic/violent parts of movies that are distributed for airplane viewing.

*All the asterisks are so I can hopefully still access my blog through my super-conservative work filter.

DIY Edible Gifts in Jars.

I forget where I first saw this idea first, but this winter, being low on funds and also creatively energized by all the baking I've been doing, I decided to make and give DIY food gifts.

This site was really helpful for inspiration.  I ended up using recipes from this site but made my own tags with a few tweaks to the recipes.

Behold:

Set 1: Baked s'mores on the left and chai tea on the right (doubled the chai tea recipe).

Set 2: Sugar cookies, Baked s'mores, and Chocolate chip muffins.  Added Ninjabread cookie cutters for their two boys, a ballerina cookie cutter for my goddaughter, and adorable printed muffin tins.

Finished product!


 Unfortunately, I was a bad elf and missed my delivery day because I got wrapped up in organizing the laundry room hehe.  Will be giving them out this weekend =)


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Under the weather.

But going to work anyway. A little late but still gotta go. It never ceases to amaze me how hard life is when I'm sick. And I mean in a very practical sense of "hard."

The very act of walking to the kitchen for a glass of water is nigh impossible. I get there and I'm out of breath and dizzy. Every single thing I have to do seems monumental.

Getting out of bed is never easy to begin with and when I'm sick it's seriously such a chore. Getting dressed takes my breath away. Washing up takes forever because I need to take breaks every minute to catch my breath and orient myself.

Admittedly I woke up a little late (NyQuil induced sleep hits me hard) but it also took an inordinate amount of time to get ready. And I did the bare minimum. No makeup or special hair today. And I also just realized I'm not wearing any jewelry either. Really dropped the ball today.

I hope I make it til 5. It's hard to concentrate and do any work when I feel like this but it's really the commute that takes its toll. Being in those enclosed spaces with a bunch of other germ-harboring folks and all the stimuli! All those smells and noises and the pushing and keeping my balance in the subway. It's like sensory overload on an already wired to the brink system.

I just want to crawl back into be and sleep all day. Alas, this is less acceptable for grownups than children for some reason. I'm a huge advocate of ppl staying home when they are less than 100%. Why risk a longer period of semi-invalid status when a few days of nothing but absolute rest will do more to restore your system?

One last thought, if I weren't begging off for a week in the middle of January, I'd totally have stayed home today, too. :/

P.s. I'm scheduling this for later in the day. So don't worry- I'm not actually going in at noon.

Grinch-tastic nails.

So, I don't think I've written about this yet, but a few months ago I joined Birchbox, a monthly subscription service that sends a personalized (based on your input) box of makeup samples to your door.  I heard about it over at Capital Hill Style and decided to try it out for myself.  So far, I'm pretty pleased with the service.

You can set your preferences as to what types of goodies you receive and such.  One of the settings says I like nailpolish.  This is true - I like nailpolish. A lot.  And Birchbox has been great about sending me seasonal and trendy nailpolish.

I think the problem is that I'm not a "seasonal and trendy" person.  The grey is an example of a trendy fall/winter color (for the past two years now) and the green is festive and Christmas/wintergreen-y I suppose.  However, on me, I just look like I'm trying too hard (to be cool? to be young? to be... anyone but me?).


I've done the grey alone and it's passable.  But the green is much harder for me to digest.  And not just because I'm a lawyer.  I think there's something about me that just isn't a glittery emerald nail-rockin' kinda gal.  And it's not that I don't do awesome colors - I'm rocking the glittery fuschia and purple combo below RIGHT NOW.



I think it's that - the pink and purple is still a little girly and perhaps sassy in a cute, cheeky "girl power" way.  The green is just a tinge more bad*ss.  It's like how I'd feel in a micromini and cleavage-baring top (not even).  It's how uncomfortable I'd feel in a shoulder-revealing top.  It's like I'm advertising myself as someone that I'm not.

Strange, that a nailcolor can make me feel (and think) so much!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Art, after all.

After all the hullabaloo and hearing/reading/discussing "the Walmart museum" in law school for 3 years, it's finally happened.


Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Wonder if I'll ever make it down to Arkansas to see it?

Organization Vacation: Laundry Room.

Continued from this post.

I must admit I was inspired by Kristen over at The Frugal Girl.  She somewhat recently cleaned up/out her laundry room.

I kept ignoring my laundry room thinking: this isn't my house so it's not my problem (temporarily camped out at my parents).  But I don't think that's fair PLUS it's really been bothering me.

Here are some before photos:

View from the doorway - seriously disorganized shelves (and a whole lot of random stuff including garbage underneath).

Corner of randomness that is impossible to get to.

Floor is covered by drying rack with dry pants from 3 weeks ago and bags of clothes we mean to donate.

So yesterday, on my one day off for the holiday season, I decided to tackle the laundry room.  And I MUST say I feel SO SO good.

For starters I moved clothes that weren't really drying (winter coats) and put them where they belong in the foyer closet.
Shelves next to doorway - I grouped by category and found acceptable storage containers for winter accessories and sports paraphernalia.

Consolidated cleaning supplies and excess paper products into the previously useless corner. AND I made a bucket of gift wrapping materials!

Bagged the "to-donate" bins and put them in the trunk to drop off.
The biggest challenge for most people in cleaning projects is that it gets a LOT worse before it gets better.  You have to take everything out and it looks messier than it originally was - but once you sort through all that it gets better!

I always start with dividing into 3 categories: 1. Garbage, 2. Belongs here, 3. Belongs somewhere else.  This makes it easy to figure out what has to go back into the space.  Garbage is the easiest to take care of usually (unless you have a horde of batteries and weird electronics and biochemical waste).  Then the "belongs somewhere else stuff" - just take it out of the space you're organizing.  Even if you have to temporarily move it back - it's super helpful to see the space with JUST the stuff that HAS to go there so you can figure out what to put where.  Anyway, I didn't have to buy anything new - enough garbage/stuff for other rooms came out of the storage containers in the laundry room that all I had to do was re-purpose.  So instead of holding a bunch of garbage and random stuff, each container now has a purpose: plastic bin of scarves, plastic bin with sports stuff, bucket of Daddy's hats, all the plastic bags are in the tall metal garbage can, etc.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Do happy lawyers exist?

Available at Amazon.com

Available at Amazon.com
Always a good question to ask, not only about careers in general, but for the one that you are currently pursuing.

I always assumed that lawyering was a means to an end for me.  A way to make contacts and gain necessary life experience and marketable job skills for whatever it is I decide I'm passionate about (writing my memoirs in short essays; opening my own day care/nursery school; becoming a professional organizer).

In this Corporette thread discussing whether happy lawyers exist, the ladies dole out some great insight.  I especially liked how Kat mentioned that there are people who like law school and people who like practicing law. 

I'm not sure where I fall right now, because when I started law school I LOVED IT.  But I loved it relative to what I had been doing - being an English-speaking puppet for a country-bumpkin school in Korea for a year (disagreeing wholeheartedly with everyone I had to take orders from not only about education methods and materials but also with the actual substance that I was teaching).

Compared to "working," I fell back into law school and loved it.  I loved preparing for class - I loved thinking there was a right answer, I loved the class discussions and the intellectualness of it all.  THEN, I started to dislike it.  After having "worked," I realized that school is NOT such a big deal.  Missing a reading or getting something wrong in class was NOT the end of the world - I had been in worse "emergency" situations in the past year and survived.  And perhaps that's where I got too lax.

Although I appreciate the perspective that "working" gave me - that a bad answer or less than stellar grade wasn't the end of the world (there ARE other people whose bad decisions and bad consequences are much worse than "a B+! Oh, NO!!!"), I also think it let me be too forgiving of myself.  In that vein, I also lost focus of what I wanted.  Since nothing seemed to be a life or death matter for me, I stopped asking myself the hard questions: What did I want to do?  What did I like to do?  What made me feel good?  What could I see myself doing for the next 20-30 years of my life?

Even now, I don't know if there are any "happy" lawyers - for a lot of my friends it seems like this is the lot they chose and now they must make do.  And there's a sense of not being able to complain because we are considered so lucky (can't complain about your challenging lawyer job when there are so many people fighting for those positions).  Nonetheless, it seems like the job is something some of them merely "put up with" - but for what?  The money?  Perhaps, we are, presumably, responsible adults who understand how education loans work and the promise we made to pay them back. 

But what else?  Why are my friends lawyers?  So many of them spoke of "changing the world," "making a difference," "helping people who really need it," and now nearly all of them are working in BigLaw at large firms who cater to corporate clients - more often than not defending their clients from indigent or vulnerable folks who have (most likely) been taken advantage of.

I believe I may have lost my kernel of thought - but I guess, I wish I knew more to finding this answer.  I recently attended a networking event of women from my undergraduate alma mater and was not surprised to find that I was 1 of 5 JDs in the room.  I WAS disappointed to find that I was 1 of 2 currently practicing attorneys and that the other 3 had transitioned into completely non-law-related careers and the 1 practicing attorney had just moved from commercial litigation to an in-house gig and that they were ALL SO HAPPY with their choices to leave practicing BigLaw.

One last note, the guys I've met (who are lawyers) seem to be more accepting, if not satisfied, with their lives as lawyers.  On the flip side, many of the women I've met are much more unhappy and much more vocal about their unhappiness.  Unfortunately, I'm a woman - so guess what the odds are saying?

One real last note, I think it's important to consider if you're really happy in your job, but it's probably also worth considering if you NEED to be really happy in your job.  I've never been one to define myself by my career - and so my career is not where I get the "meaning" or "purpose" in my life.  As long as my career/job gives me the means to do what I want OUTSIDE of work and doesn't interfere with my life outside of work too much/unnecessarily, I think I'd find myself pretty happy.

This isn't a very focused post - but just some thoughts thrown together around a fairly loose topic...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Organization Vacation!

Middle of a (hopefully) one day organization project. Yes, this is what I CHOOSE to do with my free time. :)

And why I'm going to be the most successful professional organizer you know. One day...

UPDATE HERE.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Never again.

Never driving in NYC again. Not on Christmas. Not through Times Square. How naive of me to think people would be home with their families. Tsk tsk. Not a fan of rookie mistakes :(

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Things I appreciate (right now).

When my friends make me breakfast.

It's so sunny out!!!

My jeans are quite a bit loose.

Being able to text my cousin in Korea Merry Christmas (even if I accidentally woke her up).

Going to assemble some fun Christmas gifts with my sister.

Possibly baking for tomorrow's friendsy Christmas dinner?

Not being a n00b on the bus.

And something I ALWAYS appreciate: GLITTER NAIL POLISH!!!


Friday, December 23, 2011

So, umm... experiments.

Sad poinsettia

It appears my poinsettia did not approve of the tea.  Wish I had a before and after - yesterday it was merely droopy.  Today it is all black spotted and diseased and floppy (floppy being even droopier than droopy).

Oh, well.  Lesson learned - poinsettias don't like Solomon's Seal tea (what we call doong-gool-leh).  My fittonia, on the other hand, is doing just fine.

So, 1 for 2.  I'm ok with that.

Apologies.

I've got a BUNCH BUNCH BUNCH of blog post/ideas in the works.  I've just been SUPER busy this week (I'm actually doing work at work!) plus there have been a bunch of after-work events I've been attending (the rush before the holidays and all).  BUT I'll try and line up a bunch of posts - there's a few good thinkers coming through.

Happy Holidays to all!!! (will do a more festive one I swear).

And my pre-gift to you: a look at my SERIOUSLY messy room (this is like ... heresy, against me).

My room when I come home late for 4+ nights
UGH ... I literally threw up in my mouth a little just looking at this.  SO GLAD I CAME HOME (semi-) EARLY tonight and cleaned that mess up.  It's like I can breathe again... aahhhhhh... =)

Holy poopers, it's past 1am ... UGH so late!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Innovation!

My poinsettia looked a little droopy. So, I watered it with my tea. Brilliant, right? :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Useful Tuesday: Use a (hard) lunchbox.

My current lunchbox is a soft reusable bag from Bare Minerals. Look what my commute did to my bananas and mini banana cream pies. Very sad face. :(

Monday, December 19, 2011

Marketing that makes women feel insecure works.

Walking on sidewalk to orthodontist appointment and a sandwich board guy for eyebrow waxing looks at me and laughs under his breath. Now I'm totally self conscious about my eyebrows. Should I go in and get them done? O.o

Source: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_wvXioOT-BeA/TCu3KTAUufI/AAAAAAAAALQ/NGarSD-qoSM/s1600/bushy+1.jpg

The man who looked at things.

And to acknowledge the passing of a man who looked at things: http://kimjongillookingatthings.tumblr.com/ (via my good friend WM).

What is wrong with these men?

Image source
So a guy friend brought this to my attention a few years ago: the two voicemails left by "Dmitri" for Olga.

But this other crazy guy via the Internet is new to me (via intern in my office): i-banker's email about being led on.

Seriously, where do these guys come from?  What is their deal?

Their neuroses are not actually what I have a problem with.  To be honest, it sounds exactly like the post-incident super-analysis a (normal) girl would do.  WITH HER GIRLFRIENDS.  IN PRIVATE.  WITHOUT EVER SHARING THESE THOUGHTS WITH THE GUY.

The truly notable thing about these two incidents, other than the fact that they were made public and viral via the Interweb, is the amount of time and energy that the guy put into their response (to the girl's in/action).  Most guys are either "into" a girl or not.  And when a girl dismisses a guy she's NOT into, it usually gets brushed off.

You don't see a whole film genre or subset of TV shows revolving around men getting together and discussing/analyzing their love lives (HIMYM might seem like an exception but it's about one guy telling his kids about his dating life - not sitting around with his guy friends at brunch dishing about his weekend escapades a la Sex and the City).  Although I'll admit I'm seeing a lot more of "sensitive guy dealing with girl issues" in the past few years, it's usually just one part of the guy's character - the show or movie itself is not about the sensitive guy sitting around over-analyzing his girl problems with his bro-sephs (movies like "(500) Days of Summer" - albeit still at the rate of perhaps 1 or 2 films a year).

I'm not gonna get all sexist and generalize and say that men shouldn't have feelings or thoughts.  But you see things like the voicemails and email above and you just wanna say, YOU'RE A GUY.  SHE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU.  GET OVER IT.

So, here's my PSA: Dudes everywhere, please don't be a creepster.  I'm not gonna lie, sometimes ladies can be confusing: some girls are shy and we're told to deflect attention or play hard-to-get.  So if you must, then please push GENTLY, ask her out once again BUT NICELY.  If she still says NO, or nothing at all, let it go.  You are not going to convince me/us/her to date you with your horribly offensive overanalysis of my mental state and childhood experiences based on our chance encounter in the street (in the case of Dmitri) or your crazy overanalysis of our one dinner date (iBanker).  Trust me, there's enough of that overanalysis going on over here from the lady's POV.

Edit: This latter example of a "crazy guy" in the form of a "JPMorgan Don Juan" was just brought to my attention - although I must say this is a quite different context, it still merits a mention (the 1st two being overcritical "Why don't you like me?" pleas after an initial contact that resulted in no followup and this JPMorgan guy being someone who is taking a breakup UBER-badly - in a lying crazy stalker way).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How I Met Your Mother: Symphony of Illumination

Was it just me, or did anyone else cry at the end of this episode?

I've always been told I'm uber-sensitive, but the way Ted takes care of Robin, saying how he doesn't need to know why she's upset but that it'll always be his job to cheer her up... GAHHHHH!!!!  (synopsis here)

My mom's always told me that true "wealth" or "riches" comes in the form of true friends.  The kind that will do anything for you and love you no matter what - the kind of friends who are there for you and will pick you up when you fall (especially when you fall and don't want to get up).


Maybe it's part of getting older, growing apart, living in different places.  But I felt like I had those kinds of best friends in college and now I'm not as sure.  Maybe I'm just not in such a bad place - and if I were those friends would come running, infantry charging.  Because that's the good thing about "forever friends" - you don't have to be the kind that talk everyday or see each other all the time - you've already forged that foundation and you have someone you can count on.

I do miss it though - miss having someone you can tell anything to. Someone to call anytime and they are there for you.  Without judging.  With absolute discretion.  Someone who is outside of your situation but on your side. Someone who may not get what you're going through but is a good listener and supporter nonetheless.  Who knows how to just let you be you without the pressure to be perky and happy and perfect all the time.  Someone who doesn't pressure you into being just a "fun" friend.


I've watched the entire SATC series and both movies and I have to say, I'm not jealous of the clothes, shoes, parties, fabulous apartments, etc. I'm so admirous(? do I mean envious?) of their bond.  In the first movie when all the girls drop everything (job, kids, family, etc.) after SJP gets stood up at her wedding to support her.  That's what I want - not (just) Manolo Blahniks or a beautiful UES apartment or a fabulous job, I want just a handful of women who I know would come be with me at the drop of a hat. Just because I need it.

And THAT, kids, is why I cried at the end of HIMYM - because Ted is that kind of a friend to Robin and it was SO BEAUTIFUL AND HEARTWARMING!!!

Inspiration and Execution: A *casual* work look!

More work outfits!  Sorry my life is so boring - I wish I could do posts of fun outfits, but I really do just wear work clothes and having always interned and worked in law offices rather than in fun fashiony jobs, my work clothes are rather tame.  But hopefully, I can use this as a space to reflect on how to "jazz up" a rather boring template.

So, here's a rather casual Friday outfit.

Inspired by Belle from Capitol Hill Style (for her - featuring the peeptoe flats again but for me, I liked the pairing of the casual blue shirt with a black pencil skirt).

I also came across this Polyvore set I'd saved a while ago (I have no idea what I would've saved it for - normally I look up specific pieces that I have trouble with and save a bunch of sets that use that one item but I don't recall looking for any of the pieces in this set - maybe brown boots?).

I don't have a chambray shirt, honestly I'm not a "casual" person (lol!) and have no idea how I would wear it in real life unless I were... calling in the ranch hands after a day of "working the land."  Nonetheless, using these two casual inspirations, I was able to create an outfit around a blue oxford polo shirt I had worn somewhat often to class and found much too casual to wear to work.

I actually liked doing a casual shirt with the black pencil skirt because it made it easy to wear brown and black together (with the brown helping make the black more casual).  Wore a dark brown belt and lighter brown ankle boots.  I think I wore a dark grey turtleneck but now think I could've done brown as well.  I wore black tights because of Belle's 2 out of 3 rule and my brown tights looked a little weird.

Good?  Bad?  Should I just give up trying to casual myself and stick with the formality that I'm comfortable with?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What does this say about me?

Last night I received the two following videos from friends via email:

From college guy friend: "this reminds me of your fighting skills"



From college girl friend: "THIS is how you meet your new husband...."

Inspiration and Execution: Sheer black blouse and Chanel-y jacket

I have this Milly blouse that I love but could only wear it out to bars with friends because I couldn't figure out how to make it more day/work-appropriate.  So when Belle at Capital Hill Style posted this Three Ways she helped solve one of my work conundrums: how to make a sheer black blouse work-appropriate.

My take:

My jacket is a little less Chanel-y than the inspiration jacket, but it's a white knit jacket with ladylike ruffles.

I'm horribly unphotogenic even when you can't see my face (how sad is that?).  I swear the outfit was SUPER-cute in person.  I got compliments at work and even my mom was super-impressed that morning and commented that I had put together a really good outfit.

I need to figure out how to take better pictures.  This is just getting embarrassing...

Blaghhh!!!

So late for work today. Bus is leaving now... Overturned tractor trailers will do that to one's schedule you know. AND I need to leave the office early... Must make up some serious time next week! :(

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Useful Tuesday: PR Pros Share Secrets on Getting to the Next Level

I think I saw this short article on Twitter somewhere and sent it to myself to read later.

Nothing too groundbreaking or new, but nothing wrong with a refresher.

I've always heard that the part I quote below is one of the hardest things for women in the workplace to do.  We're just not "taught" that this is acceptable behavior.

How important is tooting your own horn—how do you do it? What if you feel awkward about “bragging”? How can a woman overcome that?
Toot your own horn, just not too loudly. Strike a balance between passive and pesky. It's tricky, especially if you feel awkward about touting your accomplishments. One effective way is not only to pat yourself on the back, but also to pat others harder. When working on a team, don't just highlight the good work you are doing, include and promote co-workers' contributions as well.   
I was at the Harvard APALSA conference this past spring and attended a panel entitled "Women in Leadership."  I forget the exact list of speakers Here's the list of speakers (they were impressive).  One of the women said that you need a brag buddy - this is easier for women than bragging about yourself.  She said to get yourself a brag buddy, which is like a (lady) wingman but for networking events and such instead of bars and broads.  I really liked this idea because it seems a lot more natural and perhaps even more sincere when a friend is singing your praises rather than doing it yourself (of course, this might be harder to do within your own organization - especially if it's rather competitive - but you can find a brag buddy in a different department or specialty to do this for you with your own superiors at work events - and of course you should reciprocate!).  I've been trying to do it (secretly!) with one unni of mine at networking events I drag her to - I hope it works!

I will say, though, their last tip is one of the easiest and super-importantest ones to do.
What kind of paper follow-up do you need after an introduction or interview?
Send an email within 24 hours of the conversation; then a handwritten note within the week of the meeting; and make a follow-up phone call or email two weeks after the meeting if you haven't yet heard back. If you opt for the latter, it's always good to dig around for some industry news or relevant article tied to your conversation that you can share to show that you are still engaged.
 I don't know about the handwritten note (unless I was invited to coffee at the person's home or something similar that took more effort) but I try to email people that I've recently met (usually at a networking or bar event) within the next few days following up on something we discussed and asking if they wouldn't mind continuing that conversation.  Most people I've done this with have been very receptive.  Some people are very busy but even those people usually respond and say email or telephone works.  I'd highly recommend following up quickly though - you want to be one of the memorable ones!

Inspiration and Execution: Club Monaco Layers

I don't feel like thinking this week(end) so my pre-written, scheduled posts shall continue to be Inspiration and Executions.  This one is "fun" because it's not strictly a work outfit.  Although I think if you worked in a more casual office or switched up the pants for some trousers, it would be totally work appropriate.

A pretty layered look from Club Monaco's Spring 2012 collection (I believe).  Yup, just checked and I got the image from Mizhattan.






Wore my version of it out to lunch in the city this past Saturday.

Luckily, I already had all the basic pieces.  I did switch out the springy lightwash for a more season and weather-appropriate darker wash denim - but kept the (what my mother calls) "pantalones" shape, what I guess would be a wider leg trouser/bellbottom cut.

Club Monaco styled it with a brown bag and I like how it grounded an otherwise pale and potentially washed out palette.  I wore it with my Louis Vuitton Speedy 35 in Damier Ebene.

What do you think?  A pretty close interpretation, no?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Swearing in ceremony outfit: NJ edition.

So, I had posted a few weeks ago about what to wear to my swearing in ceremony for NJ.  I had quite a few helpful suggestions from my question over at Corporette (I'm comment 14).

I ended up going with the skirt suit because something about pants suits screams "CASUAL" and "HILLARY" (as in Clinton) to me.  And I pulled a hybrid for my shirt.  It was both a button-up and a silk blouse.  I wore a silk button-up blouse with a fancy ruffle collar (I wanted to wear something fun and festive and fancy to signal it wasn't just any other work day!).

Here are close-ups of the ruffle details from eBay (so you can see it's not just any old button-up):

Whole blouse (mine is gold)

Collar and cuff detail
Isn't the blouse lovely?  I think it was originally $495 or so at Saks but my wonderful mother purchased it on crazy-sale in the fall of 2008 (purging of merchandise when ppl stopped shopping after the financial mortgage crisis/collapse of the big banks) for something like $100.  I usually feel a bit too uncomfortable to wear something so luxe to my government workplace but it was perfect for a special event!

Originally tried black tights but something seemed a bit off.


And as the kind commenter AnonInfinity pointed out, collar out seemed a little wonky, so:

The official outfit in full was collar in, nude-for-me hose (except the sheen on the hose makes my calves look uber-wide):


Friday, December 9, 2011

Food on Friday 8. Birthday Cake.

So, late again - but here's today's Food post.

Being a recent graduate school grad and working at a government fellowship left me (more than) a little low on funds this year, so I offered to bake my sister a cake, ANY cake, she desired for her birthday.  This was a simple enough request and I received a simple enough answer: funfetti cake.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with funfetti cake, a picture below:
Funfetti Cake

So, being an aspiring gourmand, I looked up homemade versions of a white cake and even looked up how to make homemade sprinkles from scratch!  But no, she didn't want ANY of that.  She just really wanted funfetti cake with NO icing.  I mean, I'm not a fan of icing either but a cake with no icing just looks ugly and naked.  I wanted to make her a BEAUTIFUL FABULOUS BIRTHDAY CAKE.

Finally, I convinced my sister to let me make a frosting for people who don't like frosting (of which I am one).  And she caved.  The process, below.

The recipe for the cake is from the box.  I found the frosting recipe at Our Best Bites, and OHMYGOODNESS they are my new favorite website in the WHOLE. WIDE. WORLD.  Seriously, I've bookmarked every recipe they post, sweet, savory, meat, dessert, ALL. OF. IT.  I've made a few of their recipes since discovering their site (you can see my links from previous Food on Friday posts).  Also, I love that there's such a devoted following of readers who try the recipes and add suggestions and comments.  I've read through their hundreds of comments to tweak a few of the recipes.

Now, onto the CAKE.
Prior to assembly
Clockwise from top left: an upside-down cake cooling, mint green frosting, and bottom layer already frosted with star sprinkles. 

The upside-down cake is the 2nd layer and about to go onto the frosting in the middle "gluing" the 2 layers together, I wanted to make the bottom was completely cool and wouldn't melt the in-between frosting.  And although the frosting recipe warns against adding too much liquid element, I found that it dealt with the liquid food coloring just fine.

Frosted and encircled with star sprinkles
I could definitely learn to frost a cake smoother.

Final product!

Cross-section of a slice
Definitely could've made MORE frosting and put MORE in between the 2 layers.  Also, could've used 2 boxes of cake mix and made a bigger/higher cake.  Also, perhaps I ought to invest in a cake slicer/leveler.  It'll depend on how many more cakes I foresee baking.  I have to admit, I really like cupcakes as an alternative as "mini-cakes."  You'll see some mini-pies coming up soon!

P.S. If you have not heard me rant about this frosting in person, just know that I have been baking things JUST to serve as frosting receptacles, aka a vehicle to get the frosting into my mouth.  It's THAT good.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Inspiration and Execution: Twist-front top and suit.

Maybe I'll think of a better name (especially if this becomes a regular thing).

In college I started to keep a notebook with clippings of outfits I've liked (from catalogs and magazines mostly) and now I have a digital folder with outfits and pictures from the Internet.  I started this because my mom got tired of me calling her in the morning (when I was away in college) and asking her what I should wear (yes, I'm aware that I might have some attachment/mommy issues).

Anyway, I sometimes feel like I get stuck in a style rut and like to keep images for inspiration.  I also started photographing my daily outfits - first because I liked documenting outfits that I really liked but then it turned into a bit of a documentary project.  I found patterns and habits and comfort zones.

For example,  I wear a lot of solid colors.  Most of my wardrobe is solid and it falls into two color/season categories.  My fall/winter clothes are black/grey/navy and my spring/summer clothes are yellow/pink/white.  I own hardly any blue, green, purple, red (no saturated colors, really) and not that much in the brown/khaki family.

I have NO prints - sometimes I get as adventurous as a wide-stripe or a polka dot accent.  So, I started to try and buy some more clothes with prints on them.  (I'll have to document some examples of my old habits and new trials sometime).

Anyway, the point of THIS entry is to share an inspiration outfit and my actual outfit.  So here goes,

The inspiration outfit was from a series called "Three Ways" by the lovely Miss Belle over at Capitol Hill Style.


I didn't have a grey top like that - but I did have a black one so my version of the outfit inverted the colors.  I wore a charcoal grey pinstripe skirt suit with a black knot/twist-front jersey shell.  (Sorry about the horrible lighting - you can barely see the contrast in color).  And as per Belle's suggestion, I wore rather large-ish-for-me earrings.


The color contrast is a LITTLE better here - but I'll try for better lighting/contrast next time.  And I know her "Three Ways" if focused on the shoe - but for me, it was really the outfit that I'd liked.  I just don't like peeptoe flats.  I don't find them attractive on my vamp and I think it's just a little, too, forced (hard to explain).


What do you think?  Was this a faithful "execution" outfit?  Should I have stuck closer to the inspiration?  What would you have done differently?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December???


Looked at a calendar.  WHAT THE WHAAAT?!?!?!!!!  How is it December already?  Remember when it was New Year's?  Then my birthday?  Then graduation?  Then the summer?  Then the bar exam?  Then work?

OMG.  Time seriously flies.  Can't believe it's December.  I feel so unprepared - like, emotionally for the end of the year.

Well, at least I have all my Christmas traditions to look forward to.  I love them.  Already saw my goddaughter in The Nutcracker (this past Saturday) CHECK!  Next?  Gotta watch Elf (one of my favorite movies of all time).

Seriously - trying to make the most of each day left in this (less than) last month of the year.

I could ask what you'd hoped to achieved this year (y'kno, like what was your new year's resolution) but it's probably much less depressing to ask, What Christmas traditions do you look forward to?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pig of Happiness.

Available on Amazon.com

What a lovely idea.

I don't even remember where I saw this but it just struck me as so lovely that I snapped a picture of it so that I could look it up.

I wish I could see the BEST in EVERYONE and EVERYTHING.  Seriously, that's truly how one could become happy.

Someone buy me this book for Christmas, please?

(P.S. This counts as a Useful Tuesday post because it is VERY useful to have a positive attitude and to be happy!)

Monday, December 5, 2011

My weekends.


True story of my life.  Except I bake first, then sit and eat the fruit of my labor while lounging on my couch.

Teehee.  It's just a time-thing.  I'm full of energy on Sunday night and Monday, even on Tuesday and make all these grand plans for the weekend.  Then it's Friday at 7pm and I can barely keep myself awake and I slip in and out of dreams about whatever doc review I've been doing all week.

Sad, but true.

Friday, December 2, 2011

TGIF!!!

Woken up at 5am every morning and either left work late or brought it home every night this week. Worked past 12:30 last night. Just got out of all-day deposition and so happy to be headed home. Lincoln Tunnel/Route 3, please don't be a nightmare!

Fingers crossed!

Food on Friday 7. Halloween Candy Corn Cookies!!

So I previously blogged about what to bake for Halloween.

I made these adorable Candy Corn Sugar Cookies.

I used the same sugar cookie recipe from this post about jam thumbprint cookies but tripled it.

Followed the food coloring directions - it was weird and marbled at first but the more I handled the dough, the color evened out and the dough came together (remember how I said it was so crumbly last time?)

I actually think pictures are really helpful for this recipe.

Then you line a bread pan (I used a narrow shoe box) lined with cellophane.  Just go in the right order and try to get your layers as flat as possible.

Cross-section
Then, refrigerate/chill for QUITE SOME TIME so they'll be easier to cut/handle (it feels SUPER-long b/c you get so excited about making/eating the cookies!)

Use the overhanging cellophane to lift the tri-colored block out of the box, then cut 1/2 inch slices.  I followed some reviewer suggestions and coated my knife in powdered sugar (instead of flour) so you don't make it too doughy/taste too flour-y.  You can see a flat slice in the top-right of the picture below.

Then cut the slice into triangles!

On their way into the oven! So, when you cut the flat rectangular slice on diagonals to make triangles, inevitably half of the candy corns will come out with the colors reversed!

They get a little rounded as they bake so I found the sharper you cut them, the better.  Also, you can really see what I mean about my wonky oven.  The back of it has much stronger heat than the front (perhaps it's drafty?).  So I've taken to rotating the pan halfway through the suggested baketime (for whatever it is that I'm making).  And that helps with no noticeable increase in baking time.

A sample of two cookies (you can see what I mean by upside-down colors).  I saved these from my co-workers (I brought in 50 at least! and they were gone in an hour!).

Oh, and I added just a touch of cinnamon (1/4 tsp) to make it taste more fall/autumn-y!