Then and Now: Labor Day

Although I just posted all about celebrating my blog’s one year anniversary, it’s still a little weird to think that I’ve been documenting my outfits for that long.  And, I just had my first experience where I could compare what I wore last year with what I wore this year for a certain event.

Last year, my BF and I went to my aunt and uncle’s for a Labor Day get-together.  This year we did practically the same thing, except that it was on Sunday instead of Monday.  (They’re basically the same, though.)  I didn’t stress out about what I was going to wear as much as last year because it was the beginning of my blog and I wanted to create fun and interesting outfits to blog about.  But, without knowing it, my outfits shared some similarities.

While we were hanging out at my aunt and uncle’s they mentioned their get-together last year.  And then I remembered that it was colder and rainy than it was this year.  I remembered sitting around the fire pit on their patio and being chilly.  I had on a lightweight sweater and grabbed a blazer on my way out the door, and lucky that I did!

Like I said, without even knowing it, I duplicated the horizontal navy striped shirt two years in a row.  However, I did style them differently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see that last year (left) I went with white jeans, brown ballet flats, and silver jewelry. This year (right) I went with a mustard colored boyfriend cardigan, dark-wash denim jeans, tan deck shoes, and minimal jewelry.

I guess in some deep recess of my mind Labor Day = navy stripes. What about you? Do you find yourself repeating certain style conventions, either consciously, or sub-consciously?

-Carla

Living Notice

Hey there!  In case you forgot, my name is Carla and I write this little blog about being a young teacher and dressing professionally and age-appropriate.  You may have forgotten what my face looks like since I haven’t posted in a while.  But, don’t fret!  I will be back to my regularly scheduled programming next week!  Ahhhhh!  Can you believe it?  Fall semester is starting already.

This week I have been busy attending meetings during start-up week at my college.  Tuesday it was a department meeting and yesterday it was a division meeting.  As you may recall, I am teaching on the main campus this semester and I am SO excited.  I originally had 3 classes, but lost one due to low enrollment.  I will be teaching on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:3o p.m.-8:40 p.m. and will have office hours beforehand, from 5:00 p.m.-7:15 p.m.  And then I have another class on Friday morning from 9:00 a.m.-11:40 a.m. and will hold office hours afterwards, from noon-1:00 p.m.

Teaching on main campus should be really good– but there are a few things I have to get accustomed to.  First, the reprographics.  On the satellite campuses there is usually a stand alone copy machine where you go and make your own copies.  However, at the main campus you must submit your copy requests to the reprographics office 3 business days before you need them.  Wowza!  That is going to take some getting used to.  I am not in the mind frame of operating that far in advance.  I had to submit my copy request for my syllabi on Tuesday and I felt completely lost.  Luckily there were lots of people there to help me.  (Everyone kept asking if I was new.  And I was almost embarrassed to tell them it was my third semester.  But, at least it’s not like I have been teaching on main campus all along.)

The second thing that I need to get used to is not getting lost.  Yesterday, I parked in a different faculty/staff parking lot because I was told that it would be more convenient to where my classroom is.  It worked out great, except that once I got inside the building and went here, there, and everywhere I couldn’t quite remember where I had come in at.

There I was, standing in the hallway looking at my campus map and trying to find the parking lot with my car.  Doh.  The one good thing is that I am getting this sort of new-girl behavior out of the way this week while there are no students around.  That way, I can walk in next week looking like a pro!

Other than finishing up my syllabi, attending meetings during start-up week, and working on my first few lectures I have just been trying to enjoy the last few days before school starts.  I both love and hate having a routine at the same time.  So, just in case you forgot, here is what my face looks like:

-Carla

Date Night: Wasabi Water

With the start of the Fall semester right around the corner– Aug. 27th for my college– my Thursday nights with my BF will come to an end.  Our date nights won’t end, hopefully, but our standing Thursday night will.  I will be teaching class on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and another class on Friday mornings.  Therefore, my availability for my second job has now shifted.  Right now I work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights and Sunday morning– with a night off thrown in there somewhere.  But, because I am automatically not available on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, that most likely means that I will work the other 5 days of the week.

I do have morning availability, but it is not in my best interest to work mornings since the money is not as great.  But, that may be what I have to do in order to get to see my BF.  What we have decided, at least to start, is that we will have a rolling date night depending on which evening that I am off from work.  (Truth be told, I am a little nervous about this system because it doesn’t allow for much pre-planning.)

Anyway.  Back to the matter at hand: clothes!  I know that it has been quite a while since I’ve given you an actual outfit post, and today is your lucky day!  I wasn’t sure what my BF and I were going to do for date night, but I knew that I wanted to wear this new plaid shirt that I just recently purchased at Target.  I purchased it mostly with our October vacation in mind– it will be perfect for the temperatures that they will be having that time of year.  But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t wear it now!

I actually wore this shirt to the zoo with my dad earlier in the week, but it was a rainy gray day and I didn’t manage to get any outfit photo’s.  But, I did get this AMAZE-balls picture of the Sumatran Tiger:

I was able to get a lot of awesome photo’s of the animals that day.  We even got to see the 3-month snow leopard cubs out on display.  It was only their second day venturing out and they only allow them out in the public view for about 30 minutes a day.  Our zoo is holding a contest to name them.

Sorry about the webbing.  They are upgrading the glass at the zoo and I didn’t think to put my camera lens through the glass until after we saw the snow leopard cubs.  We tried to get back in line, but by that time it was too long and the cubs were only allowed out for another 10 minutes, or so.

Does that make up for my lack of outfit posts?  No?!  Well, I don’t know if this outfit can compete with the cuteness of the cubs, but here it is:

Plaid button-up: Target. V-neck t-shirt: Target. Belt: Wal-Mart. Jeans: Target. Earrings: Target. Watch: Fossil. Brown studded pumps: (thrifted.)

I didn’t realize that I am a walking Target ad, but that is what you get sometimes!  I didn’t even purchase any of these items at the same time.  When I wore this outfit to the zoo, I paired it with a purple tank-top, dark jeans, and  purple and white tennis shoes.  But, for date night I wanted to change it up a bit.  Plus, I already had on the pink t-shirt.  I am accustomed to wearing dark jeans, but I thought that the light colors in the plaid would pair well with a light wash denim.  I dressed it up a little more by adding the brown studded heels, but not too much since it’s a casual outfit to begin with.  I just got my hair trimmed for the new school-year so I just washed it and blow-dryed it with a round brush.

My BF and I went to dinner oat our local hibachi restaurant–you know, the ones where you sit in a large group around the cooktop and the Chef puts on a show while he cooks your food.  At ours they have this squeeze bottle full of some type of alcohol that they squeeze into the guests open mouths while they yell Wasabi Water!  Most of the people at our table took part, but my BF was by far the winner.  Usually, the guest will put their hand up to indicate to the Chef to stop, but the Chef actually stopped before my BF put his hand up!  We had a lot of fun and were even too full to get dessert– we had to get a box for our leftovers.

Don’t worry– I will be back to regular outfit posting within the next few weeks.  Until then, you’ll have to put up with my random animal pictures or organization projects.  Oh, Oh, Oh–my blog will be celebrating its 1 year birthday (anniversary?) in a few days and I have some exciting changes planned for Year 2!  (I hope the two’s aren’t terrible.)

-Carla

 

Closet Makeover

I have been warning you that I was planning an overhaul on my closet.  This project was less about cleaning out my closet and more about re-organizing.  I cleaned out my clothes closet pretty severely back in March, so this time around I didn’t need to spend much time purging items.  I do, however, plan on going through my clothes closet after Fall/Winter and purging items.  As I was starting to re-organize there were several pieces that I felt iffy about.  But, I’ll allow myself the opportunity to wear them this Fall.  (The clothes hanging in the closet are mostly my professional wardrobe: dresses, skirts, dress pants, button up shirts, blouses, cardigans, and blazers.  Tank tops, cami’s, t-shirts, shorts, jeans, and workout gear/sleepwear are housed in my dresser in the bedroom.) A few things were not working for me in my closet.

#1. Belts and Scarves.  I was corralling them in an over the door shoe organizer with clear plastic pouches, but it wasn’t designed to hang on a closet rod.  Therefore, it wanted to turn perpendicular to the way that I wanted it to hang.  Also, it hung the length from the closet rod to the floor.  The problem with this was that the shoe organizer was in the way.  Lastly, it blocked easy access to the items in the left hand side of the closet and because it’s dark inside the closet it was difficult to tell black belts from brown from navy.

#2 Purses and Bags.  I did not create a designated space for my purses and bags like I had wanted to the last time I cleaned out the closet.  Therefore, my bags and purses were shoved under the bed.  I wanted a solution that was a little more bag-friendly and kept them out in the open where I can easily see and select them.

#3 Lighting.  There is no internal lighting in my closet.  I added some touch lights, but they were super inexpensive ($1, maybe?) and didn’t work as well as I would have liked.

#4 Wasted Space.  There was a lot of space above the closet rod that wasn’t being utilized to its fullest potential.

You can see many of these pitfalls in the BEFORE pictures, below.


I purchased a few items to help facilitate my re-organization project. First, some tiered skirt hangers. These will hold up to 6 skirts on a single hanger. I purchased two of these at Wal-Mart. (They were pretty cheap, maybe like $6.) I also purchased two pants organizer hangers that hold 4 pairs of pants each. (These were about $5-$6, too.)  I also purchased a Clostmaid stackable organizer at Target for $20.  Lastly, I purchased some different (hopefully better) push-on lights.

Now, I was ready to begin.  First, I pulled everything out of the closet.  This wasn’t entirely necessary, but I knew that I wanted to switch out some hangers and re-organize the location of types of clothing, so taking everything out just made it a lot easier.  Now I had a blank slate.

I replaced the old push-on lights with the new ones and left the double-hung rod in the same place in the left-hand side of the closet. I did re-arrange the shoe organizer in the bottom to be narrower and flush to the right wall. I also flipped it upside down to create more of a gap between the floor and the bottom rung to house flip-flops.

Next, I sorted my clothing into piles by type: dresses, skirts, pants, button up shirts, blouses, cardigans, blazers/jackets, and cardigans. I took the skirts off their original hangers and grouped them in categories by color, and then re-hung them on their new hangers.

The maxi-skirts I hung from the top set of clips, but had it behind the other skirts so that you could still see all of them, and it wouldn’t touch the ground. You can see this better from the back. I repeated the same process with my dress pants.

Third, I started loading my clothes back in. I started with the dresses all the way to the right, and then the skirts next. I discovered that with the tiered hangers, they were longer than before. They touch the top of the shoe organizer, but that doesn’t bother me. Next, came pants.  (Although, I moved them to the other side in the end.) Cardigans were next and then blouses. In the left hand side, I hung my button-up shirts and dress pants on the top and my blazers and jackets on the bottom rod.

Fourth, I assembled the shelf organizer and turned it horizontally.  I looked at several different organization options for the top of my closet, including Itso blocks, Yaffa blocks, and many other cube storage systems.  But, given the dimensions of my closet and my budget, this ClosetMaid item was the best option.  One note, I had planned all along to use this item horizontally.  What I didn’t count on was that the shelves sit on plastic clips and rely on gravity to keep them in their place!   While they still work for separating the space and helping the purses stay upright, the “shelves” fall over when I remove the purses.  (I think that I can remedy this problem by purchasing some additional plastic clips and putting them on the other side of the shelves to hold them in place from both the right and left side.)

Lastly, I re-arranged the items that were previously stored in the top of the closet.  The two plastic shopping bags were relocated into the rectangular plastic bin sitting on top of the purse organizer.  The cardboard box of table linens are also sitting on top of the purse organizer.  This makes much better use of the space–almost to the very top of the closet.  In the top of the left hand side I loaded back in our suitcases and travel bags and extra pillows.

This re-organization has addressed 3 out of 4 of my concerns: purses and bags, lighting, and wasted space.  The last and final hurdle for me to overcome is a suitable storage option for scarves and belts.  I am still surveying the products out there to find the best solution for me.  I like the idea of a hanger type item for the scarves.  But, that type won’t work for my belts because I don’t have a lot of vertical space.  Also, I don’t have usable space on the back of the closet door because this hall closet has a bi-fold door.  That leaves me with the small amount of space between the double-hung rod in the left hand side and where my clothes begin on the right hand side.  (I currently have my sun hats occupying this space.)  Any suggestions for belt storage would be greatly appreciated!!

Meet the President Shoes

Thursday night was date night for my BF and I.  Even though he had off some extra days in the beginning of the week for the 4th of July holiday, he spent most of his time off chillin’ out maxin’, relaxin’ all cool.  On Thursday we decided to go to dinner at our local Red Lobster.  For whatever reason, this is not a restaurant that we frequent so it kind of feels a little bit special when we do go there.

Also, President Obama was recently in town and staying at a hotel near our apartment.  We weren’t sure what time he was going to be rolling through town, but we wanted to stick close to home so we could see the motorcade.

We finished up dinner around 8 o’clock.  We thought that Obama would be through around 7:30, but we could see from the window of the restaurant that they had not put up the barricades, yet.  After dinner we left the restaurant and meandered outside.  We walked over to a grassy area and hung out, waiting to see the President drive by.  While we were waiting more and more people started to show up. Most people thought that there were fireworks or that something bad had happened when they saw the “do not cross” police tape.  Several people asked us what was going on and when we told them, they asked when?  But, no one really seemed to know.

Luckily, it wasn’t too terribly hot outside.  All-in-all we would end up waiting about two hours to see the President and his entourage drive down the road.  Sadly, it wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be.  But, we had reached a certain point where we had invested so much time that there was no way that we were going to leave without seeing the spectacle.  And, because we couldn’t.  They closed the street when he got close.

I chose my outfit more for dinner than to see the President, but that doesn’t make for a very interesting title.  My BF talked me into getting these shoes two weeks ago and I have been trying to create an outfit around them.  I had a whole different outfit planned, but I got makeup on my white shirt and it had to be laundered.

White button-up: Old Navy. Gold necklaces: Target. Long gold necklace: J.C. Penney. Brown belt: Wal-Mart. Jeans: Old Navy. Gold shoes: Payless. Gold Watch: Wal-Mart. Gold earrings: Target.

I’m layering my necklaces, again.  But, I’m kind of cheating.  I bought this necklace and earring set at Target a few days ago.  Although it looks like two necklaces, it’s actually only one.  Necklace layering made easy! Not that it’s that hard.

Do you think that the President would have approved of my outfit?

Weekend Edition: Reunion

Sunday, my BF and I traveled about an hour south of our apartment for his annual family reunion.  In the several years that he and I have been together, I have been to this event twice.  Having been there before, I was able to confidently select an outfit that would be appropriate for this event.

First, it is held in the basement of a brick school building.  The room where everyone gathers to eat a pot-luck lunch is not air-conditioned, what-so-ever.  Some people bring an oscillating fan which they plug into the various outlets to help circulate the air.  If it is a sweltering hot day (like in year’s past) it can be almost unbearable in the basement of the building.

Secondly, there are games for the kids outside on the playground and baseball for the young adults and grown-ups.  These two events take place outside in the summer heat (or rain, if that’s the case) with very little shade available.  For those who don’t partake in the kids games or baseball, there is a shade tree in front of the school where they set up camp and sit and catch-up.

Given that this is such a varied event, dressing appropriately can be a challenge.  Sometimes, due to the heat, I have felt like wearing nothing but a swimsuit.  However, that would not be appropriate.  Also, sitting down and having dinner and socializing is one type of event, while being active and playing games is another.

Two weeks ago when I was at Target they had some summer staples on sale.  One of the items that I picked up was a sleeveless ruffled top for $5.  It is one of those basic items that I knew would come in handy, either to wear now in the summer months, or to layer with in the coming months.  Plus, it is casual and comfortable to wear alone, but it can also be a base element in a dressier, work-appropriate, outfit.  And, it was cheap!

Last week, when I was at Old Navy they were having a shorts sale.  In years past, I haven’t worn shorts very much and consequently I have very few pairs.  I wasn’t in the mood to try things on, so I just bought one pair of printed shorts for $10. Even though I didn’t purchase these two items to be specifically worn together, or for this event, it just so happened that they were a match made in heaven!

Sun hat: Target. Gold swirl earrings: Target. White sleeveless ruffle shirt: Target. Gold necklace: J.C. Penney. Brown belt: Wal-Mart. Printed shorts: Old Navy. Gold watch: Wal-Mart. Sandals: Target.

I added gold and brown accessories to complete the look.  These included gold earrings, a long gold necklace, a brown belt, a straw sun hat, and sandals with brown, gold, and bronze straps.  I was cool and comfortable all day long– from lunch in the basement of the school, to the playground for kids games, to the bleachers for baseball, and under the shade tree socializing.  And, not to mention that I received plenty of compliments on my hat and my outfit.


I liked this outfit very much! Since I bought the straw hat I have only worn it a few times. Remembering to wear it can be a bit of a challenge. I have also worn it while shopping/running errands and to the pool, once. I was very proud of myself and my outfit! I am also smitten with this red-orange color that I used to paint my toenails. This will certainly be an outfit that I pack for our Florida vacation this coming Fall.

Off-Duty

Here are two casual (re:non-teaching) outfits that I wore the last week.  The first outfit I wore on Thursday Night Date Night: Errands.  Sometimes our date nights are not very exciting.  This happened to be one of those times.  My BF and I had to take care of a lot of business.  First, we went to J.C. Penney for a massive shopping spree.  Sadly, it was not for me.  It was for my BF.  He hates shopping and literally only shops for himself probably 3 times a year.  But, it just so happened that there were tons of Father’s Day sales and he needed some new summer clothes so I drug him to the store.

He got quite a bit of new clothes– several pairs of shorts, t-shirts to go with them, two pairs of sunglasses, a new pair of swimming trunks, two pair of dress pants for work, and a nice long-sleeve dress shirt.  For most of the trip he walked around acting like I was torturing him!  When we checked out the total was over $200– but this boy hoards gift cards like nobody’s business.  (I felt bad for the poor cashier who kept trying to get him to open a credit card).  After his hoard of gift cards was cashed in, he had to pay a measly $24.00 out of pocket!

But, I am super proud of myself.  I didn’t even go into the women’s section to browse.  I think I should be rewarded with a guilt-free shopping trip just for abstaining!

After clothes shopping we went to dinner at Chili’s.  We are both trying to get back into swimsuit shape, so we have been working out and watching what we eat.  However, we have the hardest time when we go out to eat at restaurants.  Besides plain grilled chicken or fish and vegetables, it seems like there is never anything truly healthy on the menu.

Our errand running continued after dinner with a stop at Target.  We have been on the look out for a small table for our balcony.  I had been at Target earlier that day and saw a few that I thought would be good, but was reticent to make a purchasing decision without the BF’s input.  So, we went to Target, I showed him the tables, he concurred that two of them would work, and then we left empty-handed.  Our last stop of the night was the grocery store.  We needed some staples–milk, bread, eggs, etc. and we had to get the ingredients for the dish we planned to take to a Father’s Day get-together.

My BF made what he likes to call Cherries and Cheese.  No, its not what it sounds like.  It is cherry tomatoes, mozarella cheese, shallots, salt & pepper, olive oil and thyme.  It’s a great summertime side dish– it’s seasonal, healthy, and delicious!

The second outfit is from the Father’s Day get-together at my BF’s parents.  Sunday was partly cloudy and a little drizzly so my original idea of a long maxi dress was scratched.  Because of the weather, I knew that I wanted to wear pants.  I’ve been to gatherings at their house before and I know from experience that the air conditioning is always cranked up.  I am what you call a freeze-baby– I am very susceptible to getting cold.  I would much rather be hot than cold.  That’s why you’ll always see me grabbing a cardigan or light jacket to throw over any outfit in case I get cold.  That’s another reason why I hardly wear shorts in the summertime.  I’m fine outside in the warmth, but once I go inside a restaurant or store and they’ve got the air cranked up I am cold and uncomfortable.

I paired my jeans with a short-sleeved burgundy silk top and a cream colored cami underneath.  This outfit was a little dressed up, but still casual enough for the occasion.  I paired it with gold and brown accessories.

Don’t worry, I saw my dad on Saturday and gave him his Father’s Day present.
What do you think? Are there certain places that you go where you know it will be hot or cold and you have to take that in to consideration when getting dressed? What factors do you take in to consideration when dressing up for certain events?