Friday, September 30, 2011

"A machine made of mind": Science and Art

So, I totally intended to post this last night, but I came home from a great evening at the Melting Pot in a massive food coma, and it just didn't happen. I do have some pictures to share of another thing I did on my vacation, though! These are some unconventional OotD photos because I went to a botanical garden and decided to take pictures. It was such a lovely, peaceful afternoon that reminded me of the Romantic Period poets I used to love when I was an English major in undergrad. (Yeah, really. I don't know how I ended up a scientist, either.) I guess that'll always be me, though: my science is poetry and my poetry is evidence of the logic and order in the world. It reminded me of my favorite passage from my favorite book:

Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has a greater view? Choose. A bit of mold is a pleiad of flowers; a nebula is an anthill of stars. The same promiscuity, and still more wonderful, between the things of the intellect and material things. Elements and principles are mingled, combined, espoused, multiplied one by another, to the point that the material world, and the moral world are brought into the same light. -- Victor Hugo

(You can read the whole paragraph here.)

A machine made of mind. Enormous gearing, whose first motor is the gnat, and whose last is the zodiac.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Me Wear Clothes

Do you ever have one of those days where you go to type a blog post and leave the white, blank page up on your screen for an hour? You know you want to come up with something clever to say, but all you can think of to type is, "HUR, ME WEAR CLOTHES"?


Okay, maybe I'm the only one. But for whatever reason, I'm at a total loss for words tonight. I did, however, want to post this super casual outfit anyway, which makes me nostalgic for my vacation since I wore it last week. I do love my dresses, but leggings are pretty sweet for their comfy-factor, and this too-big, too-long tank is perfect to go with them.

Anthropologie Maryam Tank
Macy's leggings
I-think-Old-Navy top that is super old

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Just when you think the cool(er) weather is here to stay, summer comes back full force. Welcome to life in the south. I had a cardigan with this outfit, but I decided it was way too hot and ditched it. After I thought it over, though, I was grateful for another chance to trot out one of my Anthro chemises as a dress. Who am I kidding: all Anthro chemises should be dresses. I at least tried to fall-it-up with my new favorite (I'm sure you haven't noticed they're my new favorites) shoes!

Anyway, here's what I wore last week while hitting up Barnes and Noble to re-read some highly educational and literate books from my history as an English scholar. Such as Sideways Stories from Wayside School. Can you feel the superior intellect oozing off me? I bet you can.

Anthro Guava Flower Chemise and hair clip
DSW shoes

Saturday, September 24, 2011


So, the last few days in my house have looked like this:

It's been a great and much-needed vacation doing, for the most part, absolutely nothing. My cats haven't known what to do with themselves with Mommy being home so much. Needless to say, with all this laziness going on, my outfits haven't been much to speak of lately. However, I do have some to share with you, so I wanted to start with what my hair looked like the day I got it chopped:

Dress: Anthro Gathered Alyssum
Belt: Anthro Looping Lanes
Shoes: DSW
Shirt: JCrew warehouse (for $3!)

As you probably know, my hair definitely doesn't do that on a regular basis and is now firmly back to its usual state of "couldn't be bothered." It's nice to have healthy hair again, although I still miss my length. Taking my biotin so it will grow back soon!

Monday, September 19, 2011

In which I am girly and hug inanimate objects

Good evening! Last week, I had the privilege of attending my very first Anthro fashion show! I had a great time, although I was dumb and didn't bring my camera, so alas you don't get any pictures. I can tell you, though, that it was a great evening filled with delicious snacks, awesome models modeling awesome clothes that I totally need, and shopping with one of my lovely coworkers. We didn't take anything home, but I've got my eye on the Lengthening Rays Skirt for a sale purchase. I am certain it will make me look like I'm about as tall as Thumbelina. I am certain that I don't care.

I also got a haircut since the last time we chatted here. I do miss the length, but it wasn't healthy and needed a trim.

I was pretty indecisive about what to wear to this event, and the fact that I've lost a little weight and a lot of my clothes don't fit properly right now didn't help matters. But ultimately I decided to be myself, which is, as we all know, pink, girly and flowy:

Shirt: Anthro (gift from parents)
Skirt: Modcloth
Necklace: Honors College pendant
Bracelet: Charm bracelet from my grandmother

Okay, and since I know that many people are still reeling from Anthrogate 2011, I thought I'd inject a bit of humor into this sticky situation we're all muddling through. Now, GOMI, am I doing this wall-hugging routine right?


Chin up, everyone! <3

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A less-glamorous OotD

I thought recent events in the blogging community would be as good an excuse as any to post some pictures of my new workout clothes! I've recently become a little obsessed with running skirts. I spend way too much time running to not be girly while I do it, right? I've also graduated to "real" running clothes, including synthetic fibers -- it turns out that, although they are great for actual clothes, natural fibers aren't a great idea for workout clothes. You learn something new every day. Here are some of the new outfits I've acquired for hitting the pavement. Please excuse the first picture -- it was after a four mile run!

I love this top for cooler weather running! It was very comfortable at 55 degrees a few days ago. And who would have thought I could go running in a pink skirt? Yes, this is exactly what I look like after running four miles, by the way. As you can see, I didn't even put my Ipod down.

And here's a warmer weather running outfit! I wisely remembered to take these pictures BEFORE I ran. My headband is a Sweaty Band, which are awesome, by the way, and do what they promise and stay put! (Thanks for the rec, Jewish Girl!)

My running is really picking up. I can comfortably run 7.5 miles now, and I typically do about 20-30 miles a week. I absolutely love seeing how much stronger I've been getting, and having cute clothes to run in just makes it that much easier to stay motivated.

Okay, I've got a dying laptop battery on my hands, so I'll need to sign off until I can get that taken care of tomorrow. Thanks for dying on me after the stores are closed, laptop. See you guys later!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dragonfly overkill

Is it too early to return to your regularly-scheduled outfit posts? I hope not, because I'm going to!

The temperature dropped thirty degrees in twenty-four hours, which is the south's way of telling us "Happy fall!" We have three seasons here: Hell, Summer, and Almost Summer. I'm happy to welcome the return of Almost Summer and temperatures below 90 degrees! No, seriously, it's pretty cold today for my wussy southern self. I'm actually hiding under wool tights and my ankle skirt today, but for now, here's an outfit I wore last week to herald the beginning of It Ain't Summer Anymore:

Skirt: Anthropologie
Top: Talbot's (gift from Mom)
Shoes: DSW

I got these sweet new (leather!) shoes for only $25! I think they've satisfied my craving for the oxfords that I'm seeing everywhere this fall. They're really comfortable, and much more comfortable on my wallet than the other options that have been floating around.

I didn't even notice when I put this skirt on that it matched my henna! If you look closely, you can see that I was using Sara's cupcake nails tutorial to paint my nails this week.

This past week, I've been buying a lot of articles of clothing -- but they're all for running! Now that I'm becoming a "serious" runner and logging an average of 20-30 miles a week, I really needed to look into "real" running clothes, socks, shoes and athletic bras. This just in: running socks actually do work better than "those Valentine's day socks with hearts on them that you found in the bottom of your drawer" for five mile runs. I'm happy to say that I am a convert, and as my budget allows I hope to gradually phase out my "old swimming t-shirts that have sentimental value as workout wear." But um. If I do that, when will I wear my old swimming t-shirts? Gasp. I see an episode of Hoarders in my future. Or at least a post where I model some of my sweet new workout clothes!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Shopping Responsibly

Now that we've begun to move forward as a community from the last few days, I wanted to make a post about shopping responsibly and how I manage my budget. Many people have speculated (and rightfully so, I think) that part of what brought on the issue I described in my last post was out-of-control spending and an addiction to shopping. I don't know how helpful my experiences will be, but I thought I'd share my circumstances and what works for me with regard to budgeting and finances.

My Background:

I will be the first to admit that I am extremely fortunate, both in my past and present circumstances. I grew up in a family that taught me the value of saving money from the time I understood the concept of money. I have owned stocks since I was in kindergarten and had the interest in my savings account explained to me each year, even if that interest was only $5. As you might know, coaching swimming is one of my major passions and is actually much more important to me than fashion (gasp, I know), and since I was sixteen I have spent the summer coaching a summer league swim team and doing private lessons. I saved most of this money, divided between my personal savings account and a Roth IRA, the latter of which was matched by my parents. When it came time to choose a college, I decided that, for me, having no debt was more important than what school I went to, so I only considered state schools that offered me good scholarships. Scholarships and choosing a state school funded about 95% of my college education, and the remaining extra was paid for by my parents. Consequently, not only did I graduate college with no debt, but all the money I made from previous summer jobs went to savings and my own personal "fun" money. I am very lucky to have this experience. I know that it is not reality for many others, but for better or worse it is my reality.

I followed a similar formula when choosing graduate schools. It was important to me to choose a program that would not put me in debt. My program provides me with health insurance and a stipend that allows me to live comfortably. My tuition is also paid for by my program (though I am not in class anymore -- hallelujah!). Again, I am very fortunate to have this opportunity. I do not focus on saving money because my income will likely increase significantly once I graduate, but to keep good habits I try to ensure that I start each month with slightly more money than I had last month, even if that number is only a few dollars more. I also try to make my savings work for me using CDs, investments and savings accounts. I have one credit card which I use regularly to build my credit score and pay off in full each month. My credit falls into the "excellent" range.

There are also many life expenses that I don't currently have which allow me slightly more disposable income. I do not have children, although I will one day and am planning for this with savings. My parents bought my first car when I graduated from high school, and I still drive it today and plan on doing so until it falls apart on me (I love my car). I rent an apartment, so I don't currently have a mortgage. I don't take many extravagant trips because I don't enjoy them (seriously -- I'd rather go to the beach or a theme park). Although I do not depend on them and have never asked them for help, my parents are also very willing to do things for me and help me with expenses, and for that I'm very grateful.

Part of what has allowed me to be in this situation is good money habits and self-control, and I am proud of not owing anyone anything but respect. However, I don't pretend at all that I have gotten to where I am on my own. I still have a long way to go when it comes to learning how to save and build a secure life for myself and my future family, but I feel like I'm on that path now. It's due to my family teaching me good habits from an early age and the privilege of a healthy, comfortable childhood that I have this experience. I am very thankful for that, and I also try to remember my good fortune and give to those who did not start out so lucky.

My Shopping Plan:

This leads us to how I budget for shopping. I actually... don't have a budget. I know, gasp. I think I can get away with this because I have been taught all my life how to manage money, and I have a very good ear for when I need to scale back and when it's okay to indulge a bit more. I also get away with this because I follow some very strict rules when deciding if I'm going to buy something I don't need. Here they are:

Caveat: All my savings are in a separate bank account. I don't touch that. As far as I'm concerned, I don't have that money to spend. Another thing I do is give myself a "balance limit," an imaginary number below which my checking account is not allowed to fall. If it does, I'm "broke" and cannot buy anything not essential. If I notice my checking account balance has risen significantly above my "limit," I move some of that money into my savings account, after which it becomes untouchable. For all the rules below, assume that this is what I mean when I ask if I have the money for something.

1. Can I afford this? By this I mean, "Can I pay cash from my checking account after all my living responsibilities have been taken care of?" If the answer is no, I don't buy it. End of story.

2. Do I love this? Would I buy it at full price? Would I regret not buying it? Is there a need for it in my closet? Will I wear it so many times on the blog that my readers will get sick of seeing it? Does it make me very, very happy? If the answer to any of these is no, I don't buy it. This ensures I only buy what I absolutely love.

3. Is it worth the price? Before I check the price tag of an item, I ask myself how much I would pay for it. If the price tag is equal to or less than that number, I buy it. If not, I must wait for sales until that happens. If it never happens, I don't get to buy it. There will be something else I like just as much that's worth the price. This is my number one rule I would recommend implementing because it allows me to never regret how much I paid for something.

3b. Do I strongly suspect it will go on sale? A rare corollary to number three, but if all of the above are true and I still think I can get a better deal, I will usually wait it out even if the item is at an "acceptable" price for me. This is optional, and if I'm treating myself I don't always pay attention to it, but I find that I love something even more when I know I got it for much less than it was worth to me.

Okay, these are my rules and how I go about things. I hope some of it has helped you, but remember that what works for me might not work for you. If you have other tips on how to shop responsibly, I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The elephant in the room: "Tonight's the night the world begins again"

"And you ask me what I want this year
And I try to make this kind and clear
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days"

-- Goo Goo Dolls

So by now, you've probably heard about the major problems that came to light over the past few days about a pretty well-known blogger. Anyone for whom this is important probably isn't hearing this first from me, and anyone who hasn't heard yet can probably find out by making use of Google, so I'm not going to name names here. I thought for a long time about whether or not I was going to say anything -- and about what I would say if I did.

You may remember that I recently shared my struggles with Generalized Anxiety Disorder here. As someone who has struggled with a mental disorder all of her life and has only in the past few years begun actively seeking help, I truly understand how difficult it can be to recognize that you have a problem you can't solve on your own. My own problem fortunately didn't have the widespread consequences of hurting as many others as the problem currently up for discussion, but I know that my illness has caused me to hurt people in the past, and on a smaller scale I do understand the difficulty and pain that causes. What I also know is that the first step to getting your life back is recognizing that you have a problem. I truly do hope that this blogger can get to a place where she can have the hard realizations that I had about myself and my illness because that is the place where healing can begin.

It isn't weakness to admit that you need help. It takes incredible strength to ask for help and incredible self-awareness to recognize that you can't do this on your own, especially when you're like me and part of your illness precludes you from doing the very thing that will help you. I'm happy to say that things have gotten better for me, and I hope that my openness here can help this blogger in some small way come to terms with what is happening in her life and begin a new pattern of honesty with herself and others. I personally was lucky enough not to be involved in the behavior that others have described with this blogger, and my interactions with her up until this incident have been nothing but lovely, but I also know that my experience is not others' experience, and my heart goes out to those who have lost money, time and trust. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't feeling a little bit betrayed now, myself, but I know that I'm lucky not to be affected and, moreover, I'm lucky not to be dealing with the issues this blogger is currently dealing with. I support justice for those who have been harmed by her behavior and consequences for her actions that have hurt others, but I also hope for healing and forgiveness in her future as one who knows firsthand how mental illness can rule your life no matter how much you don't want it to. I hope we can all (even the blogger in question) move forward from this situation a little wiser and a little stronger.

I do also want to talk a little about budgeting and responsible shopping, but I would like to leave that for its own post. I hope this post has been "kind and clear" and that I've expressed myself accurately and in a way that isn't hurtful to those affected, from readers to the blogger herself. On a final note, I know there has been some fear and distrust going around (and rightfully so) for other bloggers in light of this event, and for what it's worth, though I know it may not mean much, I have represented myself here as accurately and honestly as I can. I'm a real person, and I like to think a trustworthy one, and I hope in time we can all begin to trust each other again and find "better days."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Black & White

Hello, readers! I am in a great mood today because I'm on vacation! It's probably going to be a staycation for me, but I really need the time off to just relax and not have any responsibilities. I got a major writing project done last week, so now I can focus on detoxing from work and having fun. (What? "Fun"? I'm a grad student! What is this "fun" you speak of?)

Here's an outfit I wore last week. This is a super old top that is too big for me, but as you know I try to find ways to make items work when I notice myself not wearing them in a long time. When I received this cute bow from the lovely Ebay seller who sold me the Silken Trellis Dress, I knew I'd have to find something black and white to wear with it. So this is what I came up with!

Anthropologie Skirt and shoes
Old shirt I-can't-even-remember-where
Hairbow: From awesome Ebay-er!


I'm off to find myself some new running shoes, since mine should have been put out of their misery, oh, about six months ago (eep). Hope you're having a good day!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Why hello there, dress. Welcome to my closet.

Good Thursday evening! I have an exciting "new" purchase to share with you. This is a fairly old item, but I've been admiring it for awhile ever since seeing it on the lovely Maria. Yep, it's none other than the Silken Trellis Dress, which you can see in Maria's awesome blog header. I was lucky enough to find one on Ebay in my size from the sweetest seller ever. She included a nice note, wrapped the dress nicely, and even threw in a cute hairbow on the house. Receiving this dress was a lovely end to what had been a pretty crappy day.

I had never actually tried it on, so I was hoping it would work, and luckily it did. It is a little shorter than some of my work dresses, but I think with flats and a cardigan, it'll be fine. I'm wearing 3-inch heels in these pictures, so extrapolate at will. What I'm really looking forward to, though, is wearing this dress to an upcoming fancy dinner with a great work friend. I love it and can't wait to think of ways to style it!

Here are some hastily-taken pictures in my excitement to try it on. Please forgive my crazy hair and lack of styling.

The back is pretty awesome.

Overall I am really happy with this dress and am so glad I found it! Do you have any older items that you're still pining for?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Nerdy theme park wear

Hello! Here is what scientists wear to theme parks!

Shirt: Anthro
Tank: Old Navy
Shorts: JCrew
Fake!Glasses: Urban Outfitters

Outfits like these are very good for riding very scary rides such as swings.

And slightly scarier rides such as my favorite rollercoaster.

And, of course, for frolicking.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Wear what makes you happy.

Good evening! I hope you had a great holiday weekend, readers. I had a great time with my roller coasters and will show you pictures of what I wore yesterday soon, but today I wanted to put up my Labor Day outfit. I spent today geeking out with some college friends over barbeque and the Saw video games. Yep, I spent today learning how many gruesome ways my character can die (okay, I mostly watched and 'helped' with the traps; fact about me: I love to watch people play video games but hate to play myself). What to wear to a nerd-casual event like this? Well, I really wanted to wear my sailboat shirt. Yes, the very same one you just saw on the blog. In my defense, that was actually two weeks ago. But then I thought that I should wear my Anthro slip as a dress instead. But then I thought that this 'dress' was too short. After much hemming and hawing, I decided, "Katie, wear what you like. Who cares if you just wore this shirt and the dress is too short -- and who says you can only wear one at a time?"

So with that, I resolved to wear what I wanted, even if what I wanted included a shirt I just wore, a nightgown that is way too short to see the light of day, and second day theme park hair. Don't worry: you'll see the better version of this hair soon. In my defense, I do have some shorts on under the dress. This outfit was insanely comfortable and fun as a last-chance summer weekend look.

Shirt and Dress/Chemise: Anthropologie
Flip flops: Old

What have I learned today? Wear what makes you happy, even if it's not what you think you're "supposed" to be wearing. What makes you happy IS what you're "supposed" to wear, especially on a holiday weekend!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Two casual outfits: Yes, I'm wearing a tutu

By the time you read this, I'll be on my way to one of my favorite places (theme park) to visit one of my favorite things (giant roller coasters). I did want to share my two Friday outfits for the past two weeks. These pants have become my go-to "casual Friday" look, I think. At least, when I feel like pants. I'm just as (more?) likely to do casual Friday in a cotton skirt, but I really do love these pants. I'm glad we're approaching fall so I'll get to wear them more. Now the question is, will their brightly-colored, non-cord sisters make sale so I can snap them up in, um, every color?

Friday Outfit #1: "Nautical is still a 'trend,' right?"

AG Stevie Cords
Anthropologie Sea's Epitome shirt
Necklace: Gift from Mom
Shoes: Silly, we don't wear shoes on casual Friday! (Okay. We do. But I didn't feel like it after work. Forgive me?)

Friday Outfit #2: "Tutus are for grown-ups, right?"

AG Stevie Cords
Anthropologie Maryam Tank
super-old Kohl's top
Shoes: If you can't see them, you can pretend I'm wearing awesome ones. See how that works?

I'm off to try and convince myself that I really do feel like waking up and running before I drive to the park. Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend!

PS: I feel much better today. =)

Friday, September 2, 2011


Good Friday afternoon, readers. I hope yours is better than mine, because honestly it has not been a good week at all for me. Today I wanted to share something with you that some of you might already be aware of or guessed. I don't want to go into too many details here due to the public nature of this blog, but one of the reasons I love reading Bonnie's blog so much is that I too struggle with anxiety. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and lately my illness has made it really hard to manage life and all the stress and hardships that come with being a busy grad student. This isn't easy for me to say to the wide, wide internets, but I hope that it will help you better understand where I'm coming from when I say that I've had a bad day.

All my life, I'd been taught to be ashamed of my mental health struggles, from many people who should have been unconditionally supportive. It's been a long road accepting that I don't have to feel ashamed of myself for being "weak" or pretend I'm okay when I'm not. I'm not all the way there, yet, either, but I did want to take one more step by sharing this with you. I hope this helps you understand better where I'm coming from and gives you encouragement to be open about things in your life you may struggle with. I am trying very hard to be brave, not only for myself but for others who may need help.

One of my favorite remedies for a hard day is a favorite dress. Bravery is about getting to the place inside yourself that makes you able to face the world, and no one else can tell you what will help you get there. Sometimes bravery is about stripes and twirly skirts, and in my experience they can serve as some pretty effective armor. So that's exactly what I wore here:

Dress: Anthropologie Caranday
Cardigan: Target
Shoes: b.o.c. Cates
Necklace: Gift from Mom

I wish for bravery and strength (and a lot of peace and relaxation) for you this weekend.