Archive | September, 2011

In a perfect world

30 Sep

Nail polish would never chip.

My students would know all their multiplication facts.

Papers would grade themselves.

The butler would bring me breakfast in bed (2 eggs, fried hard, with toast, please!).

This french inspired outfit would be photographed in France.

But, alas.

I don’t live in Perfectville.

So, my nail polish chips when I look at it.

And my students aren’t perfect (but they’re perfectly amazing).

Papers seem to pile up faster than I actually assign them.

And I’ve yet to find a butler that works for free.

So even though this outfit may not physically transport me to France, I will eat crepes until I burst, sing in French amongst the streets, and grow a wee little stache, a la this.

Details:: striped shirt {thrifted; $2}; cotton skirt {Urban Outfitters $7}; gold flats {Target; $6}; red patent belt {Gap; $3}; earrings {vintage; gift}


She’s an Animal!

29 Sep

I credit my love for all things animal print to two people in my life:

#1)  Andrea, of Blonde Beadhead

#2)  My ma

Growing up, my mom was a single parent, who always put her kids’ wants and needs far above her own.  She never needed fancy things, never took trips with her girlfriends, and never went shopping for herself.

Ever!  Obviously, my ma is a far better woman than I’ll ever be 🙂

In the last few years, however, my brother and I have started to blaze our own trails.  It’s been fascinating to see my ma reestablish her social network, take more time to do what she wants, and even start to shop for her very own accoutrements.

Don’t get me wrong, my mom has always been beautiful and has taken care of herself, but now she’s finally stopped worrying about her kids long enough to reestablish who she is as a woman.

Along this process, she’s also developed a secret obsession for all things animal print.

It’s bizarre!  My mother and I couldn’t be more opposite about our tastes in fashion, but somehow, we have both grown a bit addicted to the leopards, zebras, cheetahs, and cougars of fashion.

Not these cougars, though.

So, when I found this tank that can be worn FOUR different ways, I shed a single tear of joy.  I would not only be satisfying the cheapskate within, but I knew a small part of me was becoming more like my mother.

And you know what?  I’m quite alright with that.

Details::  four-print tank {thrifted; $4}; cotton skirt {JCrew $50}; teal tights {American Apparel; $13}; denim cork wedges {Payless; $20}; shell earrings {Forever21; $5}

But, I’m Beautiful!

28 Sep


One lesson I’ve learning in my first year of teaching is that children freely give brutally honest commentary about any and everything.

They will let you know when you look pregnant or remind you you’re having a wretched hair day.

And they’ll never miss an opportunity to mock your mint green boots and let you know in math class that you’re most definitely wrong about 8 x 8.

Apparently it’s 64.  Who knew!


It’s not always bad, though.


Yesterday, I was  conversing with one of my most entertaining and vivacious students.

Student:  What did so-and-so do to get in trouble?

Me:  Mind your business!  You’re nosy!

And then he turned his head, lowered his voice, and sighed, “Ms. B, I’m not nosy…I’m beautiful.”


It must be like when your kid cusses for the first time: you can’t get mad, because you’re trying to not laugh.


So this week, if anyone dares confront me about anything, I’ll just respond with, “I’m not rude…I’m beautiful.”

If it works for my 10 year old student, surely it will work for a 24 year old professional.

Right?  Right.


Details::  cotton striped dress {TJ Maxx; $10}; crochet vest {JC Penny; $25}; yellow wedges {Target; $6}; patterned grey tights {Vera Wang for Kohl’s; $5}; vintage scarf {Gran’s closet; $gift}; 

Halloween inspiration

23 Sep

Happy Autumn!  Can we spend today sleeping in, eating cider doughnuts, and wearing pajama pants?  Ignore responsibilities, friends!  Let’s just embrace the autumnus upon us!

Okay, back to reality.

While we’re on the subject of this season, could someone please tell me why Halloween is an excuse to be as undressed as possible?

I’ve never understood this philosophy, and have tried to buck the trend in year’s past, by going more silly than scandalous, more obnoxious than sleazy.

But I’m running out of ideas, people.

Raphael from TMNT?  Been there.

Sarah Palin of “you betcha!” fame?  Done that.

Even last year I was at a loss.

Lady Gaga, the natural choice, was too overdone.

As I perused the aisles of Walmart and Halloween Express, I couldn’t find anything but the classic nurses and beer wenches.

I quizzed all my friends and made a list of the ginger celebrities we knew, and a light bulb exploded in my brain!

Joan Holloway of Mad Men fame was my fashion muse at the moment, despite her exceptionally loose morals.  She must be my Halloween inspiration!

In one hour’s time, I had ripped through my wardrobe and pulled together a classically beautiful costume rivaling any sketchy nurse.

I marched into my Halloween party with my head held high.  No longer Kayla, but now, Joan.  She embodied my being.

Until I greeted my hostess, who just so happened to be dressed as Princess Peach.

And her whole family followed, dressed as the rest of the Mario family.

And I lost big time.

It’s okay.  I’m over it.  Obviously.

Details::  tweed wool skirt {thrifted; $3}; silk tank {thrifted; $2}; red patent belt {Gap; $4}; red patent heels {Target; $20}; watch {Kohl’s; $50}

One month in

21 Sep

Teaching seriously never, EVER, has a dull moment.  My first month of adulthood has been simultaneously challenging, exhausting, and exhilarating.  Here’s a lil’ glimpse into what one month of teaching brings:


Times I’ve said something really awkward and blushed:  3

Apples I’ve been given: 1

Number of “that’s what she said” withheld:  73

Times the worm has been done in class: 2

Tears shed over my job: 3

Papers graded: 9 million

Late nighters: 10

Trips to the Dollar Store: 89

Cups of coffee: 60+


Here’s to month two!

Details::  striped navy dress {Francesca’s; $34}; cardigan {Old Navy; $10} stupid high wooden heels {Forever21; $27}; belt {Forever21; came with dress}, tights {Kohl’s; $3}

She’s gone country

19 Sep


Stepping off the train, breathing deeply the musky, polluted air, I felt my shoulders melt down with contentment and peace.

Maneuvering my way up and down Michigan Avenue to Chicago Ave.  Weaving and winding through the hustle of traffic, cyclists, businessmen and runners.  Adrenaline pulsed through my veins as I felt buzzed from soaking in the boundless energy oozing off the streets.

So alive and diverse and awake and endless!  I traversed until blisters forced me to do otherwise, and then I explored some more.

My heart was set.  Mind made up.  I’d unexpectedly found my future home, fallen for a city far from all I’d known to grow and love.

I was a bona fide city slicker.

So can someone, anyone, explain to me this sudden paradigm shift?

My housing hunt has switched from high-rise, midtown lofts, to log cabins with horse stables.

And my iPod?  It’s been overtaken by country’s finest.

Not to mention my closet.  Mercy!  In between all my sky-high heels and backless satin shirts, I’ve tucked away plaids  and mint green cowboy boots that would make any cowgirl weep with envy.

I’m one step away from Carhartt, people*!

I need an intervention.

Send help, by means of one-way ticket to Chicago.


Details::  checkered button up {Old Navy; $6}; skirt {Urban Outfitters, $8}; yellow wedges {Target; $7}; belt {Forever21; came with dress}, earrings {Forever21; $3}


(Not really, heaven help me the day I step food in a Carhartt store)

Family Jewels

14 Sep

Growing up, I had the most bizarre fashion choices.

Neon zip-up jacket from the 1980s, on school picture day?  Check.

Metal t-shirts with photographed mutilated bunnies heads?  Check check.

Poodle skirt to homecoming, instead of a homecoming dress?  Check check check.

As a kid, other people’s thoughts about my fashion didn’t really occur to me!  It wasn’t until someone in high school laughed at my poodle skirt that I realized it was kind of a strange choice for a suburban school’s dance.

Uh, oops!

Thank goodness my fashion has evolved and matured over the years, despite my never-ending love for all things bizarre.  As I’ve grown, I’ve become surprisingly sentimental about collecting and holding on to my family’s heirloom jewelry.

In the last few years, I’ve managed to be given almost all my great-grandmothers’  wedding rings!  I always wear my size 3 (right?!) great-grandmother’s ring on my pinkie, and a ring my father gave my mother.  I feel incredibly proud to be wearing the jewelry of such great women.

The butterfly clip in the photo is a vintage heirloom from my great-grandmother, and I remember her giving it to me when I was a kid.  Her bedroom had a table full of perfumes with atomizers attached to each.  I would escape from family dinner and spritz myself until my nostrils were overloaded with memories of great-grandma.

When she passed, my family gifted me her wedding rings, which I plan to use someday.  That is, if I ever take the plunge myself.

It’s humbling and a little overwhelming to carry a piece of your family with you wherever you go.  It’s not hard to remember where you come from, when you have evidence all over your hands, hair, ears, and wrists.

Thank goodness my fashion evolved, and my jewelry evolved right along with it.

Details::  tree wrap dress {Rachel by Rachel Roy, gift}; tank {Target, $4}; golden heels {Aldo; $40}; jewelry {vintage, gifts}; belt {thrifted, $3}