Monday, May 31, 2010

Down the Shore

Black V-neck jersey dress: Target
Vintage scarf: thrifted
Green flip flops: Colin Stuart
Silver hoops: gift from mom (remixed)

This is my beach dress. I wore it today because B. and I went to the Shore with some friends. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, we actually ended up going to a beach NEAR the one that I linked to, because we got there after the park was already full. Bad timing on our part. Also, I lost the scarf (figuratively) at some point on the trip because we had the windows down and it's silky so it kept sliding around.

I've had this dress for about four or five years, which is significant because I lost something like 30 pounds, what, three years ago? It's the one piece that has fit me throughout the years. This dress has seen the world, too: Guatemala, PR, Vietnam.... It's the dress I wore for my first date with B. (also to the Jersey Shore. Good man.) It's all faded, the elastic is stretched out, and it's crazy nubby and pilled.

It really is great for beaches, though. It never wrinkles, you can shake the sand right out of it, and it covers me up pretty well. So this is much of my beach ensemble as I'm willing to share with the Internet. While I love my suit (it's vintage inspired, polka-dotted, and cost about $19 at Marshall's in PR), I don't like the idea of sharing pictures of myself in a bathing suit with the world.

I decided today that I need to learn more ways to tie scarves around my head and hair. Also, how did women keep these silky scarves on their heads?! I asked that in the car, and our friend A. was like, "Well, they didn't wash their hair," and I was like, "Well, there goes that theory because I haven't washed my hair since Friday." Bobby pins? Teasing? Hairspray? I must know. I love this scarf, but I want it to stay on my head. *sigh*

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fall Back

Floral dress: Liberty of London for Target (remixed)
White cami: Petite Sophisticate
Yellow studded gladiators: Chinese Laundry via Ross (remixed)
Turquoise and silver bracelet: Chaps (remixed)
Blue and green beaded earrings: New York & Co. (remixed)
Flower hair stick: Cua Lo Beach, Vietnam (remixed)

This outfit is not at all creative. That's because I had a fashion crisis this morning as I was getting ready for church. I must've changed five times and that doesn't happen often. Lame.

So I went with a dress that doesn't need a whole lot of help, a fall-back outfit, if you will.

I'm trying to distract you from the fact that I've worn most of this together before by posing in our cool entry way.

See? You have to open not just one but TWO doors to get inside our house. And they're both pretty cool doors.

I've been wearing camis under this dress because it's a bit low for my tastes, and that's after I did a minor alteration by shortening the straps. I feel infinitely more comfortable after adding this bottom layer.

My favorite thing about this dress is the back, though. Those criss-crossed straps are fabulous. I love that they show off my tattoo, too. (Sorry, Mom.) I knew I wanted a tattoo when I was thirteen, but I didn't get this one until I was twenty-five (and had spent five years thinking long and hard about it). It says "Bendito Dios por Encontrarme" - Blessed be God for finding me. I got it with my aunts and my cousin in PR; I mean, the four of us got tattoos the same day. It's a testament to my thankfulness for what God has done in my life, and I figured I could live with that for the rest of my life.

I also like that it surprises people. Most people don't expect me to have a tattoo; I've always liked bucking stereotypes.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Denim dress: Ann Taylor (remixed)
Blue belt: thrifted
Crazy print scarf: Target (remixed)
Silver hoops: gift from mom (remixed)
Beaded bracelets: gifts from uncle and cousin (remixed)
Flower bobby pin: Blume Bloom via Etsy
Red wedges: Nine West

Remember how I'm trying to wear this dress every weekend until work is over? Here it is again. I don't think I've gotten terribly creative with it, but I really love it.

B. and I decided to go to Ten Thousand Villages to use a gift certificate we got as a wedding gift. Yes, we still have wedding gifts that we need to use. Our plan was to get something that we could take with us if/when we move far, far away from here, so we went with a batik wall hanging, though we were seriously tempted by some flower pots.

After that, we went to the Italian Market in South Philly where B. took some fabulous pictures of me. He's becoming quite the photographer, which is a real feat with our lame-o camera.

This is the first time I've brought these shoes out this season. They are so comfortable for walking, probably because of the sturdy wedge, and are classically stylish. I've had these shoes forever, and I hope to be wearing them for years to come.

I like to think that the bracelets and scarf tied my belt and my shoes together. The belt isn't quite turquoise, but I was inspired by my love of red and turquoise - I guess I'm also digging red and sky blue. Also, can you see the delicious Mexican sodas behind me? Yes, the Italian Market is actually the Italian, Mexican, and Vietnamese market. Only in the USA, kids; that's what I like about this country. We finished off our excursion with dinner at South Street Souvlaki (mmmm, Greek food) where I rediscovered the depths of my love for baklava.

Have I mentioned yet that I love this weekend? I really do.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Grey and white striped tee: Gap Outlet
Black pencil skirt: Gap Outlet (remixed)
Black belt: Target (remixed)
Red patent peep toe wedges: gift from parents (remixed)
Silver hoops: gift from mom (remixed endlessly)

This outfit is super basic and comfy, but I was pretty excited about it because I LOVE this tee, but have been just absolutely at a loss when it comes to styling it. It's a little long and it clings around my hips while being loose around my waist and bust. But it's got stripes! And a boat neck! And it's vaguely French AND vaguely nautical!

I think it works tucked into this basic skirt. It hides the parts of the shirt that I don't like while showing off the parts that I do. (Do you see how I put all the blame on my shirt? That's me embracing my hips.) I went with the red shoes because they're perfect for this weather, they're comfortable, and they're bright. Nothing punches up an outfit full of neutrals like a bright shoe.

I like the belt, too, since it cinches me in at the waist. I've always thought I was a rectangle, but these pictures (and a few others) are making me think that I may have more hourglass tendencies than I originally thought. Maybe? Maybe not?

I like the (very) subtle pattern mixing that came into play with this belt. I originally planned to wear my $1 Coach belt again, but decided to go with this one instead because I liked the juxtaposition of the scalloped edging and pretty designs against those no-nonsense stripes.

Y'all will have to excuse me for not smiling. It's been a loooong, rough week, and I am still not feeling very good, but at least I look good.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The house dress goes to work

Vintage aqua dress: thrifted
Wooden bangle: gift from mom (remixed)
Yellow flats: SE Boutique (remixed)
Blue and green earrings: New York & Co.

Today's outfit is not terribly creative, but it fit the bill as far as what I needed for work today: comfortable, happy, easy, cool. Check, check, check, check. So off I went.

This was part of my haul on Saturday's trip to Bargain Thrift. There are some discolored spots, but I love the feathery print and the bright aqua color. Also, you can't even see those spots, can you? That's what I thought.
Besides, Kiku loves this dress.

So, this is basically a house dress. I was thinking about that as I went to work today, thinking it's just so casual to wear a house dress to work, but here's the thing about dresses: people generally think that wearing a dress = dressing up. Which is funny to me, because I put the least amount of effort into my clothing when I wear dresses. I mean, look at this outfit! I put on one article of clothing (complete with self belt), a pair of shoes, earrings, a bracelet, and I was out the door. I didn't even do my hair. Yes, y'all: this is bed head.

One of my coworkers told me she didn't know how I could wear so many dresses. But the thing is they're so. Stinkin'. Easy! How could I not?!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Crazy print wrap dress: custom made in Vietnam
Purple tank: Target
Silver micro-wedges: Nine West
Silver cuff: American Eagle
Silver hoops: gift from my mom
Black headband: Forever 21

Excuse the crazy face; I went to the dentist and half my face is numb.

It's about 90 delicious degrees in Philly. Yes, I am one of those rare, crazy people that loves the heat and humidity. What can I say? I'm a displaced Puerto Rican.

This is my absolute favorite dress in the whole wide world. I got it made for me in Vietnam, based on my second favorite dress in the world - actually, it might be my third favorite at this point in my life. Anyway, I knew that I was going to have some dresses made, so one of the Vietnamese teachers took us to the market to pick out some fabrics. I spotted this crazy print and fell in love with it, even though it's completely different from anything else in my closet, so I got a meter or two and took it to the shop where they made this beauty. The whole operation cost me about $10, and it's been in heavy rotation every summer since, and it's gotten insanely soft over the years.

It's the first time I've worn it to (real) work. I wore it when I worked at the day camp in DC one summer and also to work in Vietnam, but not to my real teaching job. I decided to go with it today because A, it makes me happy and B, it's steamy. I made it work appropriate with the silver wedges instead of my usual sandals, and I wore a grey cardigan in the classroom that's always freezing. (I teach in two rooms, one is freezing and the other is hot - you can't win.)

These shoes are super cute and super comfy. Also, I picked them up for $11 on the clearance rack at the Nine West outlet down in VA. Every time I think of that it just makes me happy.

I've been gravitating towards pieces that are super comfortable and make me happy probably because I've been feeling pretty terrible still - we'll see what they tell me next week....

Only two and a half weeks till school's out, nine days till my birthday, and sixteen days till the World Cup. Happy days...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On ballet flats and bodies

Green cardi: Banana Republic (remixed)
Black shirt dress: Target (remixed)
Brown woven belt: Target (remixed)
Patterned green ballet flats: Banana Republic Factory Store
Green chandelier earrings: gift from a friend in Guatemala
Black beaded bracelet: gift from my uncle (remixed)
Phantom circle in the middle of the shot: ????

This outfit came together almost by accident. I knew I was going to wear this dress mostly because I didn't want to think about clothes today, but the cardi and the shoes that really MAKE the outfit were afterthoughts.

I have to say, I'm pretty pleased, although these shoes are CRAZY UNCOMFORTABLE!!! I have to stop buying flats from BR, because they inevitably tear up the backs of my feet, as you can tell from the preponderance of moleskin in this pic.

I like the crisp and elegant combination of black and kelly green and the unexpected touch of brown thrown in. I was also digging the collar popping up over the neck of this cardigan.

I swear, Kiku is not growling. She was just jumping on and off of my lap because she was so excited to have me at her level.

I felt like a cross between a school girl from the 1950s - except with a much narrower skirt - and a ballerina all day. I blame the shoes and the cardigan.

I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed in myself for pulling out this black dress, because I was doing so well with avoiding black. That said, that bright cardigan really kicks it up; it's hard to feel down when you're wearing such a delicious color.

The kids seem to know that green is my favorite color every time I wear it. Must be that it puts a spring in my step.

Also, these braids make me happy. I haven't done my hair like this in quite a while and I like it.

So, B. and I went to our salsa class tonight. One of the students brought her daughter who's a dancer, like for real. Our salsa classes are kinda, down home, old-school Puerto Rican, ready for a party on the marquesina salsa classes as opposed to more ballroom style salsa with fancy dance terms. I couldn't tell you for the life of me what a ball change is, but we dance.

Anyway, this girl was a ballroom style dancer. She did fancy steps and styling, which is when the women do completely unnecessary hand movements just because they're pretty. I feel insanely awkward doing any kind of styling because it draws attention to me, and I'd much rather blend into the crowd. This girl, however, moved with a confidence that belied her youth and the connection she has to her body. And as I was watching, I kept thinking about how I've come to connect my brains and my adulthood with covering up.

There's this idea that smart women, good girls, keep themselves covered up. And I started realizing how much I believe this during Dress Your Best Week when I struggled with celebrating my body. Once I got past that terribly awkward phase we all hit between about eight and ten years old, people started telling me I was pretty. And I started moving a lot, so I was the pretty new girl. What I wanted, though, was to be recognized for my mind and my mouth. I wanted the things I said to matter, and in order for them to matter, I had to be "more than" the pretty girl. So I put on more clothes. I wore men's jeans, stole my father's shirts, and wore long skirts. Even now, when I wear things that flatter my body, I try to keep things pretty covered up.

Part of that is related to the nature of my job. I teach high school, there are lots of hormonal little boys in my classroom, and out of respect for them, I try not to show off my body too much. Part of that is my own comfort level, which is related both to my faith and my feminist leanings; I just can't take myself seriously when my shirts are too low cut, especially when skimpy spaghetti straps are involved.

But there's another part of me that's wondering if it's just that I'm not all that comfortable in this body. That I've been hiding behind brains and belief and cutting myself off from the pure physicality of my life. Does that make sense?
When I'm getting dressed, I'm saying I'm intelligent, professional, educated, creative, traditional, liberal.... I'm saying a lot of things, but not a one of those things is that I have a body that moves and works and is necessary for me to say everything I want to say. I mean, at least not consciously.

And I'm not sure that I've completely sorted this all out, but today, tomorrow, this week, I want to be more conscious of my body. Of the things it does, of the necessity of what it purely physical. I think I do pretty well with not separating my life into the sacred and the mundane; I don't think of my "spiritual life" and my "secular life" if that makes any sense. That said, I don't do so well at bringing together the brains with the beauty, or at least, I'm bad at celebrating them together. Maybe if I get to that point, I'll be able to dance like that girl, celebrating my body without feeling so terribly self-conscious.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Channeling Marilyn

Black boyfriend cardi: Banana Republic Factory Store (remixed)
Purple tie neck top: Ann Taylor (remixed)
Grey tweed pencil skirt: New York & Co.
Black Coach belt: thrifted (for $1!)
Navy suede peeptoes: Nine West
Silver hoops: Kohl's

We're experiencing some weirdo weather in Philly. It's neither hot nor cold, but it sure is muggy, which means the AC is blasting.

I thought of this outfit as I was falling into bed last night, and I was planning it around that Coach belt that I picked up on a thrifting adventure Saturday. I went with B.'s sister and mom and we had a pretty successful trip, I think.

Up close you can see that it's got some paint on it, but I figure for $1 (you know, as opposed to $98), I can deal. Also, seriously, $98 for a BELT?! Who DOES that?!

I had to lose my cardi for part of the day, just because I haven't fully recovered from whatever is making me randomly break out into a cold sweat and feel like I might just pass out. I usually don't do sleeveless for work, but this top has that nice, high neckline that makes me feel appropriately covered up, even if the skirt hugs my hips like I'm freakin' Marilyn Monroe.

My peep toes and red toes also remind me of Marilyn Monroe. Also, could I just point out that I am wearing navy blue and black and not a single person commented on it? Dang skippy. I didn't want to wear flats and I no longer have a pair of black heels, and I didn't think that my go to grey pumps would work, so I went with navy, which I think works well with the grey and purple, and I'm pretty happy with the look.

Not bad for the way I'm feeling. Seriously, y'all, I need to call my doctor tomorrow to make an appointment. See, I told the Internet, which means I need to do it.
Anyway, I was thinking today about style icons - the ones who've inspired my look. You know, besides my mother, who is an icon only to my sister and me. Marilyn Monroe is one, and I've loved her for ages. Jackie O. is another. This outfit makes me think of Marilyn, with the way it celebrates these curves (and creates a waist) and when I'm feeling crappy and am worried about my health, that kind of glamour makes my day.