Saturday, February 26, 2011

I heart this dress

Dress: Ross
Scarf: gift from my uncles
Boots: Nine West
Earrings: Kohl's
Bracelets: gifts from my uncle and my aunt

This outfit is not original by any means. You can see it in different iterations here, here, and here. Sometimes a formula works and it should just be embraced, especially when all you want is to be comfortable and warm.

I like to think I mixed it up a little with this scarf, which my uncles gave me while I was in Puerto Rico. I have to admit that it's been my go to scarf since I got it and I love, love, love it. The colors and the print are pretty much everything that I look for in a scarf.

Y'all, I have to admit that the past few days have been beyond crazy. Thursday, I had a medical almost-emergency that coincided (happily) with the one day a month that the local clinic is open. Anyway, all was taken care of without much drama beyond the initial scare, and it was done free of charge after the thirtieth patient was seen. Because not only is the clinic open only once a month, but there are thirty slots available.

And then yesterday was spent trying to make some contacts in the local government. And then I got a comment from someone that was the kind of thing that reminded me that people think that I'm here on vacation for the next three years and I got so annoyed. Because I'm here working longer hours than I did back in the States (and I taught, so y'all know that the hours are crazy long for teachers, no matter what everyone thinks about teacher hours). I am not sitting on a beach with little paper umbrellas in my drink. I'm working in a disaster area. Things are not easy - transportation, shopping, education - none of these things are easy. But it's good work, and I'm really enjoying it, except not when people think I'm on vacation all the time. Because I'm not. It's just pretty and green in the place where I work.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nearly wordless

Shirt: Sonoma via Kohl's
Tank: Target
Skirt: Ann Taylor
Belt: Banana Republic
Booties: Aldo
Necklace: gift
Earrings: Target
Sunnies: Puerto Rico
Adorable puppy: Kiku

It's late as I'm typing this, and I'm tired, so this will be pretty much pictures. Enjoy!

And this is me after B told me I was being "demanding" with my photos. I told him I was a diva. We were both joking, of course.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Respectfully dressed

Top: New York & Co.
Cami: Target
Skirt: Gap
Belt: Target
Shoes: Target
Earrings: Turkey
Bracelet: gift from my mom
Sunnies: Puerto Rico

I wore this to teach yesterday, and while we were discussing rules and consequences with the students in order to finalize our school rules (you can do this when you've got eighteen students) the issue of uniforms came up. They've got a polo that they have to wear and the plan was to have them wear blue pants with the polo. The students wanted to negotiate some jeans into the deal and then the conversation turned to holey jeans.

And then I had to be all like, "I don't wear everything I own to work. I want to demonstrate respect for you, myself, and my profession by dressing appropriately, and we expect you to do the same." Because that's the kind of teacher I am: the kind that thinks that students should dress respectfully to come to school. Also, you should bring at least a pencil and a notebook. Just sayin'.

Is it weird to say that my style choices are a way of conveying my respect for myself and the people around me? Does anyone else feel that way? I say this to B often because I do feel that it's part of Latino culture in general (and Puerto Rican culture in particular): dressing well is a symbol of respect.

Anyway, they seemed to understand what I was saying even though they were a little bummed to be limited in their sartorial choices. I don't feel too bad about it, though because most schools here demand a particular shirt, blue dress-ish pants, and black shoes. Besides, I loved my uniform when I was in Catholic school (even though I wasn't about to admit it to anyone) - it made my life so. much. easier.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Almost famous

Y'all - I'm being featured over on La Rizada today and y'all should check it out because I said some terribly clever things. Also, pretty pictures that you've (probably) seen before.

Oh, and if you're not reading La Rizada, you should be: great style and commentary.

Fabulous Inspiration

Sunnies: Puerto Rico
Skirt: Old Navy
Tee: Target (men's undershirt)
Cardigan: J Crew
Booties: Aldo
Earrings: gift
Bangles: Banana Republic

This outfit was inspired in part by Kimmie from Blue Paper Lanterns. The other part was inspired by the glorious weather we've had here the past couple days. Of course, now it's all cloudy, and I'm sure the rains will soon be back, but in the meantime, bare legs, sunnies, and heels it is.

I got these sunnies in Puerto Rico because the pair I'd gotten here in Costa Rica broke the third time I wore them. When I say "broke", I mean the actual frames cracked. It was so lame. I ended up getting two pairs, these orange ones (I love orange) and a tortoise shell pair. I hope they last me a good long time because I'm in love with them.

Oh, and I'm being fabulous in February, so, my three positive things:
1. I love my hips. They are round and wide and they're excellent for closing doors, balancing heavy objects, and Latin dancing.
2. I read like, whoa. I started reading real books (not picture books) when I was five and have always been a fast reader. I can go through two or three books a week on the Kindle. The best book I've read this month is Imaginary Jesus (free on Kindle!).

3. I'm a decent writer. Alright, I'll go ahead and throw modesty out the window and say I'm a strong writer. I discovered writing when I started reading, and I'm pretty certain I learned to write by reading. Someday I'll write a book, but in the meantime, there's this blog, our Costa Rica blog, and a chapter in a book.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Quitter in red

Skirt: Gap
Tee: J Crew
Shoes: Crocs
Earrings: Turkey
Belt: gift from my mom
Sunnies: purchased in PR

Y'all, I have a confession to make: I quit the 30x30. I wore fourteen outfits, posted nine, photographed ten, and then decided I was over. it. Why did I quit after completing two 30x30 challenges successfully? Well, for one, I felt like I had learned all I could from the challenge. For two, remember the time I had to get rid of or store about 80% of my wardrobe? Yeah, that was a lesson in consumerism greater than the challenge.

And I was already feeling pretty deprived in every other aspect of my life (we're poor, we don't have access to a car right now, there's no public transportation, and there's not a whole lot of choice when it comes to diet). Adding the challenge felt like the opposite of fun. My life is pretty bare bones right now, so I'd at least like full access to the 20% of my closet that's still in my possession.

Anyway, my aunt M got me this red skirt at Gap when I was back in Puerto Rico visiting family. It was $3.97, so I went for it, even though it's a size larger than I usually wear. I'm not sure if I love the way it fits because it's a little lower in the hips than I'd like, but I think I can make it work. I think it might also be good for a mini alteration with my remedial sewing skills - I should be able to take in a waist, right?

Friend Friday - Body Image

Hey y'all! I know I've been totally MIA this week, and I apologize. I got back from PR on Sunday and went directly to a meeting, and have been running non stop pretty much since. Seven day work weeks and I are not friends. I'm also not friends with six day work weeks.... Anyway, I did manage to carve out a bit of time for this week's Friend Friday post because it's a topic I can really identify with.

Body Image

1. Since you started blogging has your image of yourself changed?
Yes. Make that a resounding yes. I started this blog because of my body image issues, kind of as a way to gain a better perspective of myself. I feel like there's a huge difference between my brain-mirror connection and my brain-photo connection and my brain-photo connection is much healthier. I find that as I've been blogging, I've been able to get that brain-photo connection in a lot of my mirror interactions. I'm seeing the beauty of my body in new ways because I'm more attuned to it. My body is no longer this passive thing, it's something I look at and think about more often. Does that even make sense?

2. Are you self-conscious about any aspect of yourself? If so, do you go out of your way to avoid it or do you post it/talk about it anyway?
Of course I'm self-conscious about certain aspects of myself. I don't go out of my way to avoid them, but neither do I go out of my way to post about it. I have posted about some aspects of my body that took me time to love (my hair, my booty, and my legs) and I've also posted about the disconnect I feel between my brain and my body, but I don't really seek out those types of posts. Maybe I should, though....

3. Based on how you are feeling now, what do you think the future holds in the evolution of your body image?
I think I'm still working on embracing my body as a whole. I mean, I've come a long way and I'm still flying high from a week in Puerto Rico where my grandmother and my aunts told me I have great legs, great hips, a nice booty (cultural standards of beauty are so different there, btw). Even so, I am terribly self conscious when it comes to my (relatively) light skin and my belly. There, I said it. But I'm working on that.
Also, I have weird toes. Actually, everyone has weird toes. Feet are ugly and that's why there are shoes, the end.

4. Do you photograph yourself for your blog? If so, how do you feel about the experience when you're having your picture taken? If you choose not to post pictures of yourself, what prompted that decision?
How I feel depends on the day I'm having. Sometimes I have a lot of fun with it. Other days, I'm all like, "Stop hunching your shoulders like that Frances Joy; you look like a vulture". My aim is to feel like a rock star as often as possible and as long as I'm comfortable in my outfit and there aren't many people watching my photo sesh, I feel pretty awesome.

5. What would you want every person who struggles with body image to take to heart?
I have a hard time with this question because I hate getting pat answers to hard issues. So here's my round about answer:
I feel like I had the most body image issues when I was in middle school and couldn't figure out what was going on with the boobs and the hips and why aren't any of the other girls wearing C cups? And then, my nice, rich, suburban middle school was full of boys who apparently couldn't shut up about the girls in their gym class and were also way too interested in my body for my liking. My body didn't feel like it belonged to me. And for a long time, that feeling persisted. My body was separate from me somehow, and worse than that, it was almost as if it was okay for everyone to comment on it and criticize it. The ladies at church, classmates, guys on the street, students, you name it, they were talking about my body.
And then, I started working out. It was less about losing weight and more about seeing what my body could do. I was amazed by it. I could jump and do crunches and lift weights like whoa. And I started noticing all the little every day things that my body could do, too. My legs and feet helped me to circulate in my classroom. My arms helped me carry heavy piles of copies. My mouth and voice helped me to communicate. My shoulders helped me to clear a path in crowded areas. This was my body and I couldn't survive without it. It belonged to me, first and foremost. It does so much work for me: breathing, thinking, blood circulating work and it's the only one I've got, designed this way on purpose.
So yeah: Your body is yours, it works - in some areas better than others, but it's the reason you're alive, and that alone is an amazing thing.

Check out more thoughts over at ModlyChic.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


So once upon a time, I joined a gym, it's Lucille Roberts, in case y'all are in PA, NJ, or NY and are familiar with it. Anyway, I've been trying and trying to cancel my membership because of changed residence, but I can't get a utility bill or a bank statement with my address on it.
See, I live in the rain forest, and Costa Rican addresses are a little weird (our current one is 400 meters north of the Catholic church in Vara Blanca). No one - I repeat, NO ONE delivers mail up here. It just doesn't happen. You go to the supermarket to check your light bill and you pay it there because you better believe you will NOT be getting a utility bill at your house. In the city, you will, but up here on the mountain? No way.

So I try to explain this to both "customer service" agents over the phone (while using a VOIP service, because, you know, no phone) and they are just baffled that there could possibly be a place without mail. They're sure I'm lying. Except I'm not, and seriously, do they think the entire world is like NYC? Because it's not.

Right, so now my only option is to pay a $50 cancellation fee which just annoys the crap out of me because if I'd moved three states away instead of six COUNTRIES away, I wouldn't have to pay that crap fine. And I'm not quite ready to give them that money especially because it's money we don't really have anymore.

I told them I'd be sure to let everyone I know know about this (hello, everyone I know). And now I'm asking for advice I guess, because usually I'm really great about dealing with customer service but this woman - whose response to my disappointment with their service was "Well, I have nothing to do with your disappointment. You're the one that moved." - made me SO ANGRY that I don't know how to handle it.

I tried to offer alternate documentation - a CR drivers license, scanned shots of my passport, a letter from my employer - but they weren't taking it. Am I being unreasonable or should I stick to my guns and fight this?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wanna Be Style Blogger: Titi M

Y'all, for the second installment of "Wanna Be Style Blogger", I'd like to introduce my aunt M. I call her Titi M and I remember her being super glamorous when I was a kid. I thought her hair was so cool and that she dressed so well, and although our styles are totally different, I love that she does. not. care. what anyone says about her and she wears what she wants. So here she is:

Bodysuit: BCBG Max Azria
Skirt: Gap
Shoes: Di Morini
Watch: somewhere in San Juan
Rings: gifts
Earrings: Ebrel
Purse: gift

My aunt definitely has a boho vibe when she dresses. It's an aesthetic that I love, but that doesn't always work for me. She's all over it, though.

I love the way she's rocking black and navy like a regular style blogger. Heck yeah for breaking fashion rules! And can we discuss that she got that skirt on crazy sale at The Gap? $3.97, y'all. Bargain shopping skillz run in this DNA.

I love this woman.
Titi te quiero mucho, mucho, mucho! Gracias por todo. :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Uninspired aka Outfit #9

Tee: Target
Jeans: LOFT - gifted
Sandals: Chinese Laundry
Earrings: Target

I wish I could pretend that this outfit was a little exciting, but I can't lie to myself or to y'all. This is as boring as they come.

I am proud, however, that I wore my boyfriend jeans again, because let's be honest, I have no idea how to wear them. But aren't those flowers behind me pretty? I'm not bilingual in flower, but there are amapolas and hoy, maƱana y siempre in my grandmother's yard and I love them.

...And if that looks like Kiku, it's because that's her dad, Brandy. I would've gotten a shot with her mom, Kiki, but she's shy in front of the camera.

And now, to distract you from my boring outfit, I spent yesterday on the beach with my baby cousin (who's almost 21) and his friends.

See the rainbow?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friend Friday - Color Wars

It's Friend Friday! This week, we're talking about...

Color Wars

1. What color dominates your closet?

I'd have to take a good look at my (color coded) closet to be totally sure, but I think it's black. Either black or grey, I can't remember. Neutrals definitely dominate, though. I am a girl who loves colors that aren't really colors.

2. If money weren't an issue how would you change the color emphasis in your closet?

Honestly, I wouldn't because I love me some neutrals as a base. I like to think I have a good selection of "pop" items. Bright shoes, bright scarves, bright tights, bright tanks and tees. That said, I do want a mustard skirt so badly. I feel like it'd play nicely with all my neutrals. That's not a color emphasis, but it is a colorful item.

3. What is your mantra about mixing colors?
I don't have one, but I do know that I tend to go for colors that "go" rather than colors that "match", meaning I like to wear what the ladies over at Academichic would call analogous, two-thirds, and / or complementary color combos. I guess that means my mantra is:
"Don't match; dress in colors that remind you of athletic teams."
Someone should put that on a throw pillow. I'd buy it.

4. For you, how do you incorporate color into your outfits?

I'm a big fan of pops. I like the neutral base with pops of color. My bright blue shoes, an orange pashmina, yellow earrings, hot pink tights.... I am too much of a chicken to wear too many brights up by my face. In my world, red is the brightest color and it scares the crap out of my to wear it. So yeah, bright accessories are my go-to for color.
Also, I have a few colors that I really like against my skin (orange, turquoise, yellow, and green) so I have no fear of wearing those.

5. Which blogger(s) do you think do a good job of incorporating color into their wardrobe?
Sal of Already Pretty is one of the first that comes to mind.  Other colorful bloggers are Melissa of A Working Mom's Closet, the amazingly snappy and savvy Vanessa, and the very cool Fer.

So how about y'all?  Are you more drawn to brights or to neutrals?  Are there any colors you're afraid to wear?  What color mantra do you want embroidered on a throw pillow? 

For more thoughts on the colorful wardrobe, check out ModlyChic.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Back on Track aka Outfit #8

Tank: Target
Jacket: New York & Co.
Skirt: Target
Shoes: Steve Madden
Earrings: gift from sister in law

Today, my (maternal) aunts took me to meet up with my (paternal) uncle and grandmother to visit my grandfather who's in a nursing home. Then we went out to eat with my uncle and grandmother because my family loves to eat.

How cute is my grandmother?! Too cute, that's how cute.

I got these shots of the town of Gurabo, where my grandfather is, and thought they were too amazing not to share. Check out the steps back leading up to the houses on the hill. I'd be so fit if I lived there....

I feel like the brightness of this outfit fits in so well with the surroundings. Life in general is just brighter in the tropics. The houses are bright, the flowers are bright, the sun is bright.... Color is less scary for me here.

This was our view from the restaurant today, and it's totally not photoshopped. How gorgeous is my island? I mean, for real.

My aunt almost stole these shoes from me. I might not be able to leave with them in my suitcase because she liked them so much.

And now, a random picture:

Mama hen and babies! Gah! So cute!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Update aka Why I haven't posted outfits #8 and #9

I've been in PR since Tuesday at midnight, sitting on my grandmother's couch and listening to her being pretty much hilarious, much like my titis and cousins. My family is crazy funny, y'all. If you're ever in Puerto Rico, stop by and visit. It's guaranteed to be crazy loud and entertaining. I've been wearing my 30x30 items, but have not taken a single outfit picture. Usually I'm better about that, but not this time.
Also, I've committed the cardinal sin of 30x30: I bought a dress. Also, I got a few gifts from my aunts. (Skirts for under $4 at Gap? We can't pass that up!) So there is my confession y'all. I don't feel bad about it, although maybe I should....
Anyway, I'm not counting any outfits that I haven't photographed, so I'll get two more outfits out of the whole thing. I'm planning to do a special feature while I'm here, but we'll see how things go as far as timing. Of course, once I tell the Internet, I have to do what I promised.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Fabulous Traveler aka Outfit #7

Image 245

Blazer: New York & Co.
Tank: Target
Jeggings: J Crew
Shoes: Target
Scarf: Turkey
Earrings: Turkey
Ring: Swapped
Sunnies: from a pharmacy in Costa Rica

Today I'm traveling to Puerto Rico after having a meeting with the Minister of Public Education for our province. I needed to look professional while still being comfortable enough to go from the chilly highlands to the dry heat of the city to the wall of humidity that is the area just outside of the airport in San Juan. I think I've done it.

Anyway, it's the first day of Fabulous in February, and I'll be doing this every Monday for the rest of the month. Basically, I'm being positive about what and who I am, which, if you've ever read my about me, you'll see that that's one of the reasons I started the blog. So here are my three things for this week:

1. I'm a traveler. I like hanging out in a place for an extended period of time and getting to know the local culture. Travel is probably the best education I could've ever had.

2. I have a quirky little gap-toothed smile. Believe it or not, I once had braces. Kids: wear your retainers or fall in love with your gap. I've done the latter.

3. I'm a proud shorty. I'm 5' 2 and 3/4", which I round up to 5'3" so I don't sound like a little kid. In case you're wondering, B is 6'3". I always tell him that I'm the perfect height and he's freakishly tall.

What makes y'all fabulous?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekend special aka Outfits #5 and #6

Dress: Target
Earrings: Target
Sandals: Chinese Laundry

This is me on my way to the beach stopping to check out some crocodiles. Yeah, those little lumpy things by the river bank on your right? Crocodiles. Isn't that insane?

We took our returning students to this beach to celebrate their success last year and the end of summer vacation down here. Summer is code for "dry season", by the way, because we don't actually have seasons beyond rainy and dry.

It was nice to hang out with the students in an informal setting and even nicer to soak up some sun and delicious heat. Have I mentioned I like hot weather? Because I do. I love it. I also love crazy beach hair.

Tee: J Crew
Skirt: Ann Taylor
Scarf: Target
Shoes: Crocs
Earrings: gift with purchase from Noble Town Vintage
Bracelet: gift from uncle

Style Nation, meet my crocs. Crocs, meet Style Nation. Judge if you will, because I know I did (do).

I got these shoes for free because they were BOGO at the outlet and my sister wanted a pair. I figured rubber shoes were good for the rain forest, so I went for it. They aren't the best, but they make me feel like I have tiny feet. They're a size four, y'all; for the record, I generally take a six.

I told B that I felt like I should be on vacation in Nantucket in this outfit. I've never been to Nantucket, but if I did, this is what I would wear. Someone should take me, but, you know, not till July when it's finally thawed out enough.