Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rediscovering my closet: grey tunic

Tunic: New York & Co.
Skirt: Gap
Belt: Came with a blazer
Pumps: Steve Madden
Earrings: Kohl's

I wore this outfit to church on Sunday because there was a possibility that I'd have to stand up front and translate the sermon. Lucky for me, I got a break from translating duties and I just got to look a little extra fancy for church.

I love this tunic, but I haven't worn it since I've been here in Costa Rica. I know, a limited wardrobe and there are items I haven't worn - I'm ashamed of myself, too. Anyway, as a challenge to myself, I'm going to be trying to pull out more of these items this week.

I mean, seriously: check out that pretty beading and the contrast of grey and bronze-ish (totally a color). How could I not have worn this in the past five months? Part of my issue is that I don't really know how to wear it. This is the first time I've tucked it into a skirt and I rather like how it turned out.

Any other suggestions?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Rockstar bling

Dress: Ross
Scarf: Target
Booties: Aldo
Sunnies: Puerto Rico
Bracelets: gifts from my uncles
Earrings: gift (from Guatemala)

My secret: when I don't feel like getting dressed, I reach for a dress. People think you tried, and you didn't at all.

Of course, if you spend any amount of time around these parts (and by these parts, I mean fashion and style blogs in general) that's neither news nor a secret.

I wore my favorite bracelets: this collection of embellished bangles that make me feel like a total rockstar when I wear them. I've had them since I was twelve (that's sixteen years, y'all) and they've always been this cool. My students were totally impressed with them - both the girls and the boys. When the boys are taken with your jewelry, you know it's totally cool.

And now can y'all help me figure out why I'm pointing at Kiku? Weirdest pose ever....

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

B strikes again

Blouse: Ann Taylor
Cami: Target
Sweater: Target
Skirt: Gap
Boots: Nine West
Bracelet: gift from friends
Earrings: Sarchí, Costa Rica
Sunnies: Puerto Rico
Watch: Coleman via Target

B dressed me again. I was honestly skeptical about pairing this ruffly blouse with the wrap sweater, but the man's got a good eye. I mean, am I right? Isn't that a great pairing?

I love the bright shade of green of the sweater, but I've never layered it this way because I'm (a) a creature of habit and (b) not that creative. I like the way it turned out, and I might try it again.

He's getting good at this, y'all. He's still a tee shirt and jeans kind of man, but he's developing quite the eye for what works for me. Can I tell y'all how wonderful he is? So many levels of wonderful.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What I've got

Tee: Gap
Skirt: Gap
Belt: Target
Scarf: J Crew
Booties: Aldo
Watch: Coleman via Target
Bracelet: Banana Republic
Earrings: Turkey
Sassy face: in response to B being a smart aleck

This outfit is from last week. I am so. Stinkin'. Behind. But I loved this outfit, and I wanted to blog it. Pretend we're in a time warp, okay?

This shirt is how I know I've lost weight since I've been in Costa Rica. It used to be so tight that I could only wear it as a layering piece, and now it's totally doable for all the time. Also, this skirt falls off now - additional evidence that I need to eat more sandwiches.

I won't lie to y'all: sometimes I get frustrated with my two and a half suitcase wardrobe (including sleepwear, unders, outerwear, and work out gear). We don't really have a budget for clothing right now, and I can't justify buying anything when we're so tight on money as it is. So, there's that. This is what I've got. Yeah, my mom gave me some of her stuff when she was here and she even brought me some new stuff, but this is what I've got.

Some days it's easier to work with what I've got than others, but it's how I roll, how I'm rolling.

Any styling advice, however, is more than welcome.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Tee: Target (men's undershirt)
Jeans: J Crew
Boots: Aldo
Scarf: gift from my uncle
Earrings: Target
Watch: Target

This outfit is pretty much a variation of Saturday's look, but I feel like it's totally different. Less flattering, perhaps. Anyway, I woke up and it was gorgeous out! Quite a welcome break from the days and days of rain, and it was so warm, I could wear sandals. Of course, I also had to go down to our education center to meet with the students who are visiting from the US.

These pictures were taken on the trail down to the ed center. The other parts of the trail involve gravel paths, mud, and about 30 meters of cow poop thanks to the presence of a milking barn and I don't know how many adorable calves. Calves are insanely cute and all, but cow poop calls for rubber boots.

This is hands down my favorite part of the trail. That, behind me, is the Sarapiquí River before it grows into the giant river it is further towards the coast. There's something amazing about the rushing waters, the rickety bridge, and the rainforest that I just can't get over. I'm not outdoorsy at all unless we're talking beach, so for me to say that means it's pretty stinkin' amazing.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Tee: Ann Taylor
Jeans: LOFT
Scarf: Turkey
Earrings: gift from sister-in-law
Bangles: Banana Republic
Purse: Nine West
Sandals: Target

I'm really sad that I have exactly two good pictures of this outfit, because I'm a big fan of how it turned out. I've long been stumped by these jeans, but I think this look works. I got these jeans from my sister for Christmas and I've been kind of dipping my toes in the boyfriend jean looks, but this outfit felt like I jumped in. I might still be in the shallow end, but I feel that this is progress. I wore this on Saturday for a date day with B. We went to the mall while our coworker picked students up at the airport. We wandered around, looked at stuff we couldn't afford to buy, had lunch and dinner at the food court, and watched the latest Fast and the Furious movie because THAT is how much I love my husband. All in all, it turned out to be a good day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Paper Doll Project

Paper Doll Project

Tank: Target
Cardigan: J Crew
Skirt: Gap
Shoes: Target
Earrings: Turkey
Belt: Banana Republic

Have y'all heard about the Paper Doll Project started by Suze of Miss Vinyl Ahoy? Basically, you sign up and you get paired up with another blogger who styles you for a day, and, of course, you style her. I've been in such a style rut lately, so I signed up and got paired with the lovely Nicole of Employed Panache.

She challenged me to wear some more color, and while this is not an outfit I would've come up with on my own, I really love it. This tank is one of my favorites, and I never quite know what to do with it, so it was nice to pull it out today.

It was just the right pop I needed for another wet, grey day up in the rainforest. Also, can we discuss how easy it was to get dressed this morning?

So easy. I could get used to this.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Leopard and B

Cardigan: Target (gift from my mom)
Top: New York & Co.
Belt: thrifted
Skirt: Ann Taylor
Boots: Nine West
Tights: Simply Vera via Kohl's
Earrings: Sarchí, Costa Rica

When Ashley over at A Fashion Fixation tweeted that Monday felt like a leopard print kinda day, I took note. And then I got lazy and gave B the job of styling me, based on leopard print, of course.

He vacillated a bit on the skirt, afraid that it was too "safe", but I told him monochromatic isn't totally safe, so it was cool. Then he decided I need a pop of color (he's learning, y'all!) so he added the green cardigan that my mom left behind for me. He also picked out the belt and boots. He thought about adding a scarf, but he decided it'd be too much.

I say this because this is a man who, when we first met, did NOT understand why I cared at all about my clothes. He didn't have the context for it and initially thought it was a purely shallow activity. We've had a lot of conversations about the cultural aspects of dress and style, and I think his perspective has changed considerably.

Not that he's putting a lot of thought into his own outfits as far as I can see, or that he's suddenly on the pattern mixing bandwagon, but he's definitely thinking more critically about it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mixing it up

Cardigan: Target
Tank: Ann Taylor (gift from Mom)
Belt: thrifted
Skirt: Gap
Boots: Nine West
Earrings: Kohl's

I love this outfit. There's nothing really special about it, but I love it. It was comfortable for walking to and from work and professional and presentable for actually working. So, win-win.

I guess when I really think about it, there are two things that I really like about this look.
1. The mixed neutrals. I love the black with accents in various shades of brown. It feels so rebellious to mix up that many shades of brown with the black base.

2. I love the juxtaposition of the ladylike tank, skirt, and cardigan with the rugged belt and boots. There's something about the combination of "Office appropriate" with "Just another day on the range" that appeals to me. Maybe it's the fact that I live next door to a lot of cows (and the attendant cowboy types) that's making that aesthetic my new favorite thing ever.

And y'all, I love these boots. Love them to pieces. That may deserve a "literally" soon, as you can see from the scuffed toes. What you can't see are the torn up heels (stinkin' gravel on the side of the road!) and the deteriorating lining on these boots, especially in the heels. I just can't let go, though. They're just too comfortable and, at least in my world, stylish.

Oh! I've got good news - we've (mostly) fixed our Internet issues at our place. We can't actually get internet at our house, because the petition for phone service has been languishing at the government office for the past ten years, so we've talked to our neighbors. They got Internet at their place, which we pay for. We're close enough to them that we can get decent service at our place from theirs, but they had the modem in the back of the house, so we finally moved it to the upstairs front room (closest to our place) this weekend. Success! As long as the rains aren't too bad, we've got signal.

I"m beyond thrilled.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friend Friday: Shoes

It's time for another Friend Friday, brought to you by Katy of Modly Chic. I've been a real slacker about participating, but I couldn't resist this particular subject.

This week, we're talking shoes. (Cue choirs of heavenly angels here.)

1. What is your go-to pair of shoes?
I'm pretty sure this will come as no surprise, but I'm going to say my Aldo booties.

If you don't believe me, just click right here and see all the ways I've worn them. And y'all? I paid $45 for them at the outlet. Original price was something ridiculous like $130 or something, and there was no way I was ever going to part with that much money for a pair of shoes, no matter how perfect. Mostly because I'm cheap; I wasn't poor then, just cheap - now I'm both.
Anyway, the color and the just slightly funky style make them a natural for just about any outfit.

2. What goes into your shoe buying decisions?
I'm going to say I have a three-step process for buying shoes:

  1. Are they affordable?  As mentioned above, I'm cheap, and I've gotten decent quality leather boots for $60.  I won't pay more than $80 for leather boots, $45 for pumps, and $30 for sandals.  Even then, they better last me forEVER because I want value.  Case in point: I paid $60 for these Nine West cowboy boots like, seven or eight years ago.  I can't even remember how long I've had them and they're still around and kicking.
    From 2010-09-30
  2. Are they comfortable?  Y'all: I'm a teacher.  I'm on my feet all. Day. Long.  That said, I'm also shorter than most of my students - at least that was the case when I taught in the States - so I like heels to give me a bit of authority - more presence, perhaps.  They force me to stand up straighter and walk with more purpose.  I'm not going to sacrifice authority for comfort or comfort for authority, so I'm going to make my shoes give me both.  Pass the comfortable heels, please.  
  3. Can I wear them with everything else I've got in my closet?  I've got very few shoes that I don't wear with skirts because we all know I'd rather wear skirts than anything else.  Yes, there are shoes that I need for specific activities (hiking or working out) but for the most part, I want versatile shoes.  Versatility, of course, has nothing to do with color in my world.  Bright shoes are easy for me to work into my mostly neutral palette.  
3. The majority of the shoes in your closet are what color?
Actually, right now, they're brown - shades of brown.  The shoes I've got back in the States though, are in a rainbow of colors that I miss more than I can adequately express.  (Dear red, electric blue, and yellow pumps: I miss you so.   Also, leopard print peep toes, I wish I had at least one of you here with me.  We could cuddle.)

4. When it comes to designer shoes what are your favorite brands and why?
Real designers, I don't even play that game because it just makes me wish I had stuff I can't afford (and would feel way guilty about paying for anyway).  As far as brands that I love: Nine West, Steve Madden, and Aldo for heels.  They just work with my feet - comfortable, walkable, stylish, and affordable.

5. If price wasn’t an issue, you’d own which shoe?
I've got two options for this one.
First, these Brian Atwood pumps:

Second, these Fluevogs.  These shoes win an award for being the first pair of Fluevogs I actually thought were cute.  

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Tee: Target
Jeans: J Crew
Scarf: J Crew
Belt: Banana Republic
Bracelet: Sarchí, Costa Rica
Shoes: Sperry
Earrings: swapped

So, I didn't even realize how preppy my sources for this outfit were until now, but I assure you, it wasn't intentional. What was intentional was to try to copy this look by Fer of Moda Fora de Moda.

Fer, sadly, is no longer blogging over at Moda Fora de Moda, but I highly recommend scrolling through her archives. My grasp of Portuguese is tenuous, but I really dig her funky style - completely different from my own. If she could teach me to wear jeans and skirts with sneakers, I'd so sign up for the course.

Anyway, I don't know that this is my best look, but it was practical for a day when I had to walk to and from work. It's probably two or two and a half miles round trip, and the way home is all uphill. Add to that my asthma and my heavy teacher bag and books, and it's the kind of walk that calls for comfortable shoes.

Y'all, our car is in the shop. It's been in the shop for the last two weeks or something like that. Last month it was in the shop for about two weeks, too. It's so lame. I've been telling the students that our car fell in love with the mechanic; I'm not sure if they're buying it, though. Say a prayer for the car, y'all. The rains have begun in earnest and it is a wet uphill walk these days....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Pants: New York & Co.
Top: Banana Republic
Cardigan: J Crew
Shoes: Naturalizer
Earrings: Turkey
Sunnies: Puerto Rico

Y'all, I've been having a hard time getting dressed for the past couple weeks. It's gotten to the point where I take a shower and then stand in front of the closet for the twenty minutes it takes B to shower. And then he STILL gets dressed before I do. Meanwhile I'm all standing there trying to figure out what I can do with a wardrobe that fits in two suitcases.

BUT! My mom brought me a few magazines when she came to visit. And so, on this particular morning, instead of staring at my closet waiting for my clothes to put themselves on me, I pulled out the May issue of Lucky and flipped through until I found my inspiration. Y'all - I totally had the necessary pieces to put this together!

The two suitcase wardrobe pulls through! And I'm dressed! This may not be the most flattering look - cropped pants, flats, a top that's a size too big - but I felt almost as if I were finding my way out of a rut.

Someone tell me I'm not the only one with this problem....