Failed test

Monday: Yohji shirt, company vest, Everlane pants.

I’m sure many can relate to this: A new idea comes to mind and there’s lots of excitement to make it happen, but when the reality of it comes to fruition the results being a disappointment feel like an understatement.

First of all, I’m not sure what to make of my basement set up right now for photos. I’m using the photo light I bought again and while it’s definitely bright enough, I still feel the photos are lacking severely.

Secondly, the above outfit didn’t look half as good as it did in my head. I wanted to try out a mini project this week where I wear a variety of tops with the Everlane E2 Pant. After browsing Kick Pleat and ogling all the pretty photos on Death by Elocution I thought my problem was not mixing around my clothes enough and I wanted to experiment more with different silhouettes. Well, what will I know works with those pants if I don’t take several photos of them with different tops? So the idea was to wear these pants all week long with different tops in an effort to figure out what really works. Monday’s photo doesn’t really seem to work at all – not even for a solid black outfit. I was so cold I ended up throwing on my company vest to keep me warm all day so I figured I’d take a photo with that too.

tuesday

Today: Everlane mock neck shirt, Limi Feu sweater, Everlane pants.

I really don’t think the lighting is doing this outfit justice at all. I felt much more put together wearing this. Also, the half-tucking the sweater I felt helped the look. I was much warmer today like this. Note to self: work on posture in photos. I look hunched over but I’m really not. This photo really isn’t doing this outfit justice at all. Or maybe the outfit isn’t nearly as great as I feel in it.

I’ve been eyeing up a lot of stuff on COS lately, which seems to be another version of Everlane, but with better colors and more styles to choose from. I know they are owned by H&M, which then raises the question: how sustainable/ethical of a company are they? Is the quality really that much better since their price points almost match Everlane exactly? Or is it just about the same? I’ve read reports that there are sizing issues with their catalog in the same vein as Everlane. I was surprised to see that I’d be more of a size 6 with COS when I looked at their charts. I do like the look of the clothes better on COS, but I’m wondering if this is just settling for another version of Everlane that may be plagued with the exact same issues of weird sizing and quality that seems great, but ends up being a bigger disappointment down the line. Does anyone have any experience with them?

Also, who exactly is the person behind Death by Elocution? Is she a model? Is she a photographer? Is she a millionaire or a trust fund baby who can afford all those gorgeous clothes all the time? I love the feed, but it had me wondering just how the heck she obtains all those items. It’s also highly frustrating that she doesn’t list what the clothes are. I get that she doesn’t have to because it’s her blog to do with as she pleases, but sometimes I really want to know what a product is she’s wearing. Ok, like 90% of the time I want to know. I started looking at COS because I saw a sweater she posted from there and you could see the tag on it. But I can’t make out the tags in many other photos she posts.

 

 

Making an effort

sunday
Uniqlo top, Rachel Comey lure pant. 

Each time I do outfit photos I have to set up the tripod. No photo is the same because I have to move some furniture out of the way to set up the tripod and then take few shots. After taking a few for today I had gotten some full photos and seeing my face in them had me thinking: WHAT HAPPENED TO ME? I LOOK SO OLD! The lighting wasn’t flattering to my skin tone or the angle it was on my face. I haven’t washed my face or done my hair yet today. I have epic bedhead because of how I sleep and my hair is extremely short, so it spikes up in odd places and looks like something tried to nest in it – for a week. But more than that, my face. The lines, the creases, the dark under eye circles…. “My poor husband” is all I could think. He’s 9 years younger than me. We started dating when he was barely 20. I’m not one to base my looks on others’ opinions, but if there is someone who I do make the effort for and want to look nice for – it’s my husband. So getting older and it starting to show is something I’ve always struggled with.

I might sound shallow and narcissistic for saying this, but when I was younger I was always told how beautiful I am. In college, “Jen has the perfect body” was a common refrain among my friends. I won’t deny some of it went to my head. Vanity is unavoidable. Everyone likes being told they are beautiful and given compliments. This was before my metabolism went *poof- bye-bye* and before my skin tone became sallow (thanks genes from my mother’s side) and the lines showed up on my forehead and around the edges of my mouth. Knowing I am getting older and these symptoms will only get worse with age  sucker punches me in the gut emotionally. For the longest time I was even told I look ten years younger than I really am, but I’ve not been hearing that as often as I used to. This sounds so terrible to admit, or is it? I’m being brutally honest with myself here – not hearing things I’ve always heard in the past has had some affect on me now that I’ve noticed the silence.

I am trying to keep myself in shape – or rather, get myself back into shape. During my 30s I ballooned out a bit and now have The Roll around my stomach that is so hard to get rid of. The weight is down – that part is done, but reshaping the body is a whole different matter. Part of me wonders if wearing skinny low-rise jeans exacerbated the problem. Is there any research on that? You know, muffin top syndrome? I totally had it.

This is not at all what the title of this post was supposed to be about! I had originally meant I’m making more of an effort to take care of my clothes and to get dressed on the weekends when I know I’m not doing anything (like today) and it somehow devolved into some seriously depressing, navel-gazing pity party about aging!

Hodgepodge

Friday

Friday: Everlane long sleeve, Fantasy Linen tunic, Grana jeans.  I had to wear green to work on Friday (I technically didn’t have to, but I figured I’d at least look like I cared even though I didn’t – it’s better than not attempting to be a “team player” at all…. right?)

It was so incredibly dark Friday morning. I was surprised Z didn’t get up to exercise. He grumbled and hid under the covers. Walking downstairs felt more like 4 am than 7:30 am. Why so dark? Oh right, massive rain storm the entire day. Although I left early, I was still late to work because no one was capable of driving without hitting something. So many accidents all over the place.  Everyone grumbled about the rain. At least it’s not snow. Considering the time of year, this downpour would’ve equaled almost 3 feet of snow. I’ll take the rain, thanks.

I left work late and a coworker for second shift asked people where they lived so he could tell them if their routes were flooded. He and I live in the same direction and he shook his head, “No good, road closed at the overpass due to flooding.” UGH! Then I remembered I had to go buy cat food anyway, so taking a detour didn’t sound so bad. That was before I ended up sitting at the same light for 10 solid minutes because 5 cop cars, one fire truck and two ambulance cars (all staggered over the 10 minutes and 6 light changes) made moving impossible. I got to the vet half an hour later (it normally takes 10 minutes max) and then choked when I saw the bill: $125 for a case of prescription wet food and 17 lb bag of prescription dry food. Well that’s a big expenditure I wasn’t expecting this month. I blame Bento for this. I love the stupid, demonic cat, but he’s got urine crystals so he must have prescription food. And because Yuki would end up stealing his food (since it’s better quality) we feed it to both of them.  I shake my fists at why pets are so expensive and then stop myself: well, last least we don’t have kids to worry about. Correction: our pets ARE our kids.

The rain starts up again. I finally get home and hobble out to the car twice because I can’t carry all the items (work bags and cat food) and keep my balance on this boot at the same time. Half a minute later Z shows up. It’s nearly 6 pm and he orders Indian for us (Thank you Uber Eats! We can now get our beloved Indian food whenever we want!). Meanwhile, we grab beer, he snaps my outfit photo as I’m taking off my security badge and we melt onto the sofa. It’s been a long, draining week for both of us. Post dinner down time: 4 hours of Zelda.

study
My desk where I’m currently writing. I’ve got several papers I need to sort. I just got a Jury Duty summons *head*desk*.

I’ve been thinking so much about saving money. The freshness of the new year and determination keep me going right now. The only expense I’ve had all week is that cat food, but I always put it in context of what’s spent out of the month. I don’t spend much money at all during the week, but end up doing “chunk” expenses all in one go at one point during the month – usually weekends towards the end. So the cat food was a “chunk” expense I wasn’t expecting so soon. I also noticed utilities were taken out this week and the electric/gas was pretty high. That was expected due to the holidays and company.

My end goal is for my credit card bill to only reflect necessities for at least one month. I’m trying to zero it out of discretionary expenses. Then I’ll be able to better budget out my discretionary expenses each month and not let it get out of hand. All bills are directly taken out of my bank account and it’s easy to track them since I get email notices every month. I’ll admit the cat food is a necessity, but it was one I hadn’t even considered before now and need to budget for. The dry food will last upwards of 9 months, but the wet we buy every month. So it needs to go into the monthly bills section.

doll
Huge doll on my sofa in my study. This was on my Amazon wishlist for so long I forgot about it and then was shocked to get it for Christmas this year from my MIL. Isn’t it cute? The little green/beige pillow is full of pine needles and smells like a tree. 

I do have things I want. Items are in my Amazon wishlist for later. One will possibly be used for all outfit photos in the future. Not sure yet if I’ll do it, but the idea seems fun and a way to make the posts more entertaining – if only for myself. I’ll wait until I’m out of the boot before I get it. So I have something to look forward to and when that time comes around (2 months from now) if I still feel excited about it then I’ll purchase the item.

There’s also this site with all things gorgeous! Thanks to Talia I now have another site to obsessively swoon over and “window shop” (screen shop? is that better term for this?). I was good about only limiting myself to Totokaelo and Rosen (where I buy most of my Yohji stuff), but alas, now I have a new site love. Check the pretty:

 

blackblue
DYING! This outfit screams ME!
teal
Outfit color goals. Also, long cardigan goals. I love that teal color too.
whiteblack
Another straight up JEN OUTFIT. I could actually already pull this off with my Yohji pants, but I’d need a new top. I’m digging the gold shoes too.
silhouette
Silhouette goals. This is very Audrey Hepburn-ish I think. Not sure what I’d do about shoes though because I have hobbit toes and ballet flats really don’t work for me. 
Enzo
Avant-garde pant love. These are hella expensive.

 

Ice and relativity

Monday

Monday: Limi Feu sweater, Under Armour long sleeve, Rachel Comey pants. I drove home early from work because a nasty ice storm hit that late afternoon/evening. Look at the nice natural lighting in this photo! I also moved where I was so I wasn’t against the dark curtains. I do have on my workout leggings underneath the RC pants. It was one of those days where wearing my workout clothes under my regular clothes helps me get down to the cold basement to work out. Wednesday

Wednesday: Banana Republic sweater, Everlane pants. I skipped Tuesday’s photo because I was in a very bad state. My boss gave me a project to work on… that’s actually more like a department position transitional move… It depends on how well this goes plus several other factors in play. I think he’s pushing me to join the Business Development team, but I’m not sure yet. Either way, this new project has me working with clients more and I honestly feel like I’m being thrown in the deep end of the pool and told to swim. He’s also not that great at give direct orders, which is what I need. He’s more of a casual conversationalist and then assumes you’ll know what to do. Nope. Not me. Not at all. So I didn’t get the work done he told me to because 1 – I had no clue on how to do it and 2 – I wasn’t entirely clear on what his directive was for me. At the end of the day he and I sort of “argued” (more like confused banter about who said what and who assumed what) about it and I went home feeling like I’d failed at some BIG but I couldn’t tell what because I had no clue. Just before I left work several other coworkers and mangers assured me it wasn’t me. Not entirely anyway. Wednesday, we met up and I learned how to assert myself with him and stop him in his tracks when I needed a clearer explanation on things. I’m a very linear person when it comes to what I need to know and how I need to know it. He’s the exact opposite, but because he’s the one showing me this new stuff I had to put my foot down and stop him before he veered too far off track. I also scheduled lots of little tutorials throughout the day with people more knowledgable about the software I’d be using for this work. So Wednesday was super busy, but much better.

Thursday

Thursday (today): Everlane sweater, Rachel Comey pants. Today felt downright warm compared to what it’s been over the past several weeks. That’s really sad considering it was only in the 40s. Tomorrow will be a heat wave in the 60s!

Since working on this new project at work I’ve had my head a-buzz with new things and felt confused, drained, and fuzzy all week. I’m glad for the opportunity, but I can tell it will definitely challenge me. I’ve only been there for just over 2 months and it feels as though I’ve been working there forever and am now learning something new. The work culture there is great. Even though it’s a much more corporate environment than what I’m used to, my coworkers are super helpful. It feels more communal and friendly than my last job, which was about as laid back as you could get.

There were many other things I wanted to write about in this post, but now they all feel like things that can go in their own – mostly because I need to develop my thoughts on them more. I don’t schedule out posts nor do I have drafts. I’m always just sorta winging it with this because I never wanted to be too serious with it.

So tonight will be spent watching new season anime I need to catch up on and maybe playing more Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Last night the hubs and I played the first major dungeon of the game, but it wasn’t too terribly hard. Considering the challenges in it though, I have a feeling this is just a teaser to many more that will be infinitely more difficult. Yikes.

 

Exhaustion and Star Wars

This week I’ve felt like sleep is something other people do and I only have the scant privilege of experiencing on occasion.

tuesday

Tuesday: Everlane sweater and Sacai Luck pants.

wednesday

Wednesday: Banana Republic top and Yohji Yamamoto pants.

thursday

Thursday: Everlane top and Brass Clothing pants.

friday

Fri-yay: J Crew top and Grana jeans while drinking my favorite cocktail.

First and foremost, the cocktail in today’s photo:

Blackout Manhattan: 1 oz Rye, 1 oz Pims, 1 oz Averna – dashes of orange and walnut bitters with a dirty cherry.

I’ve made many variations of this drink. Today I used my husband’s bourbon because I’m out of Rye whisky. The “dirty cherry” is just a Bada Bing cherry, which you can get in a jar from the grocery store. It’s not one of those disgusting Maraschino cherries that taste like plastic. These are real cherries brined in syrup. Orange bitters are easy to find at most liquor stores and even some grocery stores, walnut bitters can easily be found on Amazon, which is where I got mine.

Also, I want to note that two blogs I follow had amazing posts this week:

Work from Home Wardrobe – Navel gazes and I found myself nodding: It’s as issue that aging women all deal with but rarely talk about. I want to hear from more women about this. This also had me thinking: what the hell does “aging gracefully” even mean? Discuss.

Dr It Girl  – The misogyny of minimalism – I was fist pumping about this. It’s SO TRUE.

This week I’ve feel pulled in twenty different directions. Finish shopping for the holidays, get house prepped for 2 weeks of guests, social engagements, work being… WORK and then some…

Wednesday night after dinner I was driving around to stores for a few things thinking the crowds wouldn’t be bad. Wow was I wrong. Anyway, I was standing in line at Macy’s to get a few gifts and a couple near me were also buying gifts and the woman asked if I found really soft PJs because she saw me looking in the same stacks they were. Then she and her husband were trying to figure out if they bought enough just to use a 15% off coupon and realized they didn’t so she got upset and said that holiday shopping was nothing but a racket to make people buy more junk. I smiled at that and enjoyed their bantering on the subject. She was overjoyed one minute at finding a nice present for her daughter but then cursing holiday shopping the next minute. Holiday shopping really brings out extremes in people.

Last night the hubs and I met up with a group of friends to go see Star Wars. Non-spoiler-very-generic-review: it was good, but I felt it didn’t throw the emotional punches it could have to make it great. The dialogue had me wondering if they got Lucas to write parts of it (that’s a sarcastic way of saying it felt very stilted). There was a lot of comedy in it as well that felt a little out of place – like it was trying to be a Marvel movie. In general I did enjoy it a lot and was glad I got to see it opening night. I know there are lots of people who hate movie crowds and such, but some movies really are better when you experience them with a large crowd of like-minded fans who all “AHHHHHH” and “Awwwww” and gasp and cheer at the same time. Mark Hamil does a lot of voice-over work and is famously known for his Joker voice he’s done for the Batman cartoon series for so long ( and all the video games – Arkham Asylum, etc..) so when I first heard him on screen all I could think is: the Joker is a Jedi! It took me a while to adjust and hear him as Luke Skywalker instead of waiting for a cackling laugh a la Joker style.