Bikini Season!

This post is underwritten by Old Navy

Summer officially started Wednesday. I welcomed it in with a fun, kid-filled concert with my favorite band nerds at Garfield Park (followed by some adult beverages). But with the official start of summer it means we can officially declare it bikini season!

All the way up until my senior year of high school, I was a one piece or tankini only girl. The more coverage the better. Then I turned 18 and decided I wanted a bikini. So I borrowed one from my (now ex-) sister-in-law’s sister. And since then it’s really been the only type of swimwear that I’ve purchased.

I joke about the fact that I live on the beach… in Chicago, but the truth is at the end of my block is the lake and a nice stretch of beach. I didn’t take advantage of it last year, but this year I plan on changing that. Touring is slowing down a little, so now I’ll have free weekends to spend soaking up the sun. In fact, I had some free time the day before my birthday before this last Mucca tour, so I went down to the beach for an hour or so and I actually knocked out a complete short story. Hopefully this will be the view of my new “writing office”:

Now, it’s been about two or three years since I got a new bikini, so it’s about time to treat myself to one. Since the last two I bought were from Old Navy (two triangle bikinis, one shimmery pink, the other a gunmetal silver, with black bottoms), I knew they’d be top on my list for the new one.

While they’ve got a lot of options, these are some of my favorites. For some reason I’m on this bandeau top kick. I have no idea if they’d be flattering on me, but for some reason I’m liking them more than most triangle tops. But that’s one of the awesome things — Old Navy’s got a lot of style options. Heck. They even have a one piece I like and would consider…

Regardless of what I go with… you bet your butt I’ll be sportin’ a two piece on the beach this summer. Notebooks and pens at the ready.

Thank you again to Old Navy for sponsoring my post. I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all my own.

wherein I treat myself to a girl’s day.

So, yesterday and today didn’t exactly go how I was hoping.  It hasn’t been bad, but well, plans changed.  On Wednesday Jaron and I worked it out so I could come to visit for a few days before needing to be at work on Saturday.  Then he got sick.  And my trip got canceled.  And that ginormous bubble of uber excitement got burst.

After the point of no return passed yesterday and it was definitely confirmed I wouldn’t be seeing my super amazing boyfriend, I shut myself in my apartment and just had a low key evening.  But today, I wasn’t going to mope around the house — pouting wasn’t going to make Jaron feel better sooner nor would it magically make me appear at his house.  So I decided I was going to treat myself.

I made an appointment at Juko to get my nails done — finally getting to use my gift certificate!  Only, I left it at home.  Luckily the owner is good friends with my boss, so I’ll be back on Monday to actually pay for my mani-pedi.  (Of course, within minutes, I scratched one of my nails — this is why I don’t normally get manicures.)

Then after stopping in at a few cute shops I’d always passed going to and from work, but they’d always been closed, I decided “hey, why I don’t I shop within my budget.”  So I went to Kohls.

New dresses for spring.  New tops.  New light cardigans.  And a couple fun headbands for good measure.  And because I really don’t care for fashion beyond “Hey I look hot!”, I’ll spare you any attempt by me pretending that I actually know anything or that I’m a fashion blogger…. Here are a couple photos!

The Abbey Dawn dress… yes, that’s Avril Lavigne’s clothing line.  The skirt is fantastic, but the top of the dress is lame. (Seriously, ribbed tank with zipper front? Not my thing.)  Oh.  And one of the ridiculous headbands.

Being stupid with my new sunglasses.  My last pair snapped in half, so I sort of needed new ones.  I’ve got a rule with sunglasses, don’t pay more than $5-7, make sure they’re big and ridiculous.

I live within a mile of Wrigley.  It’s an easy walk.  It’s about damn time I own a Cub’s shirt.  This one is damn cute.  I plan on wearing it to work as much as possible this spring.

I bought a handful more than this… but that’s all I really felt like modeling.  Tonight I’ll eat candy and ice cream, watch chick flicks and work on a few projects (like Jaron’s birthday gifts, a guest post for next week – details to come, and some reading/writing stuffs).  While it definitely won’t beat a couple days with my awesome and cute boyfriend, it was a lot of fun.

I’ve fallen and I… (or: how to add traction to your shoes)

Like many stereotypical females, I like shoes.  I can’t even remember how many I bought last year.  But I do know that I moved with 2 ikea blue bags and one laundry basket full of shoes and boots and sandals…  Most of them I barely wear, and I’m pretty sure there’s at least one or two pairs I’ve never worn…  But that’s not really the point.

Regardless of how cute they might be, there are just some shoes that you really shouldn’t wear any place that has smooth floors.  Take a few steps too quickly or even just try to turn a corner at a normal pace and WHAM! You’re on the floor with a bruised butt.  Or worse if you try to do something stupid like brace yourself for the fall.  My shoes today fit those perfectly.

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These cute ballet flats are perfect for my work wardrobe.  However, I’ve slipped not once but two times — and a lot of close calls — in these shoes while at work.  The first time I wore these shoes, it wasn’t a pretty site.  It was probably in my first month or so of starting my job, and we were having our annual staff holiday potluck that afternoon.  As I normally do, I went down to the main office to get hot chocolate in the morning.  I came back upstairs, someone from a neighboring lab not far behind me, and proceeded back towards my office.  All of a sudden I begin to slip, so I try to catch myself and ended up in this half-splits, standing splayed position… with burning hot chocolate all over my arm.  Sadly, I wish that my red arm was all I shuffled away with after the incident.  I continued with my day, mildly embarrassed, but all right.  In the middle of the potluck, after wandering around, mingling, and then finally sitting down with some food, I look down and notice something very, very wrong with my crotch.  There was a large hole in my pant.  Apparently during my awkward manuver to not spill my hot chocolate (fail) and not fall (okay, so I managed that one), I split the seem on my pants.  I covered my lap with a napkin for the rest of the meal, and tried to scurry off at the end (again, fail — I got cornered by one of the business office ladies).  Back in my office I quickly grabbed my stapler and darted to the bathroom where I then proceeded in stapling up the large hole.  I decided after that incident, that I wouldn’t wear these shoes to work again.

Well, it shows you well I follow the “never again” motto… I’m wearing them today.  I figured it’d be okay, I’ve worn them out, I’ll be fine.  Yeah, no.  As I was trying to put my lunch in the fridge in my boss’ office and my feet fell right out from under me and I was on my hip in a matter of seconds.  My lunch survived the fall without any damage or even shifting.  I decided then, rather than just give up on the shoes again (for a matter of months of course, until I forgot about falling), I would modify my shoes to try to decrease my chances of falling again.

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So what I did was take my shoe and I found some very coarse sandpaper in our lab.  I then rubbed the hell out of the sole of the shoe.  The best method of this is to match crosshatch patterns as to give the best scoring.  I knew this wouldn’t be enough though…

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So maybe I wanted a little revenge on the shoes…  I took our large knife we use for trimming posters, and scored my sole even further.  Taking the blade at a 45-degree angle, I cut a diamond pattern on the bottom of my shoes.  After that I attacked the heel a bit because it’s made of a harder plastic… and for some good measure I added a little bit of duct tape because someone on the interwebs said that might work.

Has it worked?  Well, mostly.  My heel is still really slick… and through someone else’s near fall, I’ve learned that our floors just have some odd, uber slick patches that I’m going to have to remember.

wardrobe malcontent

In a few hours my lovely Chrissy and I will be making our way into the city for a night of giggling, drinking, and flirting (though not with each other on that last one)… I’m not the only one with friends in a band who’s got a concert tonight (Mucca Pazza is playing the Empty Bottle tonight), she’s become acquainted with members of Bottle of Justus and so we’re going to see them at the House of Blues.

Originally I thought I’d wear my white dress shirt with my suit vest (as seen here: this wench…), but well, now I’m not sure.  Chrissy’s got a hot top she’ll be wearing — sophisticated, yet flirty and sexy… it’s going to be awesome… But I’m not so sold on my vest.

I’ve looked through the various photos I have of me, mostly from my vanity album on facebook (which is mostly the same pose with different outfits)… and well, I still can’t settle on an outfit.  Just a top to wear with jeans.  That’s all I need.  And I’m half tempted just to throw on a fitted tshirt (something like my hurly, DC, volcom or other brand/style of that nature) and wear my pink and black checked faux fur-lined hoodie.  I love wearing clothes like that, and I do look hot in them, but well… maybe I’m looking for more than just damn cute tonight.

When it comes to my wardrobe, I’ve got my various tees, loungewear, dresses, hoodies, basics/casual, and work wear.  I’m definitely missing the whole “party/bar/club” aspect to it.  If I had truly noticed this before, I might have attempted shopping before tonight.. but well.. honestly, though I know I can pull of the whole club look, it’s not really me.  Granted, as Dani would point out, I’m a gemini and therefore crazy with multiple personalities/sides and maybe the club scene could be me… meh.  Who knows.

Basically, I need to scour my closet (and floor) for some sort of top I can be satisfied with tonight.  With any luck, Chrissy will be home when I get there and can assist in my mission.

Pictures by Monday with what I finally decide to wear.

I’m a snow beast!

The first real snow is finally here.

Though the great boot search is still under way (see: start walking (notes on cold weather fashion))… I managed to pick up a new coat and hat just in time this year.

hat01I hadn’t actually been searching for a hat this year…  I had knit hats already — various ones my gram had made me… and my new 91.1FM beanie… But I stumbled across a nice trapper hat at target and well, found it amusing.  It’s also warm.  So between the humor and the warm factors, it wins.
Just last week I wore this hat to work, like I have been lately, and well, saw a young student wearing the same hat coming in.  She wasn’t all that thrilled, and had to tell her friend, and then they had to whisper comments and gawk.  Apparently I had ruined her whole “I’m so original” look… But hun, when you shop at target, there will be at least 25-50 other people with the same item.  Just gotta learn to deal with it.  And as you can remember from my guitar hero-ing, I rock out that hat.

true rockstar
true rockstar

Anyway.  When it came to buying a coat, I had specific things I had in mind.

1. Puffiness
Puffy coats are pretty warm.  I’ve been a fan of ski jackets (I own at least 3), and just enjoy the extra padding.  Falling down is almost inevitable, so if I can make my landing a bit nicer, all the better.  There’s also something about a big puffy coat to remind you of your apparent smallness.

2. Nylon/waterproof
Not a huge issue seeing as most puffy coats are made out of this material.  Though it would be amazing to see a wool puffy coat.  crazy.

coat023. Below the waist
My previous winter coat, which belonged to my late stepmom, went down to my ankles.  I’m just that much shorter than her that a below the knees coat turns floor length.  I was a giant black puff ball in that coat, but I was warm.  So I stopped caring.  But until the snow gets out of hand or it gets in the negatives, I don’t need anything that long… All my other coats are either too lightweight or waist length… meaning I end up having a very cold booty.  Not fun.  So butt coverage was a must.

4. Definable waist
Just because I want it to go past my waist doesn’t mean I want it to cover it.  I want to still look all feminine in my coat.  Who says you can’t be warm and look good?

5. Fur.
I find it hilarious.  Maybe it helps with the warmth, but mostly I think it just looks amazing.  So I needed a coat with fur around the hood, preferably — none of that furry lapel stuff.  It sort of ties into the snow beast things…

So this is what I ended up with, after a lot of searching — The Buckle didn’t have the coat I wanted, so I meandered through an entire mall filled with mindless shoppers and eventually found my coat in Macy’s.

coat01
meets all criteria. win.

I will say, mine is not black.  Mine is actually a gunmetal gray color… which well, I have a fondness for gray.  (And yes, grey too.)  … I just couldn’t find an image of my coat’s color… It is indeed warm too.  And the fur is ridiculous.

One goal this winter is to get a lot of really cheap faux fur stuff, including fluff mommas (see post mentioned above)… then run around the city… “I’M A SNOW BEAST!!”  Fun times shall be had by all.

The Mennojerk knows the value of a good hat.
The Mennojerk knows the value of a good hat.

start walking (notes on cold weather fashion)

(I seem to be on a fashion kick… oh well… and no pun intended for this next entry…)

I lived in the city long enough to go through one winter, and in that short time I learned there is just something you seriously cannot do without.  Good boots.

Chances are, here in the Second City area, you won’t really have to be climbing through large mounds of snow — more like the banks created by the plows that decide that sidewalks really don’t need easy access points… Or in the neighborhoods where people just refuse to get out and do their civic due of shoveling their sidewalks.  However, boots are a must.

Since it’s already hit the 30s, and with the wind and everything it feels like the 20s… students across campus have already started donning their winter wears.   Well, not so much as in coats and such, but the boots are out in mass.  And there’s one boot fashion trend that seems to not want to die.

classic uggs
classic uggs

The Ugg.

They hit the peak of their popularity in the early 2000s.  Anyone who was anyone had on these boots, pants tucked in, so everyone could see that you were indeed stylish.  A very popular outfit with these were sweatpants.  It was the “I just got out of bed” look… and seriously, who wouldn’t want to wear the most comfortable and warmest clothes they could in the winter?  I, however, refused to buy Uggs.  Not just because I was bucking a trend, but because frankly I thought they looked dumb.

the fluff momma by ugg
the fluff momma by ugg

Best of all with the Uggs… the Fluff Momma.  I kid you not, that’s the official product name of these horrific sasquatch feet of boots.  Yes, make me look like a giant snow beast.  It’s exactly what I want.

I find these boots to be absolutely hilarious.  Maybe if you live somewhere that it doesn’t snow much, or they don’t use salt or sand on the roads, leaving dirty slush everywhere… maybe then could these boots survive past one winter.  The idea of washing one of these after a romp around the city seems beyond what most people would ever want to do.  Granted, they do look warm though.

The boots that strike my fancy are from Blowfish and Rocketdog — two companies which happen to be related.  Both brands have produced shoes and boots in the past that I’ve been oh-so tempted to purchase, and sometimes I question why I haven’t yet.

two different style of blowfish boots
blowfish boots

Blowfish first caught my eye with their Hobbit boots.  I’ve seen knockoffs at retail stores, but I’m not going to settle for anything but true hobbit boots.  Not only do I like the style, it just makes me giggle when I think about hobbits.  (The boot on the left, the Hey Now, is basically a higher cut of the Hobbit boot.)

I wouldn’t wear the Hobbit boots around this winter, not once it starts to snow.  I’m not even sure I’d do the same with the Hey Nows, but it just depends on how water proof I could make them with various sprays.  The boot on the right, the Faldo, is a flannel boot… Again, as long as I could keep it dry (or at least my socks) then I might consider these.

rocketdog boots
rocketdog boots

For something a bit more waterproof, and well a better twist on the classic snow boot, I’d probably want the rocketdog popcorn boot (shown on the right) or the honeydew (on the left) — both of which, by the way, are vegan.  These boots would definitely survive various jaunts around the city, slush and all.

And well, apparently the only way to wear boots now is to tuck in whatever sort of pants you have on.  This would be the only reason I’d probably ever get skinny jeans (with hips like mine, I don’t really need to accent them).  Granted, I don’t tend to wear my boots around the office… Anyway.  Tucking in, though it used to be something I’d thought was sort of silly, is very practical.  I tend to be quite fond of dry pants, so keeping them out of the muck is key.  Last winter I was surprised more than once by the depth of a snow patch or slushy puddle.

This year I’m actually looking for a new pair of boots.  And though I’m leaning towards something faux fur lined, I’ll be passing on the Uggs (though an old high school friend swears by them).  Knowing me, I’ll end up buying two pairs… this has definitely been a year for shoe buying for me.  What can I say, I like footwear.

various boots I might find acceptable
various boots I might find acceptable

truth that (aesthetic) history repeats itself? (steampunk & lolita)

shiny.
shiny.

Chances are you’ve already heard about steampunk by now.
Or, at least, maybe you’ve seen various steampunk things — such as this keyboard.

More and more people are jumping on board with how awesome a lot of this steampunk stuff is.  I mean, seriously, I know I would like to take my gen 1 17″ intel iMac and give it a glorious make over of rich woods, brass fixtures, and ivory inlays…   Not being very tech-craft savvy myself, I know that this is all a dream and I’ll probably not own a shiny steampunk computer.  (It’s more likely that I’ll just buy a newer, larger, iMac and just be happy with that.)

an essential
an essential

Anyway.  I don’t generally love to just jump on the bandwagon and follow miscellaneous trends until the next thing comes along…  However, there’s definitely appeal to steampunk.  It’s a very aesthetically pleasing trend.  And well, it has been around for awhile — though well, I’m kind of glad it hasn’t exploded in the past because then it might have died off…
I’m still hesitant though.  I think, for me, it’s more of the idea of sticking to just one style seems so limiting and makes me cringe.  And because I can’t really just choose one style and stay with it, I would definitely feel like some sort of poser if I attempted steampunk.  At least the fashion.  I’d be okay with the gagets.  Maybe just one or two pieces or something.

check out these wears...
check out these wears…

I will say I think the outfits are pretty cool.  Though, well, maybe I’m just more into the men’s fashion than the women’s.  (What can I say, I’m a sucker for dressed-down suits, vests, and good hats… plus all those fun accessories!)  Mostly I just can’t see myself in those dresses all the time.

Which that brings me over to this Neo-Victorianism and this big trend in Japan (or so I’m told) — Lolita.  Now, I’m still very new to this… but from what I understand, it’s a complete dedication to the trend.  High tea and everything.  Though, well, you’ll still see girls in Lolita dress clutching their cell phones as well as their parasol.

I wouldn’t have known anything about Lolita if I hadn’t see it first hand.  Yep, it’s here in the Northern Territories.  While walking around campus, I came to pass a young Japanese woman in this babydoll victorian dress, with a very lovely, albeit lacy and very feminine, coat, knee-high socks with lace and a bow at the top, heals, and yes the parasol too.  All of this was starch white.  This type of outfit caught me off guard, because you don’t see it every day — nor expect someone to wear it every day, and not as some costume.  Anyway, it was beautiful and fascinating.  (I will say though, from perusing the interwebs, I have yet to find many images that display the beauty that I saw on campus.  Most is just either goth lolita or sweet lolita — these little subsets are all… interesting…)

sweet lolita in pink
sweet lolita in pink

I’m damn cute.

some days.. you just know you look good.

I change styles a lot, or at least, I dabble.

According to a fashion horoscope, I keep up with fashion and switch between looks.  The latter at least holds true.
“Keeping up” with fashion for me is merely noticing what people are wearing, and noticing what’s in the stores now.
I don’t have any magazine subscriptions at all right now.  (I am tempted by Paste though, seeing as Mennogirl moved out taking her subscription with her.)

Probably since high school, I’ve been told that my style was unique.  Well, back then I was either wearing bright orange pants with bright green and blue shirts, or pin stripped/plaid bondage pants with suspenders and tight tshirts with various phrases or cartoons images.  One person stated that regardless, I always looked comfortable.  Which was pretty true.  … still pretty true today.

I’m not necessarily talking comfort in the means of actual this feels good physically when I wear it.  More of, I feel good when I’m wearing it.
Some days, I like to dress up a bit… look a bit more feminine… jeans and tshirts are still pretty key though.  I tend to be less fond of cookie-cutter looks or limiting my wardrobe to just one style.  I wear what looks good, and what I enjoy wearing.

I think the other point regarding me and clothing is my shopping habits.  My roommates have been impressed that I will buy clothes without trying them on.  This has been a habit since my childhood.  Since I also don’t have a really good habit of returning clothing, I’ll actually try a few things on every now and then.   I generally know what cuts look good on me, so just holding something up in front of a mirror is enough to convince me a lot of times.  I also buy things online, which has been mostly successful.

One good thing about not trying on every item of clothing that I’m somewhat interested in — it makes shopping less painful.  For me and whomever I’m with.

Regardless though… I’m damn cute.

this ain’t a scene…

So last night I found myself here — a fashion show hosted by local magazine…

Honestly, I don’t think I knew what I was getting myself into.  Not that it was superbly grand, had any hints of scandal, or even so tragic it was epic.  But it was amusing none-the-least.

Yesterday evening I received a call from my friend Dan (who lives further north than I do), “Do you want to go to a fashion show? .. I can’t get you home at a reasonable hour.”  So I ceased my cleaning, borrowed my roommate’s car, and made my way into the city.

What I know of fashion shows are other people’s experiences.  The media industry’s version of beautiful people, various pieces of fabrics and textiles which are interpreted as clothing, people who think they’re important, and free stuff (gift bags-o-swag).
There was a short show, girls with slightly edgy nearly pop punk hair (meaning it had some color), and clothing that looked very wearable — something I wasn’t expecting.  Normally things you see on runways aren’t things you’d like to go out and buy for your general wardrobe.  There was free wine (the party was hosted by a wine company), a not-so-terrible DJ (but it wasn’t enough to convince my friends Dan and Adam to partake in some ass shaking), various photographers and videographers, and of course, Wicker Park’s hippest kids.
At moments, it was like Fall Out Boy meets Gossip Girl.

Dan and I both donned our suit vests, Adam sported a good tie, and Sara (Adam’s roommate who’s an intern at the zine) rocked her red hat.  I think we made a good presence.

It wasn’t a dear diary night, but the good company and the interesting environment led to an enjoyable night.  Plus, we capped it with dinner food.