MIA... For Two Darn Good Reasons

Monday, July 30, 2012

I'm still up in Ohio for the family visit and parties (I've consumed my weight in cheeseball and crackers, fruit salad, shrimp cocktail... I don't need to tell you about the rest) and we are packing really meaningful visits in with aunts and uncles and the couple of friends who are probably stuck with us for life.

There's also some of this going on, which is awesome:

The Big Darn Deal of today is that style chameleon Sarah over at Just Take a Bow is in the midst of presenting a series she's calling "JTAB University" and asked me to contribute a "lesson" on Effortless Style. Aaaand it's probably not what you were expecting. If you aren't already following her blog, you'll really be missing out on 1. A consistantly fun stream of stories 2. An enormously helpful series to help guide your wardrobe and styling habits and 3. Drool-worthy daily looks ranging from Glam Rocker to Thrift Goddess Chic. Yeah, it's really good stuff.

So, come on over and check out my little nuggets of fashion wisdom (that's the most ridiculous thing I've written in a long time) and join Sarah for the of the series (Don't miss her shopping tips, they were absolutely amazing and endlessly helpful. And Color Theory?! A girl after my own heart). And pleeeeease keep checking in on this amazing resource because a few of our favorite bloggers are already tapped to contribute, too (I'm looking at you, Audrey and Kristine... Can't wait!).

Packing Light

Friday, July 27, 2012

Jeans: Gap Always Skinny...Blouse: Banana Republic, thrifted...Cardigan: Gap...Shoes: Nine West via Buffalo Exchange...Necklaces: Target...Bag: D&B via Buffalo Exchange...Pack: Osprey

white shorts...striped skirt...white skirt...mint tee...white blouse...striped tank...green tank...navy tee...sweater...belts...scarves
As I was packing Wednesday night, I put my clothes into a small carry on... and realized it was overkill. So, I thought I ought to give packing in my small backpack a try and, while it's pretty packed between my computer, charger, bathroom / makeup bag and clothes, I'm glad I gave it a shot. I now have all my stuff in a small Osprey pack with only 1098 cu in capacity (vs a standard backpack somewhere between 2000-2300). I plan to wear the heels to the nice party on Saturday and the cardigan is a back up for chilly buildings, but I've packed mix and match options for 5 days out of town in this pack and my normal purse. I don't want to brag or anything (I definitely do), but I don't think there's many women out there who can fit stuff for a trip including both a nice event and church into a tiny backpack. It pays to be flexible and to have your formative years spent camping... your standards end up pretty low as a result. My techie gear (chargers, download cables, spare memory cards, headphones) are in a little zip pouch in my purse, along with my glasses (in case dry airplane air makes me blink out a contact), camera, wallet and boarding pass. 

Happy Trails, happy Friday and I'll catch up with you soon!

Chambray and White

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Jeans: Gap Always Skinny Crops...Chambray: Target...Shoes: Calvin Klein via Buffalo Exchange...Bag: D&B thrifted...Bracelets: ASOS and thrifted...Shades: Coach via TJ Maxx

I leave today I leave today I leave today. Like I said yesterday, I'm a little more than excited to see my family.

This is what I actually wore yesterday (I post a day after I actually wear something) and I was so very happy I chose this. One, chambray... C'Mon. Two, I had to unexpectedly call up Boss Lady's alarm guys and had to escort them all the way up to the utility room on the third floor to check out the system (it went off and called the cops without any opportunity to shut the alarm off in the morning when we entered). And there's nothing worse or more awkward than taking subcontractors up to the third floor in heels and a skirt. They found nothing wrong, it worked properly when we tested it after a reset, but I don't really know where that leaves us.

I also found out that Boss Lady is going to have a friend come up to Idaho to drive the ladies and the truck back down to Houston. Part of me is glad, part of me wishes I was the one doing it so I could make up a new route and spend 41 (vs. the 35 we took on the way up) hours on the road to drive down through Utah and New Mexico. I love being out West, and while it would have been a real treat to drive down that way and see that beautiful bit of the country, I'm grateful for the continued "alone time" to work on my projects here at the house. We're going to be so much better off this fall when we get into planning the Gala after the filing and organizational improvements I'm working on!

I'll be sure to post what I wore today for you tomorrow, airline travel outfits and "how I packed" are always valuable, I think.

Heading Home

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tee: UO...Skirt: DVF, thrifted...Shoes: Target...Belt: Gap...Clutch: gift from Katie

So, there's something I haven't told you all yet. I am leaving tomorrow evening to go home to Ohio for a long weekend trip centered around a party celebrating my grandparents' 80th birthdays! My mom flew last Saturday out to meet up and drive with my sister from Phoenix and they're driving to New Mexico to pick up my little brother who has been visiting with my aunt and uncle. They'll arrive Thursday afternoon. My sister in Hong Kong arrives Thursday early evening. I get in later evening. My uncle living in Hawaii is getting in Friday morning (aunt and cousin, who is a beautiful college freshman aren't able to come), my aunt and uncle in New Mexico get in sometime Friday and my aunt and uncle living near Buffalo will drive over in time for the Saturday party.

Neeeeedless to say, I'm a little more than excited about getting home to see my family. I see a lot of your summer blog posts about weekend road trip visits, family BBQ's, visits with siblings and nieces and nephews. My closest relative is New Mexico, a 14 hour car trip away.

I'll do my best to post while I'm away, but as much as I adore this community, I'll probably be too busy shuffling around my parent's house and drinking coffee with my sisters. And probably watching in awe as cookies and cakes are expertly crafted. I can't keep a cake from deflating to save my life.

Linking up! The Pleated Poppy's What I Wore Wednesday!

Dog on Loan

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Jeans: UO...Blouse: H&M thrifted...cardigan: Gap...Belt: Target...Shoes: Kenneth Cole Reaction via Piperlime...Shades: Coach via TJ Maxx

No, it's not cooler here in Houston, I'm not wearing a sweater because I need it outside. It's still dreary and a little rainy and the combination of humidity in the air and relentless AC is literally freezing me. I have numb fingers some afternoons. It's getting ridiculous. I just can't understand the need to cool a space down to 72 degrees. Wasteful, unnatural, and overly cold!

I had a funny afternoon yesterday. I loaded myself into my car a little after lunchtime to go take a photo of the damage to the car Boss Lady loaned to a friend (poor guy got hit while he was on his way to pick up his new car). Oh, my gosh, it's bad, the "knuckle" in the suspension is totally severed, if that means anything to you. Anyway, that's not the funny part of the afternoon. I was walking out to my car in the side drive at her house and trotting up the driveway was this absolutely adorable Cavalier King Charles. He had this wonderfully portly physique, black shaggy tips on his ears, a perfect little underbite. He was the goofiest looking dog I've seen in a while, but he was incredibly sweet. I walked out toward the sidewalk, but there was no one walking nearby. So, I found and dialed the number on his collar (his name is Rudy, by the way) and it rang and rang and rang and rang. I called the neighborhood patrol, who didn't have the phone number on file, but told me to secure him for a while, wrote down his particulars in case the owner called, took my name and number and then we waited.

Guys, I had a dog for the afternoon at work. And it was awesome.

Eventually, his owner did call the patrol and got our address to come pick him up, but I've never before had such an amazing time at work. Ah, dogs are good for the soul.

Easy To Wear

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dress: Beijing seamstress...Belts: Target...Scarf: gifted from Katie...Bag: Furla, gifted from Katie...Shoes: Nine West via Buffalo Exchange...Bracelet: thrifted

Hokay, so this is how my at-home ombre turned out. Super different, huh? I'm very pleased with the results.

No, really, this is how my box-o-dye ombre turned out. I picked a permanent light warm blonde and it stripped/lifted/lightened about 5.25% of my natural medium brown. And that's it. And I'm nervous to dive in with bleach. Tips and tricks for at-home? Because I'm gonna give it a shot this week sometime.

We're still in the midst of on again/ off again rain... so it was overcast when I began these photos and got blasted in the face with sun by the end. I also really really love this dress, it was one I had made in Beijing while I was visiting my sister last year and this intersection of casual linen and a structured silhouette is just so easy to wear. And so easy to play with accessories. I've only worn it once (I think) on the blog, but it's been a goodie I grab for when we go to friends' houses for nice dinners, a concert on campus, blah blah blah. I wear the skirts I had made in China all the dang time, but it's nice to have a 1-piece easy option, too. Add some cheerful belts, a lightweight trippy-mod printed scarf, a simple gold charm on the wrist and call it done. Floral-print shoes are a bonus.

Happy Monday! I'm spacey enough to have only tales of dumb clothes rather than any good stories from the weekend. I'll do better tomorrow.

Bangs Trim

Friday, July 20, 2012

Skirt: Beijing seamstress...Tee: H&M...Belt: thrifted...Necklace: Target...Shoes: Seychilles via DSW...Clutch: gifted from Katie

I know it doesn't look like much, but my hair is 3/4 of the way to its intended summer style. It started out long, stringy, washed out and uneven. It was long, trimmed up and washed out via a Groupon for a cheapie haircut. It got a slightly darker color at the roots. And yesterday, I forked over an Alexander Hamilton for a real hairdresser to give some shape to my long, grown out bangs (The gal I saw is named Rita. Being in the hands of someone with that cool of a name just had to be a good omen, right?). My last step? Imma try an at-home ombre. I'm nervous but excited about how this turns out.

Not much else to say about any of this, so I'll give you a few photos of the tragic before and cleaned up after.



Minor Victory

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pants: Zara...Tee: UO...Cardigan: Gap...Belt: thrifted...Scarf: Target...Shoes: Nine West via Buffalo Exchange...Bag: D&B via Buffalo Exchange

Not much to say about this look- it's casual, it's minty, it was way too hot to wear outside for long periods of time. Good thing Boss Lady's home office is heavily air conditioned. Or good thing I remembered a lightweight wool sweater because I knew the house is heavily air conditioned. Whatever.

You'll be happy to know that my time at the Gym went well. I only had one minor icky encounter with a pimply undergrad at the water fountain where his gross, sweaty shirt brushed my arm. The rest of the time I was there I had relatively no one around me and could be terrible at using workout equipment without judgey glares. I even managed to get the elliptical that has the gear/fan/motor thing at the back (the machines with the movement in the front make me feel like I'm going to buck off of them). Day 2 this week was a success.

We're so near the weekend! Hang tight, everybody!

Gonna Pump *clap* You Up

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pants: Gap...Blouse: Banana Republic, thrifted...Shoes: J Jill via Buffalo Exchange...Bag: D&B via Buffalo Exchange...Necklace: Wish Boutique

Let's conclude that the necklace was a mistake an move on, shall we?

This has been a funny week so far. My days are still a little strange, with Boss Lady popping in and out of the scene. My Guy is starting to go MIA in preparation for his enormous Comprehensive exams (he, Bromance and a few other Doctoral candidates have been studying for months together, but it's getting to be the time in the prep process that they gather and quiz one another. And they each need to know everything about music history and music theory. Kind of from the Dark Ages on. Yeah, it's a lot.) I've spent a few evenings at home with him, but it's kind of depressing to hear him but not get to spend time with him.

So, evenings (aka study time) will be spent at the gym. Because what better way could I spend my time? Cooking? Fatty. Cleaning? Puhlease. Dog wrangling? Always. Cat snuggling? Only for a while. TV watching. Shoot, we haven't had cable in over a year. Well, gym it is. And taking into consideration my poor weight lifting ability on Sunday (10 lbs on the Bicep machine was too much. Eek.) a little training is necessary. Hanz and Franz would be ashamed of me.

Proof that being skinny is not the best indicator of health and fitness.

Wish me luck and keep my string bean arms in your thoughts.

PC Load Letter?! What the Bleep Does THAT Mean?!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dress: ASOS...Shoes: Nine West via Buffalo Exchange...Belt: Target...Earrings: Banana Republic...Necklace: Target...Shades: via TJ Maxx...Clutch: gifted from Katie

Here's to hoping my summer schedule is a little more relaxing and summery today... with Boss Lady out of town, it's usually a little more chill, but she spent a lot of her time between when I left with the truck to drive to Idaho and when she flew up somehow boogering up her computer. And I spent my first real day back trying to fix things. And talk on the phone with one of the housekeeper's daughters in Idaho trying to remotely diagnose and fix thaaat computer up there. I'm glad she wants to be tech savvy, but she who won't listen to basic "click here to do this, remember not to do this or you'll mess something up" instructions is just asking for trouble. And I'm not an IT person, just a regular ole assistant. My skills are good, but limited. If you have trouble with your podunk 2 Mb monthly internet connection up there, I prooobably don't know how to help you "make it faster." Nor do I know what to tell you about making your 5+ year old computer faster. Be patient, it's nearly 112 in computer years.

Aah, today will be more relaxing. And I'll get something done. I can feel it. Or I just won't answer my phone.

Kidding. I'll answer it because I'm a sucker.

PS- does anyone have a good suggestion for keeping a skinny belt in place on a dress that has no belt loops? Refer to photo 1 to see what I'm talkin' 'bout.

This Sweater: Stuck on Repeat

Well, I'm back. And lazy. I actually took this sweater on the trip with me and washed it our last day there. And then wore it again once I got back. I also braided wet hair and called it a hairstyle. I'm disgusting.

The trip made me realize a few things. One, my husband is the best road trip buddy on the planet. He's a power-house driver, he puts up with my absurd requests to stop and see all kinds of roadside attractions, he'll drive an extra couple of hours out of the way to see something especially fascinating, he likes finding diners rather than McD's. Two, I love a good beach just as much as the next girl, but I'm a mountain "person." I came back so invigorated by just how vast and massive a good mountain landscape is. And, man, I miss mountain conifers. I saw my first hemlock tree in over 6 years in the Giant Cypress grove and I have a really special relationship with hemlocks. Let's face it, I'm a pyro at heart and a handfull of hemlock twigs will build a good fire from a few embers better than anything else. Three, I. MISS. REAL. CAMPING. My moment of heartache came when we were driving through national forest after national forest with signs for creekside campsites en masse and I had no gear, no extra time and three non-camping women in the car with me. Tragedy. Four, I call Bull on anyone who says "Blankity blank is juuuuuust as comfortable as jeans and a tee." Jeans and a tee are like a superhero uniform- you can do anything in them. Also, going on four years and my love for my Chaco flips has not waned. They fit my feet to perfection.

Sorry to go all crunchy-granola on you all, but as much as I like living in a big, interesting city, I love being in nature more.

Be back tomorrow, a little more lady-like!

Road Trip, the Second Half

Friday, July 13, 2012

In chronological order: 
Our 5-extra-hours-but-totally-worth-it detour to Yellowstone, including Old Faithful and Prismatic Geyser Springs (mineral/ microbe affected to render the bright turquoise and electric orange). A little bonus: we saw a bison on the roadside and jury's out on whether or not we saw a pair of moose or deer in a far field.
A feet-up view of Boss Lady's house up in northern Idaho. No wonder she spends summers up there. There's nothing better than good, usable outdoor space. (PS- my mom and I play a game where we snap a photo of our Chaco sandals in front of the awesome place we are and send it back and forth. I'm winning so far, but that's only because my mom is forgetful.)
Day Trip: We came across a roadside stop that featured a view of the Kootenai Falls and a Swinging Bridge suspended 50+ feet above them. My Guy, the music nerd we all know and love recorded the water for possible use in an electro-acoustic musical composition. I jumped perilously on the bridge. Old growth cedar grove with absolutely amazing giant cedars. (They're over 400 years old!) Beautiful scenery and wonderful exploring with my husband. 
We flew home yesterday and specifically booked the long inconvenient layover in Phoenix juuust in case my sister was free to leave work a touch early and meet up. She did. And we got to see the house she bought last fall and the pup she adopted shortly after. I can't even tell you how full my heart is because we got this visit in. 

The Road Trip So Far

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hey, all! We're off early early this morning to visit Yellowstone National Forest. An extra 5-6 hours in the car, but totally worth it to see once-in-a-lifetime natural wonders like "Old Faithful." I really can't describe how excited I am about today's drive and all of the beauty we'll see.

A few more goodies from the road (B T Dubs, you can find me on Instacrack at katebmcclure for an abundence of food and landscape shots):

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