Plain Jane

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Being on the far side of the Pacific has, style-wise, been a little funny for me. First, I chucked some of my long time favorite articles of clothing because I literally wore them until they shouldn't be worn any more. Loved them to pieces and put them into a garbage can in the days before we left Houston. So, I'm down about 30%. Second, I kept a lot of my simple, classic, wholesome American gal clothes. Simple skinny jeans, a few buttondowns, lightweight t-shirts. Things that aren't risky or fashion-forward, but are just solid workhorse items. A glorified capsule wardrobe, if you will.

And I didn't keep summer clothing, you guys. Bad choice.

It's a great mix of perfectly slouchy sweaters and layer-able stuff with slim-fit pants. So, come fall and winter, I'll be golden, but for now, I'm sweating my buns off and rotating between this skirt and shorts (which I hate on my skinny legs- ugh, chicken knees) and a few tanks and tees.

And this desperate deficit of options, lack of first-month-in-town positive bank balance, and having a simple wardrobe means I'm stickin' out like a sore thumb. China's a little funny with fashion. Sometimes ladies look so mis-match chic, young and fresh in their boutique fashion (there's literally thousands of small clothing stores along the coolest shopping avenues here), I look like a bowl of vanilla ice cream. But sometimes these adorable young women wear the dowdiest or hodgepodged or hello-kittied looks. Perhaps another day I'll take my camera out and about with me.

Skirt: H&M...Blouse: Target...Belt: Target...Shoes: Nine West...Bag: Longchamp knockoff


Monday, August 26, 2013

I'm alllll alone today! It's Rob's first day of the school year, and he's off to meet 'n greet the first ever new class of students.

On the docket? As many girly movies online as I can find. I'm 45 minutes into Little Women. Yes, yes, yes.

Skirt: H&M...Blouse: thrifted...Belt: Target...Shoes: Chacos...Bag: Longchamp knockoff


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What does one wear for meeting the Dean of the School of Music for the first time? Especially when the group dinner is being held at an undisclosed location? Rob and I (and all of the other new faculty we've been spending time with) all freaked out and didn't have an answer.

Neutrals. Definitely neutrals. And not too fussy.
So, this super lightweight sweater for the warm evening should do the trick. Loose, it won't touch my torso too much and make me sweat, but it's pretty covered-up.
Pants or skirt? Skirt. No, pants. The sweater looked a little weird tucked in. 
Heels or flats? Well, heels would look nicer... Crap, all my nice pumps are in our shipment. These flats will be fine.

Maaaaan, I got brutal with purging my wardrobe before this move. My dress and shoe situation is a little pathetic. And my "getting ready and looking decent" routine is a joke.

Jeans: Gap...Sweater: thrifted...Shoes: Aldo, via Buffalo Exchange...Belt: Target...Scarf: Liberty of London, thrifted...Bag: Longchamp knockoff

This is Certainly a First World Problem

Saturday, August 17, 2013

So, we've decided to cough up the cash for a second VPN of my very own. Rob is a technology nut, so he loves to have access to "checking" all of his stuff (read: screwing around in a cycle of email, facebook, Detroit Tigers score, overandoverandover). And some of his screen time is legit, but mostly he likes to spend his down time mindlessly surfing and hogging our mode of bypassing the "Great Firewall," so I insisted that I get my own VPN to blog.

Oh, a VPN is a Virtual Private Network. It essentially skews signals to indicate that my computer's IP address is in America when, in fact, it is physically in China. Since I am physically in China. Normally, Chinese internet blocks websites such as YouTube, Facebook, Blogger, etc.

Being in a country that blocks most of the online goodies has been a little strange. Without the VPN turned on, I can read through my blog list on the Bloglovin' app, but not on the computer. Feedly flips me the bird either way. Pinterest works both online and through the app, so at least that's good entertainment. I can see and post Instagram photos, and can even send them straight to Facebook for our friends to see. But, I can't go to Facebook, can't post new content on Blogger, I can't click on almost any blog to comment, and, most importantly, I can't see Marion's content below the Read More line. Big fat bummer. 

Without competing with Rob for use of the VPN, I will be able to blog in peace, take my time uploading photos, writing and linking all at once in the Blogger editor (I've been writing word documents and copying them in. The formatting boogers itself every time, which is obnoxious). 

So, in short: I've been super absent, and I'm sorry. Before the move, I didn't have time or focus enough to blog, and now I don't have easy access to it. And, even though I've been reading a whoooooole bunch of  your blogs, I haven't been able to say hello, compliment all of the lovely looks you ladies have been featuring lately, cheer you guys on in your recent life-stuff, or sympathize with your head or heartaches. I hope this technological coup lets me say "Hey" a little more often.

Pants: Target...Tank: thrifted...Shoes: via DSW...Bag: Longchamp knockoff

Pros and Cons: China Edition

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Things I am finding that I miss.
  • Cotton Balls. I used a "cotton pad" to remove my nailpolish, and it's like a disintegrating wet nap.
  • Rubbing alcohol. I had no idea how useful this stuff was in my every day life until it was gone. 
  • Paper towels. While I appreciate the reusability of rags, I would really prefer to do some of this move-in massive not-a-dustbunny-of-my-own-creation cleaning with a paper towel and then throw that shit away. 
  • Ditto on Swiffers.
  • Trustworthy fish. I would really like to try to cook a wok-prepared steamed salmon meal at home, but everyone is telling us to steer clear of fish. 
  • Granola Bars. Except I dispelled this one earlier today- we found some really overpriced Oats and Honey bars at a specialty international grocery. Beaucoup bucks, but comforting and great energy. Now, if only I could find Nutella...
  • Access to furniture shopping. It really isn't a "thing" here. There is no Target furniture section or Pottery Barn. The nearest Ikea is 2 hours away by public transit and train. And my furniture is all really crappy. 

Things that I kiiiinda prefer over here.
  • My nail polish remover smells vaguely of vanilla, rather than chemical and fake vitamin E.
  • Way less wasteful packaging and a cultural norm of tiny garbage cans. Our trash situation is heavenly. 
  • A cultural norm of daily produce shopping. Um, fresh and fabulous.
  • Using an umbrella daily as a sunshade. Pale skin is fashionable, so I'm like the queen bee already, but practically, it makes walking around on these hot hot days a little more bearable. 
  • Having no choice but to slow down. It's too hot and I know too little of the language.
  • Ginger scented dish soap. 

The evenings are getting down to only 88 degrees now! We're sweating like mad still, but at least I have some kind of desire to look halfway decent after 7 pm when we go out for dinner with friends. That's a step in the right direction!

Dress: Target...Belt: Target...Sandals: Chacos...Bag: Longchamp knockoff

Dog Days? Nope, just an extended record high.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Uuuugh, I'm getting really sick of these hot days. Suzhou and Shanghai have been "Red Alert" and record highs (highest recorded temps in 140 years) for days on end, and no real relief in sight. One day last week, the government flew planes over some clouds south of the city and dumped dry ice to force some rain to bring a little relief. Which lasted about 4 hours that night.

Two problems:
1. I'm sweating through all of my summer clothes (my hot weather collection got largely donated because it was either some poly blend or falling apart).
2. My "summer looks" are a rotation of the same four tees and the same one pair of shorts. Because I don't wear shorts. But I have to wear shorts. Or I'll croak.

Two perks:
1. With no dryer, our washed items are hung on the outdoor patio and are dry in literally 45 minutes.
2. I'm more hydrated than I ever have been before.

We're really wishing we could do more exploring the city, but it's way too hot out. We feel like we done our fair share of trying out the busses and successfully doing runs to the market, so we'll sightsee in September when it's cooled down a little. Function before fun for now.

Oh, and if you guys want to hear more about life over here in China, hop over to McClures in Suzhou. Warning: you might see photos of dead chickens and baby tushes in slit pants. Both are normal over here.

So, what have I been wearing?

Booooooring. But it's too hot for anything else.
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