Thursday, 21 February 2013

I went for a little trip

I had a great opportunity to travel to New York this past weekend. It was also my birthday which made for some awesome financial boost to be exchanged with essentials. 

Like an airplane ticket



Sight seeing

and a little bit of shopping:

Not to mention the great quality time with family I hadn't seen for quite a while. So grateful! Can't wait to go back, as going for only a few jam-packed days you can only fit so few things!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Hurray for holidays!

I put my tree up this morning. It's a fake skinny tree that we bought at a time that 20 bucks for a tree felt like a splurge. I get something new for it every year, and the plan is to give it an ornament on every branch before we start decorating something else. What  I'd really like is that we end up decorating a real tree, but not while we live on the 3rd floor with no elevator.

Here's what I got for the tree this year.

The bells actually jingle. The stupid little ribbons almost ended me because they were glued on them, while they could have been tied through the ring. So I ended up tying all those little ribbons. I think I'll get better ribbon next year, and cut it longer too.

The tree is now up but there's no pic of it right now, because the room around it is a bit of a disaster. When/if it stops being a disaster, I might take one. It ended up pretty but not too pretty - after all, my place is definitely not the holiday catalog of Williams-Sonoma.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Local Business Saturday/Whathaveyou

It's day 2 of the holiday kick start and I have to admit I have not done much shopping yet. I have only picked up a bunch of used CDs that I've already sampled and ripped in my external HD. Mostly early music, with a side of world music:

I'm also quite eager to dig into leftovers, come lunch time. Here's how the turkey prep started and how it ended:

Pretty majestic, I think. And as healthy as it gets - it's only the breast, and we cooked it with light butter instead of regular, the rest of the flavors came from aromatics. Granny Smith apples and a boatload of fresh sage. We basically made humble vegetables taste like stuffing. Quite impressive.

The original plan for today was to leisurely go out to the stores just to see what's there after the door busting crowds are gone, but the winds outside are flat out insane; I had trouble opening the car door, and keeping it open once I managed it. Now I'm indoors in front of my glorified typewriter  desktop and the wind howling is of horror movie quality. Might as well stay in until it passes some..

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Things I'd have not expected to do ten years ago

1. Be at my current weight without being angry at my daily menu. I had dieted before, with very good results, but there was famine involved, and the weight came back along with the re-introduction of things that people actually like to eat. This time I took a more inclusive approach.
2. Wear brown and black at the same time! I blame the pair of brogues that have brown leather uppers and a black rubber platform sole, and the Longchamp Pliage back pack that I received for Xmas many years ago, but in general this was one of the biggest frowns some time during the 90s, and possibly the beginning of the 00s. I still discourage my husband to do black belt and brown shoes, though.
3. Cut my hair chin-short. I had short hair as a teenager, then I hated it and let let it grow, and grow, and grow and it was my trademark or sorts.
4. Opt for contact lenses after a life of wearing glasses every waking hour (and some sleeping ones, too!). I used to get teary eyed for no reason, or so I thought, until I realized that it would almost exclusively happen while in claustrophobic, smoke saturated bars. Now that there is a smoking ban in such premises, bring em on! The first time I went to a masquerade with an actual mask on, I almost cried.
5. Understand American Football. It did take a long while. And I'll never, ever understand baseball. I'd really like to learn more about rugby, though.

The post about the parsnips will have to wait after I cook the batch that is currently in the fridge, in the off chance that I'll remember to take a pic or two.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Sometimes I confuse myself

When I started this blog, it was meant to be a bit of an all-inclusive type of thing. After all, it started as the outlet of an immigrant sharing thoughts and updates with a couple of real life friends, before we all decided to move the news-sharing business over to Facebook along with everybody else we knew. Why multi-platform to the same people, anyway?

But I've always loved the blog format. I've always liked writing paragraphs with more than fifteen words, so to speak, and interlace photographs along with my text rather than sending people over to an album (don't get me wrong, online photo albums are wonderful things!), plus I tend to care more about the shape of my text when blogging vs. facebooking. That been said, I never text speak. Ever. Not even when texting. Especially since my latest Android update, I can just dictate my texts instead of typing them. It saves me time and the fact that it 90% understands my accent is just amusing to me.

So, back to the original thought that dictated this post, this was never a themed blog. Sometimes I talk about food, sometimes I take pictures, sometimes I rave (or rant) about clothes and shoes, sometimes I touch on my weight loss. All these things are of equal importance to me, and I experience them daily. I wake up, I weight in (yup, daily, it keeps me informed), I decide what to wear, I wear it, I go to work, I eat lunch, I get home, sometimes I cook dinner, and I abuse my Instagram account and cameras as frequently as it makes sense to me.

bad picture of delicious tentacles

I've always been very specific to the amount of things I share in this blog, since it is public. I've never posted pictures of myself other than to shoot shoes while I'm wearing it. Which is really funny for me because there is an abundance of pictures of me publicly posted in a number of venues, as I am a performer and well, when I perform in public, everybody has the right to snap my picture and tag it with my name as it appears on the concert program! So, perhaps the whole deal of not showing my face on this blog is a tad obsolete. After all, this has never been a venue to share deep thoughts, dark secrets or shameful moments and that's a reason for which the disconnect feels quite unnecessary.

Along with my face, obviously comes the body, and the body issues that pretty much everyone has. And it ties with the weight loss that I've obtained. It's a huge deal to me, no matter how lightly I touch upon it on this blog.

I have lost 95 pounds in almost 2 years. That's almost a whole person off me. That's 10 dress sizes. Were I to add all the inches I've lost off various places of my body, we might be talking three digits. That's huge.  And I'm not even done yet.

vintage crocheted gloves I found for obscenely cheap
And it's brought me to a point that I love my body again and that I love to dress it. I am, mostly anyway, at peace with fashion and the clothing industry and I want to make for the lost time that my shopping was only happening in selected stores and styles.

And perhaps I'll want to blog about it. Not in a fashion blogging way of doing so. I'll probably come with some sort of outfit - chronicling format or other. We'll see. I guess it all boils down to the fact that I feel good about myself. And the chase towards the absolute feel-good is essential, or it should be.

(Knowing myself, I am expecting the next blog post to be about parsnips, because I'm lately quite obsessed with them. Until then, I leave this post with two very carefully selected random pictures that have nothing to do with the context of this post. Or not.)

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Today's message

And so should you! We opted for early voting as to not take any time off work, and got to the election center at the time the gates opened. Waited for only 40 minutes which was awesome. And then had awesome brunch of which there are no pictures because it kinda got eaten. But it was whole wheat pancakes, Canadian bacon, fruit and coffee, all of which are great things.

This is the first time I was eligible to vote for the presidential elections. It was quite important to me. In Greece, I grew up with the notion that voting is mandatory, because until the mid 2000s it was - you could not obtain a passport without proof that you have voted once you were of voting age. Now it's not mandatory any more, which makes me kinda sad, especially during a crisis such as this along with the political situation Greece has gotten itself into. But that's a rant for another time. Meanwhile, if it's election times and you can vote, do it. It might feel useless, but really it isn't.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

More Morton Fall Foliage

My no.1 fall destination is, as I have blogged before, the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. The things that trees do around this time of the year are just phenomenal.

There is a certain path you can take which leads to this throne-like setting.

Or, you can just duck under the trees and go for the tree tops.

One of these days, I want to walk the whole thing. It is quite vast if you count every single looping trail, but possibly not completely undoable. Plus, it smells as good as it looks.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Officially Fall

I love to actively feel the change of season, and this fall has so far delivered. The temperature took a veritable dive these last few days. Not the decisive bite of cold, but the coolness that combined with an on-and-off sunshine makes for the perfect walking weather. About 13 degrees Celsius or so.

I will now wait for the change of the leaf colors, it's on its way, but not quite there yet. I think I would like a nice, long fall before it's really winter. I'm already devising strategies against sub-zero temperatures, snow and sleet, since commuting from work involves walking on sidewalks that not everyone shovels.

Hopefully, there's plenty of time till then.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

September and coats

Technically, fall is not icumen in till the Equinox on the 21st or whereabouts. However, one ought to be prepared for all sorts of weather, as it is the custom of this land, quite in advance. So, while stuck at home this weekend due to work obligations, and in expectance of the first huge rain of the season, I decided to do some investigation into my coat closet. For good measure, I am watching Pirates of the Caribbean and lusting over 18th century fashions. Coats, hats, boots, frills, buckles. I think I’ll skip the tentacles.

So, back and forth from the closet to the mirror, I have tried on the following.

  • Quilted vest that is quite huge, but I can belt and upgrade some over some sweater or other.
  • The “hobbit coat”. This is a 100% wool green kneecap-hitting coat with wooden buttons from Benetton. It used to be big, but now it just won’t even stick onto my shoulders. I might try to consign it and see what happens, it is very well preserved and very cozy and warm. Someone ought to enjoy it.
  • The “great coat”. Nope, not the Regency era type with the 17 layers made to travel on a carriage and such. This is a coat I purchased at the deep of winter some years ago for 80% off at some department store. It has faux fur trims on the cuffs and neckline and it’s quite like a furnace. Decisively big, but still drapes nice. And I’m sure because it is robe-shape,  it can be utilized in reenactment.
  • Leather round coat with button-on hood, beige with black accents.  Hand-me-down from a relative with higher disposable income than myself, it feels expensive and drapes wonderfully. I’ll wear it till I can wear it no more.
  • Gray wool hooded zipped cape. It’s fabulous. I might need a pair of red pants to go with it.
  • Etam brand long trench coat. Very classic design, still unsure about the fit, it is a bit boxy.
  • Zara knee-length trench coat. Decent fit, saved my from all sorts of rainy walks last spring.

From all this I have now deducted that I’m in desperate need of a moto jacket. I’ve already decided that a real leather, and possibly designer brand moto jacket will be my ultimate weight loss reward when I hit my goal. Till then, I might shop around for alternatives to that. We’ll see. If all else fails, I could always use a denim jacket, right?

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

It has been some time, and spring is no more.

Instead, it's been an insanely schizophrenic summer with temperatures all over the place. I've had to carry a straw fedora (the only one that can actually stay on my head even when super windy, from Kohl's of all places!) and sunscreen to spray myself before I walk from my work to the train station. Madness! Here's some pictures!

These have the habit of stretching towards the sun. 

No idea if these are edible. They're pretty though!

And a duck in a pond. I'd love me some swimming too!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Some visual proof of said early spring

I walk for about 40 minutes from my workplace to the train station every day, five days a week. It's always been a nice walk down a residential street, but these last few days, it's gotten even better. With the important exception of really large wasp-like bugs. I could do without those.

But the blooming is rather majestic.

 I have no idea what the tree on the third picture is, as I'm no horticulturist, but these flowers smell like mushrooms. I get a hobbit-like hunger pang every time I walk by one, and the streets are quite lined with them.

I think tomorrow I'll do a detour to the grocery store and buy some portobellos.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Crazy early spring!

This year's March is quite similar to last year's June. It's insane. Everywhere I went today (downtown, the mall, BD's Mongolian for late lunch), Iwas surrounded by flip flops, fresh pedicures, shorts and mostly green tank tops. I'm expecting the green to be done by tomorrow since it won't be St. Patrick's Day any more.

I must say I've been enjoying the summer like weather quite a lot, and cannot bring myself to check the forecast to see whether it 'll stick around or it'll revert to chilly and rainy. Just in case, I'm not packing my sweaters just yet.

Speaking of clothes, I'm expecting all the new spring inventory to simply disappear even swifter than normally. I'd like to score a few pieces myself, but I really don't know what I want. I picked up some trouser jeans for the office, but other than that, I barely know what I want other than:

  • A pair of 3.5 or 4" dark brown wedge sandals, either cork or espadrille. I have spotted two pairs that I really like and should not buy both. Cause I also want some new flat sandals for walking everywhere in a color other than black.
  • A pair of light colored pants just above the ankle.
  • A couple of tops, probably silk-like, with either short or 3/4 sleeves. I'm having a thing for a mariner top, polka dots and solid light colors, but I'm not sold into florals just yet.
  • A new bathing suit!
  • A spring jacket or blazer or something to wear in the evening. I'm tired of cardigans but I'm a bit iffy about "vegan" leathers. 
  • and if I can't wear sandals at work, a pair of nude ballerina flats. Still investigating that. The rules book says no, although there is no hazard issues, but I'm gonna keep checking out what other people in the office do.
Why I wrote "barely", I barely know!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Shopping for boots and a Downton Abbey moment or two.

Yesterday I needed to leave the apartment to hubby so that he could work without distractions. Because, in his mind, even if I'm in the other room with my computer, TV, Kindle, magazines and a huge bottle of sparkling water, I might be out of sight but I'm never out of mind. After 7.5 years of marriage, I take that as a compliment. And if he asks me to take a hike to let him work, I graciously do so. And I go shopping, or at least window shopping. He even volunteered to drive me to the mall since it was snowing and I wanted to wear my red shoes.

I got there with a few things in mind. Firstly, we have a wedding to attend in July, and I'll need a dress. It's a family wedding so I'd like something nice but not too elaborate since we're on the groom's side. There's no chance of shopping now, but it's never a bad idea knowing what's out there. And since I already know what I'm wearing for the rehearsal dinner (a Free People layered floral print I bought on sale forever ago and I absolutely love it), there's only one dress to shop for. Preferably something that goes with accessories I already have.

Secondly, I need more work clothes. Last time I worked anywhere I was 4 sizes bigger. And although some stuff I could still wear, fitted shirts and the like are out of the question. So, a couple of tops for really cheap would be really nice.

And thirdly, I've been wanting a good pair of black boots for some time. And now it's the perfect time to shop for them because they all go on clearance with spring items coming into inventory.

So, I started with Banana Republic. I love their dresses. Their waist is always nicely placed, the skirt length is perfect for my height, the quality is decent and the prints are to my taste. I was ready to walk into the store and try some of their printed numbers, but a crochet-like white dress that's part of their Mad Men collection caught my eye and I had to try it on. I did, and it fitted well. I'd not buy it till the summer w'the slimming and all, but I was ready to put it on the top of my mental list, when it downed me that I should probably not wear white at a wedding as it's not done here, even though I'd probably accessorize it with bold color stuff. So, I tried on a polka dot and a print, liked them both, and left.

From there I walked into H&M where I had my Downtown Abby moment. I tried their long pink pleated dress from the pre-fall collection. It's not currently on the website, but a Google search ought to yield result. I could sincerely see myself with a row of pearls, a chin-length hair cut and t-strap heels being an extra on the show. It would probably be a bit too much though, not to mention that the length was a bit odd, so I left it for someone else and I decided I was done with dresses for the day. I should probably wait for the spring collection to hit the stores anyway.

Boots were next. I went to Macys, because Macy's never fails me in regards to shoes. And as expected, they had them for 60 to 75% off.

Now, let me tell you about my calves. No matter what amount of diets I've done in past and present, my calves are the last to get the memo. Their circumference just won't budge. I'll probably need to look into specialized workouts for them. Having said that, I also don't like boots that have elastic panels because they distract from the rest of the boot material. The perfect pair would have to either zip or not.

My prayers were answered with a pair of  Franco Sarto's Upton in black. They're made of a man-made material that looks like leather, but it's incredibly stretchy. I picked them because they had the perfect little heel, and then I put them on.. and then they zipped all the way up. Both of them. Even the one that it's not tried on day after day. A miracle.

Then, as the universe was conspiring, not only they were extremely comfortable to walk, they were also asininely cheap. What's a girl to do? Pick them up, run to the cashier and shut up already. I had to actively talk myself out of buying them in brown too. And in a way I'm glad I did, because when I browsed the brand back home, I found out that they come in wine red, and that's something I might actually consider. Because I simply cannot have enough red shoes. We've been through that already.

So that is done and I can still hear angel choruses and all but I still need to look into tops. Clearance section, here I come. I just need something lightweight but long sleeve because we actually get spring here for more than one week. I found this purple top from DKNY that has a nice scoop neckline and a gathering detail at one end. It fits well, it's less than 10 bucks - it'll come with me.

And then I saw the perfect "adorned tee". It was a fitted white t-shirt with three rows of large sequins in silver and bronze around its neckline. It screamed "vacations". I could see myself wearing this with the perfect pair of pants and the perfect flat sandals and the perfect straw tote and the perfect scarf during vacationing at my family's summer home where none gives one shit about perfect anything. But I bough it anyway. Because it was cheap, it fitted well, and I could easily live in it even when not in vacations. I hope I won't give it spaghetti sauce first time I'll wear it.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Birthdays and other happenings

Quite possibly, I had the most low-key birthday celebration this year. Between my diet and lack of money, I settled for a cupcake instead of a whole cake, and I'm glad I did. Hubby only wanted some dark chocolate. And somewhere in the middle of getting these things, we forgot the candle and had to improvise.

I have to admit though, that this year I received a good number of birthday cards. Mostly cause some relatives didn't get my address on time to send me Xmas cards. I couldn't possibly complain, I think I got some of the cutest cards in the history of birthday cards this year:

I got enough birthday money to get some little shopping done. I went to the local mall (don't laugh! there's not much to shop from around here without massive commuting!) and tried mostly dresses. I liked a red brocade one and a black ruffle one, but decided that without any occasions in proximity, I should wait a bit longer. After all, my diet still works for me - I have lost 65 pounds total! So, I decided to go look at shoes. Two stores and 12 bucks later, I ended up with those. I love red shoes. I think everyone should have multiple pairs of red shoes. You can wear them with anything.

Here they are worn with my skinny jeans from Old Navy and some blue socks. They have a third strap around the ankle and a zipper in the back as to not fatigue the buckles and straps. And they look almost identical to a pair I was lusting over at Free People, that retail for more than ten times the amount I paid for those. Save vs. Splurge, anyone?

Sunday, 4 December 2011

I have a soft spot for certain things.

Such as things on sale. I can go through clearance racks with Jobean patience looking for the one thing that nobody else deemed buyable. It quite often works, especially at department stores.

This time, though, I walked into Charlotte Russe because I felt like I was 28 again. I so am not, by the way, but I like a lot of what they offer, so I might as well go look at nice stuff even though I might not find anything in my size. I was at the mall anyway, and I had one full hour to kill before my optician appointment.

I tried a bunch of sweaters that didn't really do it for me. The one I really like was abysmally short and I'd have to layer it with a type of clothing I don't think I even currently have - some long, oversized tee or other. Pity, it was loosely knit and baggy with a totally not frumpy neckline. Slightly annoyed, I put it back and decide to look at shoes.

Ooo! Studded clogs. Studded mule clogs. With high chunky heels. In tan. For.. 4.99? In an 8? You're so walking out with me it's not even funny. I don't even pretend to be current with fashion, not when I'm sheding a size per trimester anyway, so onward with those! To test the engineering of the shoe (read: the amount of steps I'd make w'out falling and eating carpet), I put them on and browse around the store for another 10 minutes. Without incident, I walk towards the jewelry section where I'm informed that certain jewelry is free with any purchase. Hmm.. I normally don't buy jewelry from clothing boutiques because I'm massively picky, but if I'm getting something for free I'll take another look.

The massive ring with the scarab-like blue stone totally sold me.  I really liked it, as opposed to "oh, well, it's free, so might as well" and then never see the light of the outside of my rings box ever.

So I paid 4.99 plus tax for a ring and a pair of shoes that actually look damn well together. That's victory. I'm already thinking of the clothes I already have with which they'll look good.

And then I walked into H&M and bought some mittens cause I lost my handmade pair in the supermarket of all places and no one ever returned them to me. So, I'm not gonna stay with sentimentally cold hands - it's frozen here and it'll only get worse.