The Leggings List

One thing I like about blogging is that it allows me to organize my elaborate wishlist. I very much “curate” my possessions, even those as basic as a pair of leggings. Here is a roundup of leggings I have my eye on. (And, admittedly, I just ordered another pair from lamixx).

 

Back to Black
My first debate: Which pair of basic black leggings will prove superior? I hate to drop $100 on these three pairs, but I really can’t decided.

Tried and True by lamixx    $26
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I have probably bought a pair of these each year and I keep going back because I keep LOVING them. The thick fabric is soft and has shine instead of sheer. Downside: the thighs wear out (along the stitching, not through the fabric) and the waistband is minimal so I am always hiking them up. I realize that these may be problems only for curvy girls.

The Infamous Live In by Zella    $54
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Their name precedes them: the live in is supposed to be a flawless pair of leggings that you can just… live in. The secret to the Nordstrom brand Zella is that they have a former Lulu designer on their team. I am skeptical about the texture of the fabric, although the 3,100 reviews assure us that it is a thick and supportive fabric, and I wonder how true the shade of black is (the photo looks a little grey). I am really looking to live in my leggings, not just work out in them.

Essential by Lou and Grey     $24.50
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Another name implying that this pair is all we need. From a brand built on lounge and comfort, it’s worth a try.

New Year’s Sparkle
I’m thinking of ringing in the new year by matching the American symbol: the New Year’s ball. Then again, where would I really wear them and how much am I really willing to spend on leggings….

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Bronze

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Rose Dipped

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Disco 1

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Disco 2

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Disco 3

 

Powerhouse
Here are leggings I would (and do) actually workout in, and feel like a badass while doing it.

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Sweaty Betty

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Outdoor Voices

Gold Digging: The Mica Hand

This is a post about fine jewelry,  but you have to follow the trail that led me here. The Chicago Field Museum has this amazing section on Ancient Americas that connects to a vast exhibit on Native Americans. I was trying to rush my dad through Ancient Americas, at least get him through the Aztecs, when I was drawn in by the beautiful work of the Hopewell culture. This group of people lived in the midwest and had an elaborate woodland trade route set up. They were in existence from 200 B.C. to 500 A.D.. This group of people did magnificent things with the materials they received in trade. The first craft that stopped me in my tracks was a collection of hundreds of beads ranging in size from small grape to course coffee grounds. Imagine the work it took to shape, polish, and pierce materials by hand and amass that quantity, bowls full of beads.

As I kept walking, I noticed the icons of abstract body parts, and wondered what the meaning is. Apparently no researches are comfortable taking a wild guess as to why, but the Hopewell frequently traded for precious metals and stones and cut images of hands or thumbs. Here is the piece I was entranced by at the Chicago Field Museum:

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This hand is just smaller than a sheet of printer paper, and it was cut as one piece from a single sheet of mica. Notice the bend of the opposable thumb. I wonder if they held the hand or opposable thumb in high regard as we hold the heart or the brain. At that time, it must have seemed that your working hands were the only thing keeping you alive. In their replica of bird talons, they highlight the back claw as a sort of thumb, as well. We would not have evolved in the way that we have without those hands and special thumbs.

After I left that exhibit, I found a pair of silver, native-made earrings in the shape of a flat hand. I was not ready to drop a hundred dollars at the museum that day, but I cannot stop thinking about the hand icons and the beautiful representation in those silver earrings. So, finally, here is a tribute to hands as an icon of strength and ingenuity, or as a symbol of craft and nurturing. A roundup of metallic hand jewelry.

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Something I learned while researching this jewelry: Frida Kahlo famously wore and painted herself in a pair of hand earrings made for her by Picasso, and many featured below emulate these. So hurrah for the artists and eclectics of the world.

Additionally, many of these hands are emulating the Hamasa hand, which bears the evil eye and is an icon to promote good fortune in seen in many cultures in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

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il_570xN.1291254022_3f0rMinimal

 

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A Case Against the Hanger Trick

Or, “Why to Keep Your Clothes.”

Minimalism is in. Big time. And I am all for it! My family identifies me as a wanna-be minimalist. I talk the talk and pretend to cut back, but I will always be a maximalist at heart. I think it’s genetic?

I’ve used the hanger trick. Haven’t heard of it? You turn all of the hangers in your closet backwards. At the end of the season, any seasonal items that haven’t been turned around go. I use this tactic with moderation. It has helped me pass on beloved dresses and shrunken shorts to my sister and friends, and has moved tees and sweaters that I just can’t let go of back into my childhood bedroom (sorry mom!). I was looking at my closet and thinking about flipping those hangers again, but here’s the deal…

I wear work clothes 5 days a week. When I am not in work clothes, I am usually in workout clothes or pajamas. Sometimes, once or twice a week, I put on “real people clothes.” We talk about dual function, but as a teacher I am expected to dress up and dress conservatively, and frankly when I’m out of school and spending time with friends, I want to do anything but. I want to wear comfortable and flattering clothing.

When I’m teaching, I am moving around all day. I wear large, frumpy clothing so that I don’t have to worry about everything staying in place. I sweat and spill coffee and escort sick children out of the room. That’s why I’m wearing baggy sweaters that were on clearance at target. I would like to dress more like myself at work, but in my current environment I feel like I just can’t do that.

The solution: invest in building my personal wardrobe for when I’m out. It is a small selection, and I repeat favorites throughout the whole season, and then some. So, I’m going to hold onto the little black dresses and bright high heels and delicate caftan because one day, on vacation or date night or at a special event or ceremony I will have the perfect excuse to wear it again. So I’m not going to get rid of those nice pieces, even if I haven’t worn them in 6-12 months, and I will buy one or two more. I went to a special work function recently, where I did not have to adhere to uniform, and I threw on an old waffle knit sweater that I used to wear during ceramics class, and may still have patches of dried clay on the sleeves. It was the nicest looking casual top I could find in my closet this morning. (Yikes.)

So here is a call to hold on to those items that let your personality shine through, and make you feel comfortable and happy and like yourself. Because Friday-Sunday, we can get away from our work identity and rediscover the person that brought us there.

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Sweater Wishlist

I have been so cold, lately! I guess the changing of seasons sort of snuck on me. As a result, I’ve been keeping tabs on the sweaters that I want the most… and I can’t afford any of them! I am looking for sweaters that are soft and not itchy, breathable but not flimsy. So, here are the sweaters I wish I had to keep me warm.

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The cashmere crew in donegal is a workhorse I would wear for years.

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I love how this cat print is a neutral and is a wild pattern at the same time.

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This is the emerald knit of my dreams. I have been looking for the perfect chunky/oversized/mossy sweater for years. This looks pretty close.

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This waffle knit looks like it has a little more structure than the sweater above, but… the one above is so fuzzy!!

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I love how slouchy and textured this yellow number is. It would be perfect for wearing on dreary days walking around at the museum.

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Loving the cross-back. My sister has this piece as a part of her going out capsule. How mad would she be if I bought one in the same color…?

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I am completely obsessed with Misha and Puffs popcorn sweater in confetti cake (and other amazing colors), and I can get behind their cause and would love to support the makers but I just cannot swing that price. I could buy a trip to the Caribbean for the cost of that sweater. I could buy all of the sweaters pictured above for that price! In my desperate longing for this unique puffy piece, I found these similar styles:

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A perfect pick for a teacher during the holidays… except that kindergarteners would have a field day with the pom-poms, not to mention my cat!

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This dusty pink one is a little more sophisticated than the festive one above. Both are simplified versions of the Misha & Puff, though, with pom-poms just stuck on the front, not knitted all around. Admittedly, this sweater is the closest to my price point.

 

I’m going to be honest. This post is an excuse for me to save all of my dream sweaters to one page, so that when I have some extra money to spend, I can go for it. Do you have a favorite sweater that never fails? There seem to be strong opinions about fabric and how great merino and cashmere are in the case against acrylic. What do you think?

Related: Fall Outfits in Three Moods

Fall Outfits in Three Moods

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The Look: Alpine Meadow

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The Essentials:  A floral dress in the colors of your soft clutch and bright pumps

The Mood: Energized

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The Look: Franco Feet

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The Essentials: A graphic sweater and ankle pants with french loafers and subtle textured socks in velvet or sheer

The Mood: Mysterious

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The Look: Urban Witch

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The Essentials: Purchase this rare celestial shirt and pair it with raw-hem denim. Find delicate gold charm-like jewelry to make this ensemble sophisticated, not angsty.

The Mood: Powerful

 

20 T-Shirts You Need this Fall

Everyone says that fall is all about layering, and we go on and on about the outer layer. Don’t get me wrong, I love a cozy sweater or flannel. But don’t forget your trusty base layer: the quirky tee. I have one statement t-shirt that I wear every chance I get and I would love to have any one of these!

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Pick Flowers Not Fights
If I could wear t-shirts to school…

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Happy Camper
Because I am happy when I’m a camper!

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Far Out

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Peachy

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Peach

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Cherry Pickin’

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Cactus Crew

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Please Don’t Talk To Me

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lol You Wild

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Man Eater

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Good Vibes

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You Little Shit

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Electric West

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Joshua Tree

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Mountain Moons

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Serenity

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Grand Canyon

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Berlin Manhole Cover

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Good Sport

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No Bad Days

 

Dress for Success: The Professional

This post is a part of our Professionals series.

Sometimes, you have to fake it till you make it. There is definitely merit in putting your best face forward when interviewing for new careers or asking for a promotion. Additionally, if you win that job or upgrade, you should probably treat yourself to something nice. Bonus points if you can wear or use it at your place of work! Here are some upgrades I have my eye on.

Tech Upgrade

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Engraved Leather Laptop Case

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Foliage Laptop Skin

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Rose Gold Macbook

Dress Up

I love Madewell’s central shirts and can’t wait for these central drapey shirts to go on sale!!! They look so comfortable, and like they would flow over your skin in a very flattering way, where many dress shirts will puff out awkwardly.

I like pairing luxe silk camisoles and tanks with a conservative cardigan or relaxed blazer.

Imagine this jumpsuit with this bold blazer… the ultimate power suit!


Classic Loafers and Chelsea Boot

Flats are a quick finish to any business outfit, and most importantly, they allow you to move around comfortably. Here are four selections: Classic CognacRose MetallicVelvet Mule, and Leather d’Orsay.

 

Grooming

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Debaser Pocket Perfume is my favorite luxurious perfume right now.

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This NYX Drop Foundation can mix with lotion for a personal tinted moisturizer or be applied alone. Best part? It lasts all day!

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My favorite peppery deodorant.

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Really curious about this gold-plated safety razor. Definitely a great gift for the high-class professional in your life (if you can afford it!)

Related: 10 Ways to Get Ahead and Get the Job and 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Applying for Jobs

 

Repurposed, Reloved

Recently, my sister and I visited an antique shop in New Harmony, Indiana and found some pieces we really, really loved. It was such a fun experience that involved connecting with the local owners of this small-town shop and imagining histories of these beautiful objects.

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My sister bought these amazing shoes for $18!!! Giving these handmade leather products a new life is more ethical than buying new (often mass-produced) products. They will need a little extra care to prolong their life, but she wore them almost every evening after she bought them.

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I bought this beautiful turquoise and silver bolo/ring set for $80. I’ve seen each piece of jewelry sell for twice that on its own when purchased new. These are also handmade, and having been found in an antique store, they have a history and could have come from anywhere. I love speculating about the story that goes with these items. Maybe a cowboy wore them at his wedding, or a Navajo silversmith made them for her father. (They are not stamped as Navajo silver, but bear the markings of traditional Navajo design.)

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And then, there is this amazing maker we found on Etsy! These are not repurposed- they are made new. And made with care! Each pair cost $30, which is such a steal for handmade leather shoes, and she made the men’s pair in a custom size for no extra cost. The adorable his/hers pair of keychains were a bonus she through in. I’ve posted about the pair featured below.

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I loved finding these one-of-a-kind pieces. Do you have any amazing handmade or repurposed finds that you cherish?

What’s in a Bag: San Fran Plan

A peek into my packing process for San Francisco. A regret, now that I’m here: pack sweatpants and a fleece. Cali can actually be quite cold.

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A light, summer dress for long walks on warm days.

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Interchangable combinations of t-shirts and shorts to wear to museums, the zoo, and on hikes.

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My special kaftan for the beach or the theater.

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My rainbow tie-dye for Pride!

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A summer suit. (I have since learned that a wetsuit would be more practical in the chilly SF waters!)

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And of course, my perfect sandals.

Best Purchase!

I made the best purchase this month! Meet the huaraches for which I have been searching for so long.

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I bought them for only $30 (!) (really!) from Pamela, a maker on Etsy. I ordered the shoes without a lacquer, for a natural finish. Look at this sweet charm she included, made from the scraps of other shoes!

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