February 02, 2011

Sarah: 30 by 30, and so it begins

I gave you plenty of warning that I would be showing you pictures of me and my worn out well-loved clothes. So here we go! I'm planning to post entries every few days to keep you updated on what I'm wearing because.... that's sort of the point, right? To get started, here's what I'm working with for the next month:

1. Snake print wedges from Target 2. Brown boots from Target 3. Converse sneakers 4. Grey boots from Target 5. Purple ruffle booties from Steve Madden

6. Blue oxford from Old Navy 7. Black scoop-neck long-sleeved tee from LOFT 8. Blue t-shirt from American Apparel 9. Plaid button-up shirt from Old Navy 10. Blue v-neck tee from Alternative Apparel

11. Grey miniskirt from LOFT 12. Denim skirt from Banana Republic 13. Black skirt from Banana Republic

14. Shawl collar cardigan from Express 15. Grey v-neck sweater from LOFT 16. Pink sweater vest from Express 17. Black cardigan from Express 18. White cardigan from Old Navy 19. Black v-neck sweater from Express

20. Black camisole from Express 21. Floral sleeveless blouse from Old Navy 22. White camisole from Express 23. One more tank top that's still on its way to me. Unless it's hideous, in which case it's being replaced with something else.

24. Leggings from Old Navy 25. Boot-cut jeans from Banana Republic 26. Skinny jeans from Express

27. Pinstripe blazer from Banana Republic 28. Purple dress from Target

Clearly I'm two items short. I'm also feeling a little unsure about 16. So how do I fill these last few slots? To the comments! Please select:
1. Weird homemade skirt
2. Ruffle-covered shirt
3. Peacock blue t-shirt
4. An item, any item, from some other store. You're boring, Sarah.
5. Wildcard. It's late at night and I just don't know. Tell me what to wear.

February 08, 2011

Sarah: Winter 30 for 30, Days 1-3

Day 1:
I started out with an outfit I've worn before, but with slightly more interesting accessories. A standard Sarah uniform is black shirt, black skirt, black tights, black boots because… that is how I do. But the marginally more interesting version is:

Black v-neck sweater, black camisole and black skirt with blue tights, brown boots, and a cream-colored pashmina scarf.

I think my mom got this scarf for me in New York. It has a pattern woven into it and I love it. So soft and pretty. The earrings from E match my new tights perfectly.

It feels a little strange to plan what I'm going to wear in advance, but I think it helps me look more put-together. And I think my friends and coworkers are already relieved that I haven't worn my most comfortable hideous jeans once this month. This outfit is fairly dressy for the print shop where I work, but there ain't no shame in looking somewhat presentable, right?

Day 2:
It. Was so. Cold. I'm talking below zero degrees in my drafty apartment. And I'm not okay with that. I woke up wishing that I'd included a Snuggie in my 30 clothing items, so I cobbled together a reasonable facsimile.

Lucky for you, gentle reader, I cannot wear this same outfit for 28 more days, no matter how cold it gets. I was not psyched about this outfit. Despite how much I love my comfy Chuck Taylors, I think I will retire them after the 30 for 30. They're getting a little gross, yes?

My favorite part of my ensemble was my necklace. I bought the compass for myself several years ago when there were some painful (but good) changes in my life. It really works, though no one believes me when I tell them. My lovely sister gave me the St. Jude medallion. He is the Patron Saint of Lost Causes.

I don't intend to make the photos in the yellow light of my bathroom a regular thing, I just need to start leaving work while the sun is still up. Hmm, interesting idea...

Day 3:
Sometimes you work until you've rubbed all of your makeup off and it's dark outside and you're grocery shopping with your sister and niece and the best lighting is in the produce aisle. It happens, you guys, I swear. Most likely when you have forgotten your camera and only have your camera phone.

The jury is out on this blouse for a few reasons:
1. I do not like the word "blouse".
2. It has a built-in modesty tank top, which is great in theory, but it slides around a fair amount and just when you think everything is fine, (Mom and Dad, don't read this) all of a sudden your boob is above the tank top and you don't know what happened.
3. The fit is a little odd. Not a huge deal when it's a flow-y layer, but still. Odd.

I still think these boots look a little like the hooves of a Clydesdale horse.

This is a Clydesdale:

And this is a Clydesdale if its hooves were purple:

Am I crazy?

February 10, 2011

Sarah: Winter 30 for 30, Days 4-6

Day 4:
I warned you about this: I wore leggings. If you are ever wondering if your friends care about you or if they're reading what you say to the internet, write something about how you plan to wear leggings as pants. It will not go unnoticed:

Editor's note: if you looked at that conversation, I'd like to clarify that I don't actually have a mole on my butt. I feel this is an important distinction to make.

Now you can judge the opacity of my leggings for yourself:

I think I love these boots. They're super comfortable and feel well made (especially for Target shoes) and I think they're my answer to the call of the combat boots.

In my attempts to photograph my top half without a giant flash and to show you my cute earrings, I remembered why I don't blog self portraits often.

My pinky finger is too short to reach the camera. It's useless and looks ridiculous just hanging out there.

Day 5:
I didn't get a photo of today's outfit. I was visiting my parents in Spring City and planned to take a photo in front of their big stone barn, or with the local livestock, or anywhere else in their charming town. But then when we visited the pig farm following our visit to the fish hatchery (yep), the cuffs of my jeans got covered in mud and muck. I don't do well with muck. So naturally, I changed into sweats and took a 3 hour nap. I'm the world's oldest 26-year-old.

Long story short, this is what I wore:

This is action clothing for my action-packed lifestyle.

Day 6:
Is it weird to ask a 3-year-old to take a photo of you from her car seat, just so that you can tell the internet about your outfit? Possibly. But Nora was a super good sport.

Please excuse the car window, my photographer was holding up the camera as high as she could. That kid is adorable, and only gets mildly distracted.

Yes, I know. She's already better at self portraits than me.

Sarah: Winter 30 for 30, Days 7-9

It which it is revealed that Sarah is a huge dork (and absolutely no one is surprised):

Day 7:
I asked Lisa to take a photo of my outfit in front of the giant fireplace at our Monday night spot, but then I felt like a weirdo, so naturally I posed like one. Lisa suggested props, but those photos were even worse. I'll spare you.

Here you can see one of my late picks for 30 for 30: a long-sleeved, peacock blue t-shirt from Old Navy. That'll do.

Day 8:
I call today's ensemble Weirdly Western. I've never thought that my brown boots have a western vibe, but when paired with a denim skirt and plaid shirt, that seemed to be the overall effect.

Things I've learned:
1. I can't tuck in shirts with this skirt. It looked terrible when I got ready in the morning.
2. Next time I'm invited to a barn dance, I know what to wear.
3. I'm not awesome at this whole daily photography thing. I'm trying to be better.

Day 9:
Nora helped me out with today's photography again. She placed me in front of her dresser and told me to say cheese:

I'm so glad I smiled.
Don't worry, the photo shoot got more uncomfortable.

Now you see why I stay away from props.

But is America ready for my side bun?

So what did Nora have to say about all of this silliness?

You know that a kid is being raised right when a 3-year-old sensors herself and says "sweater" instead of "boobs". I like you, Miss Nora.

February 12, 2011

Sarah: Winter 30 for 30, Days 10-12

Day 10:
When I stopped by Lisa's house on my way home from work so that she could take my photo, I discovered that we had Matching Sister Sock Buns!

I kind of love sock buns and think they're super easy and comfortable. And good for when you wake up late and don't have time to wash your hair. Sorry I'm gross.

This was one of those outfits that you think look cute all day until you get home from work and then you think "Oh no. When did this turn bad?" When you're having one of those days, a jumping photoshoot with an unreliable camera is probably not the way to go. I look like I'm trying to take flight.

The humiliation I endure for your entertainment...

Day 11:
We're almost halfway done and I'm getting concerned that I am running out of ideas for outfits and that I have entirely too few interesting accessories.

At least my awesome niece is a good accessory to any ensemble.

Day 12:
And now (finally) presenting my 30th item:

A basic black dress that is super comfy and hopefully will add a few more options to the mix for the second half of this month. Of course, taking photos at 1 am in the freezing cold wasn't the very best idea I've ever had. Check out my sweater-y tights: they're actually regular black tights with some knit thigh-high socks over them. They were the warmest part of my ensemble at that moment. Power through this snoozefest of an outfit, my friends. More embarrassment is sure to come.

February 16, 2011

Sarah: Winter 30 for 30, Days 13-15

Day 13:
I have a 30 for 30 confession. I swapped out one clothing item. I've been passing over one of my tshirts (the blue v-neck from Alternative Apparel) while simultaneously wishing that my grey tshirt was in the mix. So I decided that since I hadn't really used the shirt yet, it wouldn't hurt to wear something else instead.

This is part of what I think is worthwhile about the 30 for 30: it's about getting to know what clothing is in your closet better. I'm figuring out more than just how many clothes I wear with a white or black camisole. I'm also figuring out which clothing items are the most useful, and which I like to wear.

Day 14:
True revelations: Often on Sundays, I don't get ready until the mid-afternoon. We're going to say that's because I'm busy cleaning my house and not because I'm watching Roswell while sitting on my couch. That means that sometimes I recycle my Sunday outfit on Monday. So I swapped out the sweater and wore yesterday's outfit. I'm only a little embarrassed.

The only photo of me wearing this outfit was taken when Lisa's singing group surprised me with a Singing Valentine.

I'm that slightly embarrassed looking blur in the center.

Day 15:
Another revelation I've had during the first half of this project: I don't really like my boot-cut jeans. They used to fit like a dream, but now they're oddly stretched out in some places and still snug in others. Do not like. It seems that these bathroom photos are code for let's get this over with.

Oh! And I dyed my hair. The goal was to use a grocery store dye to touch up the dark reddish brown color that I got at the salon. The roots are a bit light and red, though, yes?

I will call this an $8 take on the ombre look.

Next up: What happens when you realize that your cousin's wedding falls during the 30 for 30 and your clothing options are decidedly casual? Not even I know the answer to that one.

February 20, 2011

Lisa: refeathering the nest

In a practically lethal combination of pregnancy-induced nesting and reading a LOT of Young House Love, I've come up with a list of house-sprucing projects I want to try to do before the baby is born.

As a bit of pre-explanation: I already convinced Blake to let me pull up the carpet in our little hallway as an experiment, and what Sarah and I uncovered is good enough that I think we'll continue in the upstairs bedrooms as well. We have also already started buying one or two of these items each month, in an effort to spread out the costs and avoid buying everything on credit at the last minute.


Nursery (see some before pictures here, although it's evolved a lot over the last three years)

  • buy and assemble Nora's new, bigger bed
  • give away Nora's toddler bed
  • rip up the carpet, install quarter-round, and buy an area rug
  • pare down Nora's clothes and toys
  • move most of the toys downstairs into the family room
  • go through our storage to unearth the old baby stuff
  • touch up the paint on and reassemble Nora's old crib
  • replace the ugly, dated ceiling fan with a cute light fixture?
  • Living Room

  • buy BILLY bookcases for each side of the fireplace
  • buy a flat screen TV to fit inside one of the bookcases
  • paint the living room (and possibly also the adjoining dining room and hallway) a color like Behr's 410F-4, Mother Nature
  • give away our green TV cabinet (which you can see half of here)
  • move books and TV components into the new bookcases
  • buy new throw pillows to better coordinate with the artwork that's in the room now?
  • Family Room (see some before pictures here)

  • move the fancier books upstairs into the new living room bookcases
  • pare down our collection of movies, video games, and books
  • make room on the bookshelves for toy baskets or bins
  • set up a real playroom area for Nora and the baby, since the majority of the toys are going to be moved down here
  • Master Bedroom (see some oldish before pictures here)

  • pull up the carpet and install quarter-round molding
  • recover my DIY headboard with new IKEA fabric
  • buy a new duvet cover and linens--possibly white with black accents
  • hang new art/family portraits in black frames
  • sew a new cover for the laundry sorting basket (possibly from the wrong fabric I bought with the headboard in mind)
  • pare down display items
  • replace the ceiling fan with a pretty light fixture (Honestly, we will probably give both of the ceiling fans one more summer to prove their worth before getting rid of them.)
  • So. Thoughts? I'll try to post updates if and when I get around to actually completing any of these projects. Let me know if you want to put your name in for the toddler bed or TV cabinet (or the dish display rack, for that matter), or if you have any last minute warnings or advice.

    February 23, 2011

    Sarah: Winter 30 for 30, Days 16-18

    We're halfway done, you guys. Did you think I would burn out by now? Admit it, you didn't think I'd last this long.

    Day 16:
    Here are the very blurry photos of my black sweater, grey skirt, pink tights, and the unexpected MVP of the 30 for 30, my new grey boots.

    Do any of you have tricks for avoiding runs in the toes of your stockings and tights? I figured that continually clipping and grooming the nails on my stubby, round toes (you're welcome for that visual) would be enough, but I seem to be having terrible luck lately. I want to get at least a few wearings out of my tights. What am I missing?

    Day 17:
    Because I'm not planning on carrying 30 for 30 into March, I need to figure out how to squeeze a few more outfits into the 28 days of February. It made sense to start on a day when I was spending the day at my casual print shop and then rushing off to my cousin's wedding. Observe:

    Ensemble 1:
    I wore my grey sweater over my long-sleeved black scoop neck shirt with my black skirt, thick black tights, and brown boots.

    Sorry that the mirror in my work restroom needs to be cleaned. The new location is a work in progress. Anyway, I was comfortable and warm during the day, and then presto-change-o:
    Ensemble 2:
    The sweater is gone and I swapped out the thick tights and boots for patterned stockings and black wedges.

    Years ago, I was in Europe and while shopping at H&M, I found something that was either a gigantic scarf or a very silky tablecloth. My advice, should you find yourself in a similar situation, is to purchase immediately and ask questions later. You can see my outfit in action here when my parents and I rocked the photo booth at the wedding:

    Day 18:
    I've been looking for an excuse to wear this scarf. I like it.

    This pants-shoe combination is so ridiculously comfortable that I don't even care that it is completely stumpifying. This outfit is going to be worn again after this month.

    Sarah: Winter 30 for 30, Days 19-21

    Day 19:
    I slept for 4 hours (not enough), then got lost in the IKEA vortex (too much). Please excuse my dazed expression.

    See this awkward squatting? You know what that means. Jumping.

    While taking these photos, Lisa would patiently say "Okay, once more, this time with facial control..." She tried, guys.
    Then I went home and took a nap.

    Day 20:
    Do you guys see this moustache necklace?

    My friend Jillian whittled this from a block of wood. And I love it. Though sometimes I get excited about it and put it up to my face and then...

    Where did Al Swearengen come from?! (This photo was taken last summer and I use less hair product now. Thank you for caring.) Anyway, back to the clothing.

    This outfit is good for coloring.

    Day 21:
    I don't have a photo of my slightly-sparkly-striped tank top, so imagine that it's in the mix for today's ensemble.

    Basically, it was Monday and I need to do more outfit planning in advance. I make no excuses. Except for the one about it being Monday.

    My next entry will embarrass my mother. Stay tuned.

    February 24, 2011

    Lisa: home improvement wishlist (the big one)

    Since the motherboard on our furnace fried earlier this week and we unexpectedly had to get a completely new furnace installed, the items on my pre-baby house wishlist are seeming a bit more out of reach. So, I figure I might as well get TOTALLY unrealistic and make a list of all the other stuff I want to do around the house, ever. (Disclaimer: these projects have not all been approved by Blake.)

    Outside (here it is before I painted the front door dark purple)

  • replace the front aluminum awning and wrought-iron supports with some kind of wooden pergola or cloth awning that is prettier and more updated
  • add a matching mini-awning over the side door, since that's where we always come in from the car, and there is a lot of getting rained on while we unlock the door
  • replace the aluminum roof over the back patio with a wooden pergola
  • get rid of the storm door in front (which effectively sweeps callers off the porch when opened) and the cracked screen door on the side
  • install rain chains (instead of downspouts?)
  • Kitchen

  • paint over the dark red vampire's lair faux finish (which you can kind of see in the second image here) with a navy blue, like Ralph Lauren's Anchor Blue IB94
  • paint the side entry (and attached stairwell) that leads into the kitchen a lighter blue, like Behr's 590D-5 Windsurf Blue, with white paneling
  • replace the "decorative" tiles over the stove with something more my taste (Can this be done without ripping out all the tile? It's just sort of a vignette surrounded by the regular kitchen tile, which I'd want to leave intact.)
  • Downstairs Bath

  • rip out all of the self-stick vinyl tile, a vinyl all-in-one shower, contractor-basic vanity, medicine cabinet, faucets, and lighting, and dropped panel ceiling (unless we have to keep it for plumbing/electrical access)
  • completely redo the whole thing, more stylishly and with a more functional layout
  • I'm not even touching the work we should probably be doing to get the yard in shape and get all of our storage beautifully organized, let alone routine maintenance. Oh, and someday I want to paint the downstairs bedroom, hallway, and family room. SEE, YOU CAN'T SQUASH MY DREAMS, FURNACE!

    February 28, 2011

    Sarah: Winter 30 for 30, Days 22-24

    We're in the home stretch, but in case you need a break from this steady stream of awkward posing and slightly wrinkled clothing, here's something adorable:

    Now on to the clothes:
    Day 22:

    This outfit was mostly to prove to myself that I had a few more accessories that I could wear. I've decided that I like this shirt color very much. I've also decided that these jeans should be burned.
    I knitted this scarf a few years ago. The yarn (or yearn, as I just typed...) is thin and shimmery and I used the biggest knitting needles I could find so that the result would be lacey. It was somewhat successful.

    Day 23:

    My guest bathroom and I have to stop meeting this way. You know what is comfy? Layering argyle knee-socks between your boots and tights. I suppose the argyle pattern is optional. I wore this outfit partly to justify the presence of this shirt and this skirt in my 30 for 30, and partially because I thought it made sense to wear these items for a little secret photoshoot at work. We found paper moustaches, so naturally we all took photos that looked like this:

    There's not really a good explanation. Just go with it.

    Spending all of this time taking photos in my bathroom (that sounds weird out of context) has been reminding me that I need to show you my favorite part of this room. It's always directly behind me in these photos, so you don't notice that proudly hanging on one wall is... Bam. My parents' engagement photo.

    That is a good looking couple right there. Their wedding colors were brown and cream. I got my dad's eyebrows (Thank you, Dad!), but my mom is clearly keeping the long-shiny- flowing-locks-of-hair gene to herself.

    Day 24:

    I'll admit it, I was trying to recapture the magic of comfortable Day 18. The best thing about these photos might be the Mantovani record that I keep displayed on my flat filing cabinet.

    Next time, I debate whether I look like a hippie or a doctor. Hint: probably neither.