Thursday, January 29, 2015

What I Read: January

As Pennsylvania remains cold and foreign to me, I'm still doing a lot of reading and so, once again, have a lot of choices for Tuesday's Literary Stylings Link Party.  That's right, it's this coming Tuesday!

As always, I have no idea what I'm going to wear, but I do have a lot to be inspired by.

The Devil In the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, by Erik Larson

On the surface, this is a book about the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago and everything that went into making that fair a much-needed success.  But, unfortunately, the author apparently found that to be a boring subject on it's own and added additional plot lines about serial killers and mentally disturbed assassins.  In my opinion, the author was wrong; the sections of the book dealing with the fair are the best parts.  I found it fascinating what Chicago had to do to even get the fair and then all of the work that went into creating "the White City," as the fairgrounds were called.  I really wish the book had been only about the fair; the other two plot lines have nothing to do with the fair and appear to only have been included because they happened at the same time.  In the end, I can't really recommend this book.  All I can recommend is finding another book on the subject of the 1893 World's Fair because it's fascinating.

Blue Diary, by Alice Hoffman

I'm not sure why I didn't really like this book.  By all rights, I should have.  The story is very interesting and Alice Hoffman is a very good writer.  But, this book just didn't do it for me.  The story did; it's about a woman who's husband's past catches up with him and therefore with her and how she has to cope with the horrible things he's done.  But the writing is just too much.  The author takes so much time in describing the lilies and the apple trees and the quality of the light and the blackbirds that it, frankly, ruined the book for me.  I know Hoffman was trying to convey something with all the butter-yellow sun, but it just didn't do it for me.

The Masque of the Black Tulip, by Lauren Willig

Eloise is a graduate student doing her dissertation on several famous British spies, the Scarlet Pimpernel, the Purple Gentian and the Pink Carnation, as well as the famed French spy, the Black Tulip.  The book alternates between Eloise's studies in the modern day and the time of those spies, the 1800s.  To be honest, I wish the author had just written this as historical fiction, focusing on the spies and the war with Napoleon.  I found it hard to care about Eloise and her crush and her modern life.  But, the sections of the book based in the 1800s were a fun read.  Oh, also, this is the second book of a series.  The first is the Secret History of the Pink Carnation and I didn't read it.  But, I don't think it matters.  I'm sure I'd still prefer the historical sections to whatever is going on with Eloise.

The Weight of Water, by Anita Shreve

This is another book that alternates between modern times and the past.  Photographer Jean visits a remote North Atlantic island to take photographs of the scene where a grisly ax murder took place in 1873.  While she's there, she also has to deal with living on a smallish boat with her husband, their child, her brother-in-law and his girlfriend.  Unlike the Masque of the Black Tulip, I felt that Shreve was able to go back and forth between the interwoven stories very successfully.  Both stories being told kept my interest easily and, as a result, I really liked this book.  In part that was because I was really able to relate to it. It's funny because I read a review of this book and the reviewer had the same issue with The Weight of Water as I had with Blue Diary; they felt that Shreve describes EVERYTHING.  But, this time around, that wasn't an issue for me.  Possibly because of the subject matter; one of the characters is forced to leave her beloved Norway for the US and for me, Shreve's descriptions of her home and her family really touched me.  I can see how her descriptiveness could be frustrating if you're not in the mood (see Blue Diary), but boy was I in the mood for Shreve's writing. So, I guess this book isn't for everyone, but I think if you're in the right space for it, it is just wonderful.

Blonde Roots, by Bernadine Evaristo

Nope.  No.  No.  No.  Do not read this book.  For some reason, Evaristo decided it would be a good idea to write a book about slavery where the slavers are Black and the slaves are White and she was wrong.  As I said in my Goodreads review, I don't know what the point of this book was.  And I still don't know.  Slavery is a horrible thing, regardless of who is being enslaved.  I mean, satire or not, there is no point in changing who is enslaved, the answer is still the same, slavery is horrible.  And so was this book.

It's doubtful I'll be wearing an outfit based on the mess that was Blonde Roots, but that still leaves me a lot of inspiration.

What about you, Reader Friends?  Were you inspired by any books this month?  If so, I hope to see you linked up on Tuesday!

Happy Thursday, All!


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Seven Bucks

It's started being snowy in earnest here in PA so thank goodness for this giant mustard sweater:

Seriously, this thing is too big for even me and not terribly flattering, but I promise you that it's warm as heck and therefore totally worth it.  Not that I paid a lot of it; I think it was about $7 at Goodwill.

Not bad for seven bucks, eh?

Sweater: handmade, thrifted  Jeans: Old Navy
Scarf: LOFT  Boots: SOREL Tivoli High II

Nope, not bad at all.

Happy Wednesday, All!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Valentine's Dreams

For my fiancee and I, Valentine's Day isn't a big deal.  We don't always bother to celebrate it and when we do, it's generally pretty low-key.  And this year, given our shared reluctance to venture out into the snow, it will definitely be low-key.

But, that doesn't mean a girl can't dream about dressing up.  So, today I thought I'd share with you all some of the looks I'd love to wear if I weren't afraid of the snow and ice.  And had unlimited funds to spend on vintage jewelry.


Dress: Modcloth  Earrings: Vintage, Chairish
Bracelet: Vintage, Chairish  Clutch: Nordstrom  Shoes: Nordstrom

I think this dress may be less "blush" and more "nude" on me this time of year, but I still think it's so pretty.  

Cameo and Floral

Dress: eShakti  Necklace: Vintage, Chairish
Earrings: Vintage, Chairish  Clutch: Chairish  Shoes: Nordstrom

I am obsessed with cameos and this black cameo on the clear Lucite is fabulous to me.  Also, yes, I did pair blue shoes with this.  It could be because the flowers on the dress might be edged with blue or it could be because I just love blue shoes.


Dress: eShakti  Belt: Barney's  Brooch: Vintage, Chairish
Clutch: Nordstrom  Shoes: Sole Society via Nordstrom

This look is more like what I'd wear for our low-key celebrations.  I love a shirtdress and the vintage lovebirds brooch is everything to me.


Sweater: Kate Spade New York  Skirt: eShakti
Earrings: Vintage, Chairish  Clutch: Nordstrom  Shoes: Nordstrom

Just like I try to avoid wearing red and green around Christmas, I generally try to avoid pink and red around Valentine's Day.  However, I'd be more than happy to make an exception for this Kate Spade sweater and these suede pumps.

Blue Valentine

Dress: Long Tall Sally  Necklace: Vintage, Chairish
Earrings: Kate Spade New York  Clutch: Kate Spade New York  Shoes: 6pm

So what do I wear if I don't wear pink or red?  Yep, you guessed it.  Blue.  Always blue.  But, with red heels, so, you know, it's totally appropriate.

As you may have noticed, all of the vintage jewelry I featured in these looks is from Chairish.  I just discovered that site the other day and if I had any money, I'd be spending it all there.  They have home furnishings as well, but the vintage jewelry section is where I like to hang out online.  So much good stuff.

Happy Monday, All!


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Let's Talk Leggings

Great news!  Who What Wear has decreed that we can all wear leggings again!  What's that?  You had no idea that leggings "have long been shunned by the fashion community for being an outdated staple" and you've been wearing them anyway?!  That's okay.  I have too.

Because, the fact of the matter is, I love leggings.  I don't necessarily wear them a lot on the blog, but you should know that I otherwise wear them pretty much all the time.  They're great for layering.  They're great for travel.  And they're great for weekends.  Really, they only thing they're NOT great for is wearing as pants.

However, not all leggings are created equal.  Especially when you're both tall and plus-sized.  But, there are some leggings that work on giants.  Here are my picks:

The Leather Look

For leather-look leggings, I love my pair from Long Tall Sally.  They are truly long (I had to undercuff them) and are available up to size XL.  However, they run quite big (I'm wearing Medium) so I'd say they'd fit a XXL with no problem.

If you're not a giant, the SPANX faux leather leggings and the HUE leatherette leggings have both gotten great reviews.

Ponte Knit

Ponte is a heavier knit, making these leggings a great choice if you live in a colder climate or if like a little more coverage with your leggings.  I'm wearing my pair from metrostyle and you can see they're a bit shorter on me than on the model, but they are designed for tall women and are available up to size XL.

For non-giants, I recommend HUE once again; I've had good luck with their leggings, even on my giant self.

Oh Cotton, My Cotton

In spite of the fact that they've, apparently, been obsolete for years, you can find standard black cotton leggings nearly everywhere, at nearly any price point.  Personally, I'm partial to the Ultra Wide Waistband leggings from HUE, worn above.  They're not as heavy as ponte, but they're still very nicely opaque.  And, while they don't come in Tall sizes, these leggings hit me at the same place on the ankle as the Tall metrostyle leggings, so they're definitely long enough.  And they aren't kidding about that "ultra wide waistband" either; they're super comfortable!  They're available up to size XL (16).

If you want a truly tall cotton legging, I'd recommend the Long Elegant Leggings from Long Elegant Legs.  They're available in up to size XXL (22-24), have a 36" inseam and are available in four different colors.  And Long Tall Sally offers their classic leggings in a 33" inseam, up to size XL, in 11 different colors!

And, finally, I'd like to recommend Mossimo Supply Co. leggings from Target.  They are neither terribly thick nor particularly long, but they are perfect for layering.  A lot of times higher-quality leggings can be too thick for layering under jeans.  These leggings are perfect for that.  They're also nice for warmer climates where you don't want anything too heavy.

So, how about it, Reader Friends?  Will you be wearing leggings again now that Who What Wear says it's okay?

Happy Saturday, All!


Thursday, January 22, 2015


Today's Style Challenge from Putting Me Together is to wear something bright.  This makes me happy for several reasons.  One, I love brights in the winter.  Two, like the first challenge, it was easy for me.  And, three, it gave me a little-needed excuse to wear my electric blue sweater:

Sweater & Skirt: thrifted  Tights: SPANX  Boots: Born Crown


In fact, the only problem I had with this outfit was what to pair with the sweater.  As you can see, there's snow on the ground.  And even though it's not particularly cold, I'm a bit hesitant to wear skirts out here in case I'm caught in a freak snowstorm.  But, I took the chance and paired my sweater with a vintage checked skirt:

Okay, okay.  You caught me.  I chose this skirt not because I've suddenly become rational about freak snowstorms (I really haven't).  No, in truth, I chose it because it fits my curves really well.

I mean, look at how cute my booty looks!

But, that's enough about my bum.  The challenge was not "wear something heinie-enhancing," it was wear something bright.  Which I did.  It was this sweater:

And a heinie-enhancing skirt.

Happy Thursday, All!