Saturday, September 29, 2012

Looking Good, Feeling Great

Last night I went to a reception at my previous job to honor a retired coworker.  I put a lot of thought into what to wear because it was the first time I've seen many of the board members and volunteers since I left.  I wanted to make sure that I looked as good as I feel, and I feel very good.

Dress, Magic, TJ MAXX (overdyed by me); sandals, Montego Bay Club, Payless Shoes; leaf earrings and dragonfly necklace, purchased in Cozumel.

I purchased this dress over a year ago and this is only the second time I've worn it.  I hate it when I do that.  I liked the fit and pattern a lot, but it was ivory with chocolate brown detailing, and I just don't wear much white.  I finally had the brilliant idea to over-dye it with a wine/pink dye, and now I think it will find its rightful spot in my regular rotation.  It is much more flattering to my skin tone and it will show coffee less when I inevitably spill it on myself.

Un-fun fact:  When I stepped under the tree for these photos I stepped into a fire ant nest.  Now my feet are covered in fire ant stings.  I hate those sons of bitches.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Best Around (Unless Leopard Becomes Available)

My new shoe loves, the ASICS Women's Gel-Neo33 Running Shoe arrived last night.  I am very impressed with the lightning-fast shipping since I just ordered them Tuesday night.

See, matchy matchy, no makeup,
sleepy face.
Visually they are everything I wanted them to be.  They are so beautiful to me that I did something I never do.  I planned my workout outfit in advance to coordinate with my shoes.  Usually I wear whatever is on top of the pile to work out.

I've been jogging with my mom, and she was sick this morning.  Some days I would have used that as an excuse to skip the gym, but today I was on a mission to try out these shoes.

My first impression of the ASICS in action is great.  I'm very happy with the stability, cushioning, and sole flexibility.   I managed to look up from my feet long enough that I didn't run into any walls.

I'll jog in these for a few weeks and, if I'm still happy, I'll probably order another pair.  Finding this pair was such a hassle that it would be nice to know I am set for a while.

Stephen mentioned last night that he was surprised I didn't get leopard print running shoes.  Attention all shoe companies: please make leopard print running shoes.  I will buy a lifetime supply.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Something Fishy

I think of the color of this dress in different terms depending on my mood.  Some days it is melon, sometimes it is tangerine, and today it is salmon.  There must be something fishy afoot.  (I had to pause for a giggling fit after I typed that.  For some reason it struck me as very funny to type "afoot" because fish do not have feet.)

Dress, Boston Proper, thrifted; goldfish pin/pendant, purchased in Cozumel; hoop earrings, who knows where; sandals, Born, Younkers.

This dress is a little bit fishy.  From some angles it looks great, and from some angles it looks like a tent.  It is probably a little too big.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Running Sole Mates

I've been jogging regularly again since June, and my running shoes have about run out.  I've been dreading shopping for running shoes because running is not something that comes easily to me.  I have started to enjoy it.  I have started to love it.  But the specter of injury hangs over me and I want to do everything I can to continue to be able to jog and have fun doing it.

I had a wish list for my ideal pair:
  1. Available in size 11.5.  It is even harder for me to find running shoes that regular ones because I need a half size larger.  
  2. Cushioned.  I am somewhat massive, and it's not fair to my joints if I pound the pavement in shoes that don't give them any relief.
  3. Stability.  I over-pronate, especially with my right foot.  It throws off the alignment of my ankles and makes my knees hurt if my shoes don't give me enough support.
  4. Colorful.  Dammit, I want colorful shoes.  
  5. Women's.  I have been forced to buy men's running shoes too many times because women's ones didn't come in my size.  Now I live in the age of internet.  Never again.
  6. On sale.  You've read this blog before, right?
After making an endless pilgrimage to what seemed like every shoe store in the greater metro area, I still had not found what I was looking for, then I remembered bullet number five above and hit the web.  Within a few minutes I located these beauties on Amazon.
Image Credit: Amazon
These are some sharp shoes.
Image Credit: Amazon
This is what it will look like
if I'm about to run you over.
Image Credit: Amazon
This is what it will look like
if I have just run you over.

ASICS calls them the Gel-Neo33 Running Shoe.  I am pleased to call them mine.  

They come with a 60 day satisfaction guarantee, so I wasn't quite as apprehensive about buying running shoes on the internet.  

I have jogged in ASICS for the past few years, and (because I'm a dork) I love that the name is derived from the Latin phrase "anima sana in corpore sano" meaning a sound mind in a sound body.  That's what I'm going for.

The shipping policies page says most orders arrive in three to five business days.  My toes can hardly wait.


My plan was to avoid buying anything for myself at this year's Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival.  I almost got away with it, until I saw this lovely and reasonably priced turquoise collar.

I didn't give in right away.  I was at the festival all day Saturday, and I visited the necklace twice while deciding whether I really wanted it.  It wasn't until I went back in the evening with Stephen that I actually made it mine.  Ok, I lied, Stephen made it mine.  Thank you, sweetie!

Dress, Merona, Target; sandals, Bare Traps, Younkers; turquoise earrings, handmade by me; turquoise necklace, Crooked Creek Designs; turquoise magnetic bracelet, purchased in Cozumel.

I kept the rest of the outfit simple to highlight and reinforce the statement made by the necklace.  I can see wearing it dressed up or dressed down, and I can hardly wait to experiment.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Kate!

Mom, me (in the back) and Kate, way back when.
My little sister is 27 today.  Happy birthday, Kate!

I am so lucky to have a sister who is also a wonderful friend.

I miss her, and I'm glad we live in the digital age when we can live across the country from each other and still keep in touch.

Real Swamp Thangs...

Giant pond monster.
I encountered the fellow above while walking Gadget the other day.  I've seen plenty of medium-sized  (5-7 foot) alligators in Georgia, but this is the first big one (too huge).  I don't think I'll be walking Gadget there anymore.

The upside is that my dad was visiting when we encountered this monster, so he got to see a big Georgia gator.  Now that I've seen one, I don't think I need to see another.

Dollars, No Sense

There is a new thrift store that opened near me, and I've gone a little crazy in the clothing department.  I have enough of a hard time restraining myself at Goodwill, where a dress sets me back $5.50 ($2.75 if the tag is the color of the week).  At the Mercy Ministries thrift store, all clothing is just $1.

So far I've found a few shirt dresses, a red plaid flannel dress, a dress for my friend Chastity, a shirt for my mom, and this vintage gem.  I love the frilly neckline.  I love the drape of the skirt.  I even love the fit of the cap sleeves.  I don't usually like cap sleeves.

I paired the dress with simple accessories to visit my dear and often-blogged-about friend Chenille.  I always want to wear something fun when I see Chenille.  Good friends bring out the best in my wardrobe.

Dress, vintage, thrifted; belt, Walmart (it came with my olive shirt dress); shoes, Born, Younkers; blue topaz earrings, Younkers; blue topaz necklace,

Monday, September 24, 2012

Losing Space and Time

The trips to and from India were surreal.  It took three planes and over twenty-seven hours each way.  I could also measure it as eight in-flight meals, at least 15 beverages, 10.5 movies, and three continents.  By the time I got where I was going, I had no idea what the local time or even date was.  You know you are traveling way, way too long when you are in flight long enough to watch ten and a half movies.

The food was already devoured by the time I took out the camera.  I was hungry.
Please note the lovely Corona.  Thank you, Delta.
Because we flew Delta and Delta affiliates, we had complimentary beer and wine in the economy section.  Yay Delta!  It made the fact that my not-especially-long legs touched the seat in front of me slightly more bearable.

Because I watched so very many movies, I am sharing my reactions to each of the films.  Learn from my mistakes.

Young Adult: Charlize Theron stars as a newly divorced YA fiction writer who returns to her hometown to (unsuccessfully) seduce her happily married ex-boyfriend.  I got a kick out of this movie.  I enjoyed that the characters were deeply flawed yet utterly realistic.

Horrible Bosses:  Horrible movie.  Not sure why I picked it.  Really not sure why I finished it.

This Means War: I watched this one on the Amsterdam to Mumbai flight because it was the only movie showing.  While I think Reese Witherspoon is adorable, this movie is pretty much the worst romantic comedy has to offer.

The Avengers: I like superhero movies, but this one wasn't one of the best.  I love Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, so he made the rest of the movie worth it to me.

Image Credit: IMBD
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: This movie follows a group of British retirees who move to India to live in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  This was the perfect movie to watch on the way back from India because many of the scenes stuck me as right on point.  Also, I love old people and I love Judi Dench.  This one is worth watching.

Dark Shadows: Oh Johnny Depp, where did you go wrong?

Men in Black III: This movie met my not-very-high expectations.  The only thing it was missing was the pug, and that was most of the reason I chose this movie.

Image Credit: IMBD
Brave: Brave is an animated movie about a princess in Scotland who craves independence and adventure.  It was fun.  I liked that it was a princess movie in which the princess wasn't married at the end.  Being married is great, but it isn't the only way to be great.

Wanderlust: A couple from Manhattan moves south and stumbles upon a free-love commune.  Don't bother.

Snow White and the Huntsman: This retelling of Snow White wasn't all bad.  I love that for most of the movie Charlize Theron's hideous old face looked like she might have pulled an all-nighter involving tequila and salty food.  She looked tired and a little bloated, but who wouldn't still love to look like her?  I also find it beyond ridiculous to suggest that Kristen Stewart would ever be found fairer than Ms. Theron.

The Hunger Games: I resisted watching this until the very last bit of my last flight.  I really enjoyed the books, and I didn't want my unreasonable expectations about what the movie should be to ruin it for me.  (Just ask Stephen, I'm impossible when we try to watch the Game of Thrones series together.)  I only got to watch the first half, but I enjoyed what I saw, and I will definitely rent it sometime soon.

If I hadn't had so much time on my hands, I probably wouldn't have finished (or started) many of these movies.  My "worth it" selections are Young Adult, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and The Hunger Games (unless it goes downhill after the part I watched).  My "maybe" choices are The Avengers, Men in Black III, Brave, and Snow White and the Hunstman.  I wouldn't bother with the rest of them.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

India: Animals and Glass Houses

Some thoughts didn't fit into any of my other posts, so here they are in no particular order.

Dogs:  I'm a dog lover, and India is full of stray dogs.  It was shocking to see so many suffering animals, and the danger cannot be understated because many of the dogs are rabid.

Cows: You've likely heard about cows in India, and it was actually kind of a treat for me to see them.  There were many pretty brahman cattle like this one by the expressway on our way to Agra.

On the other hand, it was surreal to have traffic stop because a family of cows had stopped to rest in the middle of Pune.

Elephants:  We saw two elephants in Pune.  It was everything I hoped it would be.  One of them punched me in the arm when I didn't give him money.  I probably should have given him money.

Hotel Bathrooms: Of course I had to take a photo of the last of the three glass-walled bathrooms.  See, it's a trend.  I know what they say about people who live in glass houses... how does that apply to this scenario.

Visiting India was amazing, and I would go back in a heartbeat.  I have a few more thoughts that fit into the general category of "travel," so I'll put those together tomorrow.

Monday, September 17, 2012


We visited the Taj Mahal on our last day in India.  It was completely worth the flight from Pune to Delhi and the drive from Delhi to Agra.  It is indescribably, unbelievably beautiful.  I understand now why it is one of the wonders of the world.  Words cannot explain how amazing it was to see the Taj Mahal for the first time as we passed through the gateway structure and the tomb structure came into view.

This is the gateway structure though which you must pass to get to the gardens and tomb.  As you pass through it, the white marble of the tomb suddenly comes into view.

It is breathtaking to see the tomb for the first time, and both words and photos fail me.
I'll let this photo speak for itself.

Our group with me and Angie both wearing our freshly tailored suits.

Just us.

I wish my words and my photos hadn't failed me in this post, but if you ever have the opportunity to visit, go.

I'll wrap up my last thoughts from India in my next post, and please send any questions my way too.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Tailor Made

I was so excited when our next day's shopping expedition yielded a reasonably-priced sari fabric.  We dropped off the sari fabric and the previous day's blue floral fabric at RJ's tailor and got I got measured for my sari and a kurta (long tunic), dupatta (scarf), and pants set.  Much of the fabric I purchased in India was intended for these sets.  The fabric came with one print for the tunic, one for the pants, and a coordinating fabric for the shawl that ties the first two fabrics together.

Angie and I in our fancy new saris.
The fabric I chose for the sari is a deep turquoise chiffon with rose gold colored beading.  The tailor commented that the sari would be heavy because of the beading, but I think the end result is worth it.  Now I just need to find somewhere fancy to go.

I loved the tailored clothing expereince so much that I'm feeling inspired to make more of my own clothes.  Clothes that fit perfectly are amazing.

The museum had a number of large carved animals.  
We also went to the Pune Tribal Museum.  The museum showcases the cultures of tribal communities in the Sahyadri and Gondhavana regions of India.  Displays included both functional and decorative items including hunting and fishing implements, jewelry, art, masks, and religious icons.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Learning from a Master

A number of aspects of India were somewhat overwhelming: the crowds, the traffic, and the noise come to mind.  One thing that might have been overwhelming if not for help was the shopping.  I love textiles, clothing, and jewelry (even if this is your first time to the blog, you've probably already noticed), and the quantity we found in Pune was unreal.
I haven't heard back about using her name or photo on the interweb, but
rest assured we didn't go shopping with a faceless woman.

Luckily RJ, an American ex-pat who has been in India for two years, was willing to show us her favorite spots and teach us the ins and outs of shopping in India.

For my first shopping excursion in India I chose some of the Indian-wear I brought along from Georgia.  I was so comfortable in this long tunic and leggings.

RJ showed us some of her favorite markets and helped negotiate some great deals.

I love this fabric.  I should have bought it in every color.
That day we went to MG (Mahatma Ghandi) Road and Clover Center.  RJ says pretty much every city in India has an MG Road.  RJ helped Angie find fabric for a sari before I arrived, and we shopped for fabric for me that day.  We didn't find my sari fabric, but we did find lots of other fabric including this intricately embroidered set.

RJ also recommended her tailor, and I was so excited to have some clothes custom made for me.  Tailoring in India is a great deal, and I paid less for custom-tailored garments there than I have paid for many off the rack things in the States.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

EBEW: Too School For Cool

Back To School | Everybody, Everywear
I wasn't sure what to do about this month's challenge.  I'm fairly certain I was uncool in high school.  I was definitely painfully self conscious and desperately wanted to fit in.  Didn't everyone.  Though I didn't know it at the time, the lessons I learned then lead me down the path I'm on now, where I proudly let me freak flag fly.  It taught me that fitting in is often overrated.

I was aiming for a preppy look that I never would have dared in high school (red pants!) combined with accessory relics from my past with a dash of my recent trip to India.  Even in high school I appreciated the value of thrifting.  One of my prom dresses came from Goodwill.

Button down shirt, ALC Stretch, thrifted; camisole, thrifted; red pants, J Crew, thrifted; scarf, purchased in India; shoes, American Eagle, Payless Shoes; earrings, gifted (thanks Mom!); lizard pendant, I don't remember; thumb and middle finger rings, handmade by me in high school jewelry class; ring finger ring, purchased in high school.
The side profile of this ring looks
like a face.

I was in high school eleven years ago today when the world as we knew it changed.  I was in my first period geography class when the World Trade Center was attacked.  It was shocking, frightening, and so senseless.  Looking back, we developed a new language to deal with our national grief.  Words like "ground zero" and the date "September 11" developed weighty meaning.  Today I take a brief break from my self-centered blogging to remember those who lost their lives eleven years ago today and those who love them.  

Reunited and It's Bittersweet

I've said it before, I'll say it again.  I am so incredibly blessed to have the friends I have in my life.  Some of my friends are so close they feel like sisters.  Angie is definitely a spirit sister.  We used to live near each other, and I saw her weekly if not more often.  Now we live a thousand miles apart and seeing her is always joyous tinged with the sadness of our visits' infrequency.

Angie is an amazing friend, a brilliant woman, and one of my role models.  I'll be lucky if I can be as wonderful as she is when I grow up.
This wavy couch was too cool not to get a photo.

She is one of the friends with whom I can always pick up where we left off, and seeing her in India was no different.  Angie's husband (also a wonderful friend) made a trip to India at the same time Stephen did, so this time Angie and I reunited 8,000+ miles from either of our homes.  We spent the rest of the week eating, drinking, laughing, learning, and shopping.

I can't wait to see Angie again when we both visit the Dominican Republic in a couple months.
Why?  This is a level of intimacy I don't necessarily want
to add to my marriage.
Once again our hotel in Pune had a glass wall between the glass room and bedroom.  Once again I took an awkward photo to document this weirdness.

After the three-hour drive from Mumbai to Pune, we relaxed, got settled in our room, and prepared for the whirlwind of the rest of our trip.

The dress and wrap I wore this day are both self made.  This dress was my most-worn item in India because it was so incredibly comfortable.  I am already planning to make another copy or two.