November 12, 2013

Ode to the LBD

An avid lover of expressive colors as a teen and young adult, I did not see the point of the Little Black Dress.  Why would I ever want to wear a simple black dress when I could wear a bold red one, or a shimmery silver one, or a multi-hued beaded one?  I was convinced that, though they may be useful for other ladies, an LBD would never find a place in my wardrobe.

Then, I met Joan.

Joan is the dress, thusly named for obvious reasons.  She's a lady who doesn't like to speak of her age, but you'd hardly believe a gal with this many decades on her looks this good.

Joan has taught me that there is immense power in simplicity.  She may not be the right answer for everything, but with a timeless, demure, oh-so-flattering cut, she is ready for just about anything.

Oh, and what varied anythings we've seen together!  Joan and I have done the opera and the red carpet, Christmas parties and church luncheons.  Today, we popped my white coat on top for a day working on the hospital wards, and I expect we'll do a fair amount of residency interviewing together this time next year.

Joan is a far better friend than I deserve.  Her lightweight wool composition suits her perfectly to my favorite climate and seasons, and somehow without a single stitch of spandex she still fits like made-to-measure even after hefty weight gains.


We're quite the team, Joan and I.  You'd best not cross us -- curves and collarbones are our weapons of choice.

Lest you think Joan seeks all the limelight, I assure you she is quite content to be the supporting backdrop for a louder, flashier acquaintance.
Joan doesn't need to shout.  She's a lady.  She knows the right thing to do in any situation, and she gets our attention when she wants it, just as she is.

Dress Joan: vintage 1960s | Shoes: Clarks | Tights: ?? | Necklace: Otis B Jewelry

October 18, 2013

Comfy-Cozy Casual Friday

We don't get Casual Fridays as students out on rotations (though I think the nursing staff get to wear jeans, if they also wear pink, for breast cancer awareness during October...) so this is weekend wear for me, but I assure you that it is divinely comfy-cozy.   

Seriously, plaid flannel shirtdress?  That's like wearing pajamas all day, but WAY cuter.  Spunky dress and leather boots, my fall go-to when I'm not supposed to dress like a doctor.  Add a cute knit beanie like I've seen Charlotte, Deanna, or Rachael rock, and this would seem just about perfect. 

 Dress: Woolrich | Boots: Merrell

Showing off the oh-so-awesome detailing up around the sides of my oh-so-awesome boots.  And hey, did you figure out my theme for the week?  (I feel like today made it pretty obvious...)  It's plaid!  I'm an equal-opportunity plaid-lovin' [Irish] gal, I won't say no to it any time of year, but something about fall makes it seem simply perfect. 
It has been beyond lovely sharing this Fall Fashion Week with all of you.  Let's give a HUGE thanks to Deanna for hosting, and to all of you kind souls for your uplifting comments!

October 17, 2013

Is It Friday Yet?

I definitely understand Deanna's gravitation toward grey sweaters when the temperatures drop.  They are my weakness as well, especially cowl-necks.  At one point I think I had six -- all very different, mind you! -- but I've pared down.  (Either that, or I managed to hide them all away in the off-season clothes bin which we haven't opened yet for the fall & winter...)

Work work work.  I have determined that, cute as they are, these shoes are not up to snuff for a day on my feet in the hospital.  I have also learned that all Being On One's Feet is not equal -- I can do a full day of walking no worries, but it's this *standing* all day on the wards while the doc sits and lectures/explains/pimps us (ie: asks questions that put you on the spot in front of all the other students) that is totally killer.

 Sweater dress: Lands' End (I'm in straight sizes, but they still have pluses here) | Tights: Modcloth | Shoes: Naya, via dbShoes

Totally a vanity shot.  Killer curves and a good hair day...we all need self-portraits like that.  For more fall fashion and uplifting mutual admiration, you know where to go.  And if you found your way here from GeekMom, thanks for stopping by!  It's an honor to be featured amongst so many other lovely, stylish, geek-hearts-on-sleeves-wearing ladies.

October 14, 2013

Pumpkin Spice

You gals are all just the best.  Have you *seen* the love everyone is pouring out on each other?  It's a total feel-good fest all up in Fashion Week. 

Truthfully, I have yet to imbibe pumpkin spice anything this autumn season (shocking!), but it seemed like the right name for this outfit.   


I love that skirt.  It looks all stiff and woolen, but it's actually very soft, and nubbly.  Can't go wrong with the bias cut, either -- hangs like a straight skirt, but lets you walk.

Blouse: thrifted | Necklace: clothing swap | Skirt: thrifted | Shoes: Clarks

Not much more to say about this, it's a pretty standard work outfit.  Though, I must mention that it is exhausting having to dress like a professional adult  I can't decide if that's made better or worse by the fact that I have limited options, with two pairs of dress pants and two, maybe three pairs of shoes that don't kill my feet to be standing all day.  I know nurses wear those so-ugly-but-everyone's-in-scrubs-anyway Dansko clogs; how do teachers and other who walk all day do it, without resorting to sneakers?

Mirror crud, sorry, but it shows so nicely most of the colors in the skirt.  Perfect for autumn, with a pumpkin spice whatsitcalled...

I hope you haven't gotten your fall fashion fix yet, because there's a whole lot more happening and the party's at Deanna's.  Have fun!

October 13, 2013

Dress Like a Boy

This is basically my husband's work "uniform": plaid button-up (usually blue), khakis, and brown oxfords.  Heck, even our glasses are similarly-colored half-rims.  He doesn't do the cat-eyes, though, and he definitely isn't rocking curves like these.

This made for a good work outfit on those early-October-is-actually-the-nicest-(read:-hottest)-times-of-the-year-in-Berkeley days, when professionalism dictates coverage and thermo-self-regulation demands some exposed skin.  Mornings are getting now to be a bit too chilly to leave ankles uncovered, but these have definitely been my workhorse work pants all summer and through the early fall.

Blouse: H&M | Khaki crops: J. Crew, thrifted | Oxfords (shiny!): thrifted | Belt: thrifted

I am hoping to get a long-sleeve blue gingham shirt at some point, but thus far I haven't found any where I like the fit.

Getting my apple jacks on.  I was hoping for something animated GIF-able, but alas. 

Let's see what Deanna & co have going on for the rest of Fall Fashion Week, shall we?

October 12, 2013

Fall Fashion Week!

First, I just want to say that I LOVE the move to October for FFF.  While it's still warmer than my heart wants, at least it smells like fall.  September is still half summer, after all.

This is my take on one of those photos that used to float around on Pinterest a lot.  I love the rich color and luscious feel of these burgundy corduroy shorts, but they've always seemed too rich for summer.  I wore them with tights (usually with boots, not heels) for a few years, and now I see that all over the place!  Never expected to be ahead of a trend.  =)  The tights also make me feel comfortable wearing shorts to church, like I did with this outfit.

Shirt: Ross | Shorts: Anthropologie | Shoes: Fluevog, via eBay | Scarf: made by me! | Tights: ??

These are my neutral, skin-tone heels, but I love wearing them over contrasting tights to show off that super-sweet crossed strap action.  Surprisingly, this is a splurge-y outfit for me -- while nothing was full price, it was all new, nothing thrifted.  Not my usual MO.  That said, I've got a theme going on for this week, let's see how soon you can figure it out!  =)

It's always exciting to be part of a fashion week.  Go over to Deanna's place and see what everyone else is up to!

September 4, 2013

Tough Decisions

Style-minded internet, I need your help.  I'm trying to chose between two pairs of shoes. 

One is a pair I own but have never worn, a recent acquisition and my treat to myself for passing boards.  They are beautiful shoes, but not quite everything I'd hoped they'd be, and I've been on the fence about keeping them.

The other pair I have just discovered today, a fun new colorway of a style I've been keeping an eye on for a while.

The first pair is from a brand known for high quality.  It is leather, and the saturated jewel tones are absolutely luscious in person.  However, my foot is short and wide whereas the shoe is...not; while I have the correct size, the fit is sub-optimal.  The t-strap part bulges out from my foot rather than pulling taut (skinny ankles, maybe? never had this fit issue before...), and the heel, while one of my favorite heights, is higher than I'm willing to do more than a few times per month.  I also already have a favorite pair in a similar rusty tone and heel height, and I just don't think these beauties would get the wear they should.

The second pair I have only seen online.  While I've seen the brand pop up across the style internet and my swing dancing friends' wishlists, I have never handled a pair in person and do not know what to expect for quality, or how comfortable they'll be.  It is synthetic, not real leather, and I definitely prefer natural materials.  But look how cute!  I've been actively bringing that deep teal into my wardrobe, and I think these fun, quirky shoes would totally liven up an otherwise conservative, unremarkable professional outfit.  The lower heel, while still higher than I'll do day-to-day on my feet in clinic, is totally workable on a weekly-ish rotation.  I am enamored with the sweet color, adorable round toe, and two-tone styling...did I mention how cute they are?

Writing this out, I recognize that I'm 85% sure I want to return the t-straps and snag a pair of the mary janes, but I'm second-guessing myself.  Especially with shoes, I'm leery of bringing something into my collection without being assured of its quality/value.  So I am asking you, what would you do?  Which shoes should I pick?   

August 27, 2013

I Love My Job!

Evidenced by the fact that I've used that title for both of my blogs within the past week, it's probably no surprise that I really love my job! Charlotte's question about dreams and what we want to be when we grow up gave me another opportunity to reflect on how really, truly content I am now.  We still have dreams -- someday the mister and I will have a dog, and kids, and a farmhouse on an orchard with chickens and a goat -- and there's some substantial uncertainty in our immediate future, but compared with the Very Unpleasant Recent Past, life is edifying and I am exactly where I'm supposed to be and it is good.

So, here's another day-at-the-pediatrics-clinic outfit.  This is totally true to my sartorial professional self, and I wore green and red (okay, burgundy) without looking like Christmas, and it's even a good hair dayWinning on every front.

 Blouse: H&M, thrifted (from near Rocket Baby, char-let!) | Skirt: thrifted | Shoes: Camper, via eBay | Belt: thrifted, a favorite | Necklaces: gifts | Watch: Fossil, via Amazon | iPad cover: Make Things Better (front & back)
I got an iPad Mini to be my ectopic brain for rotations.  I am very much *not* a Mac person, and there are things about it that drive me absolutely bonkers, but it's a helpful tool.

The best part?  Getting to pick out an awesome, subtle-ly geeky cover.  River Song's journal was awfully compelling, but I ultimately went with the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  Because...that's what it is!

P.S.  The weekend away mentioned with the honeymoon skirt was an absolute delight.  If anyone is interested in where to find a(n amazingly affordable!) slice of mountainous-but-near-the-seaside heaven in the Santa Cruz redwoods, I can totally hook you up.  Don't lie, you wish you were here...

August 18, 2013

Memories Revisited

A while ago I talked about chopping my honeymoon dress into pieces and not regretting it because at least one of them, the tunic top, was getting worn significantly more frequently.

Well, now both halves can get more love, since I've finally gotten some close-enough-in-color jersey and whipped up a yoga-pants-style waistband for the hacked-off skirt. 

It's a longer length than most of my summer skirts, which makes for nice variety; the breezy rayon is light and comfy and will be perfect for biking and strolling and whatever else may befall on our anniversary trip to the seaside this weekend.

I can never get the colors to come out quite right...this is the closest, and the embroidery is spot on, but the dress is actually greener, a lovely deep teal.    

I'm beyond pleased that this worked, and I can keep wearing, enjoying, and making new memories in such sentimental garments...

August 1, 2013

Working It

My First Day

Friends, I have officially entered the realm of Productive Adult Members of Society.  I may still be making absolutely no money and paying well for the privilege, but now no one mistakes me for a stay-at-home mom, I am a regular rush-hour commuter (three cheers for carpools and the reverse commute!), and when I get home the mister asks me, "How was work?"

I just started in a pediatrics clinic.  We don't wear our white coats -- White Coat Anxiety is a real thing, and I imagine even freakier for little kids -- and my boss introduces me as "Doctor" because it's simpler and more impressive.  I have no idea what I am doing, but I will happily dress the part.

 Blouse: Kohl's, thrifted | Cropped trousers: J.Crew, thrifted | Shoes: REI

Somewhat surprisingly, the award for Professional Wardrobe MVP goes to my trouser crops, both these and the ones I hacked up myself.  Love my dresses, but they're more memorable and I don't want to wear skirts every day, and two months of furiously desperate studying/nervous breakdowns/stress eating left my other trousers all a little tight.  These feel just right for the balmy temps, and let me wear cute summery shoes without tripping over longer hems. 

I also finally(!) found a mousse that makes my hair do the curl thing the way I want it to.  Surprisingly, it's designed for "mixed hair" -- the unique hair types & challenges found in girls of mixed race, which I am definitely not.  Still, can't argue with success.

Snagged these awesome flats at REI recently.  I'd been pining for similar grey wedges for a while, but by the time I heard about them they no longer existed, so finding these made me very happy (and even better, on sale!).  The bright woven ethnic textile reminds me of when I lived in Peru, and they have the best arch support I've ever found in ballet flats.  All in all, a fun way to liven up professional-able garb.

What does your work-wear look like, now that we're rolling into the dog days of summer?

July 18, 2013

Summer wardrobe

Whew, it's been awhile!  I've backed away from blogging for a bit, and unfortunately, my fashion posts fell by the wayside.  But I wanted to pop back in to share one of my typical summer outfits.  This post was thought of on the fly, so it's complete with segmented I-phone pictures.  You're welcome.

Items Necessary for a Perfect Summer Outfit:

Beanie (a gift):  Summer in Wisconsin means humidity.  Curly hair with humidity means frizz.  To control the masses, and allow you to be in public without taking a shower - a beanie to the rescue!  Cuter than a baseball cap, and less obnoxious than a sunhat, it's an ideal all-season accessory.  

T-shirt (purchased at a concert):  The perfect summer t-shirt is more of a challenge than it appears.  The fabric needs to be lightweight.  It can't be too tight, causing it to cling, but too loose leans towards looking disheveled.  Once found, the perfect summer t-shirt should be treated with the upmost respect and care.

Jean shorts (Goodwill):  Skirts are cuter, but shorts are safer.  No wardrobe mishaps here!
(Iced coffee is always a welcome accessory.)

Shoes (Wal-Mart):  I prefer closed toed shoes.  I've gotten used to them, since I have to wear them for work, but I wear them more frequently outside of work as well.  There's less risk of them slipping off your foot, and typically more support for your sole as well.

What are go-to items in your summer wardrobe?

July 8, 2013

Dressed for Success

Do you know what time it is?


It's Go Time. This is Test Day.  I am taking boards, right now.  (I am not live-blogging -- I totally took these pictures early and pre-scheduled the post.  You can't even have a StupidPhone in the exam with you, much less access to the internet).

I think I have everything that I need, but I'm thinking I probably should have sharpened my brain before we began.  It's feeling a little dull.

Someday, I will tell the story of this sweater and how it came to be mine.  Someday, I will talk about eating disorders, nurturing one's soul, and how my face is clear evidence that I've gained 10% of my body weight in the two months I've been prepping.  Someday...but not today.

Today I am taking boards

June 16, 2013

Getting My Geek On

I am just tipping past the 50%-through-my-study-program mark today, and I am *so* ready for it to be done.  I want to see people again.  I want to be able to drink some of the beer brought back from my home state without worrying about borking my higher-order focus & functioning.  I want to have to time for our Sunday night Doctor Who dates with my mister!

Despite the utter lack of anything fun in my life these days (you know I'm writing this with a review lecture up on my other screen), I'm still totally getting my geek on.  Not just because terminal nerd-ness is necessary for survival at this point, but because...well, yeah, it's the best way to cope.  And oh look, the top t-shirt on the stack today features my favorite Japanese animation studio!

I have to admit, I'm not nearly so well-versed in Studio Ghibli's works as I'd like, and I had to look up the tin man dude because I completely couldn't place him.  (Turns out he's from Castle in the Sky, which I haven't seen, so I feel a little bit better.)  So, from left to right we have Turnip Head (Howl's Moving Castle), a Laputan robot, Princess Mononoke (Princess Mononoke), the [unnamed?] dog from Spirited Away, and of course, Totoro.

 Shirt: shirt.woot | Skirt (actually a skort!): thrifted | Belt: Target, eons ago

It's been bea-u-ti-ful these last few days, finally warm enough to properly do the bare-legged thing.  Sadly, just about all of my time these days is spent right here like this...

Just three more weeks...!

June 9, 2013

Keeping Memories Alive

I've blogged this before, but not here. 

Yup, that shirt used to be a maxi dress.  I love the cutouts and embroidery, the bright colors, and the sentimental place it holds in my heart (got it for our honeymoon in the Apostle Islands, which are absolutely not tropical at all despite what you might think from their name, or the dress).  However, I've worn it three or four times in the two months since trimming it down -- and still have the bottom, waiting for a chance to make a waistband and finish it out as a skirt -- and I do not at all regret chopping it in two.

Tunic: Modcloth, modified by me | Sweater: Ross? | Jeans: REI | Sandals: Kohl's
(Shockingly, nothing in this post was thrifted!  You have no idea how rare that is for me...)

The pants are a fairly recent acquisition, and I really like them.  They're lightweight & trouser-y in shape, with reinforced articulated knees and buttonholes to roll them into capris.  I also suspect that there's some kind of optical brightener/reflector woven into the cotton -- not that they are blinding or anything, but that wearing them out in direct noontime sunlight, I still stay cool.  Which just about makes these perfect, in my book.


Colorful beaded cork sandals make me feel very Berkeley, but in a more refined, less overtly-hippie sort of way.  Just like my cutoff flower-child maxi dress.

Any changes made to sentimental or long-loved items to keep them around and increase their use?  Do tell!

May 26, 2013

DIY Debut

So... I made this dress.

I made it up as I went along, trying to copy another dress I have (without taking that one apart).  Of course, it ended up not really similar at all.  Someday I'll start using real patterns or slopers instead of winging it; for this one, I'm just happy that I was slow and careful and specifically not giving in to all the sloppy "eh, I can make it work" habits I've gotten into with my sewing projects.  Pattern-matching those stripes for a chevron in front wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, and I like how they work with the high-low hem. 

Dress: I made it! | Sweater: Anthropologie, thrifted | Shoes: thrifted

It was not really this warm out -- rather, it was fine in the sunshine but not warm enough inside my study -- for these bared legs and sandals, which I did not appreciate. So, most of the day was spent with leggings and socks for the cozies.  Wearing something that I made myself was empowering, and I think the pride ("Look what I can do! I totally rock at life right now") helped inspire me to a highly-productive day.

Inspired by Rachel's QUITEbeautiful campaign, I give you: my completely un-done-up face.  (Not that I normally wear much makeup...)  My siblings and I all have that crazy-high hairline; we call it the "Phelan phorehead."  We're also all covered in freckles -- why would I want to bury those under makeup?  (Although mine have long been covered by what I suspect is rosacea, that discrete red patch across cheeks/nose/low forehead -- perils of being a medical student, you think you've got every condition you study).  I've gotten more compliments on my teeth (?!) in the last six months than I ever imagined I'd get in a lifetime.  I've got laugh lines at my eyes and no stress lines in my forehead, and dang it if my collarbones aren't just the sexiest things ever. 

What's making you feel like you rock these days?  What parts of your un-done self are your favorites?

May 12, 2013


 As a way to mark the passing of time and celebrate all we have achieved at this half-way point, our school holds a pinning ceremony at the end of second year.  Usually it's like a mini-graduation -- some awards are given out, there are a few speeches, and one by one we march across the stage to receive a[nother] lapel pin for our white coats.

I attended last year's pinning in support of friends, but this time it was a particularly moving ceremony -- partly due to the events of the week, partly because it's now my future that's beginning to happen.  I've been doing a lot of thinking lately on my path in medicine, and the kind of doctor I want to be.  It seems like the more I know, the more I realize that there are even more questions needing to be answered before I can move forward.

Dress: Ross | Sweater: a Target brand, thrifted | Sandals: CL by Chinese Laundry, thrifted | Earrings: turquoise studs, I've had them forever | White Coat: courtesy of OPSC

It was nice to see almost everyone all polished up into their best doctor-y selves before we buckle down for boards preparations and then disperse to the four winds for rotations.  This dress was a last minute I-don't-have-anything-I-could-go-clubbing-in acquisition before our dance and basketball teams went to Vegas for the Big Game in March (a bit of a departure from my normal style, but with a sweater or the white coat, you'd never know), and the sandals got a ton of wear at conference-related social events in Orlando earlier this spring, since they're as dressy as heels but totally flat, making this an outfit full of memories of some of the very best parts of this year, and of medical school in general.

Is this spring a season of transition for you?  How are your reflections coloring your approach to your body and how you dress?