Nothing Leopard, Nothing Gained

Same skirt I wrote about and posted yesterday, albeit in a different colorway. When you find something that comes in your (tall) size and actually fits, you just have to buy all of the palatable color options. Yes, it is an old (circa 2013) skirt, but I love breaking out old school styles. They are not call classics for no reason. Figure out that double negative.

The jacket is one that I initially procured and wore on the blog last autumn. I love the jacket and dress set, but breaking them up works too. It is just such a ladylike piece and mixing it with a different color, albeit in a similar weighted fabric (in this case the skirt) feels chic as eff.

camisole // jacket // skirt (old, J.Crew, size 2 via eBay, size 8 tall via eBay, size 10 tall via eBay, alternate colors via eBay) // tights // purse (old, Kate Spade) // heels (old, J.Crew Factory) // sunglasses // earrings (old, Gemma Redux) // green stone cuff // pearl cuff // black diamond cuff // ring

Think Off White The Box

Last weekend I unpacked a few garments that I have not worn since at late-winter 2015. I once read that the majority of people associate specific smells with the past. I associate articles of my own clothing with events and periods of time of my past. There is certainly comfort in the familiar, and this particular skirt reminds me of the time when I was fiercely independent. Took help from no one, not even my fiance, whom I did not move in with until after a solid six months after we were engaged. (I think the fact that we were in a bicoastal relationship had something to do with it. Just a hunch…)

Back then my daily routine was an early (albeit not as early as my current) wake up, around 6:30 am. Local news followed by Good Morning America on the television as I prepared for work. If it was a Monday, my lunches for the week got packed into my go-to L.L.Bean Boat and Tote, along with a pair of work heels and a set of gym clothes. If it was not Monday and my lunches were already in the work refrigerator, then I brought my gym clothes for the remainder of the week. My walk to work was just under two miles and about three quarters of the way up Book Hill in Georgetown. Despite the uphill walk, it was so idyllic; something of which I will always have fond memories while walking past the upscale bridal shops, Britt Ryan, and Dalton Pratt. Crunching through the sidewalk salt in a pair of L.L.Bean boots, wearing the J.Crew shirttail hem mini, J.Crew cocoon coat, and the sweater of the day, all but one particular day this outfit kept me sufficiently warm. Thank goodness for the Georgetown Circulator and a very convenient bus route.

About nine hours and one bowl of Sunday-prepared slow cooker chili later, I left for the gym. After one particular day that I nearly slipped and slid down Book Hill while hustling down in a pair of J.Crew flats, I embraced a standard of procedure to change into my gym clothes and winter boots at the office before packing away this skirt and the sweater of the day and tracking down to the Georgetown location of Washington Sports Club. I loved that my gym was on the way home from my office and the time spent walking there every evening was spent on the phone, catching up with my mom, grandma, or sister.

I am sure many people may think this routine was mundane, but my eight-to-five most definitely kept it otherwise. I had enough insight to look around and smell the roses and recognize how damn lucky I was. When I put on this skirt, I go back to that studio apartment, my office, my walks around my neighborhood.

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coat // blouse (old, J.Crew, size 4 tall via eBay) // skirt (old, J.Crew, size 4 tall via eBaysize 10 via eBayalternate colors via eBay) // tights // purse (old, Kate Spade) // heels (old, Cole Haan) // sunglasses // green stone cuff // pearl cuff // black diamond cuff // ring

Clueless in 2018

I just rewatched my favorite 90s movie, Clueless. While I prefer the decade of decadence, the 1980s to the latter, there is something about the 1995 classic that makes it into my top ten favorite movies. Did you know that the writer and director of this favorite, Amy Heckerling, also directed and assisted Cameron Crowe on the rewrites for Fast Times at Ridgemont High? Two of my favorite films have a spiritual connection.

Also inspiring is the costume design in both films. I was not much for 1990s flannel and plaid; that all changed after I saw the preppy AF yellow plaid get-up that Alicia Silverstone aka Cher Horowitz wore in the opening scene. I was a fifth grader who wanted to wear plaid head-to-toe, stat. Even over twenty years later, I am still a sucker for a matching set.

burgundy plaid blazer // burgundy plaid skirt // checked jacket // checked skirt // patchwork blazer // patchwork skirt // hacking jacket // plaid zip jacket // plaid skirt // windowpane jacket // windowpane skirt 

Blazing My Own Damn Trail

I was dismayed when J.Crew discontinued the iconic schoolboy blazer. I bought it in five colors and only wish I had purchased more. The follow up was the Rhodes blazer, but again, it was discontinued. Gone were the preppy, classic styles, only to be followed up with more minimal, streamlined cuts available exclusively in neutral colors, namely the Parke blazer and the Regent blazer.

Enter this icon. Even though I already have a navy schoolboy blazer, I have found myself thinking about purchasing a second variation. Is owning two navy blazers too much?

 

blazer (available in tall and petite)

Chicken Enchiladas // @2souschefs

“Riffing off last week’s recipe, there are so many ways you can utilize the rotisserie chicken. Joe’s chicken salad sandwich recipe inspired me to make him enchiladas this week. It just so happens to be a favorite food of his that I do not make very often because it does take a longer in the oven.

Rotisserie chicken is a very versatile ingredient that is under-appreciated and maybe considered a “cheat” but I say those people are making life just a little bit more difficult for themselves in the kitchen. That being said, I do love a great homemade roast chicken. So much so in fact, that we are having it for dinner tonight. And if you need tips and tricks for the perfect roast chicken, just holla at your girl and we can certainly make that happen!” – Andi 

Ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie chicken- shredded off the bone
  • 1 pepper – sliced
  • 1 onion – sliced
  • 1 can of green chilis
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (I love the tomatoes seasoned with cilantro and chili.)
  • 1 can of red enchilada sauce
  • 8 whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese

Directions

  1. Start by taking the chicken off the bone. I like to keep it in decent chunks.
  2. Next slice up the peppers and onions.
  3. Put a large sauté pan on medium heat on the stove.
  4. Once the pan is hot, add two tablespoons of vegetable oil.
  5. Add the onions to the hot pan and season with salt and pepper. Sweat the onions for about eight minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Once the onions have decent color, add the peppers to the mix. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté for another 10 minutes.
  7. Drain the excess liquid off both the cans of tomatoes and chilis and add to the onions and peppers.
  8. Add the shredded chicken to the pan and stir to make sure the mixture is well distributed. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Taste the chicken mixture. Make sure you have enough seasoning, as this is the last chance to get the seasoning to taste.
  10. Take out eight tortillas.
  11. I have learned the easiest way is to roll enchiladas, is to do so directly into the casserole dish.
    1. Lay out a tortilla in the casserole dish.
    2. Scoop about a 1/4 of mixture into the tortilla. Make sure it’s spread out to the edges.
    3. Roll the tortilla and then place it in the dish closest to you.
    4. Repeat this process until you have no room in your casserole dish. This usually is about eight tortillas.
  12. Heat your oven at 350 degrees.
  13. Top the enchiladas with the enchiladas sauce and a cup of cheese.
  14. Bake for one hour.
  15. Take them out and let rest for five minutes. You can eat them immediately if you enjoy the taste of molten enchilada, or allow to cool.

Don’t Book Back // This Is How It Starts by @GrantGinder

last read…

As mentioned in a past post about another novel taking place within the Beltway, I love reading fiction set in Washington DC. Especially since I have left the District, looking back on the specific time and era of these books takes me back and especially when written accurately, I can imagine that I lived in the same universe as these stories and the characters are people that I actually knew.

Add in Philadelphia references that allow me to relate even further, and that is one hell of a book cocktail.

I love that the protagonist meets a secondary character, who is on the low-low if you get my drift, at Local 16. These days (nearly a decade after publication) the bar is rather stale, albeit the rooftop is a great location for a University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation alumni happy hour, but when this book was released (2009), it and to a larger extent, the U Street corridor was still in its nascent stages of transition to the yuppie neighborhood it is today. All this is to say, is that Grant Ginder nailed Local 16 as the covert bar of the mid-to-late aughts.

I love the mention of The Express paper. My initial commute in the District was down the green line and west on the orange line. It was certainly lengthy enough to warrant reading material, especially since this commute took place in the pre-iPhone era, and The Express allowed me to avoid eye contact. That little publication was enough to keep me occupied with both pop culture nuggets and legitimate news, while awaiting my transfer on the L’Enfant station platform, through Farragut West. The Express was like an extended Skimm, before the Skimm.

Lastly the protagonist makes a metaphor with which I identify; it is to the effect that …everyone is dancing the tango, and I am doing the waltz… Marinate on that.

thisishowitstarts

This Is How It Starts by Grant Ginder

Blackout

This past Saturday, the husband and I went to the Pennsylvania Ballet production of Romeo & Juliet. Prior to going to the theater, we met up for cocktails with several other Young Friends of the Pennsylvania Ballet. After indulging in another cocktail at the member reception during the first intermission, we were invited to tour backstage during the second intermission. It was everything and more.

I wore the Shpala dress that I wrote about last winter and the Long Tall Sally coat that I wrote about last autumn. Too many times, I notice bloggers resisting remixing their outfits into something new and different, myself included. That is just nonsensical. We all repeat pieces in our day-to-day lives, even Princess Kate. So last Saturday, when I found myself in a repeat outfit that was both different from the original ensembles of which I initially planned and feeling fantastic in said outfit, I asked my husband to take a few photos on our walk over to pre-show cocktails.

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dress // coat // clutch (old, Lauren Merkin) // heels (old, Loeffler Randall) // chain necklace (old, Gemma Redux) // pearl necklace (old J.Crew Factory) // watch // ring

White at the Museum

Listen up, Philadelphians! If you have not purchased your ticket to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Young Friends Fall into Art Party, what is your holdup? The November 3rd party date nicely corresponds to the opening of the latest Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibit, Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now. While it already opened last week, it is well worth the ticket price to get a better experience in viewing the exhibit. Who hasn’t experienced some sort of outrage at the throngs of tourists just snapping away iPhone photos. Completely ruined my experience at the MoMa.

I digress.

If the PMA fashion collection is not enough of a draw, the ticket includes an open bar. #pop #fizz #clink

On the topic of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Perelman Building which is the nearby little sister location of the PMA, is my favorite part of the museum. It is never crowded and beyond underrated. In fact, my favorite exhibit of 2018 (so far) has been in the Perelman Building: Design in Revolution: A 1960s Odyssey. With Lichtensteins and vintage concert posters, what is not to love?

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Row Way, Row How

I have always loved the look of a rowing blazer. Typically reserved for the guys, my husband refuses to sport one. Way too stuffy for him. He draws the line at embroidered corduroys and even then will drag his feet about wearing them. Only when I gifted a pair along with a set of L.L. Bean Duck Books tricked out with Gore-Tex and Thinsulate, did he get stoked on the style. I just love that New England-ish look on him.

But back to the rowing blazer. The closest I have ever gotten to participating in crew is using the erg machine at the gym and through a best friend and bridesmaid (Hi, Erin!) who dominated the sport throughout high school. Also, who does not love to watch a regatta?

You gotta regatta, bag with a lotta, stuff in it, give it to your friend, let’s spin… Pipe up in the comments if you know what lyric I just adapted.

I skipped purchasing a tipped blazer in tall from J.Crew back in 2012 -2013 and I have had next level passer’s remorse. I should have bought the cream version with the black tipping, the navy version with the white tipping, or the gray version with the white tipping. My practical side won out, as I already had both a gray and a blue schoolboy blazer and off white peacoat with black tipping, all from J.Crew and all of which have been staples in my wardrobe. I have stalked eBay, ThredUp, and TheRealReal for a 10 tall in any tipped lightweight wool style. No luck.

When Brooks Brothers released their pre-fall line at the end of August, I quite figuratively (not literally, mind you) lost my shit. I spent a solid hour in the dressing room this morning trying on styles I have had my eye on since pre-Labor Day, as well as more recent releasesThe tennis sweater I have always wanted? I literally – as in twenty minutes before writing this – just ordered it, along with the twill rowing blazer, and a pair of rugby socks. I sure do love a good athletic-inspired garment.

I was so jazzed to see that another rowing jacket was added recently. Rather than the super smooth style released earlier in the year, the colorway and the fabric content deviated. I did not hate it; rather it was difficult to reconcile the heavier weight with the 60 degree weather outside. Along with the limited size run on the Brooks Brothers sales floor, I bypassed trying it on.

Maybe in another month.

blazer // blazer

Sweater Things

Stop me if you heard this one.

You head to a favorite online store. Search cashmere (or leather, tweed, madras, seersucker…) Your interest is piqued when you find a dreamy wool – cashmere sweater dress. Lose your ever loving mind when you notice that the dress is available in tall (petite if you are a tiny person, bless your heart). And when you find out that it is 40 percent off with an additional 20 percent off on top of that and free shipping? Forget it. I will take it in two colors.

Never mind that the cashmere component is a mere eight percent; just keep the fabric fiber content in mind when you put that dress in your virtual shopping bag and when you see the reduced price. If the content includes acrylic, this is the end of the story.

I initially discovered the camel version. I have been looking for a camel wool or cashmere sweater – crew, vee, turtleneck, cardigan, it doesn’t matter – and I have not been able to hunt one down. Until last week when I found this stunner. My wardrobe was missing this classic color that I yearned to wear with a preppy AF navy blue wool blazer, complete with gold buttons. While it was not part of the then-current promotion, I played the long-game (okay, week long-game) and waiting for the promotion on promotion and ultimately scored it for little more than half of the original price.

I fell in love with the pink version as it looks like something worn by the mean girl in the 1980s teen movie. Hate me for it – I even kind of hate myself for it – but this is an aesthetic that I love and want to emulate and with my gray suede ankle boots, I think it will be easily achievable.

 

ribbed sweater dress // boat neck sweater dress

Chicken Salad Sandwich // @2souschefs

“So often on this segment, Andi and I get so focused on dinner that the other meals get completely overlooked. We hope to change your and our outlook on lunch with this recipe. A rotisserie chicken is quick, convenient, and full of culinary possibilities. With a few other simple ingredients, you can transform a simple rotisserie chicken into a week’s worth of delicious chicken salad sandwiches. Add some arugula or spinach on whole wheat and you’ve got something you can actually savor on your lunch break. The Dijon adds a little something extra to the flavor profile. Fair warning: it’s best to shred the chicken by hand and consequently, you will get messy; a pair of disposable latex gloves prove invaluable! ” – Joe 

Ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie chicken – skin removed, bones set aside, meat torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1 whole shallot – finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery – small diced
  • 3 Tablespoons chives – finely chopped
  • 0.25 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper – fresh ground

Directions

  1. Remove the skin from the rotisserie chicken.
  2. Shred chicken by hand and set aside bones.
  3. Place the meat and all other ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
  4. Season to taste.

Don’t Book Back // #fashionvictim: A Novel by Amina Akhtar, @Drrramina

last read…

For the past week, I could not wait to get home from work and break out #fashionvictim: A Novel on my iPad during my daily hour on the elliptical. Truth-be-told, these visits to the gym are not necessarily “daily,” but looking forward to reading this book got my ass doing cardio. Ironic because via Fashionista’s interview with the author, Amina Akhtar touched on the reality of not only weight shaming that goes on in the publishing and fashion industry, but also other problematic themes.

I took the entire book to be a metaphor for working in this particular facet of the publishing industry. The author has authority to write about it, as she has certainly been there, done that. Name the publication, print or digital, and Amina Akhtar has appeared on the masthead.

The tone is so over the top, it reminded me of the film version of American Psycho…

Howard! It’s Bateman, Patrick Bateman. You’re my lawyer so I think you should know I’ve killed a lot of people. Some escort girls in an apartment uptown… uh… some homeless people, maybe five or ten.

…which is exactly how I described #fashionvictim: A Novel to my husband when he asked what I was reading.

The end of the story for character of Sarah Taft reminded me of Cat Marnell, a notorious beauty editor for the now-defunct Lucky magazine, and her time spent at the Bellevue. I particularly liked the final exposition in the last chapter, which I suspected nearly three-quarters of the way through. It was like a satirical Sixth Sense. While it was clearly a satirical read, it was difficult to discern how far the line was pushed. Did anyone’s boss really push them into planking?

Terrifying.

#fv

#fashionvictim: A Novel by Amina Akhtar