Thursday, October 30, 2014

October 2014 in Review

With Halloween right around the corner, we tried to get into the spirit of things this October. How about you?

Spirited Outfits
Personal style, popbasic,
Striped Shirt  | Black Dress | Mustard Sweater

Spirited Movies
Getting into the holiday spirit of Halloween, we got our laughs with Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein and our fashion sense from Kim Novak in Bell, Book and Candle.

Spirited Mail
Who wouldn't love opening their mail box to this stationary For the Girls? Or what about any of these subscription boxes? Speaking of mail, would you write to a prisoner in the penal system?

Spirited Plans
I shared some ideas of things to do in October, and got into the spirit of the season with this month's Dog-Eared Page, Dracula. I also shared some extra great reads on the internet. But this month has been quiet on the blog, but busy in real life. I attended a local conference on Gifted Education and my classroom has been busy too- with robots, bridge building and more. You all know I don't talk about my job much because it involves others, such as students, whose privacy I value, but know this.  It has been a roller coaster this year, but always fun!

Spirited Finds

As a diabetic, this is the most amazing news to be hearing!

Made me laugh.

Good advice about always being ready; sillier, but fun advice about being Parisian 

Talking While Female

A moving post on overcoming struggles from fellow blogger Taylor of Nothing but Pigeons.

I've been wearing scarves more lately- would you wear this one? 

An inside look at North Korea

 How about a real werewolf story- and other history you've never heard of

Four autumn looks from:  Anna, Marlen, Katie and Hannah.

Is all reading reading good when it comes to kids?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What I Wore: The LBD

fur scarf and black dress
popbasic and black dress
What I Wore: Dress (Popbasic; Similar Here), Necklace (Similar Here), Sweater (Forever 21; Similar Here), Fur (Similar Here), Shoes (Old Navy)

You all know I'm a huge fan of the Popbasic clothing line, right? This dress is from their latest micro-collection. It actually sold out pretty much in under a day! For me the real draw had actually been the jewelry that came with the dress, but- everyone needs an LBD, right? I figured it would make an easy work outfit for the hectic mornings. Turns out it is a liiiiitttle (and by a little, I mean a lot) more clingy than I'm strictly comfortable with wearing in a professional setting, so it has been "decorating" my dresser as I try to figure out how to style it.

Layers- Layers and autumn style turn out to be the key. This worked for a morning of just reading and an afternoon facing the bracing temperatures of fall when we were out and about town. So, while the dress wasn't quite what was expected, it works. You ever have a piece of clothing that you had to rethink how to wear it?

Monday, October 27, 2014

The List (Updated)

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 8.43.42 AM
I always keep a running list of things I'm looking for when it comes to my closet. It keeps those impulsive purchases down and keeps things feeling cohesive in my closet- at least that's the aim! I shared my list back in July, but as I'm shifting into a new job, and new seasons are coming my list too is changing. Some of that is because I've made a number of purchases that crossed items off my list form July (most notably: patterned pants, a red striped shirt, and a polka dot shirt that will make it's NFD debut soon!); and some items in my closet have done to that that great dustbin in the sky and need replaced! So- here's what's on my radar right now:

1) Black Sweater- I have a short sleeved one and use it all the time, but as the colder months creep up, I know I'd use one with longer sleeves even more. This particular sweater also has a fun 60s mod neckline and oversized fit, which adds some variety rather than redundancy to the closet.

2) Grey Shirt- I've worn my grey shirt into the ground. Holes and unravelling hems was all that was left. But it was such a great layering piece, a replacement is in order. Something fitted, without too low a neckline, is just what the wardrobe-doctor ordered.

3) Mulberry Sweater- I'll admit, this choice was obviously influenced by the color. Most of my list is getting or replacing basics, but you need those pieces that will pop too.  A deep wine color fits that bill! Since it has the deeper colors I associate with earth tones,  it will mix well with items already in my closet. Plus, it would work well with my blonde hair dye but also with darker shades should I go back to my natural hair, and the color will be festive for winter holidays without being too on-the-nose.

4) Fedora- Okay- arguably the least versatile item on the list right now because, while I love hats, I don't wear them all the time. Between the Wyoming Wind and working to dress professionally, it just isn't always in the cards. But how perfect would this be for a weekend adventure? And black does with everything.

5) Ankle Boot- I live in my flats, but- and not to get all Game of Thrones on you- winter is coming. I need more coverage. Most boots though, swallow half your leg. These combine practicality and fashion. My favorite detail is the black leather paired with a brown sole and heel.

6) Skirts- I'm drifting away from skirts because I move around so much during the day, from sitting on the floor to jumping around to the typical small, tiny seats of a classroom. But- a midi skirt makes all of those movements possible too, and the dark green colors are very flattering. Which do you like more- the plaid or the shimmery emerald one?

7) Brown Cardigan- This is another item on the list because I used to own one, but, after an unfortunate dryer event where the whole thing got ripped to shreds, it needed replaced. Slouchy brown cardigans go with everything and are the perfect layer to throw on when cold.

8) Work Pants- Remember the whole moving-so-much-at-work thing? Well, then, the whys behind this list item needs no further explanation. I loved my patterned pants so much, these two choices both have a similar silhouette. Not sure if brown or gray would be more useful. They are't  the most exciting colors but the cut on both pairs give a sophisticated yet approachable vibe and adds some variety to the rotation of black trousers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Letter Writing: Letters to Prisoners

Getting mail is a ton of fun, but, in an increasingly digital world, writing it can sometimes be hard. This blog post series about Letter Writing aims to make it easier.

We've discussed writing to penpals and writing to people you don't know several times, but one way to get a penpal that has really intrigued me is writing to inmates in prisons. For obvious reasons this can be a very intimidating idea, and not for everyone (I'm still not decided if it is for me yet, even). However, research has shown that inmates who create and maintain positive relationships with people outside of the penitentiary are less likely to return to prison, to commit more crime, or have substance abuse. Those with these positive relationships are more likely to find employment and be reintegrated successfully into society. Because of the nature of creating a relationship of any sort with a felon can be risky and because they too need penpals who are willing to create a lasting friendship, writing to inmates should be done after one has decided to seriously commit to it, and follow certain tips.

"A" Block Cells
Photo by Ben Leto
Because, at least in the United States, inmates have very limited contact to the outside world and none to the internet, you will need to go through intermediaries to find a penpal. There are many websites where volunteers have posted up profiles of inmates who would like to correspond. Some of these do require a fee to access (most often, the money goes towards other programs to help inmates such as buying books for prison libraries). Most of these profiles include not only the name, age, and interests of a person, but their criminal record. Obviously, you will want to try to find a penpal with similar interests to yours, and you may choose to write to more than one. However, most sites recommend that if you write to more than one inmate, to make sure that they are not in the same penitentiary, as it could potentially cause rivalry.

Once you have found someone (or several someones) you would like to try writing to, you'll need to compose a short introductory letter. Write a little bit about yourself and your interests; you could include a photo if you are comfortable with that. Keep it short, and make sure to be upfront about what you want out of the relationship. If you are only looking for friendship, say so; most intermediary groups strongly recommend that you not look for a romantic relationship this way anyway. On a similar note, after exchanging a letter or two, if you do not feel a connection to the person, or that you cannot find things to write to them about, be upfront and tell them you will be discontinuing the writing. Prisoners need stable, and continued connections in order to help them.

When sending your mail, look up if the prison has any requirements on how to address the letter. You will need their Department of Corrections number, and you will need to address it exactly as they ask; otherwise your correspondence will not reach your penpal. Include your return address on both the envelope and on your letter. In case the inmate does not get the envelope, you still want them to be able to contact you! It is strongly recommended that you use a mailing address, such as a post office box, rather than a home address.

As your correspondence continues, be aware of several things. First, inmates in penitentiaries have no right or expectation to privacy. Someone may- and probably will- read your letters before they get to your penpal. Be aware of what you wish to write then. Secondly, mail is slow in the penal system; do no be discouraged if it takes a while to get a reply. Also, remember that there are pretty strict restrictions on what can and cannot be sent to inmates, and that these rules change depending on which prison you are writing to. A good rules of thumb though are:  no stickers, polaroids, cards with electronics or padded parts, cards of unusual dimension, or "non communicative" paper items such as tickets or lotto numbers. Photos, so long as they are not polaroids, regular sized cards, and handwritten letters are generally fine. Sending postage stamps is usually fine though it is worth checking the rules. Please be aware that inmates may be less than truthful. They may choose to lie about what landed them in prison, when they are getting out or, quite often, whether they need money. Regardless of this, it is important to treat your penpal with respect no matter what crimes were committed.

Though this is something that may be outside the arena of many people's experience, the rewards of helping someone while making a new friend could be very great indeed. Would you ever consider writing to an inmate, or have you before?

For Further Reading:

Tips for Writing to Inmates from
Meet an Inmate
Write a letter to a Prison Inmate from WikiHow


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What I Wore: Young At Heart


What I Wore: Sweater (Similar Here), Jeans (Gap), Shoes (Minnetonka), Hat (Similar Here), Jewelry (Popbasic; Similar Here, Here and Here)

So, you've heard this story before: just another blogger whining (let's get poetic and say "wondering." Makes me sound more...grown up), is her outfit Blog Worthy, capital letters and all?  Essentially, it is just this outfit in a more casual remix. But I love me some casual. I love lazy weekends and I love the way a hat makes everything more put together with zero more effort on your part. So there you have it. Style and laziness (wow. Along with the whining this is making me sound ever more fantastic) combine to make that perfect autumn style.

Seriously though- we've been running at full tilt here the past few weeks so taking it easy this weekend felt divine. I cleaned, drank tea, and binge-watched Leverage. Two parts grown up and one part Young at Heart, right?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dog Eared Page: Dracula

Halloween, vampire, bram stoker, dog eared page, never fully dressed, withotuastyle, book,
She still advanced, however, and with a languorous, voluptuous grace, said:—“Come to me, Arthur. Leave these others and come to me. My arms are hungry for you. Come, and we can rest together. Come, my husband, come!”

There was something diabolically sweet in her tones—something of the tingling of glass when struck-which rang through the brains even of us who heard the words addressed to another. As for Arthur, he seemed under a spell; moving his hands from his face, he opened wide his arms.

-Dracula by Bram Stoker

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

(Even More) Subscription Boxes

It's that time again- another list of great subscription box options! I'm especially excited for these for their truly unique ideas, and ability to customize to best help their customers. So without further ado...!

n box, never fully dressed, withoutastyle,
Doesn't diving into a new hobby sound fun? But it takes time, effort and money to figure out what you want to try and get the things you need to do it. This is a box to make it easier. For twenty three dollars a month, they will send you a box with surprise items and information designed to get you started learning a new skill. Past boxes have included juggling kit, china painting and more! They currently ship to anywhere in the United States and Canada (there is a slight shipping fee for Canadian addresses), and the box comes one a month.

 This tasty box is bi-monthly and sets out to deliver gourmet products to your doorstep. Priced at forty five dollars, each box is themed around a different major city, such as Paris, Tokyo or Rio. All items are sourced from local (to the city the box is themed around) producers; you can read up on each producer at their website. All products are USFDA approved; they are just items that are hard to purchase in the states. Getting hungry yet?
subscription box, never fully dressed, withoutastyle,

This is a clothing subscription with a twist! Its' forty nine dollars a month for a clothing tote membership, and eighteen for a jewelry tote membership. However, you aren't purchasing a set amount of boxes- or rather totes- to get sent out each month. In each tote you get an item you've picked out from Le Tote's available stock and a few items picked by your "personal stylist." How do they know what you want? When you join up, you are asked to start creating your "closet," a sort of running list of items you might like to have in your closet, which is where they will pick one of items of your choice from, but it also acts an an inspiration board for the stylists. Here's where the twist comes in- you aren't purchasing these items. You're essentially renting them. You can keep the items for as long as you want and then send them back in a prepaid postal bag. If you decide you really do want to keep an item; that's fine too. You simple send back the rest of the items from that tote, and they will charge you for the item you kept. It will then be purchased and yours forever! How often you get a tote depends on you and how long you want to keep the current items you have. You could get several totes a month, or one ever few months.

n box, never fully dressed, withoutastyle,

Now I love the Barkbox subscription service. But it doesn't have an equivalent for my cat loving friends out there- at least, not till know. Pet Box is a monthly subscription that is twenty-nine dollars a box. You tell them about your pet- whether it is a cat or a dog, it's size, its' gender, its name. Then you can choose to be surprised and them curate a box for you based on the provided information, or you can choose yourself. If you choose this option, they will show you items in their stock that are relevant to your pet. All the items are assigned different points. You can get any combination you choose, so long as it adds up to a certain total of points. This is an especially great option if your pet has allergies or (like mine) shouldn't be getting too may extra treats! Even more impressive is that they guarantee you will get a minimum of fifty dollars worth of items when you're paying less than thirty! Plus, they've teamed up with charities to feed a rescue animal for each box sold. Help another pet by helping your pet, right?

I-Ella List Gift Bag
Feeling a little...Luxe? Then getting a gift bag from I-Ella List might be for you. They offer three different choices of gift bags- the Starter, the Soho, and the St. Bartha. Each bag will feature 3 - 5 (or more!) items with 1 - 2 being featured designer pieces along with free products. You can expect items to be a mix of clothing, jewelry and accessories, bags, shoes, and beauty products! Your bag is tailored just for you, which makes this a great choice for a woman of any age. When you sign up, you fill out a comprehensive (but not tedious) style profile that includes sharing sizes, and answering style questions using a mix of text and visual aides.  The Starter, Soho and St. Bartha differ based on the value of the different items in the bag. Because all items are from the current or upcoming fashion season, I-Ella List works directly with the designers. And because they need to have a good idea of the number of products needed, you can required to sign up for a minimum of a three-month subscription. After three months has passed, you get an email each month to see if you want to continue your subscription month to month. I-Ella List Gift bags are not cheap, ranging from fifty-nine to over three hundred dollars a month, depending on the gift bag option you choose. However, since the items are designer, you can almost always getting more bang for your buck. Would you take the dive with this subscription?

P.S. Don't see a box you like? Then check out my other lists of subscription services to try, and reviews here

Monday, October 13, 2014

Film Flick: Young Frankenstein

Back in Hollywood's golden age, Universal Studios was known was the home of the Monster Movie- and boy, did it know how to crank out some  Frankenstein- the Original, the Bride of, the Son of, probably even the Cousin of! Some were scary, some were honestly a bit more camp, but what the studio execs knew was that they were cheap to produce and brought in the dough! Fast-forward four decades, and remember that everyone loves a good parody. What does that get you? Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, of course!
Never fully dressed, wtithoutastyle,
Gene Wilder stars as the grandson of the man who was made famous in Shelley's tale. He's dismissed his grandfather's ideas- and legacy- as mad, even while becoming an eminent doctor in the same field. But where there's a will- there's a will reading. Which is what forces Young Doctor Frankenstein back to the ancestral castle, where strange things are afoot! Greeted by a hunchback, a stern Frau and a lass who just loves a good roll in the hay, he- and we- are in for some madcap adventures, especially after stumbling on some of his grandfather's old journals. The plot is beside the point though. This film's goal is a simple one: make you laugh, and as it  lovingly pokes fun at the old monster movie genre you are sure to do just that.

To add authenticity to it's genre-roots, Young Frankenstein is shot entirely in black and white. It also utilizes many of the same props seen in those original Frankenstein films. Mel Brooks tracked down Ken Strickfaden, the man who had designed Frankenstein's terrifying lab in the original film.  He was still living in Los Angeles, and even had those set pieces gathering dust in the garage. In exchange for use of the pieces, Strickfaden was given the screen credit he'd been denied decades earlier in Frankenstein. Not everything was a slavish devotion to those 1930 flicks though. The gags ran quick and fast, with many ad-libs. Marty Feldman, who played the hunchback Igor, had taken to switching the hump from shoulder to shoulder, and days later, when the cast finally noticed, it was added to the script. It wasn't all fun and games though; the movie originally ran twice the length of the final product, and for every joke that worked there were three that didn't. Luckily,  after a ruthless editing job, the film became one of Brooks' best, even getting several Oscar nominations that year.
classic film, movie, never fully dressed,wtihoutastyle,
A star-studded cast- including not only Gene Wilder,  and Marty Feldman, but also Peter Boyle, Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn, and Teri Garr- keeps the jokes coming fast and furious; they are sure to leave you rolling on the floor- or in the hay as Garr's character would say. So if you like a little comedy mixed in with terror,Young  Frankenstein has the laboratory for you.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What I Wore: Preppy Looks

collar, popbasic bracelet, short sleeved sweater,
collar, popbasic bracelet, short sleeved sweater,
collar, popbasic bracelet, short sleeved sweater,
What I Wore: Sweater (Similar Here), Pants (Similar Here), Shirt ( Similar Here), Shoes (Old Navy), Bracelet (Popbasic; Similar Here)

Something about autumn just brings out my love for a preppy look. Maybe its that nostalgia for school starting bak up (well, nostalgia for experiencing it as a student, since it is a reality of my job as a teacher). But seriously, pop a collar out from under another top and I'm sold. Maybe that's why I was so taken with this outfit  that I shamelessly recreated it here for you. Maybe the fact that it's Taylor Swift should be embarrassing, but hey- she's got style. And speaks out about why feminism is important. And writes fun songs so... then again, maybe not so embarrassing after all.

Do you ever get inspiration (or, in my case practically rip-off) celebrity styles?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Stationery Wishlist: For The Girls

Girls, fashion, pencil case, notecard, notepad, rifle co. illustration, mail, stationary,

1. Dress Shop Note Cards | 2. Front Row Notepad | 3. You Make Life Beautiful Notecard | 4. Marie Antoinette Notecard | 5. Kate Spade Pencil Cases | 6. Gold Washi Tape

1. Dress Shop Note Cards - These cuties are a two-for-one deal! They're both notecards you can send to your best girl friend and paper dolls, complete with stands to keep them upright on your desk. How can you resist the fun of them? 

 2. Front Row Notepad  - I'm always writing notes- or To Do Lists- for myself these days. It would make it a much more pleasureable task with something like this gracing my desk. 

3. You Make Life Beautiful Notecard- A perfect sentiment to send to that perfect-to-you friend.

 4. Marie Antoinette Notecard - Sure, she lost her head and told the starving populace to eat cake (even meaner when you know what type of cake she meant!) but this gorgeous illustration can send us daydreaming even so. 

 5. Kate Spade Pencil Cases - keep your stuff together as you run from place to place with darling pencil cases like these. Chic and useful too. 

 6. Gold Washi Tape- Add a little drama to your everyday with golden tape. Use to secure the flap of a envelope, hang up art work or just keep your office papers straight. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What I Wore: Knot What You Think

striped shirt
striped shirt
striped shirt

What I Wore: Striped Shirt (Popbasic), Silk Shirt (Popbasic; Similar Here), Jeans (Gap), Shoes (Modcloth), Bracelet (Popbasic; Similar Here)

There are some outfits you only realize later that you really love. When putting this one, it reminded me of an outfit I'd hated from high school. I'd been lucky enough to get a scholarship to go to a summer institute hosted at Northwestern University near Chicago. That was Big Time News for a Small Town Girl. One of the security measures though, was you needed to provide a "headshot" photo. It was a theater camp, so you'd think it was for auditions or something. No. It was for giving to the cops if they couldn't ever find you. 


Let me tell you, I never wanted to be unaccounted for because I hated my headshot and never wanted it to see the light of day. My father- who, as long time readers may remember, is a photographer who's learned what's enduring when it comes to fashion sense - insisted I be photographed wearing a collared shirt under and oversized top. Quelle  horreur my seventeen year old self thought (in retrospect, a very effective technique for keeping me in line though!) 

Now, my 29 year old self loves that style, but when donning the clothes, I still felt like things were a big baggy- and not in that stylish Pinterest way but a I-am-five-and-playing-dress-up-with-mom's clothes way. So, I took a cue from Rita of Fashion Pas, and knotted the shirt.  The Boy was unsure about this (Note to Self: The Boy is great to ask if you need affirmation of a decision already made. Not so great if you need an actual opinion about clothes. His opinion is biased), so we photographed it both ways- and it got worn both ways too. So, now I'll ask you To Knot or Not To Knot? That is the question. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Cinema Style: Bell, Book and Candle

Spooky love story Bell, Book and Candle  (full review here) certainly proves that Kim Novak has bewitching style! Her character, Gill, is a witch, who inhabits a decidedly beatnik counter-culture. Though exploring that side of New York may have been played for laughs in it's day, it gives Novak's movie wardrobe a decidedly modern and enduring appeal.
Kim, novak, bell book and candle, movie, outfit, costume, clothing, red jacket,

Earrings (Similar Here), Pants, Shoes (Similar Here), Sweater, Smock Jacket

Gill's wardrobe is simple but striking. Almost entirely done up in black, red, burgundy and animal prints, Novak's look certainly seemed other when compared to the full skirted and pastel looks most of the other women in the film wore. Though her character eventually gives up her unique look for that same pastel- and passé- fashion, we at least can capture some of her flair for our own. Black cigarette pants with a black sweater is classic- add a 60s collar for some interest, if you want. Over this ensemble, you will be warm and stylish with a smock jacket. Gill liked to be barefoot, so these flats, which are easy to slip on and off, would be favorite. Polish off the look with earrings- just the right balance between interesting and understated.
novak, gill, kim, bell book and candle, movie, film, costumes, clothes, red,

Adding to her bewitching and beguiling appeal, Gill often went for dramatic, but simple shapes. A form fitting red dress becomes striking when paired with a cape. Set things off further with red accessories and a leopard print clutch (a bag we see Gill favor several times throughout the film). Gill used snoods like this to give outfits a striking neckline, but also as hoods, giving her an even more mysterious look. Along with all this, adding black boots help you dominate onlooker's attention.
novak, gill, kim, bell book and candle, movie, film, costumes, clothes, red,
Glasses, Dress, Clutch, Boots, Cape, Snood, Gloves

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

In October, Why Don't You...

Ready in 3 minutes, photos, why don't you, never fully dressed, withoutastyle, october,
Photo credit: John Watson

Visit a photo booth

Cook some Thai food

Find your way through a corn maze

Wash your car

Scare yourself and enter a haunted house

Join a book club

Bake a tray of brownies

Make a will

Pick your own pumpkin

Host a dinner party

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