Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Month in Review: December 2015

Wintery Outfits

Wintery Plans
Actually the word "plans" really might be a bit overly ambitious for this month, at least when it came to the holidays. We hosted Christmas eve at our house (how grown-up that sounds. What? I'm thirty and therefore a grown-up? Hush, you.), but New Year's eve will probably be like any other night. Since that means curled up reading, I can't complain, but, yeah, low-key. The rest of the month was a bit more bustling. At work, my students ended the semester with a bang- a lot of big, fun projects including to classes putting on productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream for the assisted living center and the Senior Center (A kid's version of the play. Not the original. Because my students are ten year olds.) They rocked it!

On the blog, we did a bit of a mini-overhaul, in that all my outfit photos were taken in a studio setting. After months of trying to fight wind and darkness, we thought to give it a whirl. Let me know what you think. Though we didn't do all of them, I also made some fun suggestions with December's Why Don't You... List, and our movie selections were definitely getting festive! I reviewed one of the many film versions of A Christmas Carol, and took some Cinema Style cues from White Christmas. We had a holiday themed stationery wishlist (I even bought the Nutcracker paper puppets!), plus celebrated with some holiday-themed links for you to enjoy.  Even our Dog-eared page was a bit festive with The Lion,  the Witch and the Wardrobe. I also shared 10 (More) Ways to Help at Christmas, but you should bookmark it and reread throughout the year, because most of these things are good to do the other 11 months too.  Something else to enjoy throughout the year? This month's Rec Five had five instragram accounts you should be following!

Wintery Finds

A black Hermione brings up interesting conversations about race and story-telling (here and here)

BB-8 is the cutest! 

The Boy certainly thinks so. How about you?

Violins of Hope

The "real" Mona Lisa?

The Scottish Play is coming to the big screen?! 

A moving,  new context for classical art

Anna's outfits are always so dreamy

A sunken bridge

The link between how we play with LEGOs, and creativity

Monday, December 28, 2015

What I Wore: Going Bananas for Pop Art

banana 1 Collage

What I Wore: Pencil Skirt (Vintage; Similar Here), Sweater (Le Tote), Bracelet (Le Tote), Necklace (Popbasic), Shoes (Gap)

I'm excited to share another work outfit; I think dressing for work can be a challenge, because you still want to feel cute and, well, exude your own personality, but you have to balance that with professionalism. I think with teachers it can get even tricker because what you wear to an office isn't quite what you need, but you need to step beyond casual wear. Plus, you need to be able to move, be prepared for getting dirty and/or be outside, because with kids, you kneel; you stand;  you jump; you make a mess inside and outside. I liked this because it walked the line of edgy and still grown-up.

This sweater is bold and graphic in a way that reminded me of Warhol's Campbell Soup prints or other modern art pieces. To further play up that graphic tone, I  added  the subtle black-on-black element of the bow-tie necklace, and echoed that black in the other accessories too (the belt and the bracelet). A banana sweater is not, necessarily  something I'd have bought- but I loved it as a piece that I could rent. By "renting" I mean, of course, that it came from Le Tote. I've been really digging using them as a way to interject some novelty into my wardrobe these past few months. I can get things a bit more "out there" and try them out without actually having to pay to keep them.

Are you using any clothing subscriptions lately? What ones do you like?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Holiday Links List

I usually try to share interesting links at the end of the month, as part of my month in review, but there have been so many fascinating articles and videos about Christmas, that a special Holiday Edition was clearly needed. So, enjoy and wishing you all the very merriest!

Ever had a Kringle? Me neither, but now its on my list!

The origin of Krampus

An inside peek at the life of a Choir boy in the Oxford New College Choir

A History of writing Letters to Santa 

The best holiday music video. Ever.

Stories behind famous Christmas songs.

I want to go! 

Why we no longer have "chestnuts roasting on an open fire."

The Present experiment

Merry Christmas from the Southern Hemisphere

Monday, December 21, 2015

Film Flick: A Christmas Carol

We're continuing a holiday tradition on Never Fully Dressed by sharing some classic holiday films. Some might be institutions in your home this time of year; others might be delightful new friends, but they're all sure to impart some the season's spirit and sense of fun. Consider it my way of wishing you and yours nothing but the very merriest.  
There are 21adaptations of Charles Dicken's classic A Christmas Carol for the big screen alone, but one of the best might be considered the 1951 version of the timeless tale. This is perhaps, thanks in no small part to Alastair Sim, the actor who played Ebenezer Scrooge. He tows the line just right through the entire film- we believe him as a horrible curmudgeon and miser, yet he stays away from cartoonish villainy, making it equally believable that the he undergo the character transformations that lie  at the heart of the story. His acting builds, so that his character's gleeful, almost maniacal gestures of goodwill- accompanied by hysterical laughter- at the finale see very much motivated in equal parts by regret and fear of what he has seen that fantastical night.

A Christmas Carol, of course, retells Charles Dickens' iconic story of a miserly man who is visited by ghosts. Scrooge is taught the true meaning of Christmas- and how to carry that essential generosity of spirit through out the year- as The Ghost of Christmas Past forces him to confront what events molded him; as The Ghost of Christmas Present shows how he affects those around him in everyday life; and, most ominously, as the Ghost of Christmas Future points where his life's actions could lead. There are some surprises even in this very familiar tale though, as the script does take some liberties. It could have been folly to gainsay one of the English languages most treasured authors, but in fact, the additional scenes added weight to the tale. Kathleen Harrison takes second billing for her role of Mrs. Dilber, Scrooge's charwoman, a part that didn't even merit the character a name in the novel. Her turn as Mrs. Dilber quite rightly, won her great acclaim. The script also shows Scrooge's sister's death, which in turn echoes through to his relationship with Nephew Freddy too. But perhaps most notably of all, we see more about how Scrooge and Marley rise in the business world, for the messages inherent in this subplot ring just a true today as they did 150 year ago.

Of interest to any film buffs may be that Michael Hordern and Alastair Sim reprised their respective roles of Jacob Marley and Ebenezer Scrooge in a 1970s, animated version, but neither in that version, nor the 1951 one did they ever act against each other in person. Horden's Jacob Marley, as well as Michael Dolan's Spirit of Christmas Past, were filmed separately from Scrooge, and were both added to the scenes in post-production with an optical printer to achieve a more ghostly quality.

Though many Christmas films seek to warm your heart, A Christmas Carol works to never become too schmalzy. The dialogue avoids being stiff- and can be even funny, if caustic. Tiny Tim's line "God bless us, everyone one," is subdued, and further then that, there are downright haunting elements (beyond just spirits who visit at night) in this movie. Lurking beneath the Ghost of Christmas Present's robes are Want and Ignorance, personified as blind, grasping, possibly diseased, street waifs. The obscene poverty of London's poor comes through again in the scenes where a dead man's belongings were pilfered so as to be sold for a few shillings. Not to mention that clues hint that Tiny Tim, bum leg aside, suffered from only from scurvy, and having the coin to buy some fruit or vegetables every now and again was all that was really needed.

 A Christmas Carol can be in turns a joyful and dark excursion with a deeper message that goes beyond just the holiday season. It may be an old, familiar tale at times, perhaps some might argue too familiar to be re-watched each year. But you could just as easily say, that re-examining "the scary ghost stories, and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago" bring us a-new each year to the movie's message. Will watching A Christmas Carol become a season tradition for you?


Friday, December 18, 2015

Rec Five: Instragram Accounts You Should Be Following

New York Public Library- A mix of fun book puns, cool covers, even cool lion statues and old requests for information from the reference librarians, there is always something on this account to make you smile.

Barbie- I'm adult and Barbie is still one of the most fashionable females out there. Seriously though, this instragram account is part cheeky fun and part high fashion. Follow it!

Lily Stockman- I'm honestly not sure what this woman's job is- but she travels the world and records it in gorgeous photos and even when she's home, she's got one of the cutests, most photogenic dogs to keep her account updated with.

Craig Satterlee- Artistic photos your thing? This work goes from surreal and dream like to capturing the American Experience. Even cooler? All photos on the account are taken with an iPhone, not uploaded from other cameras or computers (full disclosure: Its my dad's account, who is an art photographer).

Me and Orla- This stay-at-home mom captures the moodiness and subdued colors of the English countryside as she chronicles her life with his small daughter. I'm not normally into Mommy Blogger accounts, but then, Me and Orla isn't really about that either. These photos always give me pause and remind me to slow down and process and enjoy life a bit more.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What I Wore: Strolling Along for Christmas


Flannel CollageWhat I Wore: Flannel (Old; Similar Here); Cropped Sweater (AOS; Similar Here), Jeans (Lucky Jeans), Boots (Old; Similar Here), Necklace (Old), Bracelet (Popbasic)

Attending Red Lodge's Christmas Stroll has become one of my favorite Christmas traditions.We did hardly any of the usual traditions last year, since we were headed to sunny California then. But, perhaps to make up for it, I've been really into Christmas this year. Anyway, the Christmas Stroll is something quite special.  All the quaint stores downtown are open late and have hors d'oeuvre. There's open fires for marshmallow roasting and Christmas song blare out of speakers. In  all honesty, it was a bit lackluster this year. Strangely, the warmer weather made things less festive, but even an ordinary night in Red Lodge is worth the drive.

 We joined my parents at this Irish pub located in this old, Victorian-style hotel, and the music for the night sounded were these young bucks who sounded Will Rogers or Hank Williams come back to life (and, yes, "young bucks" sounds very western, but I am from the West. Let me have my colloquialisms, people!) . I know country music isn't everyone's cup of tea, but my grandpa loved this music. They even yodeled. I haven't heard anyone yodel so well since, well, Grandpa. After our meal, we wandered off into the night, up and down all the streets, even passing some carolers and others doing their Christmas shopping.

Despite the lack o snow, it did still get chilly, so this outfit really was perfect for that. Neither this sweater nor this shirt has gotten as much wear this year in fact because they are SO warm, but in the night air, that became their number one selling point! What Christmas traditions are you most enjoying this year? 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Dog Eared Page: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

"Didn't I tell you," answered Mr. Beaver, "that she'd made it always winter and never Christmas? Didn't I tell you? Well, just come and see!"

And then they were all at the top and did see.

It was a sledge, and it was reindeer with bells on their harness. But they were far bigger than the Witch's reindeer, and they were not white but brown. And on the sledge sat a person whom everyone knew the moment they set eyes on him. He was a huge man in a bright red robe (bright as holly-berries) with a hood that had fur inside it and a great white beard that fell like a foamy waterfall over his chest. Everyone knew him because, though you see people of his sort only in Narnia, you see pictures of them and hear them talked about even in our world—the world on this side of the wardrobe door. But when you really see them in Narnia it is rather different. Some of the pictures of Father Christmas in our world make him look only funny and jolly. But now that the children actually stood looking at him they didn't find it quite like that. He was so big, and so glad, and so real, that they all became quite still. They felt very glad, but also solemn.

"I've come at last," said he. "She has kept me out for a long time, but I have got in at last. Aslan is on the move. The Witch's magic is weakening."

And Lucy felt running through her that deep shiver of gladness which you only get if you are being solemn and still.
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Friday, December 11, 2015

10 Ways to Help at Christmas

Collecting for Xmas  (LOC) The holiday season can be a joyful time, but it can also be stressful or sad or lonely for many. Here are ten easy ways you can help make someone's life this December a little bit brighter- and if you're looking for more ways, make sure to check out my post from last year too "20 ways to help at Christmas" which has an additional 20 ideas or Ashley of Pretty Happy Sweet's post "Five Ways to Do Good This Holiday Season." Plus, don't forget, you can shop local and/or at stores that give back (see here to find out more). Without further ado, 10 (More) Ways to Help at Christmas:  

  • Donate time, money, or food to the local food bank. 

  • Donate supplies to UMCOR for their relief aid. They need supplies for Bedding kits, Layette Kits, Schooling Kits, Health Kits, Birthing Kits, and Sewing kits. It is easy and inexpensive to create and ship the kits, or you can donate cash to purchase the required items.The cleaning buckets are sent to help clean up after severe weather disasters, such as hurricanes and storms, within the United States and all the other kits are for global distribution. These kits help provide care for those "most vulnerable in times of crisis," and unfortunately, crisis do not take a holiday. *While UMCOR is affiliated with a religious organization, the care they provide is not limited to those of a certain faith, or by region. 

  • Short on money? Why not donate blood? The holidays are a time of increased  incidents of accidents and illnesses.  There are a lot of different types of blood donation, including red and white platelets and plasma. All are needed. If you are like me and unable to give blood, why not consider helping at a blood drive instead? 

  • Buy from local organizations who are fundraising. Boy Scouts- and often other groups- are selling Christmas Trees and wreaths during the season (Psst! If you are local here is when the local troop is selling trees). These fundraisers help young people able to support their extracurricular organizations and have opportunities they may not otherwise help. Plus, the experience of selling helps the young people to learn about entrepreneurship. civic responsibility and hard work, so- if a kid is selling it, consider buying. 

  • Women and children who are in women's shelters often have to leave home quickly, and may arrive with little more than the clothes on their back. Donating gift cards, so they can buy clothes (that fit and are to their and/or their children's tastes) can make a huge difference. Likewise, donating hygiene supplies or cooking meals can also help these families who are in a vulnerable place during the holidays. 

  • Many are in situations of places where they cannot go home for the holidays. They are in hospitals, nursing homes or other institutions that, while providing great care, can make for lonely holidays. Give the gift of presence and see about visiting. If you are unsure where to start, the Holiday Project helps organize visitors in communities all over the country so that those who are in need of company can get a visit. 

  • So this is more of a way to help after the holiday season, but recycling your Christmas tree can help the environment. Trees can be used for a variety of things, including being made into mulch, helping to create barriers preventing soil erosion or being made into lining for hiking paths. You could also consider getting a live tree with roots. When the holidays are done, you could plant the tree! Find out more at the National Christmas Tree Association. 

  • Operation Shoebox is an easy way to get care packages to soldiers for Christmas (or any time).

  • For families that have lost a loved one, the holidays can be a tough time. For them, the gift of your presence in their lives- whether in person or through the mail if you are far away- is huge. If you want to go a step further, consider getting flowers in their name for the families' church altar ( or other place of worship, if flowers are considered appropriate), or other public location of significance (perhaps donating the flower arrangement to the hospital or nursing home their loved one received care at). You may also consider donating to a relevant charity in their deceased loved one's name. 

  • Public servants, such as police, fire men, social workers and more, may not get the holiday off and, in fact, the holidays may see an increase in their work load. These jobs may or may not be dangerous and may or may not pay very well. So, consider baking some cookies and taking them down to your local police station as a way to say, "Thanks." 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

What I Wore: A New Outlook


BlueskirtCollage What I Wore: Shirt (Le Tote), Skirt (J. Crew Factory), Shoes (Gap), Necklace (Old; Similar Here)

Finally! The first outfit post in over a month! And, you may have noticed it looks a bit different too. No, big beautiful Wyoming backgrounds. But, well, the wind never stops in Wyoming and even if it did, it is dark when I go to work and dark when I leave (anyone else beginning to feel like some Creature of the Night? Thank goodness Winter Solstice is around the corner...). Taking photos of outfits was nigh well impossible for this girl. I did actually very seriously consider not continuing to blog, but, well, I've been into journalling of one sort or another for years and its a darn hard habit to quit. Having documentation of past thoughts, reminders of good times- somehow that is very appealing to me.

So- a compromise. I convinced The Boy to set up a white backdrop in our basement. With this, I'm hoping to make outfit posts a regular occurrence again. Visiting locations for photos was one of our favorites, but I'm also rather excited that this white backdrop will mean sharing more work outfits with you. I typically shot outfits on the weekend, meaning my more professional side never got a chance to shine. This outfit though, was one I've worn to work several times. The pop of color just cheers up things, no matter if it is a Monday or a Friday, right? What type of things do you like to wear to work?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Cinema Style: White Christmas (Take Two!)

White Christmas is my all-time favorite Christmas film, so it has been reviewed before and even been the subject of Cinema Style before too. But that previous post was more focussed on each of the two sisters' specific styles, and this time I wanted to focus on two of my favorite outfits for Rosemary Clooney.

Pajama Set, Smoking Slippers, Robe
One of the sweetest, most romantic moments (even while singing something that is in no way a love song) comes while Rosemary Clooney's character, Betty, is in her Pajamas! Its no hanky-pank moment; rather she's worried and can't sleep and Bing Crosby's character gives her some good advice in the form of his crooning song. She calls him her white knight and its adorable... just like you'd look so adorable dressed in button down pajamas like Betty's when opening presents on Christmas Day. I've added a robe; I think Betty actually is wearing a coat in the movie because she goes from her cabin, and has to walk outside to get to her lodge, but I included a white robe instead. I've also got some smoking slippers included, in case you too need to step outside on Christmas Day before you're fully dressed. The lamp and pillow would make any room cozy, but also serve as inside jokes to the scene in which Rosemary Clooney wears this costume- a White Knight and reminder to Count your Blessings.

Shoes, Dress, Earrings (Similar but more affordable here), Gloves

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Rosemary Clooney's jaw-droppingly stunning evening gown she dons for her new solo job singing at a club. And sure, it is unlikely you too will get a job singing at a night club, but this gown is perfect for all those Christmas parties and Christmas Balls and New Year Eve dances that are right around the corner! The gown accentuates every curve yet brings focus to her face. The character Betty adds only simple diamond earrings and a pair of gloves to the dress. You can add these black heels too; they are basic but classy and allows focus to remain on the mermaid cut of the gown.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Stationery Wishlist: Wishing You The Merriest

1. Yuletide Carolers Advent Calendar | 2. Snowman Gift Tag | 3. Nutcracker Suite Puppet Theatre | 4. Seasons Greetings Card | 5. Joyeux Noel Card | 6. All is Calm Card | 7. Eat, Drink and Be Merry Pop-up Card | 8. Altar Piece Triptych Card | 9. Mistletoe Wrapping Paper

1. Yuletide Carolers Advent Calendar - I love all advent calendars, but there's something so much more special and meaningful when you get beyond the piece-candy ones.  As you count down the days, using this calendar, each day is filled with delightful, 3-dimensional art pieces that add characters to a charming menagerie of Yuletide Carolers. 

2. Snowman Gift Tag - A gift tag can add almost as much to the presentation of a nicely wrapped gift as the bow or wrapping paper can. But you're sure to find a wintery friend with this snowman gift tag!

3. Nutcracker Suite Puppet Theatre - The Nutcracker Ballet and Christmas are indelibly mixed, but this playful paper puppet theatre makes the classic story a part of your holiday home in a way it never could have been before. Best of all? You actually are buying a PDF and printing them out yourself, so it is inexpensive and you can spend some time bonding with your friends and family to make the items too!

4. Seasons Greetings Card - Invoking the image immortalized in Good Old St. Nicholas, this Christmas card would be a joy for people to see in their mailboxes!

5. Joyeux Noel Card - The Nutcracker blends charm, holiday feelings, and art together in a way I find nearly irresistible, so here's another piece inspired the famous tale and ballet. 

 6. All is Calm Card - Admit it, you hummed the lines on the front of this card! Stylishly understated though it is, the real appeal of this card for me is the lyrics printed on it. Sometimes it can be hard to lose the heart of the season and this lyric totally reminds you of what the purpose of the holiday is. 

7. Eat, Drink and Be Merry Pop-up Card - The front of this cheeky card has a friendly host greeting those coming into her home for a meal. When you open it, a merry scene greets you!

8. Altar Piece Triptych Card - Every side covered in reproductions of a Renaissance Altar piece shows Mary, Queen of Heaven with her young son, being adored by saints. Holy, serene and beautiful, this definitely captures the more solemn side of the season. 

9. Mistletoe Wrapping Paper- wrapping presents has always been a favorite holiday activity, combining art and a pleasant sense of anticipation, imagining the happy faces tearing all the painstakingly added paper off again. This gorgeous but understated print is sure to make your boxes under the tree even prettier!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

In December, Why Don't You...

Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy Catch a live performance of  the Nutcracker

Build a snow-fort

Celebrate Saint Lucia's Day with the traditional Saint Lucia Buns

Donate to a local charity (don't know of one? Try these).

Trim the tree- and don't forget the tinsel!

Steal a kiss under the mistletoe

Make paper snowflakes

Volunteer at a nursing or assisted living home; this is a hard time of year for many

Dry oranges to make your house smell heavenly

Build a time capsule to be stored away at the start of the new year

Monday, November 30, 2015

Month in Review: November 2015

Thankful for: Plans
November has been a busy month- a good one, in which I'm feeling excited and (mostly) prepared for the coming days ahead, but a busy one indeed! I went to the National Association of the Gifted Child's annual convention in Phoenix (Psst!- If you want to see what I packed, you can!). Preparing my classes for a substitute, plus getting back to them after having had a substitute (even though she was a very good one!) kept me too busy for any outfit this month. However, I did get a few things from this month's Why Don't You.... list accomplished- and one that wasn't! We hosted Thanksgiving dinner this year. And by "we," I mean The Boy cooked. But I did clean house a little, so that still counts as helping, right?

In addition to Thanksgiving, November actually celebrated a few other things close to my heart. It was National Diabetes Awareness Month; you can read about my thoughts on having Type I Diabetes on the blog. This month has also been a celebration for the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll's classic Alice in Wonderland. In honor of that, you can read an excerpt for this month's Dog Eared Page. This month's stationery wishlist was also book-themed; this time exploring the world of Barrie's Peter Pan. Other mail related posts included my review of the service Stitch Fix provides. Lastly, this month also marks the first time The Boy has ever watched My Fair Lady, so you can guess what latest Film Flick review is all about!

Thankful for:  Finds

Who even knew synchronized ice-skating was a thing?

Eerie photos of an abandoned amusement park

Syrian refugees have been in the news a lot, but this sort of thing needs to be shared more: Syrian refugee helps feed the German Homeless

Some mad dancing skills, for sure!

I loved Barbie as a kid, but Barbie sends girls the wrong message (yes, even Doctor Barbie)

A favorite books is becoming a BBC series!!!!

A couple's dog films their wedding day

Emma Watson interviews Nobel Prizer Winner, Malala Youfrezi 

An eleven year old sets up a business to create secure passwords

Studies show that more communal living increases happiness, but would you try this Dorm for Millennials? 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Stitch Fix Review II

Lately, every time I see my mother or my sister, they are so stylish and every time I say so, they always reply, "Oh, its from Stitch Fix!"

Now,  I've tried Stitch Fix before with okay results. However,with not one but two ladies in my life getting such fantastic results, I kept thinking I should give the company another go too. Luckily, The Boy seemed to have been listening when I said this, because he gave me Stitch Fix credit for my birthday. All that was left was for me was to get a Fix ordered! But what is Stitch Fix, for those uninitiated?

Think of Stitch Fix as a stylist-by-mail. When you sign up for their services, you fill out a style survey, which includes both words and visuals, to help a stylist get an idea of your tastes. You also provide measurements, information about what parts of your body you would want to highlight or have covered, and what your lifestyle is like (as a teacher, for example, my life does not require an overabundance of cocktail dresses. My sister, who lives in LA, might want more fancy dresses). You also specify what type of price brackets you are looking for for any given type of garment. You can also share your social media (they especially encourage you to link to any Pinterest pages you have!), and there is a comment section where you can write to your stylist about things you are looking for, want/don't want, or even about special upcoming events in your life etc.  They can even style you if you need petite clothing; they also have a maternity clothes styling option, if you are pregnant! The stylists use all this information to pick out items they feel you would like and mail it out to you.

There is a twenty dollar styling fee for the services the stylist provides, and you are charged for any clothes you decide to buy. Any items you decide not to keep can be returned to Stitch Fix via a prepaid ad labelled mailing bag. The advantages of Stitch Fix is that the dressing room is your own room. You can try on the clothes at your connivence, see how items work (or don't!) with clothes already in your closet etc. A few days after you receive your clothes, the company emails you with a reminder to check out. At this point, you let them know which items you are keeping or returning. They also provide you with an opportunity to rate clothing for style and fit, which can help stylists with any future clothing picks for you. You also have the opportunity to leave detailed feedback about the box. The first two times I tried Stitch Fix, this feedback seemed like it had the most impact in influencing future boxes.  At checkout, the cost of the items you kept is charged to your account. The twenty dollar styling fee will go towards any item you buy, if you choose to purchase items, and you also get a discount of twenty percent, if you choose to buy all the items in your Stitch Fix.

Getting my box- my first Stitch Fix in over a year- I was incredibly impressed to see they clearly had looked at social media, in addition to looking at the styling survey. This was reflected in both the letter written to me personally from my stylist, Brenda, and in the choices she made and her reasons behind each pick (which were reiterated in the letter). This level of personalization was impressive, even considering the service is getting a stylist. As for Brenda's picks- three were well done and two were sort of puzzling, but overall, it was a great experience.
I was sent a purse, coat, pants, sweater and a dress. I'm not sure why a coat or purse were sent. They were expensive, and not items I needed, nor had ever indicated needing. With how cold is gets here, I need to pick out coats myself (and they are likely to be heavy-duty ski coats because negative temps are Not Fun), and the purse was large- which isn't bad, just not my taste. The dress was an adorable striped number, chosen for its "vintage vibe." It ultimately went back because of a very low back. I would mostly likely wear a dress like that to work, and am just not sure such a low back would be appropriate for my work place. This is my fault; the survey specifies if there are any body areas that you'd prefer to have covered, and I didn't think to say "back" as one of them. Stitch Fix always seems to require a bit of a learning curve for you and the stylist to figure out what the information shared means to the other person. I'll be adjusting my style survey to reflect that! The last two items were ones I ultimately kept, and am pleased to say they'll work for both work and casual wear. I love stripes so the top was great, and the cut of the pants definitely fit my style. Both items were in the forty to sixty dollar range, which, while not cheap, did not seem unreasonable for a sweater or a pair of pants. Stitch Fix also tends to stock items bought wholesale, meaning they aren't for sale to individuals in an online store. This means you are getting more unique items, but it can also mean its harder to get information about the clothing companies, which may be problematic if you are trying for ethical clothing. In my case, I was able to find out, with some internet research, that my striped top from Market & Spruce, was made in America. Kut from the Kloth, the company that made the cropped pants, does have a social responsibility policy, though their items are not made in the US. To be quite frank, their policy could, in essence, boil down to following local laws, but I felt in reading the policy over, a commitment to keep to the spirit of more ethical sourcing. While I cannot be sure all clothing companies Stitch Fix works with are  socially responsible, it was nice to know at least these two do.

Overall, while not as wildly successful as my mother and sister's experiences with the company seem to be, I did enjoy using Stitch Fix. It felt personalized and I have a feeling that the success will only grow the more Fixes I get, as both I and the stylists better understand how to share what I'm looking for. To keep things from getting too dangerous for any checkbooks though, you can schedule when you are getting your "Fixes", rather than getting them monthly, or on some predetermined schedule. If you've used Stitch Fix, what's it been like for you? If you haven't but want to take the plunge, you can try signing up right here!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Dog Eared Page: Alice in Wonderland

 Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not much larger than a rat-hole: she knelt down and looked along the passage into the loveliest garden you ever saw. How she longed to get out of that dark hall, and wander about among those beds of bright flowers and those cool fountains, but she could not even get her head though the doorway; `and even if my head would go through,' thought poor Alice, `it would be of very little use without my shoulders. Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope! I think I could, if I only know how to begin.' For, you see, so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible. 

-Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll  

Friday, November 13, 2015

Living With Type I Diabetes

Almost three years ago now, I wrote a post letting any of you reading know that I had been diagnosed with Type I Diabetes.... and I haven't ever really written anything more on the subject since. But, November is National Diabetes Month and tomorrow is International Diabetes Day, so I wanted to take a post and just... revisit, give an update.

Because, the thing is, being diabetic is something life altering, which, yeah, sounds pretty dramatic and hard- and some days it does feel hard- but mostly what I mean, is there was a New Normal. I think a lot of people with chronic diseases or illnesses can relate to that. It can be hard, but mostly it just is- you have to adjust.

A lot of the things I think that freak most people out are what became routine the quickest- mainly giving myself shots of insulin, and pricking myself to test my blood sugar levels. For a Type One diabetic, what has happened is your body has stopped producing insulin, the thing that helps your body handle glucose, the form of energy your body needs. Consequently, your body A) doesn't get any of the energy it needs and B) your body gets filled up with unused glucose. Your blood gets super high amounts of sugar. It is hard to have high blood sugar, though it has to be very, very high to actually kill you. But it gets unpleasant- you're tired and you ache and your emotions go all over. And you start to lose weight because your body isn't getting what it needs from what you eat, so it is converting stores of energy. You are starving to death, even when there is food to "eat." So, you have to inject insulin into your body in order to process food and get your body energy. Yay for the science that allows us to do that with synthesized insulin! However, the pancreas in a person is able to monitor your blood sugar levels in a way medicine can't yet, so once a diabetic starts taking insulin there is another possible problem- low blood sugar levels.   We aren't talking the every day "hangery" feelings some people get when they don't eat. When blood sugar levels get low a person can start acting abnormally (No joke, my doctor gave me a card for emergencies that tells people I'm diabetic. It starts off by telling people  if I'm acting weird it is not because I'm drunk. Lovely.), be  uncommunicative, get the shakes and not think clearly. If it is low enough you can lose consciousness and a whole other host of unpleasantness follows. All this up and down in your blood sugar levels is hard on your body and leaves you with a low immune system and over time, heightens your risk for a lot of things such a blindness, and infections in limbs that might even result in limb loss!
So, as a Type I diabetic, you are in charge of monitoring all this and making sure you don't do a bad job of it because- well. Consequences. And it takes time, diligence, a lot of medical supplies,  a lot of needles, and a lot of support to make things work. But you know- I'm very lucky to have a good team of people who help and I think many other diabetics would concur. And, as I said, you adjust. Still, here are some thoughts diabetes (and how you can help the diabetics in your life, by, well, being a good person).

Number One Thing: How people react to knowing you have diabetes. I mean, sure, there probably isn't a great way to react to hearing about someone's medical issues beyond, well, listening and acknowledging the fact. But in general, I always think of that card for people with cancer. It says, "When life gives you lemons, I won't tell you a story about my friend's cousin who died of lemons." Pretty much true for any illness or accident- chronic or not.  This seems very obvious, but, dude. It is apparently Not. Obvious. to most people. The number of times someone has told me about their cousin/friend/dad/dog who also has/had diabetes (and 90% of the time it is Type II which is NOT the same thing) and how some strange herbal remedy fixed them up/or they ate cake till they died/or whatever.... Not really what I need to know.  Also, telling me you wished you had this disease because it made me lose weight and you'd like to lose weight?  Not cool.  Likewise, saying "hope you don't lose a foot" is just downright passive-aggressive.

People also feel, once they know, that it gives them a right to comment on how and what I eat.  Don't do that. First off-  A diabetic basically just needs to eat healthily and with good portions yadda yadda yadda, in order to carb count. Still, there are some foods I really miss eating because they just take too long for my body to process and do a number on me. Most days its fine, but some days I hate having a complicated relationship with food, and even though your words about the food the diabetics in your life are eating may come from a place of concern and caring, that can get lost and seem judgemental instead.  Second- well.  My husband -and maybe my parents because they are my parents-  can comment on my food habits. My doctor and the people he works with on my case can comment on my food habits. Joe Shmoe off the street? Frankly?  Not his business.  

The positive thing though is- you do adjust and it Just Is. And most people I know with Type I Diabetes are these amazing people who just go, go, go and don't let things stop them. They are fighters who don't let the exhaustion, the highs and lows, and all the shots get them down.  But- it is still a real presence in their and many others' lives- today, this month, all the time. So,  the TL;DR take away from all this is- please take time today to support the research to help and cure diabetes. And in your day to day lives be willing to listen to, rather than just advise, those who are dealing with any sort of chronic disease. Listening is a form of generosity that never goes out of style. For all that sort of support- thank you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What I Packed: For a Work Confrence

I'm heading off to a conference this weekend and, just like everyone else when packing, wondered, "what do a I wear?" This answer actually gets answered a lot on blogs- if you are going to a bloggers' conference. Cool as that would be though, that's not my actual destination, though I'm just as stoked for the conference we are seeing- its the NAGC's annual conference. Its for my job though so- what do I wear?

One wants to be comfortable, and also professional- but that can be tricky to decide what that means for teachers anyway. Not quite business casual but definitely not real-world casual either... So- here is what I came up with for travel and two jam-packed days of learning.

1)  Layers. The conference is in Phoenix, which can get hot, and rooms with many people makes things even more toasty. But sometimes Aggressive Air-Conditioning happens, so- two outer layers and a light coat.
2) Different colors. Pro-tip: If you pack same type of  clothing item in the same color, it looks like you are re-wearing, instead of donning something new. Nothing wrong with wearing items more than once on a trip, but no one has space in their suitcase for redundant items.
3) I also made sure one was a skirt. This could (theoretically) be dressed up, if needed to do something special in the evening.
4) More casual clothes for travel and to change into "off-duty." 

What sort of things do you wear to work? Ever travelled to a conference?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Film Flick: My Fair Lady

Picture Audrey Hepburn bedecked in frills and ribbons - and a hat. A very, very large hat. For while Hepburn may be a movie icon in any number of  costumes, surely her black and white Ascot Race attire for My Fair Lady stands out among even the most gorgeous of clothing. But it is not merely for the clothing this film stands as a classic today. Perhaps Alan Jay Lerner and Fredrick Lowe's best remembered musical, My Fair Lady  tells the story of a misogynist languages professor and his experiment to turn a gutter snipe into the cream of society by merely altering her accent. The story itself is based off of the Broadway show of the same name, which in turn was based off of an earlier (music-less) film, which was based off of Bernard Shaw's turn-of-the-century play Pygmalion.  

Musical films were experiencing something of a comeback in the early 1960s, where filmmakers were choosing expansive sets, period costumes, and an overall far more epic take on the genre than the movie musicals of the 1930s and 40s had done.Along with stunning sets and costumes, was a much longer running time. This film clocks in at nearly three hours and almost every song came with at least two bridges and a long dance sequence. Though beautifully done, this film is not for those with short attention spans!  As a result of all this, at the time it was produced, My Fair Lady was Warner Bros. Studios most expensive film to create, costing some seventeen million dollars, but it paid off, with the film being one of the top five of 1964. (Almost) no expense was spared. Watching the film it soon becomes clear that much of the choreography and film work was done to show off the expansive sets as people danced down streets, around corners and into other set pieces in long, flowing sequences.  The period costumes too were prolific, with many extras milling in the background. There were a few limits though. When director George Cukor was unhappy with the famous Ascot Race sequence, Jack Warner literally destroyed the set to prevent Cuckor's expensive plan for retakes.

The casting of the film had been highly controversial at the time. Julie Andrews had originated the part of Eliza Dolittle on London's West End and New York's Broadway stages, to great acclaim. But studio execs wanted a famous film star in the main role, so went with Audrey Hepburn. This was a bitter disappointment to Andrews, though the two actresses remained friends. Ironically, Julie Andrews was awarded the Best Actress Academy Award that year for her role in Disney's competing film Mary Poppins, and Hepburn failed to receive even a nomination for her part. During Andrew's acceptance speech, she thanked Jack Warner "for making this possible," a subtle dig that if she had taken the role of Eliza for the film, she would have been unable to play the world's most famous nanny. Hepburn herself ended up being less than satisfied with role, as she was dubbed for almost all the songs. She had even walked out of the set in protest for a day- but returned the next politely asking forgiveness for her "wicked behavior." Still, she vowed that she would never do another musical, unless she could sing the songs herself. Rex Harrison, who played the second lead, Professor Higgins in both the stage and movie version, fared slightly better. He too had nearly been rejected for the role for the film, as movie moguls thought he looked too old. Luckily, Harrison sending more flattering head shots changed the execs' minds. Harrison too was not a strong singer; luckily Learner and Lowe, the two-man team behind the musical book of the play, had known this and created Higgins' songs so that he could talk through the lyrics. In fact, Harrison won the Oscar for Best Actor that year, and My Fair Lady also took home Best Picture, and Best Director (George Cukor's only Oscar in his fifty-year career). 

In My Fair Lady, a language expert deplore's the quality of English people's ability to speak their own language correctly, and makes a bet with a colleague that he could turn a rough talking girl into someone welcome in high society by altering her accent. The woman in question, Eliza Dolittle, seizes on the chance for something more out of life, and agrees to be part of the experiment. As the lessons progress, viewers see how she becomes part of the household, how she picks up an admirer, and her own struggles to see where she fits within London's various classes. All this leads to a battle of wills between the self-absorbed Higgins and Eliza's stubborn temper, but the ending is left somewhat vague. In Shaw's original play, Eliza leaves to marry her somewhat foolish admirer, Freddy, and Higgins is meant to be a bit of a stand-in for Shaw, including his sexual orientation. Shaw felt that Eliza leaving showed her independence, and symbolized that she was her own creature, rather than Higgins' creation. The movie is much less clear with all this, leaving some possibility that their might be romantic feelings between the two, or there might be familial ones, or even that the movie's end signals no more than a pause in their battle of wills rather than a true cease-fire. 

Still, an opening ending allows the audience to decide what the ultimate fate of the characters are, and no matter where Eliza ends up, you can see for yourself that she is My Fair Lady!  So roll the tapes and start watching! 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Stationery Wishlist: Second Star Till Morning


1. Neverland Greeting Card | 2. Mermaid Lagoon Art Print | 3. Big Ben Clock Card | 4. Mermaid Birthday Card | 5. Wendy-Bird Card | 6. Peter Pan Journal | 7. Crocidile Clock

1. Neverland Greeting Card B.M. Barrie says everyone has a different Never-Neverland, but this greeting card map is perfect for any book lover.

 2. Mermaid Lagoon Art Print- Support an artist with a great art print like this!

3. Big Ben Clock Card- A great card for any travel-lover as well as for any who know what a thimble really is.

4. Mermaid Birthday Card- Wendy dreams of a mermaid lagoon on her Never-Neverland, and if they are anything like this enchanting card, it is not hard to see why!

5. Wendy-Bird Card- Fly away on adventure- or at least let your thoughts do so, by sending this card to a dear friend.

6. Peter Pan Journal- Scrumptiously illustrated, this book has calendars for the month, as seen here, as well as for the week and comes with stickers too! Who knew a Boy Who Never Grows Up could make adult life easier?

 7. Crocidile Clock- Captain Hook is terribly afraid of the crocodile, but luckily can always hear him coming with the clock he swallowed. Hopefully your troubles are less dire, but this clock can help you keep things together too.

Monday, November 2, 2015

In November, Why Don't You...

Check that all your clocks are changed- Daylight Savings went into effect yesterday!

Bake a pumpkin pie

Observe the start of Advent (November 29 is the first Sunday)

Go to a craft fair and the annual turkey shoot

November 14th is World Diabetes day; wear blue to raise awareness and consider donating to help people with this chronic disease!

Buy your dog a new toy

Make a pot of hearty soup to take to work for lunch

Read memoirs Black Elk Speaks or Lakota Woman in honor of National Native American Heritage Month

Get your Christmas present shopping done early

Wear a scarf and matching gloves

Friday, October 30, 2015

October 2015 in Review:

Spooktacular Outfits

Spooktacular Plans
I wish I could say we had exciting plans for this Halloween on Saturday, but this weekend is a perfect example of my life right now- I'll be spending it working on my classes. The Boy and I have been living in work-mode pretty much all month; its lucky we like our jobs, I guess! On Never Fully Dressed, things have been a bit more varied, though.

In addition to October's "Why Don't You..." suggestions, we got into the spirit of month with Spooky Stationery a Cinema Style post inspired by King Kong, and a hair raising excerpt from this month's dog-eared page, Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde  A shopping list for fall  is less spooky, but no less delightful! Speaking of things to add to my closet, I tried Le Tote again- and shared my thoughts on the experience (PS I'm wearing items from my Le Tote in both of this month's outfits).  I also introduced a new blog series called Rec Five- and this month I recc' ed five of my favorite podcasts. Another recommendation? Check out the classic film, Gone with the Wind; it was this month's Film Flick for a good reason!

Spooktacular Finds

A bizarre protest for Impressionist painter Renoir has been gaining attention. What even is this?

My students would loooove these LEGO-like furniture pieces

The History of English in 10 minutes

Speaking of, Shakespeare is getting a "translation." Think it needs one?

In the midst of all the bad news, its important to remember- this.

How an Englishman sees America. So fascinating!

Even things like toys create gender norms, so this is apropos: Creating an American Boy Doll. 

23 Things I wish I knew at 23.  What would you add?

At turns astounding and fantastic, listen into Greetings from Coney Island

Agree or disagree: a culture of abuse is what's killing Twitter?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Remix: Black Sweater

A black sweater just seems so basic, but it is tried and true. Its what I reach for it I want to feel instantly more put together. Its pretty effortless too because not only does it make me feel put together but its comfy too! As you can see, it also goes with just about everything. Win-win-win! 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Cinema Style: King Kong

Being terrified and held aloft the world's tallest building by King Kong would earn Fay Wray the nickname Queen of Screams, as she starred in one of the most iconic Monster Movies of all time. Wray was the ingenue playing an ingenue in a movie within a movie -and what did that mean? Glamour- and lots of it. Her imagine is forever immortalized as within the grasp of the oversized gorilla, but just as immortal is the image of her wearing a sparkling dress. With draping, bell sleeves, this look can be just as glamorous updated for life in 2015. Bell sleeves fit with the new-millennium-does-the-70s trend that is hot now, so by merely bringing up the hemline, you've got a modern day frock. Adding ankle boots gives it another fresh twist, while a draping necklace and metal belt harken back to Wray's original Hollywood-starlet look.

Dress, boots, necklace, belt

To underscore Wray's ingenue status, she is costumed almost exclusively in white, telling us of her pure and kind nature that will, indeed, soothe the savage beast. Even a board the ship on their way to the ominously named "Skull Island," she is in a demure white dress that just flirts with having sex appeal by way of the slit in the neckline. As a nod to their tropical destination, her belt is a woven cloth. The dress and belt  together is a pairing that looks as timelessly good now as it did in 1933.  The cheeky coin purse is a tongue in cheek reference to Wray's "leading man," while the silver sandals are a perfect mix of understated and special. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Rec Five: Podcasts

photo credit: Grado Headphone Plug via photopin (license)

This is the first in a new monthly series, where I'll recommend five of something. Could be books on a certian topic, foods, places to travel, or, in this case- podcasts. Try them out and let me know what you think!

Five Postcasts I love...
Ted Talk Radio Hour Host Guy Raz each week pulls together several different TED Talks under a broad topic. "Screen Time," "Peering into Space," and "Listening," are just a few.  We get to hear both parts of the TED talks, as well as interviews Guy does with the TED talk speakers, and Guy's own observations about the talks and topics. Not only does this fascinating podcast weave together different talks, getting you to view things in new and fascinating ways, but the show always shares how you can view the full TED talks they feature, so it you want more information on a topic, you can. 

Stuff You Missed in History Class- Sponsored by, this podcast is exactly what it says on the tin. The two female hosts together share information about different historical topics. Their stories cover a huge range- the first Native American Prima Donna Ballerina, unsolved murders, wars, men's fashion, news paper hoaxes and- I kid not- America's hippopotamus ranches have all had their day on this podcast. Told in a friendly yet polished manner, the hosts personable banter makes it feel like you have some friends over telling you about these really interesting things. 

Classic Film Jerks- They've never seen many classic films, but creating this podcast, two "jerks" are aiming to watch and see if these old movies live up to their name "Classics." Since I love classic films, this seems like a no-brainer. I don't always agree with the hosts' opinions on all their films, and while they don't usually research much background about the films, I still find them hilarious and they bring in a whole new view to some of my favorite films. You're welcome. 
99% Invisible- Described as stories "about design, architecture and the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world," this podcast seems to focus on fascinating and- quite frankly- often obscure topics. Some ranged from the United States' Dead Letters Office, children's faces on milk cartons, old hotel buildings and more.  The podcast episodes are also on the shorter side, averaging just under twenty minutes, which can be a nice, digestible size for these haunting yet enticing tales. 
Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me- The Boy and I  love to listen to this hilarious gameshow from NPR about the week's news headlines when in the car. There's no news story too big....or too small... or too.... offbeat to not make it on this show. Comedians also get to talk to-and poke fun at- both famous guests from all walks of life and political backgrounds, and call-in audience members too.  And the big prize of this game show? Bragging Rights and Carl Castle's recording the message for your voicemail. So, why not try playing along at home? 
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