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
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