Monday, February 29, 2016

Remix: Pencil Skirts

Who said basics had to be boring? I've had this red pencil skirt for about three years now and its like a chalemon whenever it pops up on the blog. I used to be wary of the restriction of movement, but ... blogging made me change my tune and I  grew to love the pencil skirt silhouette so! I even tried it in a few other hues too. Do you have sartorial shape you were unsure of, but later learned to to stop worrying and love the skirt (or am I the only one channelling Dr. Strangelove here?)


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What I Wore: All Black

black, leather, leggings, pearls pearl necklace, black sweater, leather leggingsWhat I Wore: Sweater (ASOS), Shirt (Le Tote), Waxed Pants (Popbasic), Pearl Necklace (Boutique; Similar Here), Shoes (Loly in the Sky)

Anyone whose ever seen my Pinterest page would know I really dig monochrome, all-black looks. Yet, I rarely don them; they are trickier than they seem! I always seem to be ever so slightly mismatched with blacks from different dyes that next to each other look.... off. True blacks are rare and in the dark you can see that some have dyes with red bases, others with blue. 

 By trying to vary the texture of each piece, and breaking things up with a thin slice of grey, this outfit hopefully avoids some of the all-black outfit pitfalls of the past. 

What are your tips for pulling off a monochrome look? 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Cinema Style: High Society

high society, grace kelly, inspired, cinema, movie, style, fashion, outfit, gauzy, floral, pastel,

Dress, Jacket, Shoes, Necklace

Grace Kelly is always a fashion plate in her films, and High Society is no exception.  All gauzy, floating layers of tulle, She's a vision in pastels and florals. None of the gowns emphasize this quite as much as the one she wears to a big ball the night before the wedding. Imagine my surprise at seeing a full length gown with flowers sewn on translucent sleeves for sale online, as timeless and pretty now as it was in the fifties. With the flowers, there's not much else you need; no one wants to overpower an evening gown. But, if you think you might get chilly, bring along a cropped tuxedo jacket for an added cool-factor (pun intended!), and simple white stones on a necklace can bring the dress from a Sunday Church morning to a Saturday night.

high society, grace kelly, inspired, cinema, movie, style, fashion, outfit, gauzy, floral, pastel,

 Sweater, Skirt, Clutch, Shoes

While the Dior New Look fits Grace Kelly just fine, it can be a bit much for everyday wear more than half a century later. You can have the full silhouette from a skirt though, just as easily as with a dress. By picking separates though, you can find more of that tulle Kelly's character Tracy Lord so loved, and still keep things casual. An oversized, pastel sweater paired with laceless sneakers makes things much more the speed of a date at a coffee house instead of dancing with the Vanderbilts at their seaside home. This playful clutch is a subtle nod to the fact Tracy Lord gets three men to fall for her in the space of a few days, and might be some inspiration for your "to-do" list too! 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Rec Five: (More) Podcasts

Startalk- Like the rest of the universe, I've become a Neil Degrasse Tyson fan. His podcast (which is now also a TV show for you more visual learners) covers all kinds of science and how it interacts and influences pop culture and politics. You may spend one show learning about horologists (people who study the keeping of time), and another discussing Star Trek's legacy. It is a weird format for a show that takes some getting used to. Here's how it works:  Tyson pre-records and interview with a famous person (Bill Clinton, and George Takai have both been on) and then he discusses clips of it with two "co-hosts" usually another scientist and a comedian. Truthfully, the co-hosts change all the time, so they too are essentially guests, but it is as fun and irreverent as it is a learning experience. Plus, Bill Nye (the Science Guy!) comes on for rant segments that are charming. 
Stuff Mom Never Told You- This podcast from, is a series focusing on gender roles and talking about "notable" women from the past. And, okay, my mom was actually very deliberate about introducing notable women to us, and discussing gender roles and topics with both us and with our girl scout troop (You can't see it, but I am totally holding up the hand sign. Hello fellow Girl Scout Alumna!). But that's why I like it. She taught me its important to think about and have conversations about gender roles, which the hosts do in a very easy, approachable manner. Some show's topics are fluffier than others, but when they do it well, they really do it well. 
You Must Remember This  In case the title didn't tip you off, this podcast explores the history of the films, stars, and studios of Hollywood's Golden Age. Since I love the behind-the-scenes stories almost as much as the stories on the silver screen, this one felt addicting just after reading the concept behind the podcast. In reality, my feelings for the podcast are somewhat torn. It is created all by one person, yet is incredibly professional, being impeccably written, well researched and professionally edited.  The only downside is that the narrator/author of the podcast seems to take herself a touch too seriously, which results in over-pronunciation and outbursts of cynicism. Still, if you are into Classic Hollywood at all, you will, like me, find yourself unable to stop listening. 
Radio Lab Self-described as a "patchwork of people, sounds, stories, society and experiences," Radio Lab always presents a new and different topic each episode. Past episodes have covered everything from Orson Welles' most famous radio production to "Nazi Summer Camps." These shows are expertly done, blending interesting sound along with the compelling stories. As the name indicates, Radio Lab is a radio show that then turns its episodes into podcasts.
Love + Radio- I first came across this podcast/radio show when Radio Lab shared a story produced by the people from Love+ Radio called "The Living Room," in which a woman told the real life story of watching her neighbors through their living room window, including, ultimately, one of the neighbor's deaths. Shockingly intimate and engrossing, this story was so well produced, that I was anxious to find out more of what Love + Radio had to offer. They share stories on a wide range of topics with subtly and emotion, and surprising twists of fate. My recommendations for the first two episodes to try from them? "The Living Room," as previously mentioned, and "Greetings from Coney Island."  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

What I Wore: Though Ups and Downs

Whitey-16 GreenPantsCollageWhat I Wore: Pants (Stitch Fix; see review here); Shirt (Target), Shoes (Loly in the Sky), Belt (inherited), Necklace (Popbasic

I've been having migraines all week, so there isn't a lot to say. Silver lining though, it has actually been warm enough to wear these pants to work. Which means, yes, another work outfit! 

How's your week been treating you? 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Dog Eared Page: Thomas Jefferson's Papers

No attachments soothe the mind so much as those contracted in early life; nor do I recollect any societies which have given me more pleasure, than those of which you have partaken with me. I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage, with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give. I shall be glad to hear from you often. Give me the small news as well as the great.
- Thomas Jefferson
 in a letter to Alexander Donald Paris,
dated February 7, 1788

Friday, February 12, 2016

Stationery Wishlist: My Funny Valentine


1.Knight Card | 2. Shakespeare Sonnets Book | 3. Paperclips | 4. Friend's Valentine Card | | 6. Amore Badge | 7. Quote Card | 8. Pink Tape Dispenser

1.Knight Card - Perfect for that White Knight in your life.

2. Shakespeare Sonnets Book -Life can't all be flowers and candle light, but hey, some poetry can be romantic. Why don't you let the Bard help you out? 

3. Paperclips - These red paperclips marry beauty and practicality. Are both of those things perfect for a Valentine gift. 

4. Friend's Valentine Card - Who says Valentines are only for lovers. Show your friends that you care. 

5. Pencils - What's to say you couldn't start up a little office romance with these pencils. 

6. Amore Badge - I love beautiful cards, but this one's shape makes it truly unique- and uniqueness, well, that's amore! 

 7. Quote Card - "There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people"- Vincent Van Gogh was an artist with words, as well it seems. I love how this makes a different yet still very romantic Valentine card. 

 8. Pink Tape Dispenser- Once again, this marries art and functionality so well, but for those things you use everyday, why not make sure it is a thing of beauty? 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What I Wore: A Memory

popbasic,polka dot, grandma, Polkadots,popbasic,Collage, gold chain necklace,What I Wore: Shirt (Popbasic;  Similar Here), Tank (F21), Jeans (Lucky Jeans), Belt and Necklace (Inherited), Shoes (Gap)

This is one of those outfits I really go through spurts of wearing all the time and then not putting on again for ages- because it is also one of those outfits with memories attached (here's another). Do you ever do that- associate a memory with an object, food or outfit? 

Back when my grandmother was ill for the last time, I'd go to the hospital everyday to visit her. Before the rest of this story, you must understand- my grandmother had always been very particular about appearances. In childhood we always had to clean the house down extra well before Grandma came to visit and get haircuts. So, it definitely meant something that she turned in her hospital bed, mid-conversation, to say how much she liked this outfit. Nothing big; in fact, it was one of the most trivial and everyday place things she had said in weeks.But it struck me, as we waited together for the pastor to show up so she could have one of those one-last kind of conversations, that she said this as if things were normal, for her and for us. That it was an everyday visit like we had been having for years, and we could have been in her sitting room instead where we were. 

Of course, she would have liked this outfit- the belt and necklace were originally hers. But, while it wasn't like she never complimented me or my outfits, it lifted my mood that day.  Not because of what the words said, or what she meant. But it made my grandmother smile, so it makes me smile now to wear it again. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Film Flick: High Society

The Philadelphia Story had such power that it saved Katherine Hepburn's career. A remake brings
that fast and funny story together with three of music's all-time greats, and a literal princess. Seems like movie-making gold, right? But remakes seem to invite the inevitable comparison, so the question that must always be asked is: Does High Society outdo its 1930s screwball-romance origins?

The plots, of course, are basically the same. Socialite Tracy Lord (Grace Kelly), despite men espousing the opinion she's an ice queen, is about to be married for the second time. Her ex-husband (Bing Crosby) may or may not be aiming to stop the nuptials. To complicate matters further, the family is blackmailed into allowing a journalist (Frank Sinatra) to report on the social event of the Newport season.  Said journalist may or may not develop a bit of a crush. Three men; one lady- the math proves there will be just enough chaos and confusion to fill a film.

The biggest difference between the two films is that High Society is a musical.  This should be of no surprise. In addition to crooners Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong plays himself, functioning as a sort of musical narrator talking and singing directly to the audience. In fact, it was Cole Porter's first original film score in eight years, and it produced several modest hits and a lot of forgettable tunes. If nothing else though, it gives viewers marvelously funny (if narratively unnecessary) duets between both Crosby and Sinatra; and Crosby and Armstrong.

So what else changes? Both the original Philadelphia Story and its remake are set in their own contemporary times- the 30s and 50s respectively. High Society does relocate itself to Newport, a land of Vanderbilt mansions. Perhaps it is the change of decades that induces this, but High Society  has some rather baffling commentary on the decay of the upper classes (in ways reminiscent of the film Sabrina), while at the same time seeming to express that those who worked for their money are to be looked down on. The script did this by not only making the self-made man Tracy is about to wed a bit of a controlling prig, but it also softened the first husband's faults. When Cary Gran played the role, it was a recovering alcoholic; Bing Crosby in the role is given no such character flaw, and so the reason behind the divorce is never entirely clear. The story also gives more time to build the backstory between Tracy and her first husband, making him a more viable romantic interest.

The real differences through show in the casting. Elizabeth Taylor was originally wanted to play the lead and when she was unavailable, they went the blonde root. Grace Kelly may be one of the most beautiful women to look at (and is even more so in all the film's frothy gowns . Her costumes for this  were a wedding present from MGM on the occasion of her marriage to the Prince of Monaco). But, as the New York Times review said,"... with pretty and lady-like Grace Kelly flouncing lightly through its tomboyish Hepburn role, it misses the snap and the crackle that its un-musical predecessor had." Grace Kelly does sing through, the only time in her career that she did so, and she reveals a lovely voice in the process. Bing Crosby, who always plays himself, sort of mozies from place to place while on screen, never seeming worried about his ex getting remarried or particularly awake even,  let alone impassioned. Though the plot made it more believable that Tracy Lord would consider getting back together with this man, it doesn't help their chemistry that Crosby could have been Kelly's father, being nearly twice her age! Sinatra has a fun romp about as the reporter, but he faces the same issue Grace Kelly did when she stepped into Katherine Hepburn's part. It is just always going to be hard to live up to Jimmy Stewart.

Funnily enough, since it was, even at its inception, rather famously a remake, the film was nominated for "Best Writing- Original Story." It turns out the Academy confused the film with one that had been produced the year before under the same name! The nomination was gracefully declined when the mistake was discovered.

All in all, High Society is no Philadelphia Story, but if you are looking for fluffy entertainment in the form of pretty dresses, and a few good song and dance numbers all filmed in Cinescope, it is worth the watch. You can pretend that you too are a part of High Society.


Friday, February 5, 2016

4th Blogging Anniversary

I posted my first blog entry four years ago on February 6th, so I'm celebrating a tinsy bit early but...

Never Fully Dressed, blogger, outfits, year in review, orange skirt, skinny jeans, popbasic, green skirt,

Top Row: Grey Shirt | Green Skirt | Button-up Shirt| Mustard Sweater
Second Row: Check Skirt | Silk Shirt | Red Stripes | Graphic Shirt
Third Row: Orange Skirt | Stripes and Green Skirt | Dog Sweater | Fringed Shirt
Last Row: Checked Shirt | Scarf | Flannel Shirt | Plaid Shirt

Top Ten Posts of The Year (According to the Stats)
Le Tote Review
What I Wore: Embracing the Kitsch 
Le Tote Review II
Golden Tote Review
Letter Writing: Letters to Yourself
What I Wore: The Shape of Things
What I Wore: The Value of Basics
What I Wore: The Best Silk Blouse, Ever. 
What I Wore: A Perfect Fit
In May, Why Don't You... 

Memorable Posts
Living with Diabetes
Stationery Wishlist: Follow the Yellow Brick Road
What I Packed for New York City
New York in Instagram
What I Packed for a Work Conference
The Best of NFD's Film Flicks

After several years, The monthly Letter Writing Series finally came to a close. You can see all the posts gathered in one spot on the Letter Writing: Retrospection post. In its place, a new series, Rec Five, was begun. Each month, I recommend five things- one month is could be podcasts, another instagram accounts, another books. Be on the look out for new and great things via Rec Five!

In all honesty, this has been a hard yar for the blog. It was put on the back burner a lot, even after I made changes to be posting less often. Plus, the changing way people interact with social media changes what it means to blog, I think. Still, I am hoping to find some more balance in life to continue this creative outlet for an exciting year five!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

What I Wore: Finding Balance

blog-13 red stripes, le breton, popbasic, clutch, hello, black pants,What I Wore: Shirt (Popbasic), Pants (Gap), Shoes (Gap), Necklace (Inherited), Clutch (Le Tote)

I feel sneaky when I wear this outfit. Its deceptively simple- a shirt and pants. But the stripes make you seem pulled-together, even on those days your hair keeps falling out of the up-do  you've, um up-done, and you're constantly on the run from one place to the next. Its like a work wear secret weapon! While the red is fun with Valentine's day around the corner ( hey, I'm an elementary teacher, its practically in the job description that you coordinate with the holidays),  Popbasic is doing a limited re-release of their original Le Breton Shirt. Its stripes are navy, not red, (and yes I have one of those too. I swear by these shirts. The Force stripes are strong with this one!)  This link should get you a discount if your closet is laking a stripe or two. 

So real moment here: I've been having a love-hate going on with sharing more work outfits with you all. On the one hand, obviously outfits like this are what I wear five days a week, and stylistically, its not all that different from my typical weekend uniform. Sharing these types of looks is honest and, I like to think, not without style. Still, the fact that so many work outfit outfits have shown up here lately seems to reflect the way work has been on my mind so constantly lately. While I LOVE my job, both The Boy and I can both be workoholics who get a bit consumed, and then bit burned out. 

 So, here's to trying very hard to keep an improved work-life balance.  Teaching crazy-wonderful people interesting things, and collaborating with fantastic people is great, but enjoying health, home and family are too. Books and friends and, yes, hobbies are too. So, here's my focus and goals for the month: Going to yoga with my mom (and ideally one other exercise class, but we'll see), walking the dogs at least once a day on the weekends; calling at least one friend or family member every week; doing something with The Boy out, away from the house at least once a week. Maybe its silly that I need to be so deliberate about doing these, but I feel getting out in the sunshine more often, and focussing on the people, not the things to get done, will enrich all the areas of my life, work included. I'd like to get out some mail and care packages that have been sitting on our dining room table for all of January too, and to figure out a better skin care routine, and get some D vitims too, but at a  bare minimum letting the people I love be a priority will make the meanest month more-love filled than any red paper heart ever could. 

And, hey, wearing stripes for all those things totally will work too, right? 

Monday, February 1, 2016

In February, Why Don't You...

Ruth Elliott [and] Rob't A. Bowlby  (LOC)
Photo from the Library of Congress

Plan a romantic get away

Take ballroom dancing lessons

Soak in a hot tub

Make an emergency kit- one for your desk and one for your car

Learn to cross country ski

Go on an electronic detox

Read a biography of a President 

Listen to a favorite Podcast Episode (why not try one of these?) 

Bit the bullet and schedule that dentist 

Slap on some red lipstick for work

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