Showing posts from 2013

2013 in Review

2013 ended up being a pretty eventful year, especially compared to the never-ending 2012:

Moved from Carrboro to Greenville.
Christopher graduated and got a job, so we packed up and headed east. Coastal North Carolina isn't the most exciting location, but leaving the cancer center and finding a two-bedroom has been positive overall. It helps knowing that neither of us hopes to be here forever.

Summited five state high points and one territory.
Christopher and I are highpointers, which means we make a sport out of traveling to the highest natural point in each of the fifty states. We started the year by grabbing Cerro de Punta in Puerto Rico, our second US territory, then continuing to collect east-of-the-Mississippi states, including Brasstown Bald, GA; Sassafras Mountain, SC; Spruce Knob, WV; Hoye-Crest, MD; Mount Davis, PA.

Kittens took up residence on our porch.
I left the door to our bike closet open one night in September, and Mittens the stray cat crawled inside and gave birth …


December has been busy with gifting, travel, and preparing for the new year. I'm ready to head south, put things back in boxes, and start fresh.

The semester is finally over!

Have some kittens on a Roomba to celebrate!

Students and faculty have been out for almost a week, so I expected this week to be a breeze, but it's been unexpectedly busy! Lots of fires to put out before the new semester begins in January! In a few days, I'll head north until the new year. Many busy days ahead.

I will never tire of kittens on Roombas. :)

Inadvertently Christmas-themed

Dress: American Eagle; Shirt: Target; Scarf: Gift; Socks: Target; Boots: Steve Madden via eBay

Mushrooms and Parsley

I'm not a big believer in cutting any one thing out of my diet. Going cold turkey on red meat, dairy, or grains to improve health seems like an over simplified solution to a complex problem. But I have tried to curb my reliance on cream and cheese, which led me to this no-cream mushroom sauce.

And I have to say now that I prefer it to any cream-based mushroom sauce I've tried. It's still rich and smooth, but those qualities come from the fungi themselves rather than filler. The original recipe is tweaked from one I found at The Kitchn (mostly to accommodate what I had available in my fridge), and it's absolutely my favorite mushroom sauce.

No-cream Mushroom Sauce
Adapted from The Kitchn

2 8-oz. packages of baby portobello mushrooms, washed and chopped
1 medium yellow onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 c. dry white wine 1 c. chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
2 Tbs. fresh chopped sage (or 2 tsp. ground sage) 2 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. flour
Fresh flat-…

Tuesday Blue

Dress: ASOS; Sweater: American Eagle; Belt: Target; Socks: Target; Boots: DV by Dolce Vita; Necklaces: Gifts
This navy ASOS dress might be the best clothing purchase I've made all year. It's amazing all the things you can do with a simple blue skater dress. My real pride with this outfit, though, is the necklace, which is really two short necklaces that I clasped together to make it look like one statement piece. Ingenuity, guys.

Holiday Sparkle

The cold weather and dark evenings make me wish I owned more things that sparkle!

Free People Shimmy Shimmy Party Dress in Silver, Pim + Larkin Sequin Mosaic Mini in Multi, ASOS Sequin Top Cami Dress in Oxblood, ASOS Sequin Top Skater Dress in Navy, Corey Lynn Calter Regence Tunic in Gold, Little Mistress Maxi Dress with Sequin Bodice in Cream/Navy

November Round Up

Thomas Mann, Der Tod in VenedigRichard H. Hoppin, Medieval MusicInna Naroditskaya, Bewitching Russian Opera: The Tsarina from State to StageDer Tod in Venedig is still ongoing, but I haven't been keeping a steady regimen. The same goes for Medieval Music. Inna Naroditskaya's Bewitching Russian Opera, however, is a page-turner.

Mossimo Women's Solid Skater Dress in Dark RedSam & Libby Dominique Pointed Toe Pump in PewterJ. Crew Factory Double Stripe V-neck Sweater in Cloud/Brilliant CoralJ. Crew Factory Always Cardigan in BlackJ. Crew Factory Colorblock Boatneck Tee in Ivory/NavyJ. Crew Factory Clare Cardigan in Champagne The dress and shoes were emergency purchases for a wedding I attended. I realized at the last minute that all my semi-formal wear was only spring/summer appropriate and definitely not warm enough for a November ceremony. Now that it's over, I'm thinking about altering the skirt to make it a more work-appropriate sheath-type dress. I&…

Bundled Up

Dress: ASOS; Cardigan: American Eagle; Belt: Target; Tights: Target: Boots: DV by Dolce Vita; Scarf: Gift; Earrings: World Market
I'm going through one of those phases where I'm tired of everything in my closet. But I like this. I really like this.

Conference Wear

Top: Anthropologie; Jacket: Custom; Skirt: H&M; Flats: Steve Madden
I wore this to an academic conference last month. Everything needs to be tailored badly. I realized too late that most of the things I wear to work aren't professional enough for this kind of event.

Navy and Plaid

Tunic: ModCloth; Skirt: Rafaello via TJ Maxx; Pumps: Mossimo via Target; Earrings: American Eagle
I love to dress up more casual clothes. It feels like getting away with something I'm not really supposed to do. In college I became really good at dressing up pajamas. No one ever knew.

These are the earrings I wore:
Little bicycles make me feel like I'm getting a lot done.

October Round Up

Thomas Mann, Der Tod in VenedigBoris Pasternak, trans. Max Hayward and Manya Harari, Doctor ZhivagoRichard H. Hoppin, Medieval Music Keeping up a steady reading regimen has become more difficult now that I'm not riding the bus to and from work everyday. But I'm almost done with Doctor Zhivago. Hoppin's Medieval Music is more for notes in case I ever decide to go back to graduate school. It's nice, though, to be able to spend time with books I should have read more closely for class.

Bonfire Stories Tunic in Red, $39.99American Eagle Straight Jeans in Light Gray, $23.96 It was a light shopping month because I'm really trying to repurpose things I already own. But I needed new jeans, and the red plaid reminds me so much of camping and cold and the woods.

Sound, Stage, and Seminar

Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Met Opera BroadcastDmitri Shostakovich's The Nose, Met Opera BroadcastI can't get over how beautifully staged this production …

Happy Halloween!


Warm October

Sweatshirt: Alternative Apparel; Tank: Target; Skirt: Loft; Flats: Alfani via Belk; Scarf: Gift
This skirt is too big in both the waist and thighs but just right around the butt, a category too many of my mini skirts fall into. The result is a weird bell shape instead of a tailored look. I love the green tweed, though.

Wrapped in Gauze

Sweater: American Eagle; Skirt: H&M; Tights: Target; Boots: Steve Madden; Scarf: Gift
I didn't realize until I uploaded the pictures that they were all blurry, and this was well after I'd ditched the work clothes for sweats. But you get the idea. Besides, the blurriness gives it a ghostly effect, and it is awfully close to Halloween.

Greens and Blues

Sweater: Everlane; Skirt: Loft; Tights: Target; Boots: DV by Dolce Vita
I'm still on the fence about the Big Bird tights, but they get so little wear and I figured there was enough mustard in the skirt to make them sort of go together.
EDIT: Actually, after more thought, I've decided I don't like this combination. Color-blocking fail.

Sweatshirt Dressy

Sweatshirt: Everlane; Skirt: Rafaello via TJ Maxx; Boots: Steve Madden via eBay; Scarf: Loft Outlet; Sunglasses: TJ Maxx
I woke up on Tuesday thinking it was Wednesday, Wednesday thinking it was Thursday, and the cycle continued through the week. By Thursday, I was so ready for Friday that dressing up a sweatshirt felt almost mandatory. This one is so, so soft.


Dress: ASOS; Blouse: Everlane; Tights: Target; Boots: Steve Madden via eBay; Scarf: Street seller in Dublin
It's finally beginning to dip below 70 degrees, so I'm starting the process of winterization by autumning up my summer dresses. These boots are hands down my favorite eBay purchase ever.

Prints on Prints

It was 80 and humid today. All I want is to pile on scarves, tights, boots, but alas.

Top: Loft; Skirt: Rafaello via TJ Maxx; Heels: Nine West via DSW

Just the Vote

But to couch this episode only as a Democratic victory would really miss the point. For the process by which such a shutdown and breakdown could happen is not just the work of a few cranky Tea Party types. It is rooted in an electoral system that is heavily gerrymandered, where only those who can pay, can play. The reason the Republican dissenters could proceed with such unstrategic zeal is because they are in safe, rigged seats and so risk no challenge at the polls.

Indeed, given that they only have to fear nomination within their own party, rather than election by the nation at large, there is an incentive to act out in this way because it appeals to the base. When constituencies are so heavily contorted in the interests of incumbents that there is precious little consequence to anything a politician does, then you don't really have a democracy, you just have the vote. — "And so America's skewed democracy lurches on toward its next crisis," Gary Younce for The Gua…

Rain Bears

Dress: Anthropologie; Cardigan: Gap; Tights: Target; Boots: DV by Dolce Vita
It's been gray and rainy for the past four days. Boots and sweaters have been a must. And bears. I'm usually apprehensive about patterned pieces because I find them harder to mix-and-match, but I haven't regretted this dress purchase for a minute.

I need a better way to take pictures than my Mac. I need a friend. That's what I need.

How much is too much to spend on clothes?

I'm trying to be a mindful spender, but these are making it difficult.

I think sometimes that I can be content where I am, marking time with a steady job and filling the hours with domestic obligations. But then I see an opera or read a novel and remember the hundred things I'd hoped I'd do someday, and it becomes harder to file papers or wash dishes without a little resentment.

It's been my dream for years to go to Russia, but now it's hard to see beyond even the coastal plain.

Let me die, but first...

Tatiana's letter-writing aria, «Пускай погибну я, но прежде…», from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. Performed by Anna Netrebko with the Metropolitan Opera, 2013-14 season.

Just a couple of kittens, out on the town.

These two have become the best part about coming home after a long day updating student records:
Mitts & Kitts

Expected, Ideal, Reality

September Round Up

I've seen monthly recap posts on a few other blogs (namely here), and I like the idea of looking back on what I've accomplished before flipping the calendar. September had a lot of stops and starts.

Alan Light, The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of "Hallelujah"Thomas Mann, Der Tod in VenedigBoris Pasternak, trans. Max Hayward and Manya Harari, Doctor Zhivago Light's being the only book I started and finished. I don't expect to be done with Mann any time soon, as I'm attempting to read it auf Deutsch.

Everlane Classic Tote in Burgundy, $35.00Weston Wear Bloomfall Peplum Tank, $39.95Leifsdottir Delancey Trousers, $39.95 (possibly returning)Maeve Zola Shift in Navy, $49.95Pesqueira Lola Dress, $59.95I'd been eyeing the Zola shift (left) for weeks and was thrilled when it went on sale. It's light, has deep pockets, and is a perfect length for work. The Lola dress (center bottom) doesn't seem wort…