Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I wish I had ten pairs of these pants.

I enjoy wearing these pants tremendously. They have a very wide shaped waistband which means they are super comfortable. The fabric is an engineer stripe that is very difficult to photograph but is very cute in real life (if I do say so myself!) And they feature sailor style button plackets which you can't see very well in these photos. All day today I was creating an exhaustive list of all of the fabrics in which I would like to make copies of these pants. Linen for summer, wool crepe for winter, a nice dark denim...I won't bore you with the complete list but you get the idea.

I've been wishing I could find pants in brighter colors than seem to be commercially available. I've been imagining bright blue and deep purple and kelly green. Dark colors- I need the slenderizing effect of dark bottoms, but something more exciting than the navy and khaki and brown that are all I ever seem to find in stores. Pants are notoriously hard to fit and sew but I think a style like this might be easier than something more fitted. And I have a ton of cute buttons I could use.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Allow me to introduce my favorite skirt.

In the six or seven or eight years I've owned this skirt it has consistently been one of my favorite things to wear. It makes me feel beautiful, sophisticated, even elegant.  Honestly, this skirt makes me feel like Grace Kelly, which is a pretty tall order for a cotton skirt from the Gap. The skirt floats, and it makes me feel as if I too am capable of floating. I lilt, I sway, I sidle when I wear this skirt. I feel as easy and feminine as can be. Today I wore it to dance class- if there's a single situation in which you want to feel floaty and feminine, it's dancing.

I'm so partial to this simple skirt that I'm a little embarrassed that I haven't yet sewn any similar skirts myself. Especially as that has been my intention for several years now. Variations on this skirt could be my warm weather uniform and I'd be perfectly happy. I'd be floating and swaying through life.

This was the first public outing for these lovely pewter shoes. Thankfully, I only wore them to and from dance class, and not while actually dancing- they need a bit more breaking in.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Trying hard to keep my promises.

I'd planned yesterday to take photos of the outfit I wore in the evening. We were running late so I wasn't able to take pictures before we left for the evening and then by the time we got home I was too tired. Today's outfit could be considered a *make-up-outfit* since I wore both the skirt and the shoes last night.

It's possible I might have been a bit over dressed for campus. One of my students asked if I was dressed up to go out somewhere after class. Looking at these pictures it doesn't seem to me that this combination looks particularly fancy, but ours is a very casual campus. Last night I wore essentially this same outfit to dance class and to a concert at the Mondavi Center. I'm in love with Max Raabe now, by the way. What an awesome show!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What happened to all my great pronouncements?

You may remember in my last post I vowed to post outfit photos every day. I also declared my intention of being active every day and of following Weight Watchers. And yesterday I didn't post, didn't exercise, and didn't diet. I have a very good excuse:

My day was off to a really great start. I was organized enough to pack a healthy lunch, and I remembered to bring water in my aluminum bottle. Chris obliged me by taking outfit photos before I left for school. And I arrived in plenty of time at my eyebrow waxing appointment  before making my way to campus. Then, as I was walking through the hall I suddenly slipped for no reason at all and found myself flying through the air! I landed, literally, flat on my face, and then, propelled by the force of my fall, my outrageously heavy backpack flew forward and bounced my head on the floor. I wasn't able to get up right away, and while I was sprawled on the floor with my stuff everywhere a young woman came around the corner, saw me lying there, and then disappeared- I did not imagine this- she didn't even call out to ask if I was okay!

Here's what I looked like before the incident

Once I was able to get myself to my feet (no thanks to you, little miss, whoever you are) I found that my water bottle had been knocked so hard it was leaking. I didn't want to leave a puddle of water on the floor that someone might slip in (yes, I see the irony here) so I headed to the ladies room for some paper towels to clean up the spill. Entering the ladies room, I came face to face with myself in the mirror, and got the shock of my life- I looked like something from a horror movie. Somehow during the fall I managed to get a cut on the bridge of my nose which was bleeding steadily down my face. In spite of this new discovery, I continued with my plan of cleaning up my spill until the combination of dizziness from bending down and frustration with the cheap paper towel having absolutely no absorbent properties what so ever drove me to the nearest open door for help. Two very lovely ladies from the Visual Resource Center sat me down and patched me up and cleaned up my spill and collected my things for me. I spent most of the day with an icepack and a splitting headache, then came home and crawled into bed. Chris brought me sushi and ice cream and gummy bears. (This might not sound like an appealing combination for everyone but I assure you it is just the thing if you've recently had your face smashed into the ground.)

"I am the very model of a modern Major General"

Today I'm still nursing a fierce headache, my forehead has a pretty sizable bump on one side and hurts like crazy if I touch it or raise my eyebrow, and my right knee is developing a colorful bruise. I'm feeling quite sorry for myself, but I'm posting, I'm eating healthy, and I'm going to dance class tonight. With my sore knee and headache and everything.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Big Heavy Post About My Weight

I'm a bit embarrassed about my last post. I'm even more embarrassed to have published an I-Hate-My-Body post and then not posted at all for a week. I'm unhappy, sure, but I didn't mean to give the impression that I think I'm so hideous that I can't even bear to to take photos of my unappealing largeness. I have been doing some soul searching though, about both what I want  from myself and what I want from this blog.

I was quite upset with myself when I realized what I'd essentially said in my last post was that I couldn't be happy with my body in its current state. It was a pretty low moment for me, and I was trying to be honest in sharing it, but it's something I want to try to fight against both publicly and privately. Most of the time I believe I do a reasonable job of being, if not completely happy with the way I look, at least being content. I'd like to be completely happy. I'd love to love my body.

I'm overweight. It's a fact. I'm five feet six inches tall. I weigh about 180 pounds. That's a BMI of 29.0, which is dangerously close to edging over the line into the obesity range. Six years ago I weighed 130 pounds. For most of my adult life before that I'd weighed in somewhere in between 130 pounds (my skinny weight) and 145 pounds (my chunky weight.) The reasons for my recent weight gain are many and complex- at least I like to think so- no one wants to think they lazy and lacking in self control, right?  But ultimately, I'm not very happy and I'm not very healthy and I want both those things to change. And the most direct and sensible way to move towards both those ends would seem to be losing weight. Maybe I can be happy and healthy at a weight somewhere between 180 pounds and 130 pounds. I'm open to that possibility, but right now 130 pounds is my goal. Its a weight I'm confident I can maintain. Its a weight I've been happy at in the past. Its the weight I was when I met my husband (who, to his credit, still thinks I'm gorgeous, but that's not the point.) 

I don't believe that I have to lose weight to be happy. I don't believe that I have to lose weight to be beautiful. I don't believe that I have to lose weight to be stylish. But I have to be honest- being thin sure makes fashion more fun! I want to have fun getting dressed again. I want to have fun shopping again. I want to enjoy inhabiting my body again. And I'd really like to live a long, healthy life with my awesome husband.  So I'm going to make some changes. I'm beginning Weight Watchers. I'm walking or dancing or something, every day. And I'm posting outfit photos everyday. Not just when I feel thin. Not just when I think my outfit works. Not just when I'm wearing something new. Everyday. Without fail. Even when I'm wearing sweats to clean my house. Even If I don't get dressed. Why? Because I want his blog to help me to be objective about my style with the object of improving it. And if I only post when I think I got things right, what good is that?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'm experincing a lapse in my policy of self acceptance.

I had a different outfit in mind when I began getting dressed today. This outfit in my minds eye was imagined for the express purpose of allowing me to wear a new pair of shoes, purchased last Wednesday and, as yet, still unworn. But then the skirt didn't quite fit. It almost fit. I could zip it up completely, but once zipped it was so snug that I couldn't slide the skirt around my body to get the zipper into it's correct position on my hip. I briefly toyed with the idea of removing the skirt and then putting it back on again, making sure that I got the zipper in the right place from the get-go, but I had to admit that having the zipper in the right place wasn't going to make the fit any better. I could have worn the skirt but I would have been uncomfortable all day.

This unfortunate episode wouldn't sting as much if the skirt in question hadn't been purchased only two summers ago, especially to remedy the fact that none of the clothes I had worn the summer before were fitting me anymore. What a slap in the face it is to realize that I'm in the same position all over again. Or perhaps I should say what a kick in the ass it is, since that's more in the neighborhood of what we're talking about here. To my credit, I was able to accept that the skirt wasn't going to work and find something else to wear without having a complete meltdown. And I think, actually, that I might have been entitled to a meltdown here. I'm supposed to be trying to dress the body I have, without judging it harshly, without letting clothing make me feel as if there's something wrong with my body, without letting emotion get in the way of my objectivity, but its hard to do this in the face of evidence that I'm getting steadily larger.

I'm really not happy with my weight. Feeling fat takes a great deal of the enjoyment out of clothes for me. And that sucks. I love clothes and I want to love my body, but I'm not sure that this is a body I can love. And that makes me really sad. I'm not sure that just losing weight is the answer. I'm not sure what the answer is.

I felt fine in this outfit today. Not great, but okay. And I received some nice compliments on the skirt. These red shoes looked better than the new blue shoes I had originally wanted to wear with the too small skirt, so I didn't even end up wearing my new shoes. I'm hoping tomorrow will be a better day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

No, it wasn't a month long vacation...

I've been back home for almost two weeks now. Here's what happened: Blogging while traveling turned out to be almost impossible. Sure, every place we stayed offered internet access- generally about 30 free minutes per night- but I knew from my post of Saturday, March 12th / Sunday, March 13th that uploading five photos to the blog from New Zealand required approximately 45 minutes. Add to that the fact that I was much more inclined towards going out and seeing more stuff and taking more pictures than paying to spend what seemed like a ridiculously long time uploading the photos I had already taken... well, you get the picture (or rather, you see why you didn't get to see the pictures- until now.) Once home, the combination of the worst jet lag I've ever experienced and my being a bit lazy and out of practice posting lead to the significant lag in my producing this What I Did (and Wore) on my Vacation post.

Posing with a cabbage tree in Mokau.
With Chris in Mokau (after seaside fish and chip lunch.)

View of the coast at Mokau.
At Huka Falls.
With Chris at Huka Falls.

The falls without us in front, obscuring the view.

With Chris and my dad on a jet boat on Waikato River.

Pretty colors at Oraki Korako geothermal area.

Pretty leaves and shadows on the trail.

On the pier at New Plymoth with terrible posture.

Late afternoon view from the New Plymoth Coastal Walkway.

Tidal pools in New Plymoth.

On Mount Taranaki.

Dawson Falls
Chris offered me two new pairs of boots if I would stand under the falls. They look pretty mild in this picture but that is icy cold snow melt crashing down with enough force to knock a klutz like me flat out on those rocks. And we're going into spring, so boots? Not the best motivator.

With fish and chips in newspaper at Waikato wine festival.
I was determined to get some fish and chips wrapped in newsprint. When I was a kid I would sit with our fish and chips wrapped in newsprint on my lap as I rode home in the car. I always hoped to get all the way home before the heat through the paper became unbearable and I had to lift the package before my thighs blistered. I never made it the whole way home. Fish and chips are as popular as ever here but the newspaper wrapping of my youth has all but disappeared. Take it from me, New Zealand has the best fish and chips in the world, with or without the newspaper. Don't even bother anywhere else in the world. Okay, I might be a bit partial. A bit. Not a lot.

Steak and cheese pie in Taupo.

The Blue Lake (no joke- that's what it's called.)

Our shadows in the parking lot.

Flights of fruit wines and a paddle of beers at Hallertau Brewbar and Restaurant.

My aunt poses with statue of Sir Dove-Meyer Robinson, former mayor of Auckland.
I took a picture with this statue also but I look terrible in my photo so you don't get to see it.

A glowing, interactive floor map of the North Island at Te Papa museum.
I was pretty happy with what I packed for this trip. I wore everything I bought and I liked the way I looked most of the time. My biggest fashion related problem was that my already completely stuffed suitcase couldn't accommodate all the new stuff I bought for the return trip. More on that later.

This cafe in Taihape serves the best cappuccino I've ever had- that includes the 3 months I spent in Florence!